Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Anybody happily gone from vintage to modern Gretsch guitars?

76

There’s no reason they can’t play the same.

– Curt Wilson

I’ll look for you next time I’m in the NJ area, Curt! I’d love to have my old ones in shape. There’s always something to fix.

But at least I learned my lesson about not hoping to have a Gretsch that does “everything”. I respect what they are/sound.

78

I think it's a misconception that vintage Gretsches had thick necks. Someone posted a '58 6120 here with a the same neck depth first fret as my 59 RI.

Maybe the Jets were fatter?

Personally I'm yet to pickup a vintage Gretsch that has a thick neck compared to what Fender and Gibson refer to as "fat" today. My '52 RI Tele and Les Paul R8 feel HUGE compared to any vintage Gretsch I've played.

– captainvideo

I think that was my 58, and it had a thin neck that is exactly like my modern White Penguin. Now my 48 syncromatic cats eye has the better part of a large baseball bat for a neck. All three play great, just differently.

79

I've only had a couple of real vintage Gretches in my hands, and this was years ago. What I remember was a holy grail 'woody' sound, but not the zing you get on new ones. I don't remember them being delicate, but I do remember them seeming a bit more primitive, but also very resonant. I also think the neck angle was a bit steeper and the necks were fatter/fuller but don't hold me to it. They seemed more like acoustics to me than what you get today, which seems more for the electric players market.

K

80

"Holy grail woody sound" - nicely put Konrad

81

I've only had a couple of real vintage Gretches in my hands, and this was years ago. What I remember was a holy grail 'woody' sound, but not the zing you get on new ones. I don't remember them being delicate, but I do remember them seeming a bit more primitive, but also very resonant. I also think the neck angle was a bit steeper and the necks were fatter/fuller but don't hold me to it. They seemed more like acoustics to me than what you get today, which seems more for the electric players market.

K

– Konrad

Yes! You explained what I was trying to say earlier clearer than I did. I checked out the Anniversary again and it appears the DeArmonds and the Bigsby were both added later. Someone also glued the bridge base to the guitar which just seems wrong to me. I just went through my friend's guitars and found a couple more vintage Gretsch guitars.

82

This 1955 Duo Jet plays great and has a more hollow, woody acoustic tone than my 2011 DSV Duo Jet. The neck shape is very similar. This guitar is tons of fun to play! I didn't think I should open up the cavity to check the serial number even though I wanted to. I think I prefer the feel of the G tailpiece over a Bigsby too. I can tell this is a bit more hollow than mine. Killer guitar!

83

He also has this 1960's Anniversary with HiLotrons. I've heard this one live and it's a great sounding guitar. I found out today it's also great feeling to play. It feels solid and is very resonant. Also there is no binding rot and the neck appears to have never needed resetting. Speaking of the neck this one is perfect. It's on the bigger side of medium and feels great. All 3 of these guitars have that worn, woody vibe that seems to be the main difference between the vintage guitars and modern guitars. I completely understand why people may have a preference for one over the other. I like all of them!

84

Here is the serial number for the faded green Anniversary.

85

I'm a vintage Tennessean(1966 bought new) owner. In about 2003, I decided to find an L5 like jazz box. One of the local dealers had a G400CV in stock. I resisted strenuously, 'cause everyone knows that Gretsches aren't for jazz. I found myself playing it anyway. It was great! I bought it a week later.

Since then, I've bought a modern G6120SP and G400 from GP members, Both incredibly nice guitars.

Lee

86

@ Lee Erickson - just out of interest have you retired the Tenny after your modern purchases or are you combining vintage and modern?

87

@ Lee Erickson - just out of interest have you retired the Tenny after your modern purchases or are you combining vintage and modern?

– gretschcrush

I don't play the Tenny too much, but I'll bring it out for vintage surf tunes or House of the Rising Sun.

Lee

88

I have a '57 Chevy and a '26 Model T. They are both awesome cars. I get them out not to go somewhere, but just to drive them. When I want to just go somewhere I use the Outlander PHEV.

Sometimes it about the destination, sometimes it’s about the journey.

I feel the same about guitars.

– Deke Martin

Well put Deke

89

Thick necks are the best. My 53 duo jet had an amazing baseball neck as did my 56 silver jet. I bought a modern Scripty duo jet that played great but the neck was not remotely chunky and therefore not a delight to play. Cannot understand how they cannot/won't replicate the vintage stuff in terms of necks.

– gretschcrush

"Thick necks are the best."

There's a serious oversight with this statement, GC. It isn't wrong, it's just incomplete. It should have …."for me" tacked on to the end of it. As is, the statement is a demand for all guitar necks to be what you enjoy, which would force a lot of players to put up with something they don't like. As I said, a thick chunky neck is fine for you but the complete opposite for my left hand and many others.

Everyone's left hand is different and so are some styles of play and this dictates, along with things like fret style/height, gauge and neck width that come into play for deciding what neck profile best suits a player's needs or preferences.

I'm a good case in point and BTW, I have average size hands. I need the extra neck width for my Chet/Merle fingerstyle playing and this necessitates, I fret with my thumb a lot. Not even taking the extra width into account, a chunky profile itself makes this essentially impossible. My '41 Synchro has the standard width neck but a deeper [offset] C/V shape profile and it's harder to fret with my thumb than on my SC with its 1.8" wide neck and shallow C-profile.

Different strokes for difference folks. My SC came with the chunkiest neck Gretsch ever had on a guitar so I simply had my luthier sand it down till it matched perfectly the profile of my Gibson Gent I provided to her. Solved my problem nicely. More than one way to skin a cat!

There is no single profile/width for all players.....we're all too different.

90

Wait...are you saying size matters?

91

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

92

@Dave - you are right. Different strokes for different folks eh. Point taken and I will change it to this "It would be nice if Gretsch offered a "baseball bat" option on models pro porting to be vintage correct. I totally accept that most don't want the option or even care that it's not 100% vintage correct. Gretsch was famous for making custom guitar one offs at the Brooklyn factory so I can't see why they can't offer a few models with a chunky neck option.

93

@Dave - you are right. Different strokes for different folks eh. Point taken and I will change it to this "It would be nice if Gretsch offered a "baseball bat" option on models pro porting to be vintage correct. I totally accept that most don't want the option or even care that it's not 100% vintage correct. Gretsch was famous for making custom guitar one offs at the Brooklyn factory so I can't see why they can't offer a few models with a chunky neck option.

– gretschcrush

I completely agree with you regarding having different neck profiles available as an option when ordering a new guitar, and said as much a couple years ago. Kind of a pseudo-custom option at a reasonable price. I don't see that as a big deal at the factory level. Obviously there'd be a waiting time involved but that shouldn't be an issue either.

I think it's a bit of a shame that in looking for a new guitar, some folks - perhaps a lot - have to look to a different model because the neck profile on the model they want isn't to their liking.

94

I completely agree with you regarding having different neck profiles available as an option when ordering a new guitar, and said as much a couple years ago. Kind of a pseudo-custom option at a reasonable price. I don't see that as a big deal at the factory level. Obviously there'd be a waiting time involved but that shouldn't be an issue either.

I think it's a bit of a shame that in looking for a new guitar, some folks - perhaps a lot - have to look to a different model because the neck profile on the model they want isn't to their liking.

– Windsordave

Never really thought about it like that. I bet your right about people not buying a particular model because of its neck profile. For the kind of money people are spending it doesn't seem too much to expect a choice of maybe 3 neck profiles.

95

Not having a choice of neck profiles has saved me a whole lot of money in the past.

I don't care what the model is, or how cool it is, if I don't like the feeling of the neck, it's a "no go" at any price.

Neck profile and finger board radius are huge factors for me.

I'm sure many others feel the same once they figure out what they like, or don't like.

96

Not having a choice of neck profiles has saved me a whole lot of money in the past.

I don't care what the model is, or how cool it is, if I don't like the feeling of the neck, it's a "no go" at any price.

Neck profile and finger board radius are huge factors for me.

I'm sure many others feel the same once they figure out what they like, or don't like.

– J(ust an old Cowboy)D

Yes. Everything you said is exactly the same for me.

97

It's the reason I sold off my modern Gretsches.

98

When commenting on vintage necks I never mentioned it being thick or thin. It is more the shape that the craftsman intentionally worked on to shape it into a particular profile that he was aiming for. It feels unique (especially around the nut) and to a certain degree, it probably is. It feels customized and it matches my large hands perfectly. I wouldn't really call it either thick or thin, but I guess it is thinner than what I would call thick. All the modern Japanese ones I have owned have had a generic neck in my opinion, like a computer had shaped them. I have never played a Duane Eddy model, but I have heard it does have a different shaped neck. If that is true, then it proves the modern factory can produce a different neck when they think it is important.

99

When fender first came out with bolt on necks I'm presuming you could choose a neck profile easily and had a wide choice? is this true?

I always thought that one of the fender selling points was "when the necks worn out it's easy to replace it over a set neck guitar" or if you want a thick chunky neck or c profile you just swap them over.

100

No, I don't think any of that's true. I think the bold on neck was for ease of manufacture, and as for neck profile, you got whatever they happened to be making at that time. Maybe if you asked for something specific they'd make it, but they didn't offer neck profile options.


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