Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Vintage Gretsch with Modern Components

1

I’m considering buying a 50s Gretsch. It’s somewhat affordable because all of the hardware (except for the pots) is new.

Assuming the body and neck are indeed original, what are folks’ thoughts on a guitar like this? I’m not into guitar investing.

But, let’s say I bought one like this and upgraded the stock contemporary dyna’s for TV Jones and then started upgrading components for vintage parts as I found them, is this a good entry point?

Or should I just stick with modern Japanese Gretsches like my 6122-1959?

2

That does sound like a decent starting point. And if you are happy with the results, then what else matters? And since you have your 6122 to fall back on, the old/new guitar experience could be interestng as well. But personally, I've never encountered a TV Jones pickup that really made me want to install one. That might just be me though.

3

I wouldn't recommend buying a vintage guitar as an "investment". We are one economic down-turn away from the devaluation of vintage collectibles.

Also... If the guitar in question has modern parts there's always a chance that it was modified to accept them (i.e. tuner holes). So even if you were to find period correct parts, they may not drop right in.

That doesn't mean you should not get the guitar... just get it because it plays well and brings you joy in having it.

What kind of 50s Gretsch are you considering?

4

Jalexanderdixon, are you buying the guitar as an investment or because you like it? "Entry point" into what?

And, PlayerOne, what exactly are your experiences with TVJones' pickups?

5

That does sound like a decent starting point. And if you are happy with the results, then what else matters? And since you have your 6122 to fall back on, the old/new guitar experience could be interestng as well. But personally, I've never encountered a TV Jones pickup that really made me want to install one. That might just be me though.

– PlayerOne

“But personally, I've never encountered a TV Jones pickup that really made me want to install one.” That is a bold statement sir! I guess I have to ask what sounds good to you? I find Tom’s pickups to be the best sounding, highest quality, most affordable “boutique” pickups available. Hard for me to fathom what you are hearing, or not hearing?

6

Great points. Definitely not looking into an investment instrument. I do always look for good prices on instruments so I can get my money back if needed. I rarely resell instruments, though.

In terms of “entry point” - just looking for a way to get into old Gretsches. I’ve always liked the double cut 6120s, but I have a Gretsch with humbuckers and mid-60s Gretsches have the whole binding rot issues.

A few years on this forum, though, has opened my eyes to Jets and Dynasonics. That seems to be an interesting way to go vintage, but 50s Gretsches get expensive real fast.

Finding one at a local dealer with modern replacement parts, however, makes this a financial possibility. This would be for my own enjoyment. Just trying to decide if it’s worth it to take the plunge into vintage.

For the record, I do have a few 60s and 70s Fender instruments. All players grade which means I enjoy them.

7

Consider a 1970's Gretsch. Most are much better made than the Gretsch guitars post-1954 and they don't cost an arm and a leg..

8

Consider a 1970's Gretsch. Most are much better made than the Gretsch guitars post-1954 and they don't cost an arm and a leg..

– ewkewk

I agree, and most definitely make it from '72 on so as to [for the most part] avoid any carryover of the binding rot issue so prevalent in the early Baldwin ownership years.

9

It would be helpful if you stated what model you're looking at. And good pictures, if available, may allow the Gretsch Illuminati lizards to diagnose and evaluate pretty effectively. For example, to go to extremes, a 1955 White Falcon with all hardware replaced but otherwise pristine would take about $2000 to restore and be a very valuable guitar. A 1955 Streamliner, with all hardware replaced but otherwise pristine, would take about $1000 to restore, and would still be about a $1500 guitar.

And Gretsch made fabulous guitars in the '50s and early '60s.

10

I got a 1960 Anniversary that I has modern parts (except for one of the pickups) and it is my main guitar. If the one you are interested in speaks to you, go for it.

11

If it’s for your enjoyment and doesn’t break the bank, go for it.

12

I wouldn't recommend buying a vintage guitar as an "investment". We are one economic down-turn away from the devaluation of vintage collectibles.

Also... If the guitar in question has modern parts there's always a chance that it was modified to accept them (i.e. tuner holes). So even if you were to find period correct parts, they may not drop right in.

That doesn't mean you should not get the guitar... just get it because it plays well and brings you joy in having it.

What kind of 50s Gretsch are you considering?

– kc_eddie_b

Agreed .With just a few exceptions, the whole vintage guitar price scene has leveled off or in some cases declined for the oft-cited reasons. But guitars are fun -- that's why we do it.

13

I’m trying to get better pics from the seller, including one that shows if the master volume is still there or not, but the serial number and pots show this to be a 56 Jet: https://raisemyglasstothebs...

14

Now that looks like fun to me. Might be great as is, but there don't appear to be extra holes (at least from that pic), so probably a decent candidate to take back to original as time, parts, and funds permit.

16

Ed makes a good point. Vintage collectibles are on the verge of going the way of stamp collections, coin collections, Beatles lunchboxes, fine China, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Beanie Babies.

Young players don't think old guitars and amps are cool. And they aren't making money at music like we used to. (You gotta buy gear for the tax deduction, remember?)

17

As a few of you note, the whole vintage guitar scene is one that could collapse in the next decade if not few years. Between boomers getting even older and an expected recession in the next 18-24 months, will prices plummet? Who knows...

I’m not a boomer and certainly am more than blessed with the guitars I have, so I wonder if I should wait...


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