Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Looking for information about my new Synchromatic

1

Hi everyone,

I recently got this old Synchromatic in a trade and am hoping someone here can shed some light on the particulars of this guitar.

I’ve searched inside the guitar and on the headstock but don’t see a serial number. Inside there appears to be a faint stencil remaining that reads the same as the headstock (“Gretsch Synchromatic”).

Is there a way to tell mode number and approximate year of production for this model?

Photos: https://ibb.co/BrsJ61B https://ibb.co/tKb5qTx https://ibb.co/qWyhzdz

The second and third pictures are my attempt to capture the stenciling. It’s there, just faint. The lighting does not help.

2

Man I love these old Syncromatics. My first Gretsch back in 1977 was a very similar guitar to yours. Huge off-set (assymetrical) neck carve that played like a dream.

Someone will be along shortly to give you model and approximate year.

4

Looks clean!

It does. I don't mind that checking one bit, and it's always nice to see one of these that still has the original Kluson Sealfast tuners.

5

Thanks a lot for the help, folks! Appreciate the correction on “Super Structure,” Ix.

Two questions come to mind in light of the info you all gave,

  1. Because of the Super Structure (and possible serial number) stencil, does this mean that this Gretsch did not come with a paper tag glued somewhere on the inside? A local repairman indicated it should have had one, but perhaps he is mistaken. Was there a time when Gretsch stenciled in place of tags?

  2. Ix, you also mentioned this looks like a post-war 160. What are the markers of telling pre vs post war?

Lastly, if I can find a serial, is there any hope of dating it to a specific year?

Thanks again.

6

There is no stencil. Post-war Gretsches will often have the blue stamp usually accompanied by a 4 digit pencilled number. Labels came around 1950-ish. Check the History section for the '39 catalog and compare with yours.

7

My mistake. The blue stamp is faded and thus my confusion. Appreciate the info about labels.

8

No problem. Gretsch probably used the same blue ink as they used on their labels, which tends to fade to almost nothing. If you find the four numbers let us know. And you can post more pics here (one pic per post and add some text); we're all catseye fans here and yours is a looker.

9

Welcome to all things Gretsch, DD! Nice to see another war era Synchromatic in our 'family'. There's a few of us here with the 100 or 160 models. They share having the asymmetric neck which at the time, Gretsch tried making a big deal of as one of its marketing "Seven points of supremacy" schpiel. Do you find it much different than a regular symmetric shaped neck? I don't notice it at all myself.

10

Ix (or anyone), where in relation to the “Gretsch Super Structure” marking did Gretsch tend to pencil in their serials? If it’s still there, it’s almost nothing now. Maybe if I knew where a likely spot was I might find it. Will try to post more pictures soon, thanks for the compliments.

Windsordave, like you, I don’t noticed the asymmetrical nature of the neck. I do notice that it’s a very thick neck though, on the border of being too big to play (at least for my hands).

11

The pencil marks are usually "in the neighborhood" of the "Super Structure" stamp, and are often barely legible.

12

Let's see if I can link to one of his photos . . . what a gorgeous guitar!

13

Man, that's beautiful!

15

That is a beauty for sure! Question for the group, all the cats eyes I have seen pictured have larger fret markers than mine? Would this one not be a 160 but a more expensive one?

16

No, I don't think so. Larger block inlays isn't an upgrade as I understand it. Now Split humpblocks would be considered an upgrade but Gretsch didn't have them yet, I believe. Tort binding, including the headstock would be an upgrade too. The 160 had one upgrade over the 100 and that's binding on the soundholes. Catseyes were seen then - and to some today as well - as an upgrade over f-holes, which is what the 100's had. But they came as a natural finish, full tort binding & multi-ply bound guard. Tuners on mine are solid brass, buttons as well but I don't know if that's considered less than the Klusons with plastic buttons.

17

No, I don't think so. Larger block inlays isn't an upgrade as I understand it. Now Split humpblocks would be considered an upgrade but Gretsch didn't have them yet, I believe. Tort binding, including the headstock would be an upgrade too. The 160 had one upgrade over the 100 and that's binding on the soundholes. Catseyes were seen then - and to some today as well - as an upgrade over f-holes, which is what the 100's had. But they came as a natural finish, full tort binding & multi-ply bound guard. Tuners on mine are solid brass, buttons as well but I don't know if that's considered less than the Klusons with plastic buttons.

– Windsordave

Thank you! I'm always learning!

18

That is one beautiful guitar. And, welcome. You sure do know how to enter a room!

19

Thanks for your comments and warm welcome everybody! A special thanks also to the gentleman from the UK (whose post has since disappeared) who linked those helpful photos for determining the serial number’s location.


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