Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Super NGD

1

1977 Walnut Super Chet thanks to 949Norm’s thread about a guitar store. This guitar was in the group of Gretsches he photoed. The family of a local musician who passed away was selling his gear including the Super Chet and a 1958 Country Gent. Unconfirmed rumor has it that he had once backed up Elvis. I’m hoping for some mojo here.

The guitar is unusual in that it has a factory Bigsby (some came that way) with a Chet wire plus it has a mud switch which, along with the pick up switch, are located along the bottom bout along with two volume knobs. There were no dials on the pick guard. There are also three other plugs there somewhat reminiscent of a stereo Falcon setup of that era.

The back side has a pad and cut out access hole. Short scale, wide neck (1.725). The body is 2.5 inches deep. You can see a seam inside where the center binding is.

I don’t believe the guitar is heavy because I didn’t even think about that issue until now and I played it a while ago. The neck profile is slim. I think the pick ups were replaced but I don’t know what is there. It sounds good.

I naturally compared it to my 6122-1959 and at this moment prefer the ‘59 but am not complaining about the SC. If I were to put the ‘59 pick up combo in the SC, it might be a toss up. Hmmm, might have to think about that as I bought a spare set from someone here a while ago assuming that the right guitar might come along one day.

I bought this on impulse which is not my usual method and must say I like it.

3

Congratulations on your new artifact. It was fun to watch the story unfold.

I know not what course other opinions may take (DAVE), but I for one think this SChet has an ideal feature set and control complement.

I remain sorry about the body-center binding, but don't mind me.

Enjoy, and I'm sure we'll be interested in further comparisons as you spend more quality time with it.

4

Congrats Baba! This Gretsch sure is an enigma!!! It has the SC body shape, the center binding, all the abalone and the wider neck. Oddly though the neck profile is slim or shallow as you've described it instead of the 'normal' deep U-shape common to the wider necks. The pickguard is the correct [general] shape and has the gold border of the earlier models. BTW, the pickguard with the wheeled controls has cut-outs for the 5 controls; they aren't hung underneath. The gold border doesn't continue around the cut-out notches.

The none-SC features are the rear cut-out which serves no purpose or function really, and the stereo control layout. Overall, it's a bizarre combination of features to say the least! Not good nor bad, just weird.

Let us know what you do, if anything, with the pups. I can't imagine why they wouldn't be up to snuff, being filters, but then you don't know if they're period correct or perhaps Pre-FMIC?

The 'regular' Super Chet has several unique features but yours tops them all!

5

Congrats on a Booneville Beauty, Baba!

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WIOW!!! Congratulations, Baba Joe!! Gorgeous!!

It would be fascinating to learn the full history of your guitar. Did it leave the factory equipped "as is" as a very custom order? If so, who ordered it? If not, what is the history behind the mods? Sounds like a fun research project!

I look forward to learning about your experiences with the guitar, especially releating to the pickups. Again -- congratulations on a wonderful find and have a ball with your guitar (on many levels).

8

Nice score. Wide neck and shorter scale. I'll be interested to hear how you like that in comparison to the neck on your '59 Gent.

Congratulations.

9

Congrats on a Booneville Beauty, Baba!

– crowbone

I think you just named it - “Baba’s Booneville Beauty”. Thanks.

Comparison to the ‘59 will continue for a while. The ‘59 somehow seems to have more authority for lack of a better word. It sounds louder/fuller both acoustically and electrically. It also has bigger frets. Both necks are comfortable. I do not have long fingers and might prefer the SC neck for this reason. The SC seems to have faster action; kind of like a wider neck version of my Guild StarFire V.

The center binding is unique and cool imo but we can agree to disagree here. That’s one of the things that keeps this place interesting. The controls layout is good although I think it was a bit better on my Monkees guitar. The one switch is a bit hidden by the pick guard. I don’t recall that with the Monkees.

The pickups sound good. I’m just not sure of what they are. Curt said there was something different about them. I was only there a short time and we did not plug the guitar in and spent half that time just talking about other things anyway. I’m wondering (my after-thought guess only) if maybe they are blacktops with filter covers? Don’t know and am not loosing sleep over this.

I think this was a custom order but don’t know if the details will ever be known. There was a customer name tag with a first initial and last name on the guitar case, but there are numerous people who fit that bill in the area. The history may remain a mystery.

Thanks everyone.

10

Being fond of relics I adore your "Baba's Booneville Beauty". I also think that the center binding is unique and cool. I've been watching this story unfold with great interest, congratulations on your new guitar Baba, enjoy your found treasure.

11

Wow, Joe, love this! Looks like a terrific guitar! I was lost at first with "a seam inside where the center binding is", but now I see it in the 2nd pic. Assume you mean the line going around the side of the body.

You are correct that the Monkees' model has the switches south of the pickguard.

12

Thanks for the picture. That is a fine looking Super Chet Does this guitar have the back bracing the others (and a few other 70s models) seem to? I imagine the access hole was to facilitate getting at the extra controls (whatever they were) The Super Chet body shape really is phenomenal, Gretsch should make a couple more variations(besides the super axes etc). It might spoil the 'special' factor but it could be fun. Enjoy your guitar the Chets really are unique.

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It's a beauty. I never cared for some of the Booneville corruptions of earlier designs, but for some reason they knocked it out of the park with many of the original designs in the '70s.

Am I the only one who thinks it almost had to have come out of the factory wired for stereo? Given the lack of a hole on the upper bout, there's no question that it is a custom order and never did have standard Super Chet wiring. And I think it's highly unlikely that it's a coincidence that those three plugged holes are in the exact same position as a stereo Falcon. And, Falcons continued to get the access hole and back pad even after they got rid of the mutes, rending them less necessary.

Here's my guess. Somebody custom ordered a Super Chet and asked for it to be wired as a Stereo Falcon. In doing so, Gretsch went with the backpad feature as well (maybe requested, or maybe sua sponte just to make the 8-control wiring job less of a headache). Somewhere along the line, somebody decided they no longer cared for the stereo wiring. The original wiring was ditched and a new mono harness installed, unnecessary holes plugged, and possibly new pickups too.

That seems like the simplest explanation for all of the unusual aspects of this guitar.

14

Thanks Wade and welcome to the GDP. You have a nice looking Gretsch and everyone here will assure you that you will always need just one more.

Daddy Dog, the line shown in the picture is a pencil mark. You are correct that I was talking about a seam along the center of the side perimeter coinciding with the center binding.

Btw - we should get the Monkees listed under your profile. If you contact Tartan Phantom he can make the change. I hope you’re playing it a lot! And while you’re at it, get that Tenny in the database as well!

Toxo - Yes, the backside also has bracing, similar to what I think you described in the other thread. Parallel bracing top and bottom with a block in between. The bottom bracing ends at the hole. Perhaps cut off for the hole. I might guess that it is full on the back of most SCs.

My reaction thus far to this guitar is still wondering why it never caught on. I understand the reasons previously stated, but this is a great guitar!

I agree with you Afire. Either it was stereo or was planned to be at some point. I’m glad you like it.

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Very cool, BabaJoe.

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Congrats Joe,cool geet!

Aye,it had to have come from the factory wired for stereo !

17

Not only a beautfiul guitar but a cool unique one too. Were the stereo Falcons wired so each pickup could go to a different amp or were the pickups split bass and treble? Do the pickups look like normal filtertrons from the back(you can probably see the bridge pickup easily through the back pad hole).

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I agree that Afire's theory most elegantly explains the variant feature set. If you could get TV to wind more true stereo (bass/treble split) pickups, you could return this rare bird to its stereo glory.

We have two ears for a reason.

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The access hole does not help with the pickups because of the wood blocking. I tried to take a picture of the neck pu (can’t see the bridge pu) and think it could be a filtertron or blacktop. Could not get a good photo. Here’s a closeup from the front fwiw.

Proteus, your stereo suggestion is being considered. I like the way you think!

20

Ooops I forgot about the block. i took mine out of my Deluxe Chet as it wasn't attached to the back braces anyway. I'm not keen on trestles soundposts or any of that stuff myself. Interesting the pickups don't have any patent numbers on them. You could take a pickup out and have a look at the back of it (4 screws) and see what it's about.

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All is good. I’m happy with the sound for now and am not too concerned about what pickups they are. I will worry about it if/when I go for the Super/Classic Plus combo or really go wild with the stereo idea.

One reassessment - the guitar does have some weight. It doesn’t bother me since the ‘59 and my Falcon with trestles also are in the same category. No plans to eliminate the block.

And to WindsorDave - I never get these descriptions right but don’t think that U would define this neck.

22

I too agree with Afire's suggested scenario as checking the most boxes for explaining how this hybrid SC came to be. Would be very interesting if you returned it to a stereo version.

One thing though and that's that the pup spacing doesn't appear closer as we see on stereo Gretsches - greater distance from the bridge to the pup - so there's that mystery left unsolved for me.

23

Baba- Congrats!! Awesome score! Would love to see it in person sometime soon. Cheers!

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One thing though and that's that the pup spacing doesn't appear closer as we see on stereo Gretsches - greater distance from the bridge to the pup - so there's that mystery left unsolved for me.

Stereo Gretsches hadn't had the weird spacing since the '50s.

25

You're right. I got confused looking at '70's stereo WF's. With all the Jimmy Webster contraptions in place it stretches the normal distance from the bridge pup to the bridge.


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