If the White Falcon was the Cadillac of Gretsches, the Clipper was the Corolla — simple, cheap, and surprisingly usable.
The origins of the Clipper are complicated, even by Gretsch standards. Prior to 1958, the 6186 model number was used by both a cutaway and a full-bodied guitar, both of which were slotted into the tiny space between the 6182 Corvette and the 6189 Streamliner.
After 1958, both the Corvette and the Streamliner were gone, but the little 6186 Clipper (with a newly svelte 1 7/8” thick body) would carry on for 20 years as the entry level Gretsch without changing much. In fact, other than a switch from a single DeArmond to a single HiLoTron, it barely changed at all. The Clipper never got a zero fret, Neo-Classic inlays, standby switches, tone switches or any of the other Gretsch “features” the higher end guitars did.
In the ‘70s, the Clipper adopted Gretsch’s new 7XXX numbering scheme and became the 7555.
◀ 1 of 21 ►