- Owned by
- Body style
- Single Cutaway Solidbody
- Champagne Sparkle/Jet Black
- Ebony with Neo-Classic (thumbnail) inlays
- Bone with zero fret
- TV Jones Classic
- Grover Imperial
- Space Control
- Cadillac G
No modifications have been made to this guitar.
- Unusual factory features
The guitar was built by Stephen Stern's Custom Shop. It possesses a custom Champagne Sparkle top with a nitrocellulose lacquer "NOS" finish. 24.6" scale length, 12" fretboard radius, with the traditional gold sparkle binding found on Black Penguins. It has the vertical winged Gretsch logo on the headstock.
The case is pretty special. It is a grey snowflake case which is different from any of the standard TKL cases which Gretsch uses for most of their guitars. This is much more form fitting. and stylized. And even the handle is finished in grey snowflake. The case is simply tremendous.
Even though I purchased the guitar used, the seller did include a cool strap that the Custom Shop included with the guitar. It was still in its original packaging.
- Added to Gretsch-GEAR
- 3 years ago Last modified 2016-08-25 11:29:23
This guitar is known as a Masterbuilt G6134CS-CHAMPSPKL Custom Shop Black Penguin.
Someone posted about this guitar on the Gretsch Pages, indicating that it was for sale on eBay. Along with many others, I expressed concern about it in terms of whether or not it was genuine. I figured that a guy who has 0% feedback on eBay is one that should probably be avoided and the reference to a portion of the proceeds going to Salvation Army seemed to be highly dubious and calculated to get some sucker to take the bait.
Nevertheless, I looked to see where the seller was located and the auction indicated that he was from Winnetka, California. I had never heard of that city before, but I did recall that there was a street in Los Angeles named Winnetka. Figuring that he was, indeed, perhaps in California, I reached out to him through eBay to try find out if he had better photographs of the guitar. I thought that the photographs were very poor and it was difficult to determine just what the color was. Also, I thought that, if he had additional photos, it was possible that he may actually have the guitar and that the sale could be legitimate. But, when I would send him emails, I would get back answers that were non-responsive. I would have to send him multiple emails before I would get close to getting a question answered. Another poster in that thread had the same experience. It was a bit off-putting. But, I continued to try to get him to provide me answers to my questions.
To my surprise, the eBay seller did post up some additional photographs of the guitar. Maybe, after all, he did have possession of the guitar and it wasn’t a ruse.
Meanwhile, I contacted the OP in the thread to see if he was interested in purchasing the guitar as I didn’t want to be horning in on his action. But, he told me that he was not going to go any further and that, if I had any interest in it, to proceed to see what I could put together.
In my ongoing dialogue with the seller, I expressed possible interest in the guitar and he sent me back a text message that he was going to end the auction. Knowing now that he was interested in trying to work a deal with me, I had to somehow be able to have the guitar looked at by someone whom I knew to be very knowledgeable about Gretsch guitars and whose opinion I could completely trust. And, to verify that the seller actually had the guitar. That person also would need to be close to where he was located in Los Angeles. There was only one person that I knew would fit that bill and who I thought might be willing to join with me in this escapade. None other than GDP member, giffenf.
In the meantime, I learned from the seller that he had purchased the guitar for his girlfriend who was a singer in a band. Unfortunately for him, he learned sometime thereafter that his girlfriend was sleeping with one of the guys in the band. To say that the seller was somewhat disappointed in her would be an understatement. He was royally PO’d at her. So, this made me think that he was perhaps motivated to sell the guitar to rid himself of every last memory that he had of her.
Frank told me that he would be willing to meet the seller if I could arrange it, but I warned Frank that my nose was still twitching mightily on this entire situation. Even though Frank is a big man whom no one in their right mind would wish to provoke, I was still worried for Frank. I told him that if he had a permit to carry, that this might be an advisable time to do so.
I contacted the seller and arranged a location for he and Frank to meet up and I passed along each’s phone number to the other. As it would play out, the seller changed the location at the last moment where he wanted to meet Frank and they arranged to meet in the northern end of the San Fernando Valley in the city of Pacoima. Pacoima is a very old city in the Valley and one where poverty is probably higher than in other parts of the Valley, like Burbank or Van Nuys. Fortunately, Frank arranged to meet up with the seller in a Costco parking lot where there would be lots of eyes in case of trouble.
I had asked the seller to bring an AC adapter for his cigarette lighter and asked Frank to take his little Gretsch 5222 amp with him so that he could make sure that the guitar’s electronics were all in order.
I heard from Frank by text message not long after the inspection and was told that everything seemed to be in working condition and that the guitar was in top condition. So, this got me wondering how a guitar that was advertised as being a 2014 could be in such fine condition. The seller had given me the serial number and actually sent me a photograph of the Custom Shop Certificate of Authenticity which clearly depicted the serial number. I contacted Stephen Stern to see what I could learn about the guitar and, while his records were not extensive on the guitar, I did learn that it was a legitimate S/N. And he was able to identify for me that the guitar had been sold to a specific retailer. However, this retailer was at some distance from the seller and so I began to become concerned that the guitar might be stolen.
I checked multiple websites which contain records of stolen guitars in hopes that I might find the guitar there. But, there was no record of the guitar having been registered on any of them. I even did a search of Google for any published reports of burglaries at the specific retailer but the only one that I found was from 2005.
By now, I knew that the guitar was legitimate, that the seller had possession of it, that it was in top condition, and that it played fantastic. I presumed that the seller was motivated and I could find no record of anything that would make me think that the seller was not the bona fide owner of the instrument. So, what was left now was to work a deal.
The negotiations for the purchase actually went almost too easily. When I first was able to speak with him, which was quite early in the process, he had told me that my original offer to him was too low. Yet, he made me a counter-offer which dropped much further and faster off his asking price than I would have ever expected. I told him that I would see what I could do on my end and I suggested a price that I would do my best to try to be in a position to offer to him. Mind you, I didn’t need another guitar, but the photographs of this one looked sweet and Frank’s report was that it was a fantastic guitar. And it was a Custom Shop guitar, which I had never owned before. When I next connected with the seller, I made him my best offer and he accepted it. At a price that was very, very good for me.
I then made the arrangements to transfer the money to Frank to complete the purchase for me. However, at the last moment, after I told the seller that I was sending Frank the funds, he suggested that I just put the money onto his card and then he would arrange to meet with Frank. Uh, no. I don’t think so. This again somewhat miffed and unnerved me and I once again cautioned Frank that he had to take extraordinary caution in choosing where to meet with the seller. No Costco parking lots in Pacoima this time since he would be carrying a wad of cash. The seller told me, however, that he would be in Frank’s work neighborhood and that he would be willing to take the guitar to him. So, after the seller made it to Frank’s office, the deal was completed and I was now the owner of a gorgeous Custom Shop Champagne Sparkle Black Penguin.
The waiting was oppressively angst-ridden. Frank told me that he would make some videos of him playing the guitar and send them to me. Frank is a wonderful player and he made the TV Classics in that guitar just sing. This only whetted my appetite further.
The guitar arrived on time. My UPS driver is well-accustomed to delivering guitars to me and he was quite happy that I had gotten another. When I opened the case, I was amazed by the guitar. It was beautiful. So much nicer than the photos posted by the seller in his eBay auction portrayed it. As it was delivered to my office, I didn’t have an amplifier there to plug it into, but it played so nicely without one. Once I got it home that night and had a chance to play it, I knew that I had made a deal like none that I would likely ever make again.
My warmest thanks to my friend and co-hort in this adventure, Frank. He went way beyond the call of duty in all of the help that he provided to me.