Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Super Chet

1

How important is the Super Chet from the seventies with all the fiddly knobs tucked away in the pickguard edge?

Is it a special thing or just a Baldwin problem?

2

How do you define "important"? It's kind of a weird question. If you're on-stage and need to adjust the setting on the guitar, it's damn important. Or, if you're looking to collect these guitars, it's probably not.

3

not sure of the question... but the pickguard knobs are what kept me away from the Baldwin era models, because by all accounts they are notoriously fragile, AND one online reviewer i read somewhere that he bought up all the remaining spares from someone at Gretsch years ago. I cant remember where i saw that., but if its true , then those two factors together were enough to steer me away from the Baldwin era ones. There are a few pieces very late in the Baldwin run that finally put the controls on the body.

But what that means for most Baldwin pieces is that when the pickguard knobs fail, and they most likely will, be prepared to drill holes in your Baldwin to make it functional. What that kind of mod will do to your Baldwin era piece as an investment -- as Baldwin era ones are ridiculously expensive now-- i have no idea, but id imagine it would plummet. So i dont think the Baldwin Super Chets are good buy from a resale view if you plan to play 'em.

I finally found a Super Gretsch -- the Terada reissue from 2000 -- but never bonded with it. Great guitar, lovely, but just not me. I'm not in a position to just collect cool guitars -- they have to work for me -- so ive had feelers out to sell it for a long time. Finally sold yesterday.

4

I'm sure that the 5 x Baldwin era Super Chet knobs could be secured with a tiny amount of superglue dabbed on the little pot shafts where the splined pot shaft goes through the wafer-thin knobs.

I only played one a couple of times, and that did strike me as a fairly fuctional but weak part of the design. I know that they are prone to falling off the guitar and rolling onto the stage, (a nightmare in the dark) but the problem is not insurmountable.

Congrats on your sale Mustapha.!!

5

I'm starting to get a picture of this guitar. It does not strike me as an ideal realiable workhorse for a professional player.

With important I meant like an important member of the Gretsch guitar family or just an ugly nephew.

Seems it a weird fiddly design. I'm asking for a friend who might like one. Thanks.

6

i dont think theyre an ugly nephew by any means... they're unique, very elegant, ..my reissue was very comfortable and many ways a cool guitar. In the three or four months i took to research these and locate a Super Gretsch, i saw the original Baldwins skyrocket in price on gbase and eBay. I think once people discover the reissues they 'll go up in value as well.

7

I am the person that bought up the spares for the SuperChet; actually, there were only eight left, and I bought five of them. I bought them from Duke Kramer who used to work at Gretsch. He purchased most of the spare parts that were left over from when the company discontinued production; at least that's what he told me. I've had several people contact me through the years and try to buy them from me; they're not for sale. The only reason for my post is this: I purchased my SuperChet new in 1976 and figured out right away that the knobs wouldn't last very long with normal use, so I purchased a Morley volume pedal to use with my tone and volume controls wide open. Tone is controlled at the amp. I've had pretty good success that way. I believe I purchased the extra pots in 1994.

8

I've never played one but I think Super Chets are very nice looking. Really a nice Baldwin era original design.

If I were to get one, based on what I've read and now confirmed by MrSuperChet above--and knowing how I'd thrash those controls right off with my "playing style"--I would look to tuck away the original pickguard for posterity in the case or something, and get Paul Setzer to make a new one then stick something like these from Stew Mac on it so that I don't have to put holes in the body for electronics.

http://www.stewmac.com/shop...

9

Thanks for the info on the Super Chet. You all really helped me out. :)

10

I am the person that bought up the spares for the SuperChet; actually, there were only eight left, and I bought five of them. I bought them from Duke Kramer who used to work at Gretsch. He purchased most of the spare parts that were left over from when the company discontinued production; at least that's what he told me. I've had several people contact me through the years and try to buy them from me; they're not for sale. The only reason for my post is this: I purchased my SuperChet new in 1976 and figured out right away that the knobs wouldn't last very long with normal use, so I purchased a Morley volume pedal to use with my tone and volume controls wide open. Tone is controlled at the amp. I've had pretty good success that way. I believe I purchased the extra pots in 1994.

– MrSuperChet

I am the person that bought up the spares for the SuperChet; actually, there were only eight left, and I bought five of them. I bought them from Duke Kramer who used to work at Gretsch. He purchased most of the spare parts that were left over from when the company discontinued production; at least that's what he told me. I've had several people contact me through the years and try to buy them from me; they're not for sale. The only reason for my post is this: I purchased my SuperChet new in 1976 and figured out right away that the knobs wouldn't last very long with normal use, so I purchased a Morley volume pedal to use with my tone and volume controls wide open. Tone is controlled at the amp. I've had pretty good success that way. I believe I purchased the extra pots in 1994.

– MrSuperChet

ah, there you are! nice to meet you :D

Im not sure where i first read that you had acquired them, i think maybe Harmony Central? At any rate, it s interesting to know the story and your workaround for keeping them as intact as possible.

I suppose someone could retro-engineer these knobs and sell them, , but it may not be worth their trouble , market - wise.

So I guess the real question is, what became of the last remaining three on earth?

11

Seems it a weird fiddly design. Geoff.

The scratchplate controls are the weakest part of the design, and not so practical, admittedly, but the guitar is breathtaking, and IMO a guitar for life. (I should be so lucky)

The inlay is amazing, and the overall feel and playability is wonderful.. When you pick it up, you can feel that it's one of the best guitars ever made. (maybe with the exception of D'Aquisto/D'Angelico)

The neck is almost identical to my Baldwin era Gent (but with the addition of perfect decorative inlays) and a superb shape and very fast and precise.

The Super Chet is (for me) a classic guitar without peers.

12

Mustafa, nice to meet you too. I called Duke sometime later to see about picking up the other three pots, but they were gone; where, I don't know.

Ritchie, I've always felt the same as you; the Super Chet has always been under appreciated.

I had to make a couple of changes to mine: I changed the bridge to a wider travel Schecter tune-o-matic brass color that matched the gold fairly well, and a gold Bigsby B6.

Yes, you read my review on Harmony Central years ago before they changed everything. Good memory! One other thing: my Super Chet is left handed!

13

I can understand that the knobs are immediately apparent as the Achilles Heel (and commend MrSuperChet for having the foresight to buy all the knobs up)--but there is no other knob of any sort that works in lieu of the ones the guitar came with? Seems weird.

14

Ultimately, they're just pots, and Gretsch/Baldwin got them from somewhere. I'm betting with enough digging there are equivalent pieces still being made somewhere, for some application or another. The trick would be finding them. Probably take a lot of hunting through various electronics supply catalogs.

15

Geoff, you're friend isn't ogling that one on German ebay, is he? I'm on that too.:)

16

The Stewmac variations would work, as knavel says.

17

I wonder whether the volume and tone pots from a Vox amPlug would work as replacements.

18

NOOOOO Michiel. NOOOOO. Really. NOOOOO. Not at all. ;-)

20

Another Super Chet question - are they mega heavy like Baldwins are legendary for?

Also, Baxter's post makes the point that I guess I wasn't clear on--it's not the knobs per se it's mini pots that can be problematic. I'm sure based on what we've posted just here that the pots/knobs thing can be overcome. Again, if I had one I would put the original in a safe place and get something from Setzer I could work up with the existing wiring (or replace / mod that too).

What strikes me about these is that they have an elegance that's so un-70s with that inlay especially I think.

21

Are these the knobs no-one can find? Link...

Third image down.

22

I love the Super Chet but hate the control layout. A nice option is this 72 Deluxe Chet I just got from the good guys at Authentic Guitars

http://www.authenticguitars...

This guitar is no heavier than they 6122 1959 I recently sold. All this talk about Baldwin guitars being complete boat anchors is wrong.

I'm a total convert to the 70's Gretsches, they are beautiful, well made guitars and I love those blacktop Filtertrons. I now have four


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