Vintage Gretsch Guitars

NGD— 1942 Synchrolicious!

26

Beautiful aul geet ,congrats Rob!

That binding is class!

28

The Synchro model "115" is more commonly associated to the wartime and post war models of the Synchro 100 that came in a factory cream finish. I'll post the Red River Dave ad I have from the mid-40s featuring that particular iteration. But I follow Rob's logic about this natural finish example arguably being considered a 115 as well.

The pre-war Synchro 100 models were pretty darn ornate and fancy... and it's my opinion that Rob and Dave's (and knavel's) specimens are slightly simplified versions of that model. These are all circa '42ish as evidenced by those bottom-heavy f-hole shapes unique to that period on Gretsch archtops.

As the US got sucked into WWII the materials got sparce, skilled Brooklyn factory craftsmen entered the military, and consumers wallets got tighter... all driving a less ornate product out of the Gretsch factory.

31

From the Oct. 1946 Metronome magazine...

33

Here's a slightly earlier pre-war Synchro 100 (circa 1940)... serial #1948.

34

The same guitar's fancy pre-war headstock...

35

This is more like a '41ish model... in the Synchro 115 cream finish (serial #2557).

38

And the later mid-40s "wartime" aka Red River Dave Synchro 115...

40

So Ed, in your opinion, mine would instead be classified as a 100 in the "upgraded" natural/gold hardware (as described for catalog #53300 in the '39-40 "7-Points" brochure) , instead of a 115? Just trying to make sure the classification is as accurate as possible.

I know that WindsorDave will want to know this as well, since ours are almost twins.

41

So this one from 1949 is really a blonde Corsair and not really a Synchro 115? And what's with the weird triangular binding around the neck joint?

– lx

I'll let Ed chime back in but I don't believe the nicely appointed 115 that Rob & I have, continued as late as '49. This guitar isn't as well appointed as ours. Condition aside - binding and scuffed top - this one doesn't have the better tort binding, has an unbound dark, ie ugly, repro pickguard and lower quality non-brass tuners with plastic buttons. The neck lacks the stinger and has that weird insert piece at the neck attachment. Mine has a circular tort piece at this location which does look nicer. And the tailpiece isn't original.

IMO, this guitar's features are a downgrade, not an upgrade.

42

So Ed, in your opinion, mine would instead be classified as a 100 in the "upgraded" natural/gold hardware (as described for catalog #53300 in the '39-40 "7-Points" brochure) , instead of a 115? Just trying to make sure the classification is as accurate as possible.

I know that WindsorDave will want to know this as well, since ours are almost twins.

– Tartan Phantom

Rob, I believe the upgraded 100 is the 115, by virtue of the description in Ed's ad and the logic that Gretsch named the models after their price tag.

Oh, and I don't think the cream version looks nearly as classy as our natural finishes....now a much deeper shade of honey amber. Move the bridge base a bit and you'll see the lighter original shade!

We need a third guitar just like ours and then we can officially start a Synchro 115 Club!

43

One other thing worth pointing out with both our guitars, Rob is that ours have the prettiest tortoiseshell binding ever made!! The other pics showing a tort binding shows a color so dark it almost looks black. Same with tort guards, both vintage and recent.

44

So Ed, in your opinion, mine would instead be classified as a 100 in the "upgraded" natural/gold hardware (as described for catalog #53300 in the '39-40 "7-Points" brochure) , instead of a 115?

I'm totally confused. I don't see anything about a 115 or a $15 upcharge for gold hardware and natural finish in that catalog, and as far as I can tell, the number "53300" is in reference to a case that fits this model. And from the text, the Model 100 came stock with gold hardware, not as an upgrade. Am I missing something?

45

Not only is that guitar a looker it has a loud balanced voice, you're a luck man Rob, congrats!

46

So Ed, in your opinion, mine would instead be classified as a 100 in the "upgraded" natural/gold hardware (as described for catalog #53300 in the '39-40 "7-Points" brochure) , instead of a 115?

I'm totally confused. I don't see anything about a 115 or a $15 upcharge for gold hardware and natural finish in that catalog, and as far as I can tell, the number "53300" is in reference to a case that fits this model. And from the text, the Model 100 came stock with gold hardware, not as an upgrade. Am I missing something?

– Afire

Yeah, you are correct... especially about the case number... chalk up the error to my eyes + over-exhuberance.. but I would swear that I've seen it somewhere... perhaps it was just the description of the "115" category for the database-- which as Ed has demonstrated above, the "blonde finish" is not the same as the "natural finish". It seems that evidence is pointing closer and closer to actual model number being "100"... I just wanna get this right.

Forensic guitar history can be so cryptic when there are no original records to access.

47

The same guitar's fancy pre-war headstock...

– kc_eddie_b

These two pics show the same binding and tuners as Rob's and my guitars. I do like the headstock motif!

Where the confusion comes into play for me is in what to me appears to be the downgrade in features on that cream finish 115. The tuners don't have solid brass buttons, the tort guard isn't bound and doesn't have the nice flowing lines of mine, which is the original guard, and the tort binding is that much darker shade, which again doesn't have the visual impact as ours and this particular guitar.

That ad page may shed light on things but even magnified, I can't make out the descriptions. Could you please tell us what those two descriptions say Ed?

I agree that the link # only references the appropriate case, not any upgrade in features, to make it the 115. I related the model number to the price as this follows Gretsch's practice at the time.

48

Where the confusion comes into play for me is in what to me appears to be the downgrade in features on that cream finish 115. The tuners don't have solid brass buttons, the tort guard isn't bound and doesn't have the nice flowing lines of mine, which is the original guard, and the tort binding is that much darker shade, which again doesn't have the visual impact as ours and this particular guitar.

Let's not confuse preferences and downgrade/upgrade. I wouldn't expect the shade of the binding or lines of the pickguard to have any bearing on cost. But I agree, the lack of pickguard binding could be considered a downgrade. As to the metal buttons, a pretty minor downgrade, but on the other hand, one of the 115s Ed posted does have metal buttons.

So, I would agree, feature-wise, these seem to be a step below your 100s, but a pretty tiny step down.

I related the model number to the price as this follows Gretsch's practice at the time.

Then again, the 115 appears to have been introduced later. By that time, maybe costs had gone up enough to pricing a model similar to or just below the 100 at $115.

And last but not least, you can't rule out the possibility that this "blonde" finish is more labor-intensive than natural or sunburst. I know TV yellow is supposed to be kind of a bitch (though I gather the nature of mahogany may be part of the issue there, although not all of it). Just saying it's a possibility.

49

I consider the pre-war Synchro 100 and the war-time Synchro 100 models as two completely different guitars. The pre-war guitars are a higher end offering, regardless of the price tag.

50

I consider the pre-war Synchro 100 and the war-time Synchro 100 models as two completely different guitars. The pre-war guitars are a higher end offering, regardless of the price tag.

– kc_eddie_b

In that case, I'm moving mine to the "100" category. Thanks Ed, for all the clarification on this somewhat confusing issue.


Register Sign in to join the conversation