Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Al Caiola Mystery Gretsch Model(s)

1

Al had three 6192's, the Electro II, the 54/55 for sale and a Filtertron one with a Bigsby. He was also pictured with one that looks to be entirely spray painted gold.

I spotted this a week or two ago after seeing one of Al's 6192's for sale and doing some research (the link is to Afire's image, scroll down for the album cover and a really clear shot of the sealed-top Annie). Buzzman actually spotted this six years ago but the info was lost in the crash and it's interesting enough to revisit this. It looks to be like a Ronnie Lee model but with some differences. Same large fake f-holes, double thumbprint markers, zero fret. But where the Ronnie Lee was essentially a Tenny stuffed into a 6120 this is more upscale.

The web images aren't too good but if you go to Ebay and look up "Al Caiola Midnight" for one of the album covers and "Al Caiola Golden" for the other you'll see two shots of this Gretsch, looks to be done at the same photo shoot and usually better resolution. Gold appointments, filters, space control bridge, black bound headstock with some kind of gold badge and Grover imperial stairsteps on what looks to be a natural body. There is a gold strap knob on the tailpiece but none on the upper bout. The really odd thing is the wiring: it's Dyna styled with a tone pot. No mute, no standby switch and no mudswitch. I was going to say it probably doesn't have a back pad, but after seeing Ed's '62 6120 I suspect it may.

The back of one of the albums also has a shot of Al with an early '60's Annie (judging by the lack of binding on the 6118); Afire spotted the fake f-holes on that and the photo he uploaded is better than what's on the album. I suspect the double-cut and Annie were made in '62/3 as by '63 Epiphone picked Al up for his own model, essentially a sealed top Casino with a zero fret and five tone switches. Coincidentally, Gretsch just released a Players Edition Country Gent with much of the same appointments as on the double-cut. Wonder what happened to these mystery models. Here's a link to an article which may lead to the interview link.

2

The Epi Al Caiola that had all the controls on the guitar and a matching amp... some crazy setup.

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The Epi Al Caiola that had all the controls on the guitar and a matching amp... some crazy setup.

– DCBirdMan

Nope. That was the Epiphone Professional. Some of the Caiolas had tone switches etc, not amp controls.

4

The really odd thing is the wiring: it's Dyna styled with a tone pot. No mute, no standby switch and no mudswitch.

I think it's actually even weirder than that. I couldn't see it on the pic I linked to in the other thread, but the eBay picture is much better resolution, and it appears to be a chicken head knob where the master volume would typically be.

So, probably some type of switch. I assume more than three positions, since they'd have probably used the standard metal toggle for three positions.


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