Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Blonde Bombshell Synchro 160

1

NFI.

Yum. Never get tired of seeing these with that tiger-stripe tort binding. Interesting Grovers; look almost like sta-tites with covers. I wonder what the circular doohickey by the fingerboard extension is. And there is a serial # in the headstock tip: 231 something. Is it a 1941? Is the cats-eye binding original or was Gretsch starting to run out of that gorgeous binding?

2

Absolutely stunning! If I win the lottery, I'll get it.

3

Looks like S/N is 2311 to me. My ['41 Synchro 100] is 2301 and Ed dated it as late '41. Mine shares the same tort binding (though not on my regular f-holes), Art Deco bridge/base, harp/chromatic tailpiece. Mine has the original multi-bound tort guard. Mine has open back solid brass Grover tuners. Not sure these here are original, maybe Ed can comment.

I'm not a fan of the teardrop sound holes but these do look okay, being bound. The body on this one is an inch wider than mine. As to the price, given the overall slightly beaten up surface condition and no guard, IMO this price is grossly optimistic.

4

I think that serial # is 2311... but I already had it in my records as #2379. That little circle on the side that Lx mentions is the dead giveaway.

5

I've seen those circles (on both sides of the neck) before; IIRC Windsordave's Synchro has that too.

6

I've seen those circles (on both sides of the neck) before; IIRC Windsordave's Synchro has that too.

– lx

Right you are Lx.....forgot to mention that additional similarity in my post.

8

Dave, when you get a chance, could you take a magnet to that to see if anything metallic is under there? Gretsch usually had reasons for doing stuff; I can't quite believe that these are "beauty marks" like Marilyn Monroe's mole.

9

My 39 Synchromatic 400 has those black circles on the neck too. Both sides.

I’ll look closer tomorrow and report back.

10

That little circle on the side that Lx mentions is the dead giveaway.

Seems like a port of entry for a monkey on a stick sort of pick up, later replugged?

I had a 1940-ish 100 and I don't recall any black circles. I looked at the old photos I have of it and there is nothing that shows them but I have no old photo directly on point.

Regarding the OP guitar, I have a post war version and it's the best arch top Gretsch I've heard of any that I've ever played. But not 5K+ better.

11

My "plain Jane" is also only 16 inches, how many different sizes did Gretsch produce of the 160s? That one sure is a looker!

12

I've seen those circles (on both sides of the neck) before; IIRC Windsordave's Synchro has that too.

– lx

My comment wasn't regarding the neck... it's appears to be a plug near the waist of the guitar.

13

My "plain Jane" is also only 16 inches, how many different sizes did Gretsch produce of the 160s? That one sure is a looker!

– RCgold

Good question RCgold... this might be one of the feature differences between a model 160 and others. Honestly, I've struggled to understand the difference between some of the Synchro models. Also... 70 years later, most owners refer to their guitar as a model 160, regardless of what it actually is. No labels translates to vagueness about model identification on these guitars.

15

Cool axe! I'm thinking the circular plug is either to cover damage from a screw mount for a pickguard or an ill-attempt at drilling out for a cable jack if they were thinking of making it electric. Given the location, however, I'm thinking damage from a pickguard mounting screw.

16

Mine and I believe its twin that Rob owns are 15 7/8" at the widest point on the lower bout.

17

Interesting mystery regarding these circular plugs (?) on both sides of the neck. Don't recall ever seeing anything like this before, and here are three separate examples on the same brand, all being mentioned in one thread.

A "monkey on a stick" pickup normally includes only one mounting rod (on the bass side of the neck), so that wouldn't explain these plugs on the treble side. Also, I'm not aware of any guitars that came stock from the factory with a rod mounted, and what are the odds that we'd be talking about three different examples that just happened to all have the same plugs installed after some post-production modification (like the installation of a rod for a pickup). Seems more likely that these were all done originally at the factory... the question is why.

The plug that Ed is talking about seems to be related to the removal of a jack of some kind, not a pickguard mount.

18

I think that serial # is 2311... but I already had it in my records as #2379. That little circle on the side that Lx mentions is the dead giveaway.

– kc_eddie_b

It's a shame that it lost its pickguard since this picture was taken.

19

The Synchromatic 400 neck dot

21

A "monkey on a stick" pickup normally includes only one mounting rod (on the bass side of the neck), so that wouldn't explain these plugs on the treble side.

My discussion on the monkey stick pickup wasn't my best work of prose. I was trying to say that the cable from the pickup to the amplifier or a jack for the pickup (or some sort of pick up) looks to have been the purpose of that hole.

So it's not about the mounting of the MOAS pick up but the cable coming off of it dropped into the F hole and out of the aftermarket side hole which is now professionally plugged. (Dropping a cable into the treble F hole to a jack was how Gretsch set up the Convertibles' electronics.)

I have every reason to think that it's a plugged hole for a cable, and looking closely it looks like there may be a slight impression concentrically from fastening nut. Who knows.

It's also in a weird spot, not the lower corner but coming into the waist on the guitar, but it never crossed my mind for a second that the plugged hole had anything to do with the pickguard. I don't think it did.

22

Sorry knavel, my bad. You were clearly referring to the hole in the side, and I just got my wires crossed. Too many mystery holes in one thread.

I agree with everything you just said, by the way.

23

Thanks Gasmoney, for the photos. Unfortunately I'm still perplexed. In Dave's photo, his inlay/plug appears to me to be "tortoise". In your photos, it's harder to tell, and since you referred to them as "black" circles, perhaps it's something different from Dave's. It almost looks like a coating of lacquer is crackling on the surface of yours, unless my eyes are playing tricks.

Surely these wouldn't have anything to do with a misguided (and maybe ill-fated) design for attaching a strap, would they? Seems like a stretch I know, but back in that era there was less standardization with regard to strap buttons from brand to brand. Anyway, that's all I can come up with at the moment.

24

Hmm . . . totally wrong about the pickguard screw damage. Oh, well . . . not the first or the last time that will happen.

25

Dave, when you get a chance, could you take a magnet to that to see if anything metallic is under there? Gretsch usually had reasons for doing stuff; I can't quite believe that these are "beauty marks" like Marilyn Monroe's mole.

– lx

Can't get a magnet into that space Lx so I don't know if there's any steel behind the tort dot. My guess is these dots cover a screw or dowl that factors into the attachment of the neck. Just my best guess.


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