Vintage Gretsch Guitars

What’s up with this Electro II?

1

Link Aside from the stair step bridge. No master vol; and look how far the neck pickup is from the neck. It appears to be missing a few frets! Compare with mine

2

Every vintage Gretsch was a prototype!

3

The sunburst example from the Reverb link is earlier than '53... although they don't offer up a serial number. The Electro II models debuted in '51 and lacked a master volume, which came sometime in the subsequent model year. Your natural example is a slightly later example, and edging closer to the Country Club specs (from late '53), whereas the other is still displaying some Synchromatic characteristics.

4

Pretty sure the distance from fretboard to neck pickup is to accomodate access to the new adjustable truss rod -- which was accessed under the fretboard extension; you can see the little divot on the fretboard end binding, which is the usual tell-tale sign.

5

The sunburst example from the Reverb link is earlier than '53... although they don't offer up a serial number. The Electro II models debuted in '51 and lacked a master volume, which came sometime in the subsequent model year. Your natural example is a slightly later example, and edging closer to the Country Club specs (from late '53), whereas the other is still displaying some Synchromatic characteristics.

– kc_eddie_b

Question for you Ed. We know now that the early years of Gretsch doing a cutaway shows a lot (or all??) having the hand-catcher feature I've pointed out on several occasions, and clearly shown on this guitar. My question is, once the Electro II had fully morphed into the Country Club and started using that new name, did Gretsch fix this design mistake or was it present, possibly for awhile before being finally done away with?

6

I don't know Dave... I'd have to scrutinize hundreds of photos of early Country Clubs to try and discern when that feature changed. I would characterize that feature as a poor design decision more than a "mistake". In the mid-50s the cutaway was kind of a new thing, so Gretsch was probably insensitive to the affects of that little section of the pocket hanging over. I'm sure they got some feedback from the field and ultimately improved the design. You might check the GDP database and see if any early Club owners can help you narrow down when that occurred.

7

Thanks Ed, I don't expect you to spend a lot of time looking through photos as it isn't even a 'feature' in the normal definition of the word, I was just kind of wondering. I'll call it a poor design feature from now on as that's a better description of what the "hand-catcher" actually is.

We agree though that at some point, brought on no doubt by feedback, that there was an executive decision but someone or group at Gretsch that they needed to 'fix' that poor design. If you do happen to see an 'official' early CC with that feature remaining, its S/N timeline will be interesting to note.

Regarding this guitar, I'm thinking that the early batch you refer to had two poor design features, not surprising I suppose in the early years of pups appearing, that being no pup selector switch, just control pots, and to a lesser degree, based on Gibson not having one either, a master volume control. This feature alone for me, puts them one step better than Gibson down through the years, with it's abilities not adjustable by foot controls as eventually happened. Chet wasn't having any of that BS when he joined them as both his designs they built for him have the MV control.


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