Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Questions regarding 1967 Gretsch Viking

1

I'm looking to purchase a 1967 Gretsch Viking, but the one I'm looking at has some issues that raise concerns: 1) it does not have the typical leather backing and does not have the button straps for the leather backing; 2) it has two mute switches instead of the typical one; and 3) it appears that the tuning fork hole is not as large as others. Does anyone know if this was typical for this model. Did Gretsch have a custom shop that would allow for these types of customization? I will follow up with some pictures. I'm waiting on the seller to send me pics of the serial number and pickups, and will follow-up with those later. Appreciate any insight. Been playing Gretsch guitars for years, but this is my first dip into the vintage models.

Link to the images https://imgur.com/a/ck5f7it

2

That's the first time I've seen a back access with no snap buttons for the belt protector pad. And I thought that the mute was by '67 was the single version. I'm noticing a significant amount of binding rot. Does this bother you and does the price reflect the cost to re-bind, which could run to $1K?

3

The binding doesn't really bother me, but I've gotten the price down to a comfortable level because of it. Now I'm just worried about authenticity. I'm still waiting to get pictures of the headstock, serial numbers, and better photos of the paperwork. Just seemed odd to have the double mute and no leather backing. Also, I'm somewhat concerned that somethings are not original because the pickguard is obviously not original if it is a viking.

4

Double mutes is unusual as is the lack of snaps on the back, but that could easily have been a customer request, which Gretsch would do. Looks like you have some original paperwork as well as the case key(?). I've seen the square hole for the tuning fork before; the Imperial stairstep tuner keys and the hole might be indicative of an earlier year model. Looks like you have a Bigsby too and not the usually seen Webster vibrato - which would have added another hole in the top.

5

The square hole under the bridge is for that Webster vibrato which has been changed out for the standard Bigsby this model didn't come with. The FSU doesn't employ a hole in the top; it's fitted within the strings between the tailpiece and the bridge.

6

Nice colour on that one,be advised ,the binding rot will stain the finish on the outer edges as it worsens ,i'd get it redone at some point if it were mine,because that can't be fixed unless you refinish it.

8

'66 sounds right. Those are the correct Supertrons. The FSU did hack another hole in the top right below where a bridge would be normally placed; a (sometimes bent) tuning fork was attached and floated down into the guitar body. The hole for the Webster vibrato was a little further south than the square hole we're seeing near the mutes. Check out the '65 Catalog as well as the FSU brochure in our catalog section.

10

My bad, lx, you're right. I was trying to go from memory and failed. If the FSU were installed it would push the bridge much further towards the tailpiece than it is now with the Bigsby. Strange features on this guitar.

11

My bad, lx, you're right. I was trying to go from memory and failed. If the FSU were installed it would push the bridge much further towards the tailpiece than it is now with the Bigsby. Strange features on this guitar.

– Windsordave

It is strange, but that is part of what I like about it. TBH I'm more of a collector than a player. Been playing for years, but my talent doesn't add up to the guitars I own. It's like owning art to me. I pulled the trigger and bought it. I'll post an update once it arrives. Thanks for your help!

12

My bad, lx, you're right. I was trying to go from memory and failed. If the FSU were installed it would push the bridge much further towards the tailpiece than it is now with the Bigsby. Strange features on this guitar.

– Windsordave

Don't sweat it Dave. I first saw the hole for the FSU in '82 on my Great Gretsch 6120 Hunt on a '68 Blackhawk -- only my third vintage Gretsch siting -- which was my introduction to all the weird and wonderful Gretschisms. And this Viking does have some additional custom strangeness.

13

Just awhile back Toxo had one of these with every Websterism on it. As you know, I'm not a fan of his contrivances. For me, he had two successes: brought Chet into the Gretsch family and the idea of the White Falcon which found its way into production. All his gizmos while making it into production were never deemed a success, including the longest running, the mute systems.

The Viking was semi-successful in that it lasted for a few years. It's too busy for my liking. I think of it as an aberration or curiosity from the vintage line.

14

It is strange, but that is part of what I like about it. TBH I'm more of a collector than a player. Been playing for years, but my talent doesn't add up to the guitars I own. It's like owning art to me. I pulled the trigger and bought it. I'll post an update once it arrives. Thanks for your help!

– hardestbutton2button

Congrats on getting what you wanted! Keep and eye on the binding rot progressing into the finish. And welcome to all things Gretsch! This is an interesting place to hang out.

15

I own a 1967 Cadillac Green Viking. This particular Viking posted here is quite different from the standard model and was obviously made to-order: 1965 Vikings and after only came with a single mute. The Grover Imperials were always kidney bean buttons, not step ups. There were three different pickguard logos and this is the first one which is it is a standard pickguard that has no differentiation that it is a Viking. This dates from the 1965/1966 model year. The second Viking pickguard simply had the word Viking on the pickguard in a faux Scandanavian-style lettering. This dates from the years 1967 and 1968.The third pickguard added a Viking ship next to the Viking lettering. This dates from 1969 and 1970, after which there was no pickguard differentiation with other guitars until the model was discontinued in 1975/76. The hole for the FSU was virtually always round and edged with a slotted piece of translucent plastic. Only the 1965/6 Vikings and only the very few first made came from the first batch of 150 came without the FSU. Finally, there is the weirdness of no back pad. Congratulations! This is a honey!

16

The weird thing about the tuning fork hole is that it's rectangular. And it's lined with red felt like the mute holes. My Gretsch-sense says it's kosher. Not sure how it could be explained as anything but original. You couldn't turn the usual round hole into that more compact rectangle. And the felt lining looks like Gretsch factory work.

By the same token, you can't add a second mute to a single mute guitar. This had two mutes from day one.

By the same same token, you can't remove the snap holes. If they aren't there now, they never were.

Looks like a custom order to me. Somebody didn't like the backpad, preferred double mutes, and found the usual bigger round FSU hole to be a visual distraction.

I didn't even notice the tuner buttons until ewkewk pointed them out. Obviously, it's hard to verify the originality of removable tuner buttons, but they're definitely of that era, not newer replacements. And given that the original owner clearly had very specific taste, I would presume that they were another one of his requests.

17

Bet those pickups sound good, have fun

18

A lot of the Floating Sound Unit's holes are rectangular (as is the one on my '69 White Falcon). Some have their edges lined with felt, some with that milky-colored plastic edging, like they use on the rear access holes. If I remember correctly, my two '68 Blackhawks each had the oval FSU tuning fork access hole in their tops.

19

Wow, I didn't expect this thread to still be going. Loving all the information you guys are providing. Only recently joined, and seems like a great community to be a part of. I will be sure to follow-up once this bad boy arrives and let y'all know my thoughts on it!

20

She arrived today! Binding is pretty rough in some spots and is probably in need of a refret, but overall I'm happy with the purchase. Once I get home and plug it, and I'll take some pictures and share them you all!

21

Link to photos of the guitar: https://imgur.com/a/THr7vOS

The frets are so worn out on it, that it is difficult to play. Definitely needs some work, but overall I am happy with the guitar. I plugged it in and everything works, and the pickups sound amazing. I can't wait for the day that I get this guitar restored and back to its former glory.


Register Sign in to join the conversation