Vintage Gretsch Guitars

What do you guys know about tuners?

1

I happened to notice we are devoid of a tuners section on the guitar page. My tuner knowledge is pretty limited, so I'm asking you guys what you have.

You don't need to know all about all the models - if you know only a little bit about one or two types, that will do. Pictures, models, date ranges, anything that is interesting, email me what you have.

I will collate all the info I receive into a definitive history of Gretsch tuners and something Bax can publish.

Thanks in advance.

2

it is pretty mixed.

you have imperial tuners - step - kidney

Grover - round - butterbean

waverly - round metal - round white plastic - 3 to a strip

Van Ghent tuners

They seem to differ by model, and year, even same batch differences.

3

Paging Dr Ball! Paging Dr afire!

Frank? Fred?

4

daverave wrote:

it is pretty mixed.

you have imperial tuners - step - kidney

Grover - round - butterbean

waverly - round metal - round white plastic - 3 to a strip

Van Ghent tuners

They seem to differ by model, and year, even same batch differences.

Your "Grover round" are not Grover tuners, but Waverly tuners too. The kidney bean shaped ones (like on Duane Eddy's 57 6120) are Grover Statites.

5

sorry, yes the imperials are made by grover too. step and kidney both

were the only open backed noticed ones marked grover, were the butterbeans?

6

Yep, the open back ones you see most on vintage Gretsches are Waverly tuners :

7

These are typical vintage Grover Statites (on a Martin in this pic), found on some vintage Gretsches, particularly some 57's :

8

These are round-button vintage Grover Statites, again on a vintage Martin - never say never, but I've never seen these on a vintage Gretsch :

9

Okay, here would be my rough summary of what I think I know about tuners on Gretsch electrics, starting in the early 50's:

Waverly, plastic button - used on the low end electrics like non-cutaway Electromatics, and through the 50's on Clipper/Corvette hollowbodies, Ramblers and the like. These are later used on Clipper thinlines from about '59 onward, early Corvette solidbodies, and also on Tennesseans for a short time around late 1961, only on the earliest deep bodied "Electrotone" twin HiloTron Tennesseans. That's all I can think of for these.

Waverly, metal buttons - used on many models pretty consistently from the early 50's through the mid 1960's - Jets, 6120's, most Tennesseans, maybe some early Club-like Electros, Anniversaries, and more that I'm not thinking of. Eventually (maybe around '67) some or all of these were made with plated plastic buttons that look metal rather than actual solid metal buttons.

Grover Sta-Tites, butterbean buttons - these seem show up in place of the Waverly metal buttons sporadically in '57 and early '58. I've seen them on Jets and 6120's. I've also seen a couple of early '58 6120's with Sta-Tites that had rectangular buttons. See the early '58 on Ed and Fred's site 6120 freak. That one has them, and it's not the only I've seen. As far as I know, they are original tuners that turned up just a few times.

Grover Imperials, stairstep buttons - they start showing up on the high end models in '55, such as Country Clubs, Falcons and eventually Penguins, Convertible/Sal Salvadors, Country Gents, Vikings, and I think that's about it. The 50's Imperials have wide shafts, and in the early 60's the shafts get thinner, and in '64 the stairstep buttons are replaced with elephant ear buttons.

Kluson Wafflebacks, oval buttons - These are on Country Clubs/Electro II's from the early 50's up until 1955. I don't think they were used on anything else.

Van Ghent (or Gent?), triangular buttons - Used on mid-level guitars mostly in '64, and maybe a little bit later, often seen on 6120's, Anniversaries and Tennesseans.

Van Ghent, plastic "rugby ball" buttons - used on mid to late 60's 4x2 Corvettes, occasionally on Clippers too.

That's about all I can think of. In the late 60's they started using some imported tuners also used by Hofner that had a sort of triangular shaped back cover, but I don't know who made them.

I'm sure Ed can add to or correct some of this when he sees it.

10

Nice, thanks guys. I'll put something together...

12

Don't forget about the bushing styles. Great info guys!

14

I'm sure they're European. Hofner used them around the same time. I've asked around in the past and even the biggest German guitar geek I contacted didn't know the manufacturer. If you're really interested, maybe contact Hofner and see if somebody would be willing to do some research in their records.

15

Shouldn't tuning machines be catagorized by gear ratios and tolerances rather than just given cute names?

16

My 1957 6120's "Butterbean Grover" tuners -

My 1957 6121 has the same Waverly tuners that Walter Broes posted ...

The tuners on my 1940 Synchromatic 100 can be seen here.

Yep ... Grovers! ... Original? I think so!

17

Off the top of my head, I can't really improve on what Afire listed (nice summary!).

18

afire wrote:

I'm sure they're European. Hofner used them around the same time. I've asked around in the past and even the biggest German guitar geek I contacted didn't know the manufacturer. If you're really interested, maybe contact Hofner and see if somebody would be willing to do some research in their records.

were you referring to the closed ones I posted?

20

Here's an apparently all original '67 Gent with covered Van Ghents:

Bob

24

I am looking for tuners for my 67 Monkees Model.... I want to match these. If anyone has these or knows where I can get them I'd sure like to know. Thanks.

25

All of my guitars use the same tuner


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