Vintage Gretsch Guitars

1956 jet firebird - pickup question

1

I purchased a 1956 Jet Firebird yesterday from a local classified.

Seller knew no history of the guitar. Her late husband inherited it when the guitarist in his band passed away years ago.

Most items appear consistent with the 1956 serial number (minus a few replacement screws)

The white pickups are a mystery to me (note extra screw hole). Anyone familiar with these as an option in ‘56? Any way to verify what they are and age?

2

A more comprehensive picture.

3

Those must be later replacement pickups. There were not a lot of options back then.

4

Those are replacements. I've not seen the "ivory"/yellowed type on the neck before, but the more white bridge is consistent with DeArmond 2000s seen on Guilds in the late '50's/early '60's. They sound the same; some say the white ones are hotter, but my experience is that they're the same. Using these was a common fix in the '70's/'80's when the industry was enthralled with Gibbybuckers and Stratsounds and no one was making them. Take a few more pics from the side of the pickups and measure the height; 7/16" and/or 9/16". We'll tell you for sure after that.

5

Those are replacements. I've not seen the "ivory"/yellowed type on the neck before, but the more white bridge is consistent with DeArmond 2000s seen on Guilds in the late '50's/early '60's. They sound the same; some say the white ones are hotter, but my experience is that they're the same. Using these was a common fix in the '70's/'80's when the industry was enthralled with Gibbybuckers and Stratsounds and no one was making them. Take a few more pics from the side of the pickups and measure the height; 7/16" and/or 9/16". We'll tell you for sure after that.

– lx

Thanks for the reply. Difficult to get exact measures on the guitar, but neck appears to be 7/16 and bridge appears to be 9/16.

I also will post a pic of the back.

6

Left side says DeArmond (logo script) and right says Rowe

7

These are post-Gretsch DeArmonds. Vintage Gretsch came in the 7/16" size only and the chrome casings were subtly more squared off. No difference sound-wise. If you want a more correct vintage look, local poster Paul Setzer (setzersigns.com/facebook/or something) has black adhesive stickers the will cover the white. Lots of info on DeArmonds at musicpickups.com.

8

These are post-Gretsch DeArmonds. Vintage Gretsch came in the 7/16" size only and the chrome casings were subtly more squared off. No difference sound-wise. If you want a more correct vintage look, local poster Paul Setzer (setzersigns.com/facebook/or something) has black adhesive stickers the will cover the white. Lots of info on DeArmonds at musicpickups.com.

– lx

Thanks! I really appreciate the information. They do sound great ... I went ahead and took a chance on the guitar not really knowing what these were because the price was right. Glad to hear they are basically the same in sound as what would have come originally.

Not sure I understand why folks were swapping them out if there was no sound advantage...


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