Vintage Gretsch Guitars

When did Gretsch start using chrome hardware?


Gibson used Nickel hardware until 1965, before migrating to Chrome. What is the history for Gretsch?


Early. My Grestsch experience doesn’t go much before the beginning of the 1950s, and it was all chrome by then. Sellers and Gretsch itself conflate chrome and nickel hardware, but they really aren’t hard to differentiate. I don’t think Gretsch used nickel plated hardware at all in the electric years.


These are said to be 50/60s. Three look nickel to me though described as Chrome in the ad.


I'm trying to think of exceptions and coming up blank. From at least the early '50s all of the Waverly open back tuners were chrome. All of the DeArmonds were chrome. I can't recall seeing a nickel pickguard bracket. The Grover tailpieces they used early on were chrome. Yeah, I don't think Gretsch used anything but chrome and gold (over nickel) in the post WWII era. Which isn't terribly surprising. In most hardware applications chrome had replaced nickel by the 1930s.


Good enough for me then. Thanks for sharing your observations.


Well, going by the catalog descriptions (and we all know how accurate those are), nickel plating was happening in the '48/9 on the Synchro 125F, New Yorker and 6185 Electro. No mention of a specific finish until the '55 catalog which mentions chrome plating. I briefly had a '52 6183 and the tailpiece seemed identical to the chrome one on my '59 Clipper.


I have see pics of a few early G cut and Grover tail pieces I thought were nickel plated, but did not have them in hand to confirm. Without an in hand inspection, you can't rely on the quality of a picture. I had originally thought sometime around 1955, but clearly there are examples of Electros with Chrome hardware.


Two bar bridges from 1960/61 - one chrome, one nickel.


I'm guessing the nickel is on the left? More glow and less shine?


That’s correct. Nickel looks more “yellow” and is more prone to tarnish.


Thanks Josh. It’s good to know I was not seeing things. I don’t think I have ever seen a Filtertron in nickel, but the dynas and the rest of the hard I thought I did. So maybe there was different platers or suppliers.

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