Vintage Gretsch Guitars

1953-Gretsch Duo-Jet question

1

Hello all! New to this forum and registered to gain some knowledge about a particular Reverb listing. Going to pull the trigger and worked out a cash+trade deal for this guitar:

https://rvrb.io/1953-6128-d...

I have some concerns particularly the base of the bridge pickup and the the fact that there is no serial number on the inside of the cavity just etched on the back plate. Any info or insight is greatly appreciated!

2

Can't answer your questions - someone will be along who can - just wanted to mention that's getting started with a helluva bang! Where you gonna go from there?

Welcome to the GDP.

3

Whoa! Welcome and congrats.

4

Beautiful Scripty Jet. Always fancied that version of this guitar. The bridge pickup riser is celluloid and desinagrates over time. There are modern replacements available.

5

Yup, this one caught my eye. Going off the number on the backplate, this comes from the second batch of Duo Jets; the next batch saw the T-roof logo on the headstock. The DeArmond pickup shown has the clear plastic bobbin which is a feature of early Dynasonics. The riser on the bridge pickup is probably deteriorating as they usually do. Paul Setzer makes perfect reproductions of these.

It seems to be legit but the lack of a serial/model # on the inside is troubling. This '53 is a bit cheaper and has more vintage gravitas than the one your looking at. (Disclaimer: No Financial Interest) I think you could do better on the pricing as guitar prices are soft and you are in an excellent position to negotiate. Also, wait for Ed Ball to chime in.

6

Cool example of the first year "scripty" Jet. She looks pretty solid, with the exception of the pickguard warping a bit, and that bridge pu spacer seems to be crystalizing (and if it is, it need to be replaced asap). The lack of label inside the cavity would bother me a bit, but the back plate is legit, and the guitar is authentic.

7

The Carter's example is more interesting (to me)... with the rare fixed-Melita (not sure why it's gold??), and the equally rare drum badge (if that's even what that is). But they are both super-cool guitars.

Thanks for the shout-out lx!

8

Thank you all for the quick responses, insights and welcomes!

Have not made the deal yet, I’ll be speaking to the shop tomorrow to discuss details, I’ll bring up the concerns you all mentioned. Replacing the bridge pickup riser is a concern but not a total deal breaker personally. I have made an somewhat low offer for the listing lx mention on his post (haven’t heard back.) Can’t thank you all enough, I’ve never actively participated/contributed on guitar forums (or owned a Gretsch guitar) but it’s a great community for guitar lovers and hopeless gas sufferersI’ll keep this post updated!

Side note: the offer he’s accepting is $4K plus a ‘89 Gibson ES-347, still thinking there’s some room to negotiate...

9

Welcome to all things Gretsch! Nice guitar to kick off your Gretsch collection....as collections do tend to evolve when you get a Gretsch! While I too like the badge on the cheaper jet I don't like the visible holes in the drum material around the G-tailpiece, but that's just my taste. Good luck with your getting one of these.

10

I have a Duo Jet from the same batch, eleven numbers later. Been playing it a lot lately. The pickguard on mine is equally warped.

11

Thank you! Yes, it’s a clean guitar but I doubt there’s much negotiating room as he already has 2 declined offers. Apparently this listing has already been discussed here, that’s how I initially stumbled upon this great forum! Both are great examples and I’m willing to look into some later year models if this deal goes south. Lately I’ve been nostalgic and listening to Bo-Diddley so I figured it’s time to look into a gretsch! Wouldn’t be so tempted to go forward with this offer but he ageeed the trade plus cash. All the best!

12

I have a Duo Jet from the same batch, eleven numbers later. Been playing it a lot lately. The pickguard on mine is equally warped.

– nielDa

Evening! How to you like your guitar and does you trus rod function as it should? Does your guitar have the serial number etched into the back plate, or does it or how the serial/model sticker? Appreciate it!

13

If you like it, buy it. If you don't, then don't. It ain't rocket science.

14

Wow -- you picked a fabulous way to enter Gretschworld! Both Reverb listings look wonderful.

Best wishes to you in your procurement venture and everyone here will be anxious to see more photos of your guitar when you have landed it. Welcome to the GDP!

15

Evening! How to you like your guitar and does you trus rod function as it should? Does your guitar have the serial number etched into the back plate, or does it or how the serial/model sticker? Appreciate it!

– Tmtz

All Jets have their serial numbers etched into the back-plate. It's one of the the unique Jet features and other Gretsch models did not have a secondary serial number location.

If you could get the serial number for the Carter example, it would be interesting. The fixed-Melita was only applied to a portion of the debut batch.

16

I have two of the '53 script-logo Jets, including this one with the fixed-Melita.

17

Just like some of the earliest Les Pauls and EB-1 basses from early 1950s didn't have serial #s, is is possible same could be true here? At least Gibson felt these newfangled solidbodies were totally experimental -- a lot of purists were against the idea. Maybe no serial # was intentional.

18

Just like some of the earliest Les Pauls and EB-1 basses from early 1950s didn't have serial #s, is is possible same could be true here? At least Gibson felt these newfangled solidbodies were totally experimental -- a lot of purists were against the idea. Maybe no serial # was intentional.

– DCBirdMan

Not the case here. I've documented 24 examples of the 150 unit debut run of the Duo Jet, and they all have paper labels inside.

19

Here's the label from one of these Jets, a few serial numbers prior to the OP's example. As you can see they don't fit very well into the control cavity. Being a new arrangement for the factory perhaps the label wasn't affixed very well on #12033 and become detached and over the years got lost. Pure speculation... but anything is possible. Sometimes we worry that the lack of label "might" suggest a guitar has been stolen and it's identity erased as a result... but when the serial number is still on the back plate a perpetrator would have probably defaced it, or replaced the plate before flipping it... so in this case it doesn't seem as malicious as some other scenarios we've seen.

20

Of all the Gretsches that I’ve owned over the years I miss my Scripty Jet the most. A very cool guitar.

No, the truss rod is not normal, they work backwards.

21

Evening! How to you like your guitar and does you trus rod function as it should? Does your guitar have the serial number etched into the back plate, or does it or how the serial/model sticker? Appreciate it!

– Tmtz

I've had mine since 2007, and either the neck adjustment was good when I got it, or (more likely) I tweaked it a bit without problem. In either case I don't recall wrestling with it. The serial number is scratched into the plate, as Ed mentioned was typical - mine is 12044. Mine does not have a label inside – and no sign it had one, no sticker glue residue, although I wouldn't necessarily expect to see any. (So either it never had a label, or 1953 was a good year for stealing guitars!)

As Deke mentioned, the truss rod has a reverse thread, so unlike other guitars, turning it counter-clockwise will tighten it to reduce any bow in the neck. Also, the truss rod has a square nut, not a hex shape, so a drum key is needed to adjust it.

And, it has a fixed Melita bridge.

22

Those are both pretty clean. The 53 has that weird Gretsch logo glued on and three strange holes drilled aroung the tailpiece, though.

23

I think I’ve seen that guitar for sale before....When I first started looking at Jets, I remember seeing a jet with that ‘Gretsch’ logo attached to it. Both are cool guitars!

24

All Jets have their serial numbers etched into the back-plate. It's one of the the unique Jet features and other Gretsch models did not have a secondary serial number location.

If you could get the serial number for the Carter example, it would be interesting. The fixed-Melita was only applied to a portion of the debut batch.

– kc_eddie_b

“If you could get the serial number for the Carter example, it would be interesting. The fixed-Melita was only applied to a portion of the debut batch.”

Here’s the reply I received from Carter along with the serial number. Appreciate the insights Eddie!

25

Ok... I'm familiar with that Carter's Jet. The claim that there's only one other that has the Gretsch logo plaque on the lower bout is hogwash. I've documented a few... not many were applied, but certainly more than two.

The holes near the tailpiece are remnants of a Bigsby B5 vibrato that was installed at some point. Here's a photo of that very guitar back when it had the after-market Bigsby.


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