Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Early 1964 Country Club restoration/resurrection DONE!


I picked up an early 64 Country Club off the bay a while back. Talked the guy down some. It was obviously one that had been cannibalized to sell the hardware (like you see a lot on ebay) and then purchased and re-hardwared with reissue gear. It had TV Jones Classics, the original space control bridge, belt buckle pad in good shape and mutes, everything else was reissue gretsch stuff all in too shiny gold. The original case came with it too. Of course it need a refret..and the binding someone had put on was the wrong sort, was done not so great and was kind of coming off. Here it is stripped of binding and frets. It has a nice looking laminate spruce top, I'm going to wipe all the old nitro off (acetone) rebind and refret it and maybe paint it green if it's too beat to leave blonde. It won't be exactly cadillac green if I do and likely not metallic but close and pretty. Then I'll clear coat it in nitro. I have a gold bigsby and other bits too. That's the plan so far. neck set is great and the fretboard looks great with lots of life left. the frets on it were the originals.


Great project Toxo, looking forward to progress reports as you go along!


VERY cool! I'll be keeping an eye on this thread.


That's a great project and I'll be following too. I wish I had it in me to try something like that.


Love these threads,It's always great to see these old geets get saved!


Keep us posted on the progress of the restoration!


Dang too bad the Parts Weasels got to it first, but still you will have a very nice piece when all restored. Updates when you have them?


Is it Thin body or had they reverted back to the thicker body? I have an early 64(pots date to Feb.64) even though the serial # puts it in the `63 range. I'm not seeing anything wrong with the sunburst finish that would warrant having it done in another colour.. Serial#? Mine is in the 593xx range. Thanks!


Serial number in the 788xx range but a thin body with belt buckle pad The sunburst isn't too bad, despite having some edge chip out (and %^$^% file marks!) from early binding removal, replacement and removal again. Lot's of nasty scratches too. I'm just not a big sunburst fan and as this guitar is quite compromised cosmetically already I though it would be fun to make it into the Country club I'd prefer to have. It actually (from a distance) looked pretty nice when it arrived but the binding was coming off(white glue) and the neck binding was bulging at the frets and the tiny worn corroded frets didn't extend beyond the fretboard, totally useless. I actually removed the existing 5 ply binding with my thumbnail! While I was doin this the heel cap binding just fell off! I was contemplating keeping the sunburst (as of the types of sunburst this type is the most tolerable to me) but once it is rebound it'll be very hard to take change the finish nicely without wrecking the new binding(I don't want to sand it off) Also this is the only way I'll ever be able to afford a vintage green country club. They look nice in a natural finish too when they have a spruce laminate top. Here's a 63 I found on the net.


Sometimes a sunburst is done away with just because it is a sunburst! Not all of us like bursts, good condition or not. My Fleetwood restoration is changing the tobacco sunburst to a nice aged honey amber natural finish.

This project CC having a spruce veneer would look lovely redone as a natural finish.


Windsordave: You have a Fleetwood! What year?


Windsordave: You have a Fleetwood! What year?

– ewkewk

I have a '55. It was a basket case - body good but with a few minor dings with a detached & thoroughly messed up [and suspected] non-original neck. This neck will be a wall-hanger. This grand old lady is being restored by my luthier, Nicole - did most of the work on Randy B's collection. The neck block was a mess and totally destroyed so after taking off the back, she gutted the block. She's making a new neck from a block of tiger maple - double ebony stingers the result of a double laminate neck and it'll have all the features - Gretsch & Synchromatic - on the headstock in script, not block letters and the fretboard inlays will be the original style, split humpblock. The neck dimensions and profile are my spec. It was a tobacco sunburst but will now be an aged honey amber natural finish. Oh, and the fretboard inlays and headstock logos are abalone, not MOP.

The hand-catcher cutaway is also being redone so it'll be flush with the edge of the neck, not stuck out 3/8" like Gretsch made it!!! It should be finished up early in the new year.

I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing this resurrected CC on stage in the near future. Saw the last project, the Viking and it was great!


I am looking to purchase a Country Club 1070 through 1979, if you have one for sale please hit me up. Thank you


No other country clubs sorry I can only afford ONE by buying a fixer upper.


Okay I bit the proverbial bullet and finally decided to start stripping..An hour or so produced this barebacked country club..some nice flame hiding under that sunburst!


And on a side note my tennessean is currently getting a facelift after I refretted it for the 3 or 4th time in it's 27 year partnership with me. A new ebony half faceplate to cover the helacious mess from having it's headstock broken off...10 times!!!. Now where did that truss rod and other two tuner holes go???


You broke off the headstock of your guitar ten times? TEN times? You may need to rethink how you use that guitar. Very few people ever break off the headstock of a guitar, so for someone to break off the headstock TEN times suggests you may be doing something wrong.


Now why didn't I think of that! So many times I'd arrive at a show and there be these nail heads sticking out of the stage floor, a clear tripping hazard. I had a big heavy old guitar, So I'd hammer them back in! ooopsy!

This guitar has seen a lot of road and at least 1000 shows not including rehearsals recording etc) in the first 10 years I owned it

In my defence I'll say that I haven't broke it off in at least 16 years I don't remember everytime, just some

1 - leaning against kitchen counter while i poured milk over cereal..guitar starts to slip, torn betwen milk and guitar. I cried over the spilt guitar. Took it into luthier course I was taking at the time. Teacher said glue and clamps. DONE! then some cosmetic work

I can't remember the second time but that's when the maple side inserts were installed and the first half faceplate

2 times it broke off mid air collision with singers guitar while playing in a crazy rockabilly band. We had a pretty wild show. One time I broke it off myself right after a previous break. At soundcheck for outdoor show. Little kid watching me says 'cool guitar' I had been watching the guitar detune as the repair slowly opened up, necessitating removal, cleanup and regluing. I was pissed! I said 'oh yeah' and bust the headstock off with my hand...I was a lot younger then.

one time it came apart in a hot band van in Eugene..that was an annoying lesson in vehicles in the car in summer

then while playing with my current band the Colorifics (Original Swing Latin Caberet) A speaker cabinet fell on the guitar in Regina Saskatchewan, dented the bass side F-hole in and yes, broke the headstock most of the way through. I played the gig with a C-clamp on my headstock.

I can't remember the other 4 times though at some point I installed a iron wood insert with metal pins in the back of the break. Guitar plays like a charm, stays in tune the best off all my guitars.

Back to the CC


Here's a lesson learned. When you wipe acetone of a guitar with a spruce laminate top, especially if it has a very black sunburst, be aware that the black paint mixing with the acetone can effectively become a woodstain! As this guitar was slated to become green and there's some old rotten binding off-gassing staining on the maple sides anyway, it's not the end of the world. However it was good to note and helped me make my choice of finishes. I'm not a pro and I'm prepared to be learning a lot through mistakes on this restoration. I am confident that I will have a pretty and functional cool guitar by the end.


That previous picture was very forgiving, THis one isn't


Here she is all back naked! a few hours and a litre and a half of acetone later repirator, thick gloves scotch brites and shop towels oh my


And the staining on the edges of the sides which I believe is from the original binding rotting I'm going to experiment with wood bleach a bit and see if I can lift some of the staining, especially on the top.The spruce laminate has lot's of beautiful bear-claw in it. I think I might get Lordco (auto place) to make me up some 1953 cadillac Emerald green using the ppg code as it's likely stain removal won't work


Maybe in the minority, but I kind of like the sides as is. Green top and back with natural sides, hmm. Just my opinion. YMMV

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