Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Super Chet neck profile survey

1

While this survey will be of interest to fellow owners of the iconic Gretsch Super Chet, it will add to our knowledge of these guitars in general. The reason I decided to conduct a survey is due to Gretsch changing the necks from the wider 1.75" width they initially came with, along with a 24.6" scale, to the standard Gretsch width of 1.685" and to-be-determined scale length.

I first contacted Taffy to get the dimensions - neck width and depth at various locations on the neck as his guitar is one of the very earliest - Dec '71 - one of only 6-7 made with the bookend tip of the headstock and gold faced Filtertron pups. Mine is from June '72 and as far as I've seen, IIRC, the switch in necks occurred in late '73; however several years back when I was looking for one, I did run across one guitar with the narrowed neck whose S/N was earlier - maybe a '74 - than another example I inquired about still with the wider neck.

As most of you know, I had the neck of my SC sanded down to match the profile of my Gibson Country Gent, which not only reduced the thickness but simultaneously removed the D-shaped 'shoulders' making the new profile a shallow C. Unfortunately it didn't occur to me to measure the neck before giving it to Nicole for all the work I had done, to compare the before and after thicknesses which is the other thing I'll be able to learn from this survey.

Paul didn't use calipers as I did to measure the thicknesses along the neck but using a tape he did some estimates for me and said his appeared to be approx. .875" at the nut, and 1" at the 5th and 12th which makes sense, the bottom of the neck being flat on the early versions....a very pronounced D-shape.

Okay.....here's how I took the measurements. I slacked off the strings and took the measurements directly behind the frets, not on top of the fret as we all have different size frets. I used a digital caliper for accuracy and here's what I found for the 'new' profile on my SC. I've put everything in Imperial numbers vs metric so it'll be easier for comparisons. If you'd please do the same it would be appreciated.

[behind] 1st fret: width - 1.84".......thickness - .80" 5th " 1.98" " .80" 12th " 2.17" " .92" 14th " 2.26" " 1.04"

It would be nice if we could get several examples of both the original dimension necks and those after the change to the standard neck. We might even be able to somewhat pin down when the changeover occurred.

Thanks folks!

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I'm still a wide neck dude and this is one reason why I have toggled back to solidbodies, and the wide neck Rickenbacker 650 in particular. If there were a Chet Axe with a true 1.75 or even wider neck w/ appropriate string spacing, I might have to investigate one.

Still nothing was like the killer 1 7/8" wide 6108 of a few years ago.

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That's one you should've kept! Leave all your changing guitars to every other one you've had since!

My Super Axe (Chet's) is 1.72" at the nut. Near enough for government work!

4

Windsordave, I can't help with dimensions - I'm SC-less. I see Cream City has a 1976 SC for sale that looks nice.

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Interesting, thanks. I can tell immediately that this one has the regular width neck, scale length a mystery. When the did away with the wider neck the pickguard lost its nice 1/4" wide border as well. The guitars maintained the elegant look but for me, losing the wider neck lost what made this model unique - notwithstanding the fussy wheeled controls - until Gretsch produced the 6122-59. Still very elegant though!

IMO, the price of the one at Cream City is what these 'later' versions are worth. The earlier ones I'm the bigger fan of tend to command a bit more due to their rarity. Nice though to see another one in good condition.

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I noticed the one at Cream City is described as having a rosewood fingerboard, which is news to me! Can anyone confirm that there's or one they once owned has a rosewood board?

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Where are all the SC owners that chimed in on other SC threads?

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Windsordave, I have an early Super Chet from March of 1972 but darned if I know how to undertake some of the measurements because I don't have calipers. If you recall, my Super Chet is the one I mentioned on another thread that -- literally -- developed really badbinding rot over a period of less than 2 weeks. It is sad to look at -- like looking at the most beautiful naked woman you have ever seen, but she has leprosy!

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Windsordave, I have an early Super Chet from March of 1972 but darned if I know how to undertake some of the measurements because I don't have calipers. If you recall, my Super Chet is the one I mentioned on another thread that -- literally -- developed really badbinding rot over a period of less than 2 weeks. It is sad to look at -- like looking at the most beautiful naked woman you have ever seen, but she has leprosy!

– ewkewk

Yes, I remember sadly your SC's binding going bad super fast. Your leprosy analogy is very appropriate. Your SC is 3 months older than mine I would expect it to have the same neck profile as mine. It really does need a digital caliper to take the readings accurately and with the strings slacked off and pushed off the fretboard. It allows you to put the two tips exactly in the center of the [slightly] radiused fretboard and the thickest point on the back of the neck.

Do you happen to know what the scale length is after Gretsch reverted to the standard width neck? Did it stay at 24.6" or go to 25.5"?

It's an accurate reading of the original neck's profile as I did it that I'm interested in to see how much different it is than what my modded neck is now. I know the only realistic measurements I can get are the neck thicknesses as I measured. The actual cross-sectional profile would require using a profile gauge to show the difference between the original D-shape with big shoulders and a flat bottom and mine which is now a shallow C.


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