Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Vintage Gretsch with no serial number

1

Hi everyone, I am new to the Gretsch Pages, having just acquired what I think is a 1966 Country Gentleman in fantastic condition. The only odd thing is that there is no serial number--not on the name plate of the headstock, not on the top edge or back of the headstock, not under the pick guard, and not inside the body. I have heard from Walter Carter and seen in other posts that this is not unheard of. I do not think the guitar has been refinished recently as everything glows uniform (and very strong) green under blacklight, and color/feel seems original. I think the body was re-bound, as the binding is perfect and black light does show a slight dark "rim" on the top and back following the binding. Anyway, given the Supertron I believe this would be post '64; given the double mutes I believe pre-'67; and given the signature and "GENTLEMEN" typo on the pickguard I think '66 or /67. So I'm going with mid to late '66 but would be happy to hear anyone's opinion. It is a fantastic player and I am thrilled to have picked it up.

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More pics for you:

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Beautiful guitar. I have no real advice to give other than to point out that black light will only show a partial refin. If the whole guitar was refinished it’ll look just like one that hasn’t been touched when looked at under black light.

Oh, and welcome - nice to have you onboard.

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Thanks, Deke! Certainly if a refinish was done a while back, yes, I totally take your point. In comparing nitro finished guitars I own (including those that are 2 years old, 5 years old, 10 years old, then 40 and 50 or more), I generally see the glow become stronger and more uniform with time. I guess I just took it that the serial number is unlikely to be missing from the headstock due to some kind of headstock repair or local refinish, but you never know.

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Pot codes? Anything stamped on the top edge of the headstock?

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Have you looked in the neck pickup cavity?

– Tartan Phantom

Hi, thanks, no haven't done that yet, I will at the next string change, but I tried to look around when I had the back cover off and could not see anything there.

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Pot codes? Anything stamped on the top edge of the headstock?

– DaveH

Thanks, yes, I need to get the pots out. I was hoping to be able to get a camera in there without removing them but wasn't able to see. Ultimately I'll probably have to remove them and have a close look. Mostly I was wondering if others have seen any vintage Gretsch guitars lacking serials. I have heard of some that left the factory in a less-than-authorized way back in the day!

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Gretsch catalog #33 "That Great Gretsch Sound" (1968) actually lists the 6122 as a "Country Gentlemen".

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It's definitely not a '67. I have one. They had single string mutes. The 1965 catalogue shows double mutes and Grover Imperials. That leaves only 1966.

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Serial numbering changed from the sequential numbering that was typically on the plaque on the face of the headstock to the date-coded numbers relocated to the reverse of the headstock in August of 1966. This Gent might fall right around that time... just speculating.

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Serial numbering changed from the sequential numbering that was typically on the plaque on the face of the headstock to the date-coded numbers relocated to the reverse of the headstock in August of 1966. This Gent might fall right around that time... just speculating.

– kc_eddie_b

Thanks for the August info--yes, my speculation was that mine was made around the time of the switchover, and a "new" no-serial plaque was used but they neglected to put an ink stamp on the headstock. Cool.

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Gretsch catalog #33 "That Great Gretsch Sound" (1968) actually lists the 6122 as a "Country Gentlemen".

– duojet55

Ha! Yes they seemed confused about that. I even saw a plaque on a later reissue that read "GENTLMAN" :)

16

Beautiful guitar.

Im inclined to believe the serial number was either removed with a neck refinishing or the plaque being replaced. It having been rebound indicates it had some restoration and may heave been more that just binding.

I say this as I don’t see how a factory would ship a guitar without a serial number. How would they get paid for it from the dealer ? How would it be tracked for inventory etc.

Anyways enjoy that fine gretsch.

17

Beautiful guitar.

Im inclined to believe the serial number was either removed with a neck refinishing or the plaque being replaced. It having been rebound indicates it had some restoration and may heave been more that just binding.

I say this as I don’t see how a factory would ship a guitar without a serial number. How would they get paid for it from the dealer ? How would it be tracked for inventory etc.

Anyways enjoy that fine gretsch.

– Gasmoney

Thanks. Certainly possible, but under black light the neck and most of the body (save for the binding area) glow very intense green, similar to my '63, '64, and '70 Gibsons. It also looks and feels totally original (color is perfect, nibs still on frets, doesn't appear to have had any alteration to the neck or fingerboard). So if it was refinished, it was a long time ago. Who knows. Several forums and Walter Carter of Carter Vintage Guitars also state that they've seen several original vintage Gretsch guitars without serials, and this seems to have been made at the time they stopped putting it on the plaque and started inking it. So could have been an error or as some sources note, could be one of the many guitars believed to have been "liberated" from the Brooklyn factory by employees! In any case, absolutely love it and will enjoy it for many years to come!


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