Vintage Gretsch Guitars

1961 Duo Jet again…

1

Hi, I bought that 61 (?) duo jet that I asked you guys about in an earlier post. I recieved some interesting documents. I got the Gretsch Quality Control Card. Is it common that they wrote some wrong info there? It has the right serialnr #399xx but says model 6121. Inside the guitar it is written same serialnr but says model 6128? Also I wonder if anyone know what the price of this model was when it was new? There was an old pricetag among the stuff in the case. Would have been fun if it was from the orginal sale.

thanks Jonas

2

Hi Jonas,
I guess it's possible that they made a mistake. If the serial nr is correct it seems like it must belong to that guitar....

What does the receipt say? Does it give a year? And what is the amount?

3

No year on the receipt but has the right serialnr and the amount is $475 + case $49.

4

Interesting. I can imagine that that could be the original price. Specially if the case is mentioned separately. But I'm sure there will be someone here who knows more about this or has an old price list....

6

That's very strange. $475 was the price of a 6120 in 1961.

7

The catalog is showing only double cuts.

8

It's strange reading the cataloge that a 6121 is $475. The ok card says 6121. Could something have gone wrong here?

9

It seems hard to believe, but if the seller mistakenly put it into inventory as a 6121 and checked his price sheet and saw $475, I suppose it's possible that he could have charged $475 and somebody unknowingly overpaid for a 6128 by $165.

10

It's strange reading the cataloge that a 6121 is $475. The ok card says 6121. Could something have gone wrong here?

– rocket88

I suspect this might have been the scenario:

When filling out the OK card in 1961, the Gretsch employee (probably not the actual guitar builder) thinks that the guitar doesn't look much like the 6128s in the BRAND NEW catalogues ('cos maybe this one was somehow left unshipped at the Gretsch factory untill the new, dual cutaway 6128s were ready to ship...?), browses through the catalogue and finds the 6121. Which is almost identical, had it not been for the colour. "Hmmm," thinks the employee, "they probably put the wrong model number on the guitar. This looks like a 6121, not a 6128. Good thing that I can at least make sure the OK card has the correct model number."

And then a little later, in the store: Seller, maybe not the boss-who-knows, reads catalogue to find price for potential customer. Finds model 6128, looks at the picture and thinks to himself "this is not the right guitar, it has two cutaways; not one like the one that's in the store. Must be a printing error". Keeps browsing through the catalogue, finds the 6121 which, although not the right colour, looks pretty much like the single cutaway 6128 he's trying to sell. And the number fits the one on the OK card, Quotes price, customer says OK, I'll take it. Custmer pays, leaves the store with a great guitar, and a little less money than he would have had if he (or she?) had been chardged the correct amount.

Sounds plausible, doesn't it? It's no secret that weirder things than this happened in Brooklyn... ;)

Anders

14

Pricetag. Forbes, est 1889, "Quality for 73 years". 1889 + 73 will be 1962, I'm I right?
Anyone who knows of the store?

15

It looks to me like Dan Duffy had a momentary lapse in attention, wrote the wrong model number on the okay card (and presumably guarantee), the dealer treated it as a 6121 and charged accordingly.

It's not the first time we've seen discrepancies in Gretsch paperwork. The funny part to me is that the error apparently lasted all the way to the final sale without anybody noticing, including the buyer who overpaid by about 50%.

16

I think it's a pricetag (sorry langauge-error) not a receipt so we really don't know what he/she paid for it...

17

The guitar still isn't a '61. (says the grumpy old Gretsch fart).

18

By reading at the serialnumber it should be? Why should it not be?

20

Because it's a single cutaway. The '61 was the debut of the double cutaway Jets.

22

I would be glad if someone could help explain what year my guitar is? According to serialnr it's a 1961 but kc_eddie_b says it's not?

thanks J

23

There are two ways to look at Gretsch serial numbers.

One is to go by date of manufacture. And that's often hard to do. There are no Gretsch factory records, as they were lost in one of two factory fires in the 1970s. So, you can sometimes get a pretty good idea using other sources, mainly:

Receipts - you know it had to have been made before the sale.
Pot codes - you know it had to have been made after the pot's date.

Even if your guitar doesn't have a date of sale or original pots, sometimes there are other examples with close serial numbers that do have documentation that can help you estimate the date of yours.

And bear in mind that the serial number year ranges on this site and other sites are estimations, not actually based on firm records. And not everybody agrees with them. For example, this site lists 1959 as 300XX to 340XX. I think the correct range for 1959 is probably closer to 31XXX to 35XXX based on some guitars I've seen or owned (e.g. 35166 has autumn 1959 pots and was purchased in early September of 1960, so I'm estimating late 1959 manufacture).

So yours is 39934. This site lists 340XX to 390XX as 1960 and 390XX to 450XX as 1961. Yours is pretty close to the estimated cutoff. It could very well have been built in 1960 (in fact, I suspect it was).

And the other approach is model year. Gretsch tended to update the specs on many models on a roughly annual basis. And it often seems to correspond roughly to the change of year, similar to the automotive industry. Given the lack of extant records, it's often more practical to date a guitar based on its features rather than to try to estimate its actual date of manufacture. The big change for Jets in 1961 was the switch to a double cutaway body. Yours doesn't have that, so it's not a 1961 by model year either, it's a 1960.

So, I think in most ways, your guitar looks to be a 1960 Duo Jet. While we're on the subject, why don't you check your pot codes? I'll bet they date to mid or late 1960.

25

Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I have now owned this guitar for a while and it's a fantastic instrument. I play it regularly live and love it. I now also consider it a 1960 jet. A keeper it is! Happy new year!


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