If the White Falcon was the Cadillac of Gretsches, the Clipper was the Corolla — simple, cheap, and surprisingly usable.

Originally, it was joined by the Corvette and Streamliner on the low-end of the line, and could be difficult to discern from either.

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.

The Gretsch-GEAR database includes four different models and 83 examples in the Clippers family, including and Clipper models.

Guitar models in the Clippers group

6185 Clipper
Documented years: 1954


6186 Clipper
Documented years: 1957 to 1968

The 6186 is by far the best-known, most common Clipper. The classic configuration is a traditional sunburst finish on a thinline, single-cutaway hollowbody. Very early models, however, were both thicker and may -- in some cases -- have used a non-cutaway body.

6187 Clipper
Documented years: 1954 to 1967

An Ivory/Gray two-tone version of the 6186 Clipper that was only offered for a few years in the mid-50s. Along with the 6186, it was the only Gretsch electric to not get FilterTrons in 1958. Not that it matters: you're highly unlikely to ever see a '58 6187.

7555 Clipper
Documented years: 1967 to 1973

The '70s Baldwin-era take on the Clipper.