Vintage Gretsch Guitars

54 Cutaway 6185N ELFCTROMATIC (?) Project

1

No Affiliation With Seller

6185's were usually a non-cutaway so I don't know what's going on with this. I suspect the finish has been stripped; label is inside, but it looks like a 6190-1 pre-Streamliner with the thicker body. I'd want more pic's but this could be a fun one.

2

so would that pickup be original? looks like no but what do I know

3

I see promise here... nice project... normally I might cave but too much else on deck right now. Red sparkle on that bad boy I say!

4

Pickup and tailpiece not original. Knobs could be as clear was normal for '54. If this is a pre-Streamliner the melita may be too. Not a factory blonde as she would have stinger; nice spruce.

5

Pre-Streamliners had unbound f holes?

6

Some that I've seen as well as the Electro trapeze (non-G) tailpiece. I wonder what model # is really on the blue label. I just noticed that the engraving for "E L E C T R O M A T I C" is not done correctly.

This one reads "E L F C T R O M A T I C". I love it.

7

Elf Chromatic??? I like this but the lack of truss rod gives me the willies probably irrational, my D-28 doesn't have one and no problems, but still.

8

The 6190-1 Pre-Streamliner came with both unbound f-holes and a deeper body (than the more evolved Streamliner of '54/55).

9

Put on the following: a set of gold Imperial stairsteps, pair of gold TV DeArmonds and appropriate harness and controls - NO mud switch (period correct), a Serpentune and a gold B6 enamel Bigsby. String 'er up and off you go!

Oh, and cover up that hideous misspelled vertical name!!!

10

Personally I like the misspelled vertical name, I think it's hilarious, also I don't mind that logo in general. Looking at those serpentune bridge thingies it looks like they're only good if you use really light strings with a plain G?? The compensation is all wrong for a wound G. This thing is a couple hours south of me...tempting! And it comes with a LINED CHIPBOARD CASE!!!!

11

Personally I like the misspelled vertical name, I think it's hilarious, also I don't mind that logo in general. Looking at those serpentune bridge thingies it looks like they're only good if you use really light strings with a plain G?? The compensation is all wrong for a wound G. This thing is a couple hours south of me...tempting! And it comes with a LINED CHIPBOARD CASE!!!!

– Toxophilite

The Serpentune comes in two versions: one for a plain 3rd and one for a wound 3rd so the compensation is dead on......just use the right one for your strings.

12

I stand corrected!! I bet they work well.

13

Love the "ELFCROMATIC"! Cool guitar, could be a nice project.

14

Monday morning Gretsches I call them. The '49 Sierra Synchromatic I posted was another. All that beautiful script inlay with "Gretsch" and "Synchromatic" and they mis-align it so that the fifth string post goes right through the "S" and "Y". There was a picure of one in the Jay Scott book: the inlay read "Gertsch."

15

Well, I made him a lower offer and he accepted. This will be a cool project. ELF-CHROMATIC will be legend...wait for it...dary. Like my 1950 Bacon Belmont but cut away, single neck pup to which I will add a T'Armond (I already have) and a B6C (I already have). The 1954 6185N is 17" wide, may be as close to a vintage Country Club as I'll ever get. Not sure about the bridge, but I already have a Tru Arc with extra wide post holes spaced for a Melita base, so... ...and I'm not afraid of the lack of a truss rod. If it's anything like my Bacon, I'll love the neck.

16

Congrats Bob! Glad to hear of your upcoming upgrades. Your ideas line up with what I said would nicely upgrade this guitar. With two DeArmonds, and may I assume the standard Gretsch array of controls?, a Bigsby and TruArc this will look awfully smart in short order!

I, along with a lot of others around here will look forward to your finished pics.

17

Well, I made him a lower offer and he accepted. This will be a cool project. ELF-CHROMATIC will be legend...wait for it...dary. Like my 1950 Bacon Belmont but cut away, single neck pup to which I will add a T'Armond (I already have) and a B6C (I already have). The 1954 6185N is 17" wide, may be as close to a vintage Country Club as I'll ever get. Not sure about the bridge, but I already have a Tru Arc with extra wide post holes spaced for a Melita base, so... ...and I'm not afraid of the lack of a truss rod. If it's anything like my Bacon, I'll love the neck.

– Bob Howard

Long live the Elf!

18

This thread has discovered the long lost Gretsch Elf model!......everyone be on the lookout now for others!

19

Thanks for the confidence, Dave. To be clear, I'm replacing whatever that neck pup is with a T'Armond.

Love me some Elf.

20

Anyone know where I can find tuners that look like a little white plastic beans on the original?

21

Cool score, Bob! The Elf will go nicely with a side of Bacon!

23

The guitar looks to be in fine shape. The wood, the binding, the neck and the frets all look good in the pictures. You may have to replace the nut but that's no big deal. The parts it needs you already have except the tuners but that's also no big deal. It looks like you are in business. Congratulations!

24

Stew Mac has a wide variety of replacements with the white buttons. The Elf already has the ferrules; stewmac also has adapters. 17" is most unusual for a 6185 or a pre-Streamliner. Make sure to give us the lowdown when she arrives.

25

Anyone know where I can find tuners that look like a little white plastic beans on the original?

– Bob Howard

Modern Klusons would be the cheapest route, modern Waverly would be the luxury route, and vintage Waverly (eBay) would be the authentic route.


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