Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Vintage Blonde New Yorker

1

Found this New Yorker. It has solid top and body. Would like to know its history. Kit Serial Number 663 Solid top and bottom! (Hard to see Number. Could be 653 or 553) I posted pic of the Number in one of the replies. New to blog. Don't know how to post multiple pics.

2

Hole in body. Shows solid wood.

3

Hole in body. Shows solid wood.

– Acklin

Head Stock

4

Head Stock

– Acklin

Back

5

Back

– Acklin

Bridge, pick guard, saddle "Gretsch"

6

The stenciled headstock and F-hole shape/position is a pretty good indicator of a WWII-era New Yorker, possibly built by an outside builder such as Kay, for Gretsch. That happened a lot between 1942 and 1947. However, it could be older than that. If you could provide a serial number, it would help to narrow down the time frame. Serial number should be on a label inside, or possibly stamped into the tip of the headstock.

7

Found this New Yorker. It has solid top and body. Would like to know its history. Kit Serial Number 663 Solid top and bottom! (Hard to see Number. Could be 653 or 553) I posted pic of the Number in one of the replies. New to blog. Don't know how to post multiple pics.

– Acklin

Wood grain (zoom in)

8

Found this New Yorker. It has solid top and body. Would like to know its history. Kit Serial Number 663 Solid top and bottom! (Hard to see Number. Could be 653 or 553) I posted pic of the Number in one of the replies. New to blog. Don't know how to post multiple pics.

– Acklin

Serial Number

9

The stenciled headstock and F-hole shape/position is a pretty good indicator of a WWII-era New Yorker, possibly built by an outside builder such as Kay, for Gretsch. That happened a lot between 1942 and 1947. However, it could be older than that. If you could provide a serial number, it would help to narrow down the time frame. Serial number should be on a label inside, or possibly stamped into the tip of the headstock.

– Tartan Phantom

Sorry. New to blog. Don't know how to properly post pics. Posted them all as replys.

10

The stenciled headstock and F-hole shape/position is a pretty good indicator of a WWII-era New Yorker, possibly built by an outside builder such as Kay, for Gretsch. That happened a lot between 1942 and 1947. However, it could be older than that. If you could provide a serial number, it would help to narrow down the time frame. Serial number should be on a label inside, or possibly stamped into the tip of the headstock.

– Tartan Phantom

Wood Grain. Zoom in

11

Wood Grain. Zoom in

– Acklin

Bridge saddle "Gretsch"

12

This is interesting.

Ususally, New Yorkers are the most common of Gretsch archtops, but you've found a keeper. There was recently a New Yorker on reverb.com with the same horizontal stencil label. I didn't even comment about it as it was just another New Yorker, albeit an older iteration. That one is now gone.

First off, the serial # puts it somewhere near 1947-48. This is from Ed Ball's Manual of Gretsch Guitars the '50's, which indicates a gap between the 3xx batch and 7xx batch (inclusive).

Second, the tortoiseshell binding and stinger indicate that it may well be a factory blonde -- very unusual to say the least.

Third, we've always assumed these were laminate bodies, but that hole sure looks solid. Post some more close-ups of the f-hole sides; I'm not sure if I'm seeing it clearly.

Ed Ball would have the definitive take on this, but you will have to change your headline to "Vintage Blonde New Yorker" to get his interest, which it surely will.

You've posted some good photo's but you'll need to post more, including the binding close-ups, neck heel, back of headstock, tailpiece, fingerboard markers. Posting more photos will help to determine which parts may have been changed out. It will be well worth your time. You can only post one photo at a time. Also, is the neck asymetrical -- heavier on the bass side?

13

The stenciled headstock and F-hole shape/position is a pretty good indicator of a WWII-era New Yorker, possibly built by an outside builder such as Kay, for Gretsch. That happened a lot between 1942 and 1947. However, it could be older than that. If you could provide a serial number, it would help to narrow down the time frame. Serial number should be on a label inside, or possibly stamped into the tip of the headstock.

– Tartan Phantom

Serial. New to blog. Don't know how to post pics. Posted as replys

14

Found this New Yorker. It has solid top and body. Would like to know its history. Kit Serial Number 663 Solid top and bottom! (Hard to see Number. Could be 653 or 553) I posted pic of the Number in one of the replies. New to blog. Don't know how to post multiple pics.

– Acklin

Serial

15

This is interesting.

Ususally, New Yorkers are the most common of Gretsch archtops, but you've found a keeper. There was recently a New Yorker on reverb.com with the same horizontal stencil label. I didn't even comment about it as it was just another New Yorker, albeit an older iteration. That one is now gone.

First off, the serial # puts it somewhere near 1947-48. This is from Ed Ball's Manual of Gretsch Guitars the '50's, which indicates a gap between the 3xx batch and 7xx batch (inclusive).

Second, the tortoiseshell binding and stinger indicate that it may well be a factory blonde -- very unusual to say the least.

Third, we've always assumed these were laminate bodies, but that hole sure looks solid. Post some more close-ups of the f-hole sides; I'm not sure if I'm seeing it clearly.

Ed Ball would have the definitive take on this, but you will have to change your headline to "Vintage Blonde New Yorker" to get his interest, which it surely will.

You've posted some good photo's but you'll need to post more, including the binding close-ups, neck heel, back of headstock, tailpiece, fingerboard markers. Posting more photos will help to determine which parts may have been changed out. It will be well worth your time. You can only post one photo at a time. Also, is the neck asymetrical -- heavier on the bass side?

– lx

Wood grain. Zoom in

16

This is interesting.

Ususally, New Yorkers are the most common of Gretsch archtops, but you've found a keeper. There was recently a New Yorker on reverb.com with the same horizontal stencil label. I didn't even comment about it as it was just another New Yorker, albeit an older iteration. That one is now gone.

First off, the serial # puts it somewhere near 1947-48. This is from Ed Ball's Manual of Gretsch Guitars the '50's, which indicates a gap between the 3xx batch and 7xx batch (inclusive).

Second, the tortoiseshell binding and stinger indicate that it may well be a factory blonde -- very unusual to say the least.

Third, we've always assumed these were laminate bodies, but that hole sure looks solid. Post some more close-ups of the f-hole sides; I'm not sure if I'm seeing it clearly.

Ed Ball would have the definitive take on this, but you will have to change your headline to "Vintage Blonde New Yorker" to get his interest, which it surely will.

You've posted some good photo's but you'll need to post more, including the binding close-ups, neck heel, back of headstock, tailpiece, fingerboard markers. Posting more photos will help to determine which parts may have been changed out. It will be well worth your time. You can only post one photo at a time. Also, is the neck asymetrical -- heavier on the bass side?

– lx

My eyes are pretty bad but if it is asymmetrical it's is only slightly so. Changed the header. If you have a way of contacting Ball, please let him know that I am a friend of Bob Boyd and Bob is doing well. Donnie too (his wife). Knew the Browns a bit. I'm 67 and just a whipper snapper back then. Thanks Kit Ps gotta get ready for the grand nieces so more picks will have to wait.

17

Ed will check in sometime today I'm sure. The tuners sure look like the Waverlys that post-war Gretsch used. Feel free to keep posting pictures!

This may be the most epic New Yorker ever made.

18

The general consensus is that this style stencil New Yorker was made at one outsource supplier (Harmony or Kay) and the other vertical style headstock motif was done by the other.

My assumption has been that each supplier was using a common sequential serial numbering system "IF" the guitars were made externally but shipped to the Gretsch Brooklyn factory (and serialized) prior to shipment to retailers. These horizontal logo specimens tend to have earlier numbers than the others, so they may have been the earliest war time examples, but then the supplier was changed.

The serial numbers in either version are unique to the war time models. The post war designs display the new sequential system Initiated in the '46ish timeframe and carried through to mid-1966.

19

So the engraved pyralin headstock New Yorkers are the factory post-war Gretsches and the stencils are (very likely) war-time outsourced Kay/Harmonys. That would explain the funky f-holes and solid woods. Always an education.

20

Another rarely seen war-time model, made in the same time-frame, with the same serial numbering scheme by the same manufacturer, and familiar stencil headstock... The Commander model!

22

This is what I mean by the (later?) vertical logo example...

24

Here's a cool old vintage photo (albeit reversed) of the same style guitar as the Op's.

25

Great photo's and explanation. Has anybody A/B'd these with contemporaneous Harmony/Kays? I always appreciate the time you take for these Ed-ucation sessions.


Register Sign in to join the conversation