Vintage Gretsch Guitars

1954 Country Club ebay

2

"We didn't even wipe it down...you can still see the gunk on the bridge pickup." Guitar dealers are weird people. I've gotten some great deals from dealers on stuff they didn't want to mess with...glue, paint, etc....I'm often amazed at their unwillingness to apply a little ingenuity and/or elbow grease to clear a few extra bucks. But being too freakin' lazy to wipe off "gunk," and...what?...trying to make something positive out of it? Oh, well... Nice guitar.

3

I especially loathe the dealers at the shows who refuse to put on a decent set of strings; you can't know the guitar with dead corroded old strings.

4

i completely agree, I couldn't in all good conscience, pass a Guitar along like that....on the flip side though, I really do enjoy bringing them up to "snuff" myself I really, really like this Guitar......but isn't the price a tad high?

5

All the older Gretsch prices seem high to me. I always end up buying the fixer uppers. And it is a shame they don't take the time to do a little basic maintenance. Grime , dirt and fuzzy corrossion aren't appealing.. and ancient strings?? I like the old Blonde Clubs and Electro 2s

6

That's a beauty, my birth year to boot. Wish I Had that kind of scratch lying around.

7

And the "gunk" isn't gunk, it's corrosion caused by the rotting tortoise pickup riser, which should be removed and replaced ASAP. It's already reeking havoc on the finish and guard in addition to the pickup. And I guarantee you that if you pull the pickup, the mechanical parts on the underside are going to be caked in that green rust. This is anecdotal, but I've had a couple of pickups that suffered from severe corrosion like that and they seemed decidedly muffled, and replacing them with an uncorroded period correct DeArmond made a world of difference, so it's my personal opinion that it's more than cosmetic.

8

That said, cool guitar. Price may be a bit high and presentation is lousy, but with a little elbow grease, it could be a beauty.

9

I really like this old gal, in particular for a couple of reasons. First, it's the less common blonde finish so for me, along with the Cadillac Green, that's a classier look than the sunburst. The other thing I noticed right away was that the frets were installed correctly, overhanging the binding.

I'm generally of the opinion that many vintage Gretsches tend to be overpriced but these guitars, the earlier ones in the green or blonde finish command a higher price when they're in great shape and all original, so this price seems reasonable.

I agree with everyone though that leaving on old strings and especially 'original' gunk is disgusting. If the reasoning is that it helps confirm its vintage, then that's warped thinking. It wouldn't take more than a few hours to remove the strings, tailpiece, pickguard and pup surrounds and carefully clean the entire guitar along with a good application of a good quality fretboard conditioner, and finish conditioner. The label and a careful examination of the features will confirm its originality and being played will confirm the electronics work as they should, the set-up is as it should be and justify the asking price. A short video of this guitar being played would be a wise addition to the posting.

10

This is an odd specimen. The serial # slots it into the first batch of the '54 model year (with first fret inlay). Those guitars typically have block markers. I've found a couple other re-necks in this batch, that now have hump-blocks, but those examples still have the '54 style plain-topped control knobs. This one has the '55 style "arrow" knobs in addition to the later hump-block inlays.

11

Would you say Ed, that these anomalies or quirks are factory initiatives as opposed to an owner changing things?

12

I really like this old gal, in particular for a couple of reasons. First, it's the less common blonde finish so for me, along with the Cadillac Green, that's a classier look than the sunburst. The other thing I noticed right away was that the frets were installed correctly, overhanging the binding.

I'm generally of the opinion that many vintage Gretsches tend to be overpriced but these guitars, the earlier ones in the green or blonde finish command a higher price when they're in great shape and all original, so this price seems reasonable.

I agree with everyone though that leaving on old strings and especially 'original' gunk is disgusting. If the reasoning is that it helps confirm its vintage, then that's warped thinking. It wouldn't take more than a few hours to remove the strings, tailpiece, pickguard and pup surrounds and carefully clean the entire guitar along with a good application of a good quality fretboard conditioner, and finish conditioner. The label and a careful examination of the features will confirm its originality and being played will confirm the electronics work as they should, the set-up is as it should be and justify the asking price. A short video of this guitar being played would be a wise addition to the posting.

– Windsordave

I did my Electro II frets over the binding. Serious PITA, but worth it.

13

Nice job Charlie! It looks really good. I had this task or correction as I like to call it done as part of my Super Chet's overhaul and also on my vintage Syncho. The Synchro was literally unplayable for fingerstyle as along with the frets ending at the start of the binding, they had a shallow chamfer so most notes played on both E strings got easily pushed off the fingerboard!....and I was using medium gauge strings. Installing new frets in this manner allows the now needed new [bone please!] nut slots to be spaced out a bit more than previously, making playing more comfortable.

14

I agree Dave, I've always had a thing for Blonde's-- Classy is a good word-- BTW- what is that discoloration on the edge of the pickguard near the pickup? Is that from the rust on the metal nearby? Looks like spray paint

15

Well to me, it looks like the paint on the backside of the pickguard has been removed, possibly from the tarnishing of the bridge pup. I think the rest of the guitar could be cleaned up nicely....as it should've been by the seller. Cleaned up, it would have a well worn look to it but that's perfect, it's earn both the look and any battle scars pickup over the years. Guard could be touched up too I imagine.

The features mix & match Ed pointed out notwithstanding it's a mighty fine lookin' vintage Gretsch!

16

Personally I prefer when sellers (like this vendor) leave the guitar "as found" when they list it.

I prefer this as many times when people who are not acutely aware of how fragile some of the parts may be, they may actually make the condition worse when they open up and old guitar to clean it.

And yes this guitar turns my crank for sure. Its about 2k too high to get any interest from most collectors though.

17

I agree Dave, I've always had a thing for Blonde's-- Classy is a good word-- BTW- what is that discoloration on the edge of the pickguard near the pickup? Is that from the rust on the metal nearby? Looks like spray paint

– 949Norm

This is the pickup riser off-gassing. Usually the bridge riser is made from two pieces of tortoise-shell plastic; it may be that the adhesive breaks down the plastic which is why they sometimes do this.

18

Damn shame nobody replaced that pickup spacer before it "went". Love the blond clubs, but wouldn't pay that for a guitar that has that nitro time bomb ticking.

19

Personally I prefer when sellers (like this vendor) leave the guitar "as found" when they list it.

I prefer this as many times when people who are not acutely aware of how fragile some of the parts may be, they may actually make the condition worse when they open up and old guitar to clean it.

And yes this guitar turns my crank for sure. Its about 2k too high to get any interest from most collectors though.

– Gasmoney

I certainly agree with you regarding an unqualified seller opening up a guitar like this and begin muckin' about with the pots and pups. My idea of cleaning it up was to at least get rid of the gunk, especially the buildup on the fingerboard. Old strings aren't attractive and don't prove anything to me when I'm a buyer. Take them off and an application of lemon oil to dissolve the crud and condition the board and a fresh set of strings.

I think it's somewhat different between when you can inspect the guitar in person vs buying it online. Online it needs to put its best foot forward where in person the buyer can be more inclined to overlook the gunk.


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