Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Interesting Gretsch label.


Is this possibly the first type of Gretsch label? Never seen one like this before.


Pretty sure I've seen those. One of the early labels, after they stopped just writing the model number in.


Is this possibly the first type of Gretsch label? Never seen one like this before.

– gretschcrush

Nope... just a xerox copy of a Gretsch label with some forged info (although the actual serial # seems legit). This range of serial numbers used the blue filigree bordered label with red serial number and dual model numbers announcing the transition from the early post war identifiers to the new 4-digit model numbers (i.e. "125-6021").

Here's an example from the same group just before it...


And here's another, just after it...


That's why we love having Ed Ball on this site.


And I love being here Bob... just wish I could visit more!


Is this possibly the first type of Gretsch label? Never seen one like this before.

– gretschcrush

kc_eddy_b wrote: ... just a xerox copy of a Gretsch label with some forged info (although the actual serial # seems legit).

From what I can see in the photo it's not possible for me to say if we're looking at a xerox copy of a Gretsch label or not. I'm not an expert on Gretsch labels anyway, but if we are looking at a xerox copy, why is it so different from a real label or at least the ones that we assume they are the first type labels?

Even though the lay-out of the label is similar, the font sizes are completely different. Since we are looking at a 'supposed' label of a model 125F, wouldn't it be possible that this is an earlier, somewhat primitive looking version of the label that was only used for a short time?


Hans Moust


Hans, good to see you here! I regularly pull your book off the shelf to drool over the pictures--and I've owned that book for many years. All the best!


I'm also more inclined to believe that it's some sort of stop-gap or rough draft label or something along those lines. If it were on a more fake-worthy guitar, I would be more suspicious. But a 125F seems like an odd one to do a fake label for. But I suppose you never know. For anyone interested in more pics of the guitar in question... http://www.hendrixguitars.c...


I'm inclined to believe its a copy/repro label.

On a side note: I remember being at a Dallas show in mid 90's and there were a few dealers selling repro Gretsch labels which were blank. They were spot on. They had both mid and late 50's versions. Jay Scott and I were walking around at the show and we both chuckled at how good they looked.

This one looks well done but the lack of any color and the fonts being so different and varied don't add up.


Again my logic is why would anyone fake a label on a 125F, particularly considering that many of them apparently didn't have labels. But maybe that's the answer. Maybe this one predates the labels and somebody thought it should have one, so made their own. But they also guessed a correct serial number for a batch of these? I don't know what to make of it. Or maybe the actual label was damaged and a homemade replacement was made with the correct serial number? Did I mention I don't know what to make of it?


Maybe my comment suggested malicious intent. Doesn't have to be. Could have been the original label was damaged or removed and the owner wanted to retain the information so they fashioned a replacement.

The Gretsch labels were reported to have come in rolls. So it seems reasonable to me that once they started using the blue filigree, first gen paper label, they would keep using it. The photos I shared were of a model 125-6021 with serial #4871, and a slightly later 125-6021 example with serial #5293. The label in question (#5262) not only has a different dimension and font (as Hans points out), but the model indicator is different than the other examples of the same model from the same period. Since it falls in-between my two examples it just doesn't make sense to me that it should be different. I have documented others from this group that are consistent with the photos I've shared. The blue filigree, pre-stamped (in red) serial numbered paper labels were introduced around #4000.

But... as we all know, anything is possible with vintage Gretsch guitars. I was not there when this label was affixed to guitar so I can only speak with the authority that circumstantial evidence and common sense arm me with. I would need the owner (or dealer) to provide some persuasive evidence before accepting the idea that this was some prototypical label specimen.


It really looks like a forged xerox copy; and this perhaps before xerox copies existed. I've seen the cleverest guitar forgeries at vintage shows; faking paper is child's play compared to faking finishes.

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