Vintage Gretsch Guitars

The Earliest Known Super Chet


I was looking thru all my old guitar paraphernalia and brochures and mailers in trying to ascertain with certainty exactly what the Skinny Chet model was when I noticed an old mailer from Mandolin Brothers. They were offering for sale back around 1992 or so the oldest -- by far -- Super Chet I have ever heard of. Previously, I thought the absolutely earliest Super Chets with the fancier scroll work binding on the headstock dated from December of 1971 and the model itself really was introduced in February of 1972. I happen to own a March of 1972 Super Chet which is suffering from a horrible case of binding rot. Anyways, the Mandolin Brothers Super Chet I am referring to had a serial number of 6 1121, which would be the 121st guitar produced in June of 1971 -- which is 6 months earlier than the previously earliest known example of this guitar. So -- what do you make of that?


I've been documenting vintage Gretsch serial numbers for a long time (thank you Jack Daniels, the GDPer... not the drink, for leading me down the rabbit hole). But I made a decision early on not try and cover anything after 1970, simply to keep the project manageable. Having said that, I have tracked a number of examples of '72-'73 guitars simply to establish (through actual data) when the production interruptions occurred as a result of the two factory fires. Unfortunately that range doesn't help you with this particular inquiry. I was thrilled to hear that Mike Jones was working on the Gretsch Lost Weekend site and associated book on the Gretsch guitars from the 70s, so that we could progress the understanding of that era (and I didn't have to do the heavy lifting). Mike's work still isn't as accessible as we all hoped, but he's out there, and might have perspective on the Super Chet story.

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