Vintage Gretsch Guitars

NGD— 1942 Synchrolicious!

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As some folks already know, I purchased this Gretsch Synchromatic in Nashville During the recent 2017 Gretsch Nashville Roundup. I have to thank (A) Crowbone for finding it at Carter's Vintage guitars, (B) the rest of the crew who was there that day; who put it through the paces, drooled over it and marveled at its condition and voice, and (C) Bob Howard for convincing me to buy it, simply buy playing it longer than 5 minutes and feigning interest in purchasing it himself.

No matter who ended up purchasing it, the general consensus at the shop was that SOMEBODY among us had to give it a home... we just couldn't abandon it in a town full of Telecaster players!

After the Roundup, I sent the following pics to Vintage Gretsch Guru Extraordinaire, Mr. Ed Ball himself. Ed's final conclusion was that it was NOT a "1947" model, as originally advertised by the shop. Instead, he estimated it to be a late 1942 model-- based on the serial number.

Now this ol' girl isn't "flawless", she's got her age lines, wrinkles, and minor repairs where there were splits in the top, but she is indeed a grand ol' beauty. At any rate, I didn't win a guitar at the Roundup this year, but I felt like I walked away with "The Belle of the Ball" for the weekend. The details and the full story can be found in the database, HERE.

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and the last of the bunch...

and the sad, broken, but complete "Patent App. For" tailpiece, (original mounting hardware was also included)

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(Drool).

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C) Bob Howard for convincing me to buy it, simply buy playing it longer than 5 minutes and feigning interest in purchasing it himself.

Not true. I wasn’t feigning nothing. If you hadn’t rescued it, I would have. It plays as good as it sounds and sounds as nice as it looks, and it is absolutely beautiful. Congrats. I’m happy for you, Rob.

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Beautiful!

I took my broken tail to a radiator shop and had it brazed

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Love that tort binding and guard! Congrats!

Tail repaired

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Beautiful!

I took my broken tail to a radiator shop and had it brazed

– Setzer

You read my mind, Paul, that's my plan... although mine is broken in a different spot, at the right-angle which curves over the edge of the top. I do plan to get it repaired, but I doubt if I will trust the repair enough to re-mount it.

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Can we call you “ACE” now?

– Bob Howard

I've been called much worse... and still answered to it.

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Truly lovely- congratulations on giving it a good home, and may it bring you joy for many years!

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I told you it was a '42, Rob. The only visual difference between our guitars, just 449 apart is that ACE on the pickguard. The marvel of our guitars is that while they're dubbed the low model 100, it has every upgrade, save for more fancy neck inlays, that were available at the time.....and I certainly don't consider catseye soundholes as an upgrade!!

  • carved spruce top
  • gorgeous tiger maple back, sides & neck (with ebony stinger)
  • gold plated chromatic 'harp' tailpiece
  • carved [intonated] rosewood base & bridge
  • rosewood fretboard
  • solid brass Grover tuners
  • incredibly beautiful full tort binding - body, neck & headstock
  • 3 ply bound tort pickguard.

What strings have you got on it? I wouldn't trade mine for Synchro 400.

I wonder if Knavel sold his - identical to our two - the one he had here for sale last year for a very reasonable price. Needed a neck reset apparently, but well worth it IMO. Soooooo....you guys that played this guitar, is one of you going to contact Knavel and see about buying his?? At most any price today, you aren't going to find an archtop made these days that's more beautiful or has a better voice and......that has a carved top. Think what a custom build to reproduce this guitar would set you back today, assuming you could find that binding?

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There's a guy around here with one that looks just like this. Very cool.

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There's a guy around here with one that looks just like this. Very cool.

– DCBirdMan

If you get the opportunity, try and get the S/N for us.

Those Synchro archtops Gretsch put out awhile ago totally pale in comparison with these wonderful vintage Synchos in every area.

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I told you it was a '42, Rob. The only visual difference between our guitars, just 449 apart is that ACE on the pickguard. The marvel of our guitars is that while they're dubbed the low model 100, it has every upgrade, save for more fancy neck inlays, that were available at the time.....and I certainly don't consider catseye soundholes as an upgrade!!

  • carved spruce top
  • gorgeous tiger maple back, sides & neck (with ebony stinger)
  • gold plated chromatic 'harp' tailpiece
  • carved [intonated] rosewood base & bridge
  • rosewood fretboard
  • solid brass Grover tuners
  • incredibly beautiful full tort binding - body, neck & headstock
  • 3 ply bound tort pickguard.

What strings have you got on it? I wouldn't trade mine for Synchro 400.

I wonder if Knavel sold his - identical to our two - the one he had here for sale last year for a very reasonable price. Needed a neck reset apparently, but well worth it IMO. Soooooo....you guys that played this guitar, is one of you going to contact Knavel and see about buying his?? At most any price today, you aren't going to find an archtop made these days that's more beautiful or has a better voice and......that has a carved top. Think what a custom build to reproduce this guitar would set you back today, assuming you could find that binding?

– Windsordave

Yeah I found out that the natural version with the tortoise shell binding and the (formerly) gold hardware is actually called the "115", which is sort of a mini-upgrade from the "100"-- You might want to move yours into that category on the database (click HERE to get there), I think yours is currently in the "160" section?

Anyway, It's currently strung with D'Addario flatwound chromes, which is how it came from Carter's-- Thinking about putting some monel strings on it, but haven't decided yet. I like the flatwounds, and it's plenty loud and clear with them.

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There's a guy around here with one that looks just like this. Very cool.

– DCBirdMan

Who would that be? Is he very attached to it and can he be talked out of it?

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Yeah I found out that the natural version with the tortoise shell binding and the (formerly) gold hardware is actually called the "115", which is sort of a mini-upgrade from the "100"-- You might want to move yours into that category on the database (click HERE to get there), I think yours is currently in the "160" section?

Anyway, It's currently strung with D'Addario flatwound chromes, which is how it came from Carter's-- Thinking about putting some monel strings on it, but haven't decided yet. I like the flatwounds, and it's plenty loud and clear with them.

– Tartan Phantom

Done Rob, thanks. BTW, where did you learn about these features, an obvious upgrade, being a different model #? I got the 160 number from the listing I bought it from.

I'm going to put a set of [my favorite] D'Addario Flattops, same medium gauge as on there now. Had to order them as nobody around here stocks much of the Flattops. The bronze roundwounds on there now are just too scratchy for playing fingerstyle. Archtop.com puts phosphor bronze on all their archtops and that's what the Flattops are, an upgrade [for me] being much quieter than roundwounds.

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Done Rob, thanks. BTW, where did you learn about these features, an obvious upgrade, being a different model #? I got the 160 number from the listing I bought it from.

1939 Gretsch catalog-- if you blow it up and read the listing for model 100, it mentions the natural/tortoise/gold option-- catalog number 53300. The option cost $15 more than the standard 100, which was $100 at the time, hence "115". Also alluded to in the Scott book, if I recall. The "115" category was already in the database, I didn't build the page for it, so it had to come from someone besides me who had a hand in the original database construction.

And yes, the Flat Tops are on my bucket list...gonna have to try those as well.

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Am I the only idiot that didn't actually sit down with that glorious guitar and strum a few chords at the roundup? It sure is a beauty. It was the talk of the roundup, for sure. The wood grain is gorgeous and the tone is awesome!

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Soooooo....you guys that played this guitar, is one of you going to contact Knavel and see about buying his??

Hi Dave, gone and forgotten I'm afraid. It went cheap on ebay if I recall. I tried to sell here but no interest--it would have helped I suppose if this newly surfaced one had made the rounds to the stalwarts of this site prior to my sale!

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C) Bob Howard for convincing me to buy it, simply buy playing it longer than 5 minutes and feigning interest in purchasing it himself.

Not true. I wasn’t feigning nothing. If you hadn’t rescued it, I would have. It plays as good as it sounds and sounds as nice as it looks, and it is absolutely beautiful. Congrats. I’m happy for you, Rob.

– Bob Howard

Bob pulled out his credit card as I was pondering out loud "Should I...Shouldn't I...?" when Rob came in, took the price tag off the head stock, proclaiming, "It's mine".

Beautiful moment for that guitar.

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The scene of the crime!

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Soooooo....you guys that played this guitar, is one of you going to contact Knavel and see about buying his??

Hi Dave, gone and forgotten I'm afraid. It went cheap on ebay if I recall. I tried to sell here but no interest--it would have helped I suppose if this newly surfaced one had made the rounds to the stalwarts of this site prior to my sale!

– knavel

Thanks for the update. Sorry it couldn't have stayed around here. I was flabbergasted when you had it here and there was such poor response. I tried to tell everyone how wonderful these old gals are but without folks being able to play and hear one, it was a lost cause. Now, after a group gets to hear and play one there aren't enough to go around! I do believe there's been a wake-up call now with this one Rob bought and when another one surfaces, a few fellows here might go for it.


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