Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Gene Vincent Gretsch

1

As a side note to the riveting thread about Cliff Gallup’s DuoJet I wonder whatever happened to the 6120 that Gene Vincent was photographed using in 1959. And the only shot I’ve ever seen with Gene playing a White Falcon in Australia in April 1959 is an awesome pic. Who owned the Falcon I wonder...? And has it survived?

2

And of course Gene’s famous Rancher....I know we’ve discussed it before, but where the heck is it now? Here are some great shots of it in action with Gene and his Blue Caps as well as one more shot of the 56 6120 in Japan in 1959.

That’s Paul Peek of the Blue Caps playing the Rancher in the color still from “The Girl Can’t Help It”.

3

Unbelievable that there's not more interest or history available about this stuff. Especially in view of the web and access to information. Where's Bo Diddley's jet Firebird? Where's Link Wrays Premier amp? Endless list of course....and everything is somewhere! Where's American Pickers when you need them?

5

The other Gretsch that Gene played can be seen in that color shot of "The Girl Can't Help It": that is a pre-World War 2 Synchromatic as can be seen by the Synchro tailpiece and pickguard. Closer pix of the headstock will give a better clue as to the exact model.

Edit: Just had to look. Seems to be a Synchro Model 100 judging by the cover of Gene's "The Screaming End" album. It's in the '39 catalog but Gene's has the more modern fingerboard. And it has the Paul Pigat headstock!

7

That’s the pre-war Synchro 100 iteration... much fancier than the wartime models we see on a regular basis. In fact these pre-war specimens are really uncommon.

8

Traveling right now, but here are a couple of shots of my '39 which I have on my laptop.

10

I'd really never thought about it before but, I guess, before he and later versions of the Blue Caps went with Fender, Gene really was mostly a Gretsch player. I've read several books on Gene and don't recall his early Gretsch preference being addressed.

11

I would love to stumble upon Gene's Rancher, but I wonder if Gretsch would ever make a tribute model, complete with matching hole made by a cherry bomb?

12

Aye,i've always wondered where Gene's 56 6120 could be!

Great pic of Gene with the Falcon Greg,never seen that one before!

13

Neither did I JC. It was taken in April 1959 when Gene was part of a tour with Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two, The Playmates (of “Beep Beep” fame), Bobby Day (“Rockin’ Robin”) and Frankie Sardo.

Gene had split from the Blue Caps by this time so he was backed by an Australian group Col Joye and the Joye Boys.

I would assume that maybe the Falcon was already in Australia and borrowed by Gene...but perhaps he or one of the other US performers brought it over with them from the States.

14

And of course Gene’s famous Rancher....I know we’ve discussed it before, but where the heck is it now? Here are some great shots of it in action with Gene and his Blue Caps as well as one more shot of the 56 6120 in Japan in 1959.

That’s Paul Peek of the Blue Caps playing the Rancher in the color still from “The Girl Can’t Help It”.

– Wheelgrinder

It struck me now how low Gene had his guitars when he played. Like a modern hard rocker

15

The 1939 Synchro 100 may not have been Gene’s guitar. It’s possible it was a 20th Century-Fox studio guitar as it shows up at the end of the movie in a scene with actors Edmond O’ Brien and Henry Jones.

Of course Gene could have lent the guitar to Henry Jones for the shot but unless the Blue Caps scene was shot the same day as this scene that’s unlikely.

16

Damn, I love this site.

Wheelgrinder, spill. Where/how did you find that still and which movie? Those are both great old actors. Edmond O'Brien of "DOA" and Henry Jones was a character actor who was everywhere in '60's television.

17

That’s a still from the closing shots of “The Girl Can’t Help It”, the same movie that the color still of Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps came from.

There are lots of images and footage from the movie on many websites.

EDIT: This site in particular has a great section on “The Girl Can’t Help It”, including the Edmond O’ Brien/Henry Jones movie still.

http://www.elvisechoesofthe...

If you haven’t seen the movie Edmond O’ Brien plays an aging gangster named Fats Murdoch who’s trying to make his girlfriend Jerri Jordan (Jayne Mansfield) a singing star and Henry Jones plays his second in command, Mousie.

The scene where Mousie ‘plays’ the Synchro 100 is right at the end of the movie after Fats Murdoch inadvertently becomes a singing sensation instead of Jayne Mansfield .

18

Shame on me, I haven't seen the movie in quite a while. The sight of Julie London and later, Eddie Cochran, tends to overwhelm my memory. But your point about the studio guitar is on point. I've seen a '55 Duo Jet being used in some old TV show (Naked City, Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Johnny Staccato or somesuch) as a prop by a miming actor, so I know that Gretsch as studio prop happens.

19

The movie studios ‘acquired’ guitars as props in various ways.

When Eddie Cochran played the character ‘Bong’ in his first acting role in the 1957 Warner Bros movie “Untamed Youth” (as opposed to his film debut singing spot in “The Girl Can’t Help It”) he was asked to provide his own guitar for the character to play in the movie.

He used his brother Bill’s Martin D18 for all of his shots but left it at the studio lot on the last day of shooting. When he went back to get it a week later allegedly there was a ‘Property of Warner Bros Prop Dept’ label/stamp attached to it.

Luckily Eddie reclaimed it as that’s the Martin he played the following year on his mega-hit “Summertime Blues”.

20

I bet he raised a fuss. I bet he raised a holler.


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