Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Vintage Blonde New Yorker

26

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.

27

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.

28

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

– Afire

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

29

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

30

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.

31

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.

32

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.

41

Too many years in a closet

42

Or maybe used to hammer a nail. Hence the hole in the side.

43

Still hoping to hear from Ed Ball.

45

Cool guitar! kc_eddie_b is Ed Ball

46

Anyone can do anything to that which they own, of course. But, if she's unique, it would seem nice to keep her and only repair the cracks/hole. This was exciting. Thanks for sharing, and welcome. You'll like it here.

47

Thank you one and all. Would like to get the Gretsch repaired. Local repair shop says $450. That's a lot of money for a SSI guy. Any ideas of its value? I mean if it is only worth $50 I'll just hang it on the wall.

48

Probably about $450. There’s one for sale at my local shop, asking $600 but they’re unlikely to get it.

49

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

– kc_eddie_b

I have a Gretsch New Yorker with this exact same headstock.. Starting to research the history behind it and debating on what type of restore to do on it. Looks like someone did a very poor job re-binding the guitar. Not sure if I want to just redo the binding and fretboard or restore the entire thing back down to wood and re-finish it. It has the Gretsch stamped on the inside of one of the f-holes with the number 3835

50

First off, welcome to all things Gretsch! Whether you choose to go whole hog as I suggested and upgrade the appointments or retain its originality with just a refinish, it's still not going to be worth more than around $450 as mentioned above. Either way, I'd say to do much work on one of these models you'd have to want to keep it and play it as you won't recoup money on these models, regardless of what you do, given there's always quite a selection on the market on all the big websites.


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