Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Vintage Blonde New Yorker

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First off, welcome to all things Gretsch! You've tapped into the place you can get the best info on vintage Gretsches in particular, thanks to our guru, Ed Ball. Great info Ed.

Not saying this is what your should do with this New Yorker, but this is one of the models I referenced in a past thread explaining why some of the old low end Gretsch archtops would make a good mule to upgrade, as it has a carved top. You could go to town on upgrades, giving it a full binding, including a higher end shaped pickguard with a multi binding, top end tuners, even changing out the headstock facing and putting Gretsch and New Yorker back on it in MOP (or even abalone ), in the vintage script style writing. You'd have a very, very nice guitar with the very best appointments for a FRACTION!! of what a carved top new guitar would cost you today and it would be unique.

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

– kc_eddie_b

Is that Harry Volpe? That guy was a blonde Gretsch maniac.

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Is that Harry Volpe? That guy was a blonde Gretsch maniac.

– Afire

I dunno... he does look a bit like Kramer though.

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It looks like Harry Volpe to me, but what is much much more interesting is the second guitar from the left. I can't be sure but it appears to be that rarity of rarities a Synchromatic 400 archtop with the triangular sound hole. Only a handful of these were made and the model was discontinued about 1951. The reason I think this is that rarity is that the body size appears to be the same size as the Synchromatic 400 at the very right of the picture and the rarity has "lightbulb" headstock and Grover Imperials

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It looks like Harry Volpe to me, but what is much much more interesting is the second guitar from the left. I can't be sure but it appears to be that rarity of rarities a Synchromatic 400 archtop with the triangular sound hole. Only a handful of these were made and the model was discontinued about 1951. The reason I think this is that rarity is that the body size appears to be the same size as the Synchromatic 400 at the very right of the picture and the rarity has "lightbulb" headstock and Grover Imperials

– ewkewk

IIRC there is a better shot of the triangle Synchro 400 in the Scott book as well as that photo. Gretsch did make at least one of these in the Modern era. I remember it quite well as I got a chance to play it: blonde full body at the Hollywood GC Thanksgiving weekend '90 or '91. I was disappointed at not finding a Catseye.

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I could be mistaken, but my impression was that Volpe's blonde/tortoise/triangular-hole 400 was a special order, never a production model. There was the 400 flat top with the piano bridge, but I don't think a 400 archtop with a triangular hole was ever part of the lineup. For that matter, I would think his blonde/tortoise/cat's-eye 400 was custom too, right? Every other 400 I've ever seen had black, white and gold binding, not a tortoise outer ply.

Again, maybe I'm wrong.

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I could be mistaken, but my impression was that Volpe's blonde/tortoise/triangular-hole 400 was a special order, never a production model. There was the 400 flat top with the piano bridge, but I don't think a 400 archtop with a triangular hole was ever part of the lineup. For that matter, I would think his blonde/tortoise/cat's-eye 400 was custom too, right? Every other 400 I've ever seen had black, white and gold binding, not a tortoise outer ply.

Again, maybe I'm wrong.

– Afire

No opinion on that 400 but my '41 Synchro 100 has the full tort binding so it was available to be used. Just tossing that fact into the conversation.


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