Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Country Gentleman

1

I’ve had two CG’s, both from the Baldwin era, and recently I’ve been wanting to pick up an early to mid 60’s model. I was wondering if anyone who is familiar with say 1962-1967 Country Gents could please give me some tips on which may be the better year/s to buy. Here’s a pic of my last one from the 1970’s.

2

A '62 with dial-up mutes will be by far and away the most expensive, being Harrison-spec and quite rare. A '63 will also have the Harrison premium, but less so being not quite so rare, and I think also because anybody really wanting '63 spec can mod a '64 or '65 by swapping the neck pickup and tuner buttons. '62 to '65 are pretty much structurally all the same. By '66, they went to the skinny bar bridge and some say a shallower neck angle was part of that transition, although I'm not sure whether that's really true. Then in late '66 (August, I believe), they went from double to single mutes.

There was a time when you could be fairly confident that you wouldn't find binding rot on anything before '66-'67. While it may not be quite as prevalent on early/mid '60s Gents, it's no longer remotely a safe bet.

Here's my thinking. If you've got a hefty budget and are a Beatles nut, then by all means, go for a '62-'63. If I were looking, I'd probably be concentrating on '64 to '65. Generally speaking, the earlier the better for QC and binding rot, and I prefer the big bar bridge and double mutes, both for the Beatliness, and a yearning for symmetry.

And as always, make sure the action is good without bottoming out the bridge, and the truss rod is working.

And when I'm buying long distance, which has pretty much always been the case, I want the seller to be 100% certain he's looked over every inch of binding and can confirm that there are zero cracks. If it's on the heel cap or the strip that connects the top and back in the cutaway, I can be flexible, since those pieces can be replaced fairly painlessly. Others may be more tolerant, but I don't want even the slightest hint of rot on the main binding. And there are enough of these out there that with patience, you can find a clean one at a decent price.

The best double cut Gent I've ever owned was my first one, a '65. My most recent was a '64 that I modded to '63 spec, also a great guitar and clean as a whistle.

3

I would look for one that already has the binding fixed.

I really like the ‘63 with the Supertron and the kidney beans.

4

My 1970 is just on the bleeding edge of the Baldwin ones... and it faded to a nice flamey orange stain before I picked it up.

In other news, it is in the extremely early stages of binding rot, but at the rate it's progressing, it may not be a problem until after I am done with it...

5

My 1970 is just on the bleeding edge of the Baldwin ones... and it faded to a nice flamey orange stain before I picked it up.

In other news, it is in the extremely early stages of binding rot, but at the rate it's progressing, it may not be a problem until after I am done with it...

– Kevin Frye

Kevin, what is the serial number of your 1970? The reason I ask is that I"ve got a January 71 Gent (serial # 11110) and it has the mute. I always thought the mutes disappeared around May 1971 yet yours doesn't appear to have one.

6

I believe it is 101050...

Never had mutes, so it's not a case of someone removing them and filling the holes.

7

I believe it is 101050...

Never had mutes, so it's not a case of someone removing them and filling the holes.

– Kevin Frye

Might it be October, 1971, rather than January, 1970? That would explain the mute timeline discrepancy.

8

I think I need an expert to figure this one out... I understood it was a 1970 and the way it was explained to me appears to be borne out by the serial number as I saw it, but now I also see the logic behind your idea, too.

So maybe it s a later 71, not an early 70.. Here's the poop from the serial # section herein:

The first digit or first 2 digits = month (1-12). The next digit = last digit of the year (1966 to 1972: 6,7,8,9,0,1,2). The remaining digits = number of individual instrument, probably.

101050... first digit... January. First 2 digits.... October..... If it's the first digit, then the year is "0", if it's the first two digits, then the year is "1"...

Sigh... Serial numbers in those years drive me crazy! If one of our serial experts is around (or two or three), I will happily entertain your thought(s)!

9

I’ve had two CG’s, both from the Baldwin era, and recently I’ve been wanting to pick up an early to mid 60’s model. I was wondering if anyone who is familiar with say 1962-1967 Country Gents could please give me some tips on which may be the better year/s to buy. Here’s a pic of my last one from the 1970’s.

– 949Norm

One thing to check on if you're buying one at a distance, is the neck width at the zero fret. Everyone knows my penchant for the wider neck but this is different. I had a '63/'64 CG and the neck width was only 1.5"!!, not the normal 1.685". Not an easy guitar to play as my only other guitar at the time was my Eko E85 with its neck 1.80" at the nut. just sayin'.... Several other members around here have had a similar narrow width neck on a same era Gent.

10

Dang as a wide neck person, the Gibson 1 9/16th was impossible... 1.5 is unheard of... never knew they got that narrrow. I did have a full 1 3/4" on a '66 Tennessean, or at least it felt like that.

11

I'm headed over to check out a 1964 this afternoon, as usual, Thanks for all of the info, I am definitely better informed now..... Wish me luck

12

I think I need an expert to figure this one out... I understood it was a 1970 and the way it was explained to me appears to be borne out by the serial number as I saw it, but now I also see the logic behind your idea, too.

So maybe it s a later 71, not an early 70.. Here's the poop from the serial # section herein:

The first digit or first 2 digits = month (1-12). The next digit = last digit of the year (1966 to 1972: 6,7,8,9,0,1,2). The remaining digits = number of individual instrument, probably.

101050... first digit... January. First 2 digits.... October..... If it's the first digit, then the year is "0", if it's the first two digits, then the year is "1"...

Sigh... Serial numbers in those years drive me crazy! If one of our serial experts is around (or two or three), I will happily entertain your thought(s)!

– Kevin Frye

My SC is 6 2009. There's a space between the 6 and the 2. Noting the space, if there is one will help dating it. Features can also help for the early '70's guitars. Taffy's SC from late '71 has the older Gretsch F'tron covers, and 'normal' truss rod with cover, and pickguard shape whereas the early '72's changed to black top/face Filters and switched to the Burn's Box truss rod set up. If the guitar has the older features, it's more likely an Oct guitar, but when exactly the features changed is a mystery and was probably over several months in early '72.

13

Kevin... I would say it's an Oct, 1971 guitar. Gretsch wasn't making in excess of 1000 guitars a month in the early 70s.

14

I'm headed over to check out a 1964 this afternoon.

I've got a 67 Gent. The sound is excellent. I'll be selling it as soon as I get back to America. All I can offer is a better price than anyone elseif you don't find one you like at this juncture.

15

I'm headed over to check out a 1964 this afternoon.

I've got a 67 Gent. The sound is excellent. I'll be selling it as soon as I get back to America. All I can offer is a better price than anyone elseif you don't find one you like at this juncture.

– knavel

Thanks very much. PM me when you return from abroad !!

16

Well I went and saw the 1964, and it had major binding issues not shown very well in the pics. Also it came with a sort of crappy case, so it’s back to the drawing board.

17

Sorry it wasn't what you're looking for Norm, but if you wait till Knavel gets back to the US, you'll be dealing with a truly honest, detailed description of his Gent and at a good price. While this one was near enough you could go check it out in person, that won't always be the case and you never know what you'll get.....and if it's a dealer, they'll be asking top dollar because it's a Gent.

18

I don't know where you are, but unless you're in a major market like LA or NYC, the odds of finding a clean '60s Gent with flawless binding within inspecting distance are pretty slim these days. I don't find that fact all that daunting. I've only bought one guitar in person in the last 20 years. You just have to ask lots of questions and request detailed pictures. Sure, they won't tell you if a guitar is going to feel right in your hands, but you can get a pretty good sense of whether it's a fundamentally sound instrument. And IMO, that's a good enough starting point.

19

Kevin... I would say it's an Oct, 1971 guitar. Gretsch wasn't making in excess of 1000 guitars a month in the early 70s.

– kc_eddie_b

Thankx Ed... I shall make the appropriate alterations in the DB.

K

20

This one is in astonishingly fine condition. Only issue is a hole on the back where a strap button was added, but if I were in the market I'd grab it. Great price, too.Link

21

Sorry it wasn't what you're looking for Norm, but if you wait till Knavel gets back to the US, you'll be dealing with a truly honest, detailed description of his Gent and at a good price. While this one was near enough you could go check it out in person, that won't always be the case and you never know what you'll get.....and if it's a dealer, they'll be asking top dollar because it's a Gent.

– Windsordave

Much obliged Dave, I’m already correspondending with Knavel and we are just about to finalize it.

22

Much obliged Dave, I’m already correspondending with Knavel

Hi Norm. I sent you a message on the 4th. The system here is semi-reliable so just a heads up and let me know if you didn't get it.

Dave - thanks for the kind vote of confidence. Must be that strong bond we get growing up on opposite sides of the Detroit river!

23

Your welcome. BTW, in your neck of the woods, did you ever run across one of those Eko E85 acoustics like mine that we discussed awhile back? Just curious.


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