Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Legitimate Country Gent or….?

1

There is a guitar for sale on Ebay stated to be a 1964 Country Gentleman. It's in pretty rough condition but there are things about it that don't comply with my limited knowledge of this guitar. It has the serial number 54772 on the model plate and also on the rear of the headstock after the stamp Made in USA. It also has a single mute and the larger tuners that I have only seen on late 60s models.

4

Clearly an odd duck (having the serial number in two places). The #547xx batch was in fact a group of 100 Country Gents from the 1963 model year. I have documented an original bill of sale from one of these dated Dec 1963. All the Gent specimens I've seen from this batch have the double-mute levers, dual Filtertron pickups, and Imperial style Grover tuners.

Gretsch didn't install the date-coded serial numbering until August of 1966, not adding the "Made in USA" until the following year. So this Gent was clearly (back?) at the factory in the 1967 or later time-frame, just by the fact that it displays that style serialization. The single mute lever is a later evolution from the '63 examples, and very curious to see on this guitar. The Supertron and open-case Filtertron, as well as the elephant-ear Gravers are also more common on later Gents.

So having noted all that... I have no idea what the story is with this Gent. It would be interesting to glean a date off the pot codes.

5

It's definitely a legitimate Country Gentleman, but not a '64. Single mute started in late '66. Also not the 5th month of '74, because by then it would have been a Booneville 7670. So, the obvious answer is that the date coded serial number reads 54th month of 1967.

Really, I have no idea what to make of the serial number, or the fact that it's on the back of the headstock and the plaque. My wild guess would be some factory repairs or replacement of an unknowable nature and extent, but maybe Ed has a cleaner explanation.

6

FWIW, my ‘64 CG had dual mutes and these butter bean tuners. Serial 77700.

7

Deke... if your Gent had a sequential serial number 77700... then it was a late '65 example, maybe even early '66. I have documented 2 Gents from this batch with original bills of sale dated Feb. and April '66 respectively. Although I don't have any pot codes documented from this batch, I have several from the slightly later Club batch at #783xx dated Oct. and Nov. of '65. So your Gent was plausibly made right around the beginning of 1966. Those #777xx Gents did have the dual mutes and elephant ear tuners... but they also had the Supertron in the bridge position by then as well.

8

Just to reinforce Ed's observation that the Gent went back to the factory: if you look at the back of the headstock, you'll see that the gold Made in USA embossing goes over the aftermarket sticker. Perhaps the single mute was an original custom order (easy to do like a 6120) and while blacktop filters weren't uncommon '63/4 it would be easy to swap them out.

9

Ha! Well Ed, this is why we let experts like you hang around here.

You know what, I bought that guitar advertised as a '64 back in '05 and I never once thought to check the serial. It was clearly legit (and also cheap as it needed the mute mechanisms replacing) so it never crossed my mind to question the year. '64 or '66, it's no big deal to me, and I've since sold it on so it's even less of a deal, but I'm very happy to stand corrected.

And yes, it had the Super'Tron neck.

10

Yay, a SuperTron as bridge pickup - one reason to buy this one. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t the neck pickup a HiloTron?

11

Yay, a SuperTron as bridge pickup - one reason to buy this one. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t the neck pickup a HiloTron?

– Steve111

Yup. I'm not finding the listing on ebay. I went back here for a second look and just noticed that. It looks to be a gold HiLo, which appeared on some '59 Clippers, Princesses, Sal Salvadors and little else. This Gent could be an interesting and very specific factory order. Aren't the knobs closer to the edge than normal?

12

Thank you everyone for your expertise - it seems to have an interesting story. Here is the Ebay lisitng: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm... The seller wants too much for it (I think) and if you look at the other photos it looks very rough - in fact the seller states there is neck warping. It is only a few suburbs from me and i would check it out, except I just had eye surgery and have trouble getting around

13

I'll let you know what the pots show up as being when it arrives ;)

I love a project and have been after a gent for a while

14

And will be able to compare to my airtight 6120 (a 71), and my '78 7670 Gentleman.

Had a couple of chats with the seller - will see how bad the twist is. Has had a binding job, and has good neck angle. The hilo is an original one, not a reissue. Whether or not it's original to the guitar is anyone's guess.

15

Arrived at work today. Firstly, it will play and adjust fine. The truss rod needs a tweak to get the neck straight-ish to dial in the action. It's never had a bridge pinned on it, so that'll be happening. Under .5mm difference in action top to bottom at 12th fret, haven't looked too closely, but will. Partial refret, binding looks done compared to my other gretsches

The hilotron has gold paint on the case/cover, so is more thank likely a ring-in, but is an original 60s hilo. I'm thinking a TV jones classic might be a good pairing with the supertron? Anyone need a hilo?? :)

I paid under the opening price for it off eBay - a risk I know, but appears to be okay so far.

16

Congrats! Please keep us posted. Nice guitar.

17

Will do - I'll check the pots tonight. It needs a good going over, all over, but I'm pleased to have a gent that I can take out without being precious with it. I gig with my guitars regularly....but am sometimes fearful of taking older guitars without any flaws

18

Had a brief play with it last night (four kids, and a job to do on a goldtop les paul for a friend that needed finishing), and am pleased with the purchase. The supertron is fantastic, and I'm surprised by how well the hilo worked with it last night. No A/B yet, but will do.

19

I like both pickups but don’t recall ever seeing this combination before. Interesting. Looking forward to additional reviews as you get the time to enjoy it.

20

that is an interesting configuration. how well does the pickup level match up given that IIRC SuperTrons are way hotter than HiLos?

21

IMO, a HiLo in the neck position sounds great with any bridge pup.

Nice and crisp tone, and takes any amount of gain, if wanted.

22

It seems to match quite well. I was expecting to be underwhelmed a little in comparison. But early days. The guitar sounds a bit darker on first impressions than it's close cousin (my '71 Nashville), and it's younger brother ('78 7670), but I've only played it for a few minutes. There's a lot of maintenance - tuner bushes, some popped frets, neck volume pot feels a little, setting truss rod - but it'll serve me fine without need to very to major works, and has enough wear to make me now worry about it. I'll make up a pickguard soon-ish

23

I'd reckon when the filtertron has gone, they moved the neck super to the bridge.

24

Did a bit of tweaking last night when the kids were asleep. Have adjusted the neck to straight on the treble side, and a bit of relief of the bass side - playing really well with no buzz, so the twist isn't going to stop play. Will be buffing out a couple of marks in some higher frets that are catching when bending. Tonight, I'll double-sided tape the bridge to pin it, and have it marked out with tape at present.

The screws on the hilotron were extended to get some volume, and were part of a perfect buzz scenario. Now adjusted.

It now plays pretty nicely, and has potential to sound better. I will try an alnico filter'tron I've had for a while in the neck position to see if I prefer that tone enough to switch.

25

Did a bit of tweaking last night when the kids were asleep. Have adjusted the neck to straight on the treble side, and a bit of relief of the bass side - playing really well with no buzz, so the twist isn't going to stop play. Will be buffing out a couple of marks in some higher frets that are catching when bending. Tonight, I'll double-sided tape the bridge to pin it, and have it marked out with tape at present.

The screws on the hilotron were extended to get some volume, and were part of a perfect buzz scenario. Now adjusted.

It now plays pretty nicely, and has potential to sound better. I will try an alnico filter'tron I've had for a while in the neck position to see if I prefer that tone enough to switch.

– porge

Had a great conversation with TV Jones about HiLo's a few years back.

He told me that the key for an outstanding HiLo sound, is to lower the poles and raise the body close to the strings.

I did that on a neck HiLo that I had, and boy was he right. My favorite neck pup that I've ever had.


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