Vintage Gretsch Guitars

What do you guys know about tuners?

51

They're modern Rotomatics with Imperial buttons.

– Afire

I don’t think those are modern. Those appear to be Pat Pending, so maybe 60s?

52

Yeah, I don't know much about Rotomatics, but assumed modern given the fresh looking gold plate. Maybe replated? So, maybe old Rotomatics with modern ('70s or later) Imperial buttons.

55

Here's a question about tuners that maybe folks here can help to answer? There's a "1958 Gretsch Chet Atkins" listed for sale on the Bay which sports gold plated Kluson Deluxe tuners. They appear to be original but I thought Gretsch only used gold plated Waverly's on these models? Am I wrong? Did these guitars come with gold plated KD's? Maybe for a specific year only?

Link

56

I would assume those are replacements. Waverly open backs were standard from the beginning through about '64. The only deviation that I'm aware of was a brief period where Grover Sta-Tites were in the mix in late '57 and early '58.

The only use of Klusons (other than waffle backs in the early '50s) was the occasional appearance of Deluxes on Clippers and maybe some 'Vettes.

That said, there are no obvious signs of other tuners having been on it, like finish damage around the bushings. I guess you can never say never. I suspect Gretsch carried Kluson tuners in their distributor role, and in a pinch, I suppose they could have grabbed a set. You would have to remove one to look for the telltale Waverly dimples or other clues, but it would be a surprise to me if they are original.

57

I would assume those are replacements. Waverly open backs were standard from the beginning through about '64. The only deviation that I'm aware of was a brief period where Grover Sta-Tites were in the mix in late '57 and early '58.

The only use of Klusons (other than waffle backs in the early '50s) was the occasional appearance of Deluxes on Clippers and maybe some 'Vettes.

That said, there are no obvious signs of other tuners having been on it, like finish damage around the bushings. I guess you can never say never. I suspect Gretsch carried Kluson tuners in their distributor role, and in a pinch, I suppose they could have grabbed a set. You would have to remove one to look for the telltale Waverly dimples or other clues, but it would be a surprise to me if they are original.

– Afire

Yea I knew enough to think the same thing when I saw those tuners but, like you, I could see no signs of any previous tuners which would have been somewhat noticeable since the change out from Waverly to KD's should show some type of extraneous footprint around the borders? Yes/no? Plus the KD tuners are correct for the late 1950's and aged appropriately. Maybe just an anomaly or an early change-out?

58

I could see no signs of any previous tuners which would have been somewhat noticeable since the change out from Waverly to KD's should show some type of extraneous footprint around the borders? Yes/no?

I would tend to think that you might be able to see evidence of the round Waverly tabs where the Kluson is scalloped. But I don't really know that for certain.

The other thing that would be odd if they were original is the use of plastic buttons on a 6120. In Gretsch's tuner hierarchy, plastic buttons are normally only used on lower end models.

59

About 1974, to both questions.

Gretsch used Imperials (with the big elephant ear/lima bean/butter bean buttons) through 1973 or so. All of those had the full mounting tabs and are disassemblable.

The original style of stairstep buttons (IMO, much more aesthetically pleasing) also lasted to about 1974. Not many guitar companies still used stairstep Imperials that late. D'Aquisto was one of the few. And you can see from early to mid-1970s D'Aquistos that the original, more angular buttons were still being made. By about 1974 you start seeing the new style of stairsteps and clipped-ear mounting tabs, and the tiny USA. And while I know the modern Imperials are not disassemblable, I'm not sure about the early new-style American made ones.

So, I would say all changes appeared to have happened simultaneously, circa 1974.

– Afire

According to Grover the later 150 & 151 tuners are metric. Mounting hole spacing is off so if you don't want to drill new holes in your vintage head you need to find some "real" vintage tuners. I'm looking to replace theses white plastic buttons with imperial step tuners just to make it look original. These pictured were on the guitar when I purchased in 1963 (it's a 1958 CG). The problem is the buttons are press fit otherwise I'd just replace the buttons.


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