Corvettes, Princesses, Twists & CVTs

Not to be confused with the ‘50s Corvette hollowbody, the first Corvettes solidbodies rolled out of Brooklyn in 1961.

They never became the hoped-for inexpensive Gibson and Fender-killer, but the many variants remain both affordable and fairly popular.

The first ones used an unsculpted body fitted with huge, heavy-looking lucite pickguards and a large rectangular truss rod cover next to the pickguard. The 6132 was cherry-red mahogany, and the 6133 was platinum grey.

Both had one HiLoTron, near the bridge, and unlike the better-known Jets, they were true solidbodies. No weight-saving routs were allowed anywhere near the Corvette body — not that the featherweight ‘vette needed any.

It only took about a year for Gretsch to offer a second-generation Corvette, with an attractive new sculpted body. Later in the year, Gretsch moved the truss rod cover (and truss rod adjustment) to the headstock and fitted a less slab-like pickguard to further improve the ‘vette’s looks.

The platinum gray 6133 was no longer offered, but the Burns-vibrato-equipped 6134 model joined the lineup for 1962. Bar bridges also replaced the inexpensive ebony piece used on earlier Corvettes. Revamped ‘vettes weren’t the only big news for ‘62, though. Gretsch took the newly attractive sculpted body and came out with a wide array of variations.

One of these new models, the 6106 Princess, was aimed at, marketed to and “designed for the feminine guitarist.” Essentially a pastel-colored Corvette with a padded back, the Princess was actually offered in four different color combinations, complete with matching amplifiers (a 6150-type was shown in the ads) and straps.

The Princess didn’t exactly introduce millions of women to the wonders of guitars, though, and after 1963 it was gone. The few that are seen today are almost always found in a white with gold pickguard color scheme. The matching amps, straps, alternate colors and other Princess-y stuff are just never seen anymore.

Like the Princess, the Twist model was also the result of a doomed marketing gimmick. In this case, Gretsch was hoping to cash in on the “Peppermint” Twist craze with the 6109 and 6110 Twist, which featured a bright red body and a candy-striped pickguard. Like the Princess, it survived through 1962 and ‘63. One extra twist in the Twist stoy: some were painted yellow and fitted with the red and white candy-striped pickguard. Obviously, these are quite rare.

None For those who weren’t interested in getting Tone Twisted, the 6110 Twist and 6135 Corvette offered a slighly more conventional Burns Vibrato.

The 6135 topped the Corvette line beginning in 1964, with two HiLoTrons and a Burns vibrato.

Across the range, the headstock was changed in 1964 from three-on-a-side to an odd, two on one side and four on the other design, and some minor changes were made to the body, including a recessed strap button on the butt end of the ‘vette.

The silver-flake finished Silver Duke and gold-finished Gold Duke models were produced in limited quantities in 1966 for California dealer Sherman Clay. Although the models were reportedly made to honor Duke Kramer, one of the most important men in Gretsch’s history, Kramer himself denies any connection with the models.

By ‘68 only the 6135 remained, and it was offered with a Bigsby “horseshoe” tremolo. Production ended in 1970, although a “Super Corvette” briefly revived the name in the ‘70s.

None Not to be confused with the ‘50s Corvette hollowbody, the first Corvettes solidbodies rolled out of Brooklyn in 1961.

They never became the hoped-for inexpensive Gibson and Fender-killer, but the many variants remain both affordable and fairly popular.

The first ones used an unsculpted body fitted with huge, heavy-looking lucite pickguards and a large rectangular truss rod cover next to the pickguard. The 6132 was cherry-red mahogany, and the 6133 was platinum grey.

Both had one HiLoTron, near the bridge, and unlike the better-known Jets, they were true solidbodies. No weight-saving routs were allowed anywhere near the Corvette body — not that the featherweight ‘vette needed any.

It only took about a year for Gretsch to offer a second-generation Corvette, with an attractive new sculpted body. Later in the year, Gretsch moved the truss rod cover (and truss rod adjustment) to the headstock and fitted a less slab-like pickguard to further improve the ‘vette’s looks.

The platinum gray 6133 was no longer offered, but the Burns-vibrato-equipped 6134 model joined the lineup for 1962. Bar bridges also replaced the inexpensive ebony piece used on earlier Corvettes. Revamped ‘vettes weren’t the only big news for ‘62, though. Gretsch took the newly attractive sculpted body and came out with a wide array of variations.

One of these new models, the 6106 Princess, was aimed at, marketed to and “designed for the feminine guitarist.” Essentially a pastel-colored Corvette with a padded back, the Princess was actually offered in four different color combinations, complete with matching amplifiers (a 6150-type was shown in the ads) and straps.

The Princess didn’t exactly introduce millions of women to the wonders of guitars, though, and after 1963 it was gone. The few that are seen today are almost always found in a white with gold pickguard color scheme. The matching amps, straps, alternate colors and other Princess-y stuff are just never seen anymore.

Like the Princess, the Twist model was also the result of a doomed marketing gimmick. In this case, Gretsch was hoping to cash in on the “Peppermint” Twist craze with the 6109 and 6110 Twist, which featured a bright red body and a candy-striped pickguard. Like the Princess, it survived through 1962 and ‘63. One extra twist in the Twist stoy: some were painted yellow and fitted with the red and white candy-striped pickguard. Obviously, these are quite rare.

None For those who weren’t interested in getting Tone Twisted, the 6110 Twist and 6135 Corvette offered a slighly more conventional Burns Vibrato.

The 6135 topped the Corvette line beginning in 1964, with two HiLoTrons and a Burns vibrato.

Across the range, the headstock was changed in 1964 from three-on-a-side to an odd, two on one side and four on the other design, and some minor changes were made to the body, including a recessed strap button on the butt end of the ‘vette.

The silver-flake finished Silver Duke and gold-finished Gold Duke models were produced in limited quantities in 1966 for California dealer Sherman Clay. Although the models were reportedly made to honor Duke Kramer, one of the most important men in Gretsch’s history, Kramer himself denies any connection with the models.

By ‘68 only the 6135 remained, and it was offered with a Bigsby “horseshoe” tremolo. Production ended in 1970, although a “Super Corvette” briefly revived the name in the ‘70s.

None

The Gretsch-GEAR database includes 12 different models and 65 examples in the Corvettes, Princesses, Twists & CVTs family, including Corvette, Corvette Deluxe, Corvette/CVT, G. Love, NoNo, Princess, Stump-O-Matic and Twist models.

Guitar models in the Corvettes, Princesses, Twists & CVTs group

5135 Corvette/CVT
Documented years: 2006 to 2011

Burgundy finish with MegaTron pickups and B50 Bigsby. Name changed to CVT in 2009 due to litigation-happy BH competitor.

5135-GL G. Love
Documented years: 2007

The G. Love signature Corvette can be easily spotted by it bright green finish with contrasting white stripes and pickguard. It comes standard with TV Jones PowerTron pickups and a B50 Bigsby.

5135-N NoNo
Documented years: 2008

This signature model CVT made for French recording artist NoNo Krief was not officially offered in America. The the 5135N is black with gold hardware.

5135-PS Stump-O-Matic
Documented years: 2008 to 2009

The Patrick Stump Signature Corvette mode comes with a silver finish with a black stripe and is fitted with three MegaTron pickups.

6106 Princess
Documented years: 1962

The 6106 Princess was aimed at, marketed to and "designed for the feminine guitarist." Essentially a pastel-colored Corvette with a padded back, the Princess was actually offered in four different color combinations, complete with matching amplifiers (a 6150-type was shown in the ads) and straps. The Princess didn't exactly introduce ...

6109 Twist
Documented years: 1961

Built to cash in on the Peppermint Twist craze of the early 60s, the Twist was basically a Corvette, painted red, with a red and white peppermint-striped pickguard.

6110 Twist
Documented years: None

None

6132 Corvette
Documented years: 1961 to 1965

Single-pickup

6133 Corvette
Documented years: 1961

Two-pickup

6134 Corvette
Documented years: 1962 to 1965

Single-pickup, with vibrato

6135 Corvette
Documented years: 1963 to 1968

6135 Corvettes featured two HiLoTrons and a Burns vibrato, setting them apart from lesser 'vettes. LIke the rest of the line, they used an unusual two tuners on one side and four on the other headstock design, By '68 the 6135 was the only remaining Corvette, and it had lost ...

7632 Corvette Deluxe
Documented years: 1976

The Corvette Deluxe was produced briefly from 1976-77, after Baldwin had moved production to its Arkansas facility. The Deluxe was somewhat of an "upscale" Corvette, particularly because it featured built-in effects circuitry, similar to that found on the Gretsch Super Axe, but with different functions. The early Deluxe model features ...