Vintage Gretsch Guitars

APB: Gretsch Guitars is desperately seeking to locate Cliff Gallup’…

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I would almost agree with Fred's assessment but didn't they say the original was stolen? How accurate is that fact?

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In response to Hepkat 67's comment-- I looked at that photo too, but it's really blurry. A proper scan would tell us a lot--I believe these were just "photos of photos" that Joe took when he visited Cliff's daughter.

I couldn't properly tell if that was a "G" tailpiece or the Bigsby.

In the end, I thought that the $274.50 sale price of Cliff's guitar was pretty compelling, especially since Bigsby's were known to sell for $50 at the time and Duo Jets were on the price list at $230 and seen to be on sale in August '54 for $224.50. To me THAT was more compelling Cliff's Bigsby was a factory unit than this photo.

But, I agree, this photo needs to be properly scanned so we can see what the heck is going on down there....

Deke

203

Deke, yes, a proper hirez scan of that pic will tell you, but the more I look at it, the more it looks like a G tail-piece to me. Re the $274.50: you're absolutely right thinking it's 224.50 + 50. But, this document is not a sale receipt, but a loan doc. That may mean that Cliff bought a Duo Jet and a B3 separately and asked for a loan for the total sum ?

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HepKat 67-

Yep, another one of these maddening details we may never know!

I mean, there are so many weird details to this story, and everyone's dead. What if the western swing photo is Cliff playing a local buddy's Duo Jet that he liked, which prompted him to order his own Duo Jet? I mean, the variables here are almost infinite. At the end of the day it's enough to make a good guitar detective lose his marbles....

Deke

205

Boy, this is a tough one.

I still think the possibility of a clerical error accounting for the serial number discrepancy is very real. Maybe misreading the scratched on number on the control cavity plate (which, given that the writer clearly had to fudge that fourth digit, seems plausible). Even if it was being read off of the factory paperwork, I can tell you I once had a Gretsch where the QC card had one digit of the SN wrong. Mistakes happen.

I agree with Hepkat67, that picture does appear to show a G tailpiece, albeit not clear enough to be certain. That would also be one explanation for why Cliff's has an aluminum bridge base rather than the rosewood base Gretsch typically used, as seen on the Lowman Pauling Jet. In fact, for that very reason, I always assumed that Cliff's Bigsby was aftermarket. Yet, 15694 does have a factory installed Bigsby, and does have an aluminum bridge base that is clearly contemporaneous given the rocking posts. So the bridge base is also not dispositive of whether Cliff's Bigsby was factory installed.

But then there's the price. I was thinking there had to have been an upcharge for something. Maybe a Bigsby? Then it occurred to me that there's actually a more likely explanation for the price. Remember, cases were not included in the price of a guitar back then. The 1955 catalog lists a price of $47.50 for a Jet case.

Yesterday, I was leaning "probably, but maybe not." Today, I'm leaning more "probably not, but maybe." We'll see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully, one of these days 15654 will show up (and I agree with JBJ, 15664 should be a contender as well) and we'll know for certain.

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Afire--

Actually, if you look at the August 1954 ad from Ohio showing the Gretsch Duo Jet for $224.50, it says "All Prices Include Case."

The water is murky water to wade through!

Deke

207

Would that included case be a cheap cardboard type? I’m sure they weren’t including tweed hardcases, or were they?

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A wonderful mystery story unfolding in real time. What fun.

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1954 ad insert for Duo Jet and Roundup: Duo-Jet $230, Deluxe Case $44.50... total $274.50

Afire do have a point here!

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I would wonder if all dealers honored that motto of "prices include case"? I know today some shops or big chains will try to up charge on cases.

Yesterday I was all in on believing this was Cliff's Jet. But my science/fact based mind is getting the best of me.

What is troubling me is although sources claim Cliff had two Jets. We all know people remembering facts from the past can confuse facts.

Deke has done a fantastic job of pointing out odds, but I'm wondering what are the odds that Duo Jet #2 had the same bridge and fixed arm bigsby? I guess being repurchased close to the time of purchase of the original would make the odds higher, but I'd love to see the logo placement on Jet #2's pickguard.

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HepKat 67--now you've got me scratching my head. Dang it, that's compelling. Where did that insert ad come from? It's darn hard to find ANY Jet literature pre-55, I searched!!

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Oh, and HepKat 67, can you get a better scan of that insert for me? I'll update the post with that, if I can.

Deke

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I'm wondering what are the odds that Duo Jet #2 had the same bridge and fixed arm bigsby?

My impression is that the StolenJet/2Jet theory is tenuous and not established fact. But IF there were two, unless the original guitar was stolen early in its tenure with Cliff, it seems unlikely that its replacement would have had a fixed-arm Bigsby, as weren't those discontinued by the time Cliff recorded with Vincent? Depending on when (if) the original was stolen, I would think a second guitar might NOT have had the same Bigsby. I don't know what that does for either the pro or con argument, but it's a probability that occurs to me.


Case inclusion and uncertainty create more murk. Dealers from time immemorial have played let's-make-a-deal with customers over cases, even if they were shipped with the guitar from the manufacturer as part of the guitar's cost. Maybe they "threw it in," maybe they charged for it, maybe it was a bargaining chit. I guess that doesn't sway me one way or the other. It's equally as plausible as Deke's guitar+Bigsby formula, but not necessarily more so.

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Deke, this ad was posted right here on this forum a few years ago (might have disappeared in the crash though). Prices listed on the 55 catalogue shows a slight raise at $255 and $47.50, but given the date on the bank loan (dec. 1954), the '54 prices shall apply.

For me, looks like Cliff ordered a brand new standard Duo Jet and a tweed case. He then got a Bigsby tremolo kit (which encompass a B3 and an aluminium bridge and base) and installed it himself. 1955 Bigsby bridge and base are like the one on your Duo Jet with oval head (my former 55 6120 had one like this).

And according to Fred, looks highly probable the Duo Jet had to go back to the factory for a reneck between 58 and 60, as quite frequently seen.

Maybe the "second" Duo Jet people remembers is just the modified "55" with a new neck, shiny and polished?

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For me, looks like Cliff ordered a brand new standard Duo Jet and a tweed case. He then got a Bigsby tremolo kit (which encompass a B3 and an aluminium bridge and base) and installed it himself. 1955 Bigsby bridge and base are like the one on your Duo Jet with oval head (my former 55 6120 had one like this).

And according to Fred, looks highly probable the Duo Jet had to go back to the factory for a reneck between 58 and 60, as quite frequently seen.

Maybe the "second" Duo Jet people remembers is just the modified "55" with a new neck, shiny and polished?

Yes, an equally plausible theory. Now, scientists, analyze the two scenarios (Deke's serial-number transcription/purchase price math and HepKats) - and see which involves fewer leaps of faith or convolutions. According to someone's razor, the simpler theory is more likely to describe reality.

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All these comments are valid. As I said--the water is freakin' murky. There's nothing explicity DIS-proving #15694 as the Cliff Jet, but there's nothing explicity PROVING it either.

Oh, and HepKat 67, Joe Carducci sent me another photo which I uploaded last night. Dated Dec. 57, you can see that it's the 2nd Jet or the 2nd neck (you can see the "Cliff Gallup" inlaid in the neck if you squint hard enough.)

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Also, you can see the larger truss rod cover. So he had the second neck or the second Jet by Dec. 57.

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Would be nice to get hands on an actual print of that image, or better yet, the negative. Unless it was taken with a very tiny camera, even the old 127 b&w film could be pretty hi-rez if the camera was decent. It the original was scanned at say, 300 dpi, there is a chance more info is available.

If it was a so-called "medium format" camera (620 film) then even better.

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Kevin--

What I really need to do is to go to Virginia with a good scanner and scan all these photos that Cliff's daughter had.

I believe Joe just laid the photos on a table and took photos of them, maybe with his cell phone, certainly not the best method for getting tiny details on an old photo print!

It's incredible how much detail you can get out of a tiny old photo if you scan it at 1200 dpi with a good scanner.

Deke

220

Cool pic! Also, the 4 C's already existed by Dec 1957!

Can you see if the pickguard has the logo in the middle?

Larger truss rod covers appeared in 1956 but I don't know exactly when the first ebony/neo markers appeared for the Jet model. They definitively existed for 6120s though by Dec 1957.

On my files, I have Duo Jet 27272 and Silver Jet 27259 with neo markers ebony necks, which are very early 1958, so may have been manufactured by end of 1957. Ed Ball shall know better than me.

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I can work with high Res images and get a lot more out of them than meets the eye. If you have a cropped image even, maybe just the guitar

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Are any of the Four Cs still alive?

– captainvideo

That's an excellent question.

Can you see if the pickguard has the logo in the middle?

That would be near 100% proof that there was only one Jet and it was renecked. Which would be a bummer, since not only would it mean that 16594 isn't Cliff's Duo Jet, but it would also mean that even if it's out there, it's no longer in its original Blue Caps form. And even worse, I would say that a custom inlaid neck would increase the likelihood that it could have been scrapped sometime in the last 65 years. If I'm not a guitarist and wind up in possession of a guitar inlaid with a name I don't recognize, I might look at it as not worth trying to sell.

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I think the real story here is how you got a good deal on a guitar from Gruhn?

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As a note, if Cliff had purchased a 2nd Jet brand new with DeArmonds before Dec 1957, he probably would have one with Alamo markers, not neo markers, and most probably a swivel arm B3.


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