Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Never seen one like that

1

Was watching an old Hee Haw on RFD tonite and saw Roy Clark playing a Gretsch I never saw before. It looked like a cross between a super axe and a tele. It had a Falcon headstock with a plaque, and neck inlays that looked like check marks. Any ideas, prototype maybe?

2

There were some rumors about a Roy Clark signature model...... But I don't recall what it looked like and I think it never happened.

3

RFD-TV usually will rerun sundays Hee haw on Monday at 6:30 pm EDT, but since tomorrow is a holiday who knows if it will run. But if it does, maybe a GDPer could identify it.

4

Wasn't there a really late model year Corvette variation that featured a metal control panel, kind of like the football on the Super Axe? Maybe one of those?

5

Ed, this was quite a bit wider than a corvette, and double bound body and rounded horn.

6

Ed, this was quite a bit wider than a corvette, and double bound body and rounded horn.

– Twom

Yeah... this is what I was thinking (model 7632). Sounds like what you saw may have been the Roy Clark proto.

7

Was curious so did a very quick search - was it this?

8

That's it, Dan!

9

Different than the standard Super Axe he pimped for the ad.

11

Hard to see in the left photo, but the inlays are definitely not dots like the guitar on the right. Like I said in my OP, they were similar to checkmarks.

13

Yes - for the photo on the right, that discussion on the mrguitar.com site says "They only made 2 prototypes. Here's the one Roy didn't choose."

There seem to be a lot of Hee Haw clips on YouTube. Here's one with a different Gretsch: Johnny Cash & Roy Clark - Orange Blossom Special

– nielDa

Your link doesn't take you to that site it goes to one for pedals. I went to the site through a google search but clicking on Gretsch guitars got me a not here message. If you could please give us a direct link to that story I'd appreciate it, thanks.

14

That's a good video of Roy with his Super Axe. If that was a prototype for him, then my prototype for Chet appears to be the only one, at least that I've ever seen that has the pickguard tight against the football plate and curved to match it. And the name Gretsch is almost at the very end edge, further than on the production models. The extra curved line is just an illusion from the light. The pickguard is quite thick and it's only the internal reflection of the bottom corner that's seen here.

BTW, anyone know the S/N of Roy's prototype?

15

Okay, the links are fixed (I think.) Try again?

16

Perfect! Thanks a lot. Very interesting pics of the early High Roller prototype with a control knob where the pup selector switch is and with a Bigsby.

Except for the slightly different pickguard I showed on the pic, mine is basically the same as the model they settled on for production. Mine just happens to be the first. Very cool to play it knowing Chet did occasionally for a couple of years.

17

It is my understanding that the only reason the Roy Clark model did not go into production is simply because Baldwin pulled the plug on Gretsch at the end of 1980 due to the deepening financial crisis at Baldwin that would eventually drive the company into bankruptcy and ruin . The sad part is that Gretsch's sales had dropped from a peak of around 15,000 in 1966 to as low as 4000 per year in the mid 1970's and Gretsch was at that time loosing money for Baldwin. However, beginning about 1977, Gretsch sales picked up due to the Super Axe, Atkins Axe, the Committee, and the various versions of the BST so that by the time Baldwin pulled the plug Gretsch was producing more than 6000 guitars a year and was once again profitable. All Gretsch needed to do to be profitable was produce 20 guitars a day or about 450 guitars a month and at the end they were producing about 25 to 30 guitars a day and more than 500 to 550 guitars per month. There were one or two feeble attempts to keep guitar production going by building "Southern Belle" bodies (Country Gentlemans without the Atkins endorsement) in Juarez, Mexico and Kustom in Canute, Kansas trying to keep another couple of models going, but by the end of 1981-82 the lights went out and the party was over.

18

Was curious so did a very quick search - was it this?

– nielDa

Yes, that's the one I recall.

20

It made the cover of Guitar Player:

There used to be a website devoted to Baldwin-era guitars but I couldn't find it through Google and I couldn't find it in my bookmarks. Anyone still have a URL or is it even still up? It had a page or two devoted to this guitar.

21

I had a VHS copy of Vintage Guitars in America Vol 1 back in the early 90's that showed Dean Turner with his collection including that deep blue Roy Clark model,he also had a High Roller prototype.

Sadly that old VHS tape is no longer watchable ,and i can't seem to find it online anywhere.

22

It made the cover of Guitar Player:

There used to be a website devoted to Baldwin-era guitars but I couldn't find it through Google and I couldn't find it in my bookmarks. Anyone still have a URL or is it even still up? It had a page or two devoted to this guitar.

– Don Birchett

I used to go to that site but didn't save the URL. It's Gretschslostweekend but the google search won't take you there, just to a stupid website builder.

23

I found the original URL but it doesn't work.

http://www.gretschslostweek...

The book by the same name didn't get published either. Nice looking cover but a no-go apparently. I'd like a copy of that book if it ever gets into print. Sure would be a nice compliment to Ed's books.

25

Don't know. I looked on Abebooks and Amazon and nothing on either.


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