Vintage Gretsch Guitars

More Duo Jet detective work!

1

This thread is inspired by two other recent discussions on this forum. The first was the great journey Deke Dickerson led us on as he researched the prospect of his new '55 6128 being historically significant (Cliff Gallup's Jet). The other was the pictorial review of the Philly guitar show, and the related discussion of documenting certain identifying data when possible.

As I've endeavored to find and document vintage Gretsch guitar specimens over the past decade I have periodically found inconsistencies with reported data. Specifically, serial numbers are really easy to transpose, mis-read, and goof-up. The following is the latest example... which I believe is an honest misrepresentation and in no way malicious.

This is going to take a couple of posts, so thanks for your patience!

2

In the recent thread about the Philly guitar show, RichB555 was gracious enough to take and post photos of the several '53 Scripty Jets on display there. One of those had an information sign, providing the serial number, mentioning an original receipt, and also claiming it to be the "earliest Jet" found. Here's that guitar....

4

The rare features on the #11918 Jet (bake-lite, fixed Melita) and original receipt, reminded me of another '53 scripty that most of us GDPers will recall as the "Yikes" Jet. That guitar also has the rare Melita, an original receipt... and IS the earliest Duo Jet specimen I've documented thus far. That guitar however is serial numbered 11915. Here's that minty example...

5

Even though these two different specimens are very close in serial number chronology I found it strange they shared so many aspects. So... fresh from the Deke Dickerson detective adventure, I decided to cross examine the photos. The guitars are identical, but difficult to find any definitive marks to confirm that they are the same. However, the tweed cases do offer some clear landmarks, with the most convincing detail being on the handles. Please note the worn mark in the leather of each guitars case/handle.

6

So... my conclusion is that the Philly show Scripty is NOT #11918 (even though the dealers sign is clear), but is in fact #11915, the "Yikes" Jet. As such it IS the earliest Jet thus far documented, so my comment on that original thread is incorrect.

7

You guys can check my work on all this (see pix above). We have the date of the receipt from the Yikes Jet documented. Obviously, having the date from the Philly show Jet's receipt would be absolute confirmation that these are the same guitars.

In the scope of things... this is not a big deal. The Philly show dealer either mis-read or mis-wrote the serial number of the guitar. For a geek like me, it's annoying as I try and build a clear picture of the early evolution of the the Duo Jet, but I realize few others care. My point is simply that as we move forward, be aware the serial number documentation is sometimes flawed and can create ambiguity as it did with Deke's guitar. Anyway... onward and upward. Keep seeking out those Scripty Jets... there were only 150 made, and others are out there to be found!!!

8

Do you know who the Philly show seller is?

9

Thanks, Ed. Good detecting from available info. Just takes attention to detail!

10

Do you know who the Philly show seller is?

– NJBob

I had also taken a photo of that guitar but didn’t post it since a good pic was already in the thread. Unfortunately I didn’t get the dealer’s name. Some of my pics include a pic of the dealers’ names even if that required a separate photo. I didn’t get it on this one but maybe we can try doing so in the future just as a best practice suggestion to help those who may wish to further pursue the item.

13

So...."Mr Yikes" was at the Philly Show?

15

Great work, Ed! Ryan Fowler's Guitars Experience in Towson, MD looks like the dealer if that Anvil shipping case marked "The Greenberry Woods" was his, that the guitar case is sitting on, . Here's a picture of their booth from their FB page. Also, per Chmason85, that Instagram post identifies him as well- String Buzz is the repair shop at his business.

16

Checking out the fantastic pix on the site linked by Bryan K.... the warranty certificate and the original bill of sale clearly show the serial # as 11915... so Mr. Fowler must have simply made a typo when making his info sign for the show as it clearly says #11918. Oops.

18

Hello Gretsch Pages! New member here, long time lurker. Was finally spurred to join the forum since I believe I can offer some info regarding this thread. I am fairly certain the DuoJet in question IS the yikes jet. The Yikes Jet is located in the Baltimore area, which I can confirm as I met the owner and played the Yikes Jet as a result of a seperate Craigslist purchase several years ago. Now the jet is on consignment by that owner at Ryan Fowlers Guitar Experience in Towson, MD. When the guitar went on consignment at the shop, my conversation with Ryan seemed to confirm that it was indeed that guitar and owner. I believe that included with the guitar is the original bill of sale as well as the Gretsch amp which was purchased at the same time. I think the $35K asking price is still accurate. As stated above, most likely the serial number on the sign at the Philly show was written down wrong. Hope this helps clarify the guitar's identity.

19

I copied this off of eBay a few years ago. Is this the same guitar?

20

$35k seems absurd until you factor in all the original paperwork and an amp(!!). I don't know though, I'm not a vintage gretsch afficionado lol. I see a lot of 53's on reverb going for around $8k

21

Asking $35k is just dumb. Even if you go $9k for the guitar, and then over-pay $2k for the amp... that's still only $11k total.

22

Yeah, right? That's why they still have it. Maybe they love it so much that they marked it up so hard just so they could keep it...

23

Simple speculation. Playing the futures market.

I think YIKES story may go back to the late 90s? If not it seems like it.

That sad old jet won’t ever get played will it.

24

I may have very first 53 (reissue) lol

25

I think YIKES story may go back to the late 90s? If not it seems like it.

Close. Early 2000s. I remember where I was when I first saw it, at the library taking an eBay break from studying for winter finals, so either December of 2000 or 2001. On its first listing it got up to around $10,000 but didn't sell. It might not have met reserve, but I think I recall that the seller cancelled the auction. Then it sat on eBay off and on for the better part of a decade. At one point, I want to say around 2006 I came very close to pulling the trigger on it but balked when I noticed that the binding was separating at the waist, which is a pet peeve of mine. I'm sure somebody here kept track of the actual selling price when it finally did sell, I want to say around 2011. Wasn't it about $11,000? I remember it was around that, because I thought it was funny that the seller held out on that guitar for about a decade only to get about the same price he could have got on its first listing.


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