Vintage Gretsch Guitars

That Great Gretsch Sound” label

1

Seller of a Model 6117 Annie that I'm looking at (10424) claims it's a '66, as does a recent photo appraisal. It's almost identical to my Dad's Annie (10420) except the bridges. Seller's has the metal bar bridge claiming it's been changed from the original roller bridge, but that could just be their assumption. Dad's has the aluminum compensating bridge.

I'm very confused by the serial numbers, labels, and the seller and appraisal claims for 1966. Seems to me from the serial number page this label wasn't used until '69. Wouldn't both these guitars be '69 or '70 models? Did every model after '68 have the zero-fret fingerboard?

5

The seller's claim is legit. This is one of the famous "gap" labels employed for a time between the end of the sequential serial numbering system in early '66 and the back of the headstock date-coded series starting August '66 (info courtesy of Ball's Manual of Gretsch Guitars by GDP'er Kc_Eddie_B).

6

I could only find two references online about these labels/numbers. One said they were used in the late 1960's and Gretsch's website says they started about 1969 and were used until 1981; the 5-digit numbers always began with 1 or 2 and are sequential; they do not follow the “date-coded” convention; and precise dates cannot be determined using the serial numbers. That info must not be completely accurate.

Very confusing, but the "gap" labels make a lot more sense.

Is it safe to assume then that any Gretsch with these labels and five-digit numbers beginning with 1 or 2 must be 1966 models?

7

The labels your referencing from '69 and later don't look anything like the one on your Annie. They were plain with a black border and hand written model number and date-coded serial number.

8

One thing to consider, the Annie's sold at that time were mostly sold with a G-cutout tailpiece and a Space Control bridge. The Bigsbys were mostly dealer add-ons. The bridge could be anything.

The Seller's guitar has Van Ghent tuners, which make it time compatible with 1966. Can't quite tell with your Dad's but it looks possible.

It's sort of spooky the numbers are so close, but Gretsch was cranking out a lot of guitars then. I bought one. I run into a guitar today on this forum that was built the same month as mine.

Lee

9

I could only find two references online about these labels/numbers. One said they were used in the late 1960's and Gretsch's website says they started about 1969 and were used until 1981; the 5-digit numbers always began with 1 or 2 and are sequential; they do not follow the “date-coded” convention; and precise dates cannot be determined using the serial numbers. That info must not be completely accurate.

Very confusing, but the "gap" labels make a lot more sense.

Is it safe to assume then that any Gretsch with these labels and five-digit numbers beginning with 1 or 2 must be 1966 models?

– thompsonmd

Online sources are unreliable for a great many S/N issues regarding Gretsch guitars. They're accurate for Fender & Gibson because the production and sales records actually exist, unlike the records for Gretsch, which were completely destroyed by two fires in the early '70's. For years, the info about Gretsches was pretty much a stab in the dark and a lot of it is still erroneously quoted as fact when in fact it's wrong. The smart people quote from Ed's books, the dummies quoting old legend info.

Ed's painstaking research a number of years back finally demystified the entire S/N problem issue and this info is in his two books, which are the reference bibles I use to date Gretsches, prior to the stamped date coding began.

10

Thanks all so much for the responses. I'll check out Ed's books, but I'm confident now that these are both 1966 models.

Spooky the numbers are so close is right! I'm buying this one for my collection and my brother can have Dad's. That way we both can have great mementos of him and his music.


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