Vintage Gretsch Guitars

1960s Country Club Unpopularity?

1

Why do you figure 1960s Clubs are so unpopular? I mean I get they are what they are and are not 6120s but I’d say The Tennesseans are a lot more popular than Clubs. Clubs from the mid to late 60s can be had still at a reasonable price.

What makes 60s Country Clubs less desirable than other 60s Gretsch models.

2

That's my guitar. Well, I guess mine is earlier.

I had a look at that late 60's single pickup CC that was in Minneapolis. It played as well as my '63.

Everything is right on those guitars, so it's everything no one wants, I guess. Zero fret, 25.5” scale, the body is either deeper or shallower, depending on the year.

My guitar has a Supertron in the neck.

3

Yeah mine is a 1965. I like it. The prices on these are on the rise but in the past they were always less than Tennesseans and Country Gents I believe.

4

A lot of what makes certain guitar models popular/desirable is the high-profile players who use them. I can't think of a single arrtist who's identified with a Country Club in the way that, say, Brian Setzer is identified with the 6120, George Harrison with the Gent and Tenneseean, or Stephen Stills, Neil Young or Billy Duffy with the White Falcon.

Tim Armstrong has a signature model based on the Baldwin-era Club, but that's kind of a different variation than the standard Country Club models from any era. I bet if a popular guitarist started using a Country Club regularly, there would be a lot more interest.

5

The Tennessean was one of the best selling hollobody guitars of 1965/66 - the Harrison factor.

6

Back in the '60's when the guitars were new, the CC was enough more expensive than the Tenny & Annie, which I only ever saw local bands - lots of them but good - playing them as the rhythm guitar. This, combined with Parabar's observations accounts for less sales.

Another observation I have is that I don't recall see any single pup rhythm guitars, all were doubles and all had Filters.

In southern Ontario back in the '60's, I saw a lot of local Canadian groups pass through town and can't recall one of them using a Gretsch as the lead guitar. Tellies were first choice, 335's second with a Gretsch as rhythm guitar. Fender Precisions and the odd Hofner were the popular basses.

7

As an elegant, classy line flagship - clearly descended from the jazz-derived models which preceded it, the Country Club was never going to be a high-volume (in either sense) sales leader.

But it had the misfortune of being eclipsed in glamour and flash by the White Falcon - a Club in Hollywood costume. It instantly became the reserved and conservative DeVille to the Falcon's Eldorado.

That split the high end of the line between flamboyant ostentation and classy good taste. We know which of those is most popular!

In comparison with 6120s, were Chevies more popular than Cadillacs? Or just more affordable?

When it comes to the 60s - once it got started for guitars in Feb '64 - the Gent and Tennessean, thanks to George, were unbeatable.

And, yes, the Club was never a famous guitar hero's main ride.

But 60s Clubs seem quite popular among those who own them!

8

The only CC player of note that I can think of is Mickey Baker. He also played Gibsons and Jazzmasters, though.

9

Can't think of a GreTscH I covet more.

10

The only CC player of note that I can think of is Mickey Baker. He also played Gibsons and Jazzmasters, though.

– seadevil

There's that one Mickey Baker clip on youtube with a club, haven't seen anthing otherwise.

60's Clubs...most of them are sunburst, not a finish most people associate with Gretsches. Clubs tend to have very wide necks, which isn't for everybody either. (most of the ones I've played were too wide/flat or my own taste) Then there's the mute and the hole in the back/ backpad on the thinlines, the zero fret and no factory Bigsby.

Add the "no visible idols playing one" factor to that, and yeah, I can see why they're not the most sought after guitar.

11

I recently played a 1961 Thinline CC and it was superb. Regret not buying it.

12

There's that one Mickey Baker clip on youtube with a club, haven't seen anthing otherwise.

60's Clubs...most of them are sunburst, not a finish most people associate with Gretsches. Clubs tend to have very wide necks, which isn't for everybody either. (most of the ones I've played were too wide/flat or my own taste) Then there's the mute and the hole in the back/ backpad on the thinlines, the zero fret and no factory Bigsby.

Add the "no visible idols playing one" factor to that, and yeah, I can see why they're not the most sought after guitar.

– WB

"60's Clubs...most of them are sunburst, not a finish most people associate with Gretsches."

Huh? With the Annie having the most production numbers of all Gretsches and a high percentage being sunbursts, along with the CC's & Vikings sunbursts as well. Sunbursts were the most popular finish for their archtops when they began making them in the '30's and right through their acoustic line to the later '50's when archtop acoustics lost favor to the newer electrics. Wouldn't you consider sunbursts an integral part of the vintage Gretsch 'look'?

13

The mutes (with the back access port) and the thin body make them a no go for me.

Lee

14

If Stills and Young were slingin' Clubs back then, the story would be totally different.

15

There's that one Mickey Baker clip on youtube with a club, haven't seen anthing otherwise.

60's Clubs...most of them are sunburst, not a finish most people associate with Gretsches. Clubs tend to have very wide necks, which isn't for everybody either. (most of the ones I've played were too wide/flat or my own taste) Then there's the mute and the hole in the back/ backpad on the thinlines, the zero fret and no factory Bigsby.

Add the "no visible idols playing one" factor to that, and yeah, I can see why they're not the most sought after guitar.

– WB

My 64 thin line club doesn't have a very wide neck. The mute is great I rather like the fact that it's not some ubiquitous guitar churned out because they were made popular by peoples desire to play the same guitar as their hero. Makes them more exclusive. i wouldn't say they were 'unpopular' I would say they just weren't made popular by celebrity In fact I think the Gretsch guitars that are the popular ones are that way because of celebrity association, not necessarily because they are actually superior instruments.

The funny thing about Gents and Tennesseans is that George Harrison bought them because they were Chet Atkins models...someone he was a fan of. Probably just in time to revive some of that flagging 50s interest.

16

A lot of people (myself included) like Clubs. As already said, the lack of celebrity exposure is probably the reason. Funny though; isn’t the Country Club the longest running Gretsch model? Somebody must have been buying them during that period.

17

I've owned a 1960 spruce top and now own a 1962. Two of the finest Gretsch guitars I have owned, and I've owned quite a few. Top of the line quality is the way I've always seen them, and both were made before the Beatles shook up the factory. It's fine with me they don't sell for big bucks. Some of the most popular 6120s, Chet never played. He was already playing his single cut 6122 and I think he preferred that model for the rest of his association with Gretsch.

18

I googled the cc and the "cheap" ones are over 1800 dollars usd.

Gretsch must be a rich persons game. As 1800 plus is not inexpensive to me.

In the past the most i have paid was near 6 grand for a Fender custom shop.

Great guitar but even if i still had that kind pf dough i wouldn't do that again.

I have had many gits in the 1500 to 4k range and now i can only dream.

I just bought 2 Gretschs. 1 new w/hc about 800 and a mid 60s with non original hc. With tax and all in the 600 range.

My new in december Fender tele was 900 and a mid 90s Ibanez as80 with hc was about 400.

Not a boast, just for less then the cost of a lot of vintage gits i have a stable that also includes a variax and i enjoy them all.

I had an extraordinary collection that was stolen from me in sept 2012. 50 plus gits and keys and synths and violins and studio gear and more.

Well that still hurts but now instead of acquiring myriad tones. I concentrate on the few i know i will enjoy.

I wish i still had the resourses to get those older beauties but alas...no.

I am very happy when i hear that an old sweet sounding git has been gained by a player and not a collector.

Even when i had money i could not afford a wall hanger haha.

Even the so called cheap models from back when can be gems.

I have had old supros harmony. Danelectro and so on and they were dolls.

So keep on saving these old girls from the lock in a vault crowd and

Play On.

19

Eyerish, well I don't mean $1,800 isn't expensive but I am saying compared to a lot of other models of Gretsch I think these are less expensive and less in demand and was wondering why.

The other posters who have said because high profile players haven't been associated with these is probably the correct answer.

I think if Jack White all of a sudden played one for some time then the eyes will be on the Country Clubs.

By the way, Elvis Costello and Johnny Marr played Clubs too. The thing is Costelllo is more associated with Jazzmasters and Marr associated with Rics, Strats, Teles, ES-3xx, Les Pauls and Rics and more recently Jaguars. So I don't think these two players have an influence of boosting Country Club awareness, especially since Marr played his Clubs back 30 plus years ago in the Smiths, and Costello isn't often seen with one and that was probably back in the '90s.

As far as mine goes I got it for $1,200 including original case.

20

Wouldn't you consider sunbursts an integral part of the vintage Gretsch 'look'? --Windsordave

Yes, I wouldn't.

Clubs and Vikings (only built for a few years) are not the signature models in the catalog (and I own a Viking and two Clubs), and both are more notable for their Cadillac Green finish. Annies were and are the bottom end of the Professional Series range (and I own four of them, none of which are sunburst), and Smoke Green is the more desired finish there.

Gretsch's sunburst is all well and good, but it's just another finish, in my opinion. The company hung its hat on the then-radical colors (and two-tone combinations) it first began to offer in the '50s.

Paul/FF909

21

Eyerish, well I don't mean $1,800 isn't expensive but I am saying compared to a lot of other models of Gretsch I think these are less expensive and less in demand and was wondering why.

The other posters who have said because high profile players haven't been associated with these is probably the correct answer.

I think if Jack White all of a sudden played one for some time then the eyes will be on the Country Clubs.

By the way, Elvis Costello and Johnny Marr played Clubs too. The thing is Costelllo is more associated with Jazzmasters and Marr associated with Rics, Strats, Teles, ES-3xx, Les Pauls and Rics and more recently Jaguars. So I don't think these two players have an influence of boosting Country Club awareness, especially since Marr played his Clubs back 30 plus years ago in the Smiths, and Costello isn't often seen with one and that was probably back in the '90s.

As far as mine goes I got it for $1,200 including original case.

– ThePolecats

You are right look what jack did to resoglas gits. Van halen and others to teisco. Page and others to danos and on and on.

I like semis because of bb and strats because of buddy and teles because of buck and page and a million others.

When it turned out they sounded great and are fun well it was on then.

I like amp in case gits cuz of betts and others.

Nylons cuz of jose we could go on.

For me the jazz was because of surf. That elvis played one is a cool bonus.

22

Wouldn't you consider sunbursts an integral part of the vintage Gretsch 'look'? --Windsordave

Yes, I wouldn't.

Clubs and Vikings (only built for a few years) are not the signature models in the catalog (and I own a Viking and two Clubs), and both are more notable for their Cadillac Green finish. Annies were and are the bottom end of the Professional Series range (and I own four of them, none of which are sunburst), and Smoke Green is the more desired finish there.

Gretsch's sunburst is all well and good, but it's just another finish, in my opinion. The company hung its hat on the then-radical colors (and two-tone combinations) it first began to offer in the '50s.

Paul/FF909

– Frequent Flyer 909

I would be interested to know the sales of the Country Club in the late 50s and early 60s in the category of finishes. The Country Club was obviously meant to compete with Gibson in the jazz guitar market, specifically for working jazz players. Gibson showcased their traditional blonde and sunburst and the finest tops received the clearest finishes. Paint hides the wood. The Country Clubs were meant to be the top of the Gretsch line for the jazz player and were trying to equal or exceed the Gibson models. For the most part it was a failed effort though laudable. That's why they were 17", had the gold Imperial tuners and the classiest binding. Later, they did inherit some of the gimmicks of the rest of the Gretsch line. All in all, if you find a good one, it will be a great guitar for a player, not so much for the collector. The Viking was a more conservative version of the 60s White Falcon. It got all the same gimmicks with less flash.

23

As Ed Sullivan said "ladies and gentlemen THE BEATLES!

If there were more celebrities playing CC's they'd fetch more $$$.

They are among the best guitars Gretsch made.

24

As Ed Sullivan said "ladies and gentlemen THE BEATLES!

If there were more celebrities playing CC's they'd fetch more $$$.

They are among the best guitars Gretsch made.

– jps1965

The celebrity angle applies to the Super Chet's value as well. Chet played one from time to time but he never put away his '59 Gent in favor of a guitar he had a decent say in its design and rock stars were well into moving away from Gretsch archtops when the SC came out so there was no endorsement for any Gretsch archtop model other than Chet, and his music had begun a cultural wane by then. Aside from endorsement, timing is everything.


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