Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Lefty ‘58 Caddy Green Country Club

1

This is an interesting oddity. Link

The chrome hardware is unique...it has the plain pickup bezels but shouldn't the pickup covers be either plain or Pat Applied For in '58? And the Gretsch Bigsby didn't come out on anything till '59 right?

2

We would need the serial number to confirm the 1958 attribution. There was only a batch or two of Clubs made for the '58 model year. It's not unusual for Lefty Gretsch specimens to display features from across model years, making the "vintage" attribution more difficult. So few Lefty examples were made, that the Lefty-specific parts would sit around for relatively long periods of time. More generic (ambidextrous) parts would usually be from closer to when the guitar was actually assembled and shipped. This often results in a mish-mash of specs and features. Cool guitar though!!

3

If that's an "all original" '58, I'll eat my hat.

Seller says "all original", but we know that simply can't be true for a '58 if it has patent number pickups and a v-cut Bigsby, neither of which existed in 1958. And if you look closely at the back of the headstock, at least one of the Imperial tuners is clearly faded gold plate.

Someone is either stupid or lying. An all original '58? No way in that configuration.

A '58 with replaced aftermarket hardware? Possibly, but I doubt it. I ain't buying this story.

4

If that's an "all original" '58, I'll eat my hat.

Seller says "all original", but we know that simply can't be true for a '58 if it has patent number pickups and a v-cut Bigsby, neither of which existed in 1958. And if you look closely at the back of the headstock, at least one of the Imperial tuners is clearly faded gold plate.

Someone is either stupid or lying. An all original '58? No way in that configuration.

A '58 with replaced aftermarket hardware? Possibly, but I doubt it. I ain't buying this story.

– Tartan Phantom

To give the seller the benefit of the doubt he mentions the tuners as having likely been changed.

Think it’s sold now.

5

If that's an "all original" '58, I'll eat my hat.

Seller says "all original", but we know that simply can't be true for a '58 if it has patent number pickups and a v-cut Bigsby, neither of which existed in 1958. And if you look closely at the back of the headstock, at least one of the Imperial tuners is clearly faded gold plate.

Someone is either stupid or lying. An all original '58? No way in that configuration.

A '58 with replaced aftermarket hardware? Possibly, but I doubt it. I ain't buying this story.

– Tartan Phantom

I guess my question is ... how is the seller determining it’s a ‘58? We all know that many sellers, even experienced dealers don’t really have a handle on Gretsch stuff, and often get their serial number/vintage info from their 30 year old Jay Scott book.

6

The pickups still have their original gold pole pieces. The plastic looks like '58. I'm guessing that it is a legit '58 that's had its hardware replaced with chrome and a Bigbsy added at some point. And the Bigsby is vintage (removable pins), but no earlier than 1962 (carriage bolt instead of screw).

7

Yeah... I'd like to see what the tail-bracket on that Bigsby looks like. I've seen some early carriage-bolt equipped units that retain the long tail-bracket. I think I have a gold one.

8

The colors are off which could be an editing error. Cadillac Green is a very difficult color to capture. The binding usually has a green/brown tint to it like this. I think it's legit, maybe not a 58.

10

Also, 58 heel caps were painted.

– Curt Wilson

Yup, my '57/8 Filtertron Streamliner has a Copper Mist cap. Also my '58 last batch Dyna Clipper conversion has a b/w heelcap with it's (once Platinum Grey) Metallic Moss Green lacquered on.

11

Got a message from the seller and the label has 28522 as the S/N. According to Ed's book this makes it a '58 Country Club, and from only one batch later in that year.

12

Got a message from the seller and the label has 28522 as the S/N. According to Ed's book this makes it a '58 Country Club, and from only one batch later in that year.

– Windsordave

Thanks for the legwork Dave! I think it's at least plausible that when the husk was made it got a label, even if the entire guitar wasn't assembled until later. I must have missed it before but the tail-bracket on the Bigsby confirms it's post-1961vibrato unit. As previously mentioned the Filtertrons cases are later than '58 as well.

13

I guess Gretsch could've made a few lefty bodies to have on hand for a custom order that like you said Ed, got a label and S/N. The order got filled at a later date when different features were available. The guitar's originality would then be true but spread over a few years.

14

Do we know if the labels were attached to the inner face of the back before the body was assembled or later through the f-holes when the guitar was ready?

I see points for both variants.

15

The labels were stuck on before they were glued together.

16

My 58 is 28559 and I did work on 28558 so it appears to be a close left handed cousin.

17

Of course the Bigsby was added later. If you looked closely at the photo of the butt of the guitar, you could see screw holes from where the G-cutout tailpiece was affixed.

It's no longer on reverb.com, but I don't know if that's because it sold––it sure went (relatively) quickly if so––or because the seller withdrew the listing. The seller was receiving offers.

Yeah, I was following it. Yeah, I considered making an offer or a buy, but I couldn't justify it after getting the '62 Club late last year, despite the significant differences between the '58 and mine.

Paul/FF909

18

The labels were stuck on before they were glued together.

– Curt Wilson

Thanks!

19

The labels were stuck on before they were glued together.

– Curt Wilson

In his book, Dan Duffy describes the process in detail. According to him, the label was the last thing to be added, usually by the front office secretary. As you are someone who's spent a lot of time inside Gretsches, I'm curious what you've seen that led you to believe it happened earlier.

20

The labels were stuck on before they were glued together.

– Curt Wilson

That makes total sense to me too... but it contradicts what Dan Duffy shared with us. He suggested that the labels were applied at the very end of the production line as the guitar was being polished-up and readied for delivery. So I dunno... I wasn't there to verify either way.

21

There were some old pictures I saw, maybe in a dream, backs being attached to the sides.

If I’m wrong they must have hired people with tiny hands.

22

As a lefty myself, and residing in Europe, this would have been a rare chance to buy a 50's lefty Club nearly affordably, but I could not make an offer high enough at these times... next time, whenever it may be...

This is actually the same example that's represented (and I found 2 pictures) in the lefty guitarist book "Uncommon Sound" by John Engel. The story (true or false) in the book goes that this guitar was ordered by a Gretsch employee. I did notice the points about the bigsby and pickups, too.

And yes, it's sold, supposedly going back to the States...


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