Vintage Gretsch guitars for sale in a vintage guitar store
Gretsch guitars have a reputation for quality electric hollow bodies easily on par with that of competitors Gibson, Epiphone, or Guild - all brands with a strong pedigree in fine guitar manufacture. And a vintage Gretsch guitar certainly has the same rock'n'roll pedigree of Fender and Gibson. Gretsch were producing musical instruments from the end of the 19th century, however the first Gretsch guitars appeared in the 1930s. The period that interests most vintage guitar collectors though, is that of the presidency of Fred Gretsch Jr. starting in 1948. Guitars were built in New York, USA.
In the 1950s, and especially 1960s, Gretsch guitars were very popular, and widely respected, with endorsements and use by the likes of Chet Atkins, Bo Diddley and Duane Eddy. By 1964, demand was far exceeding supply: the use of Gretsch guitars by Beatle George Harrison, and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, (and later Mike Nesmith of the Monkees) placed the brand center-stage in the rapidly expanding guitar market of mid-sixties America. But it will always be the name of country artist Chet Atkins, that is most associated with Gretsch, appearing as it does on the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman, Chet Atkins Nashville and Chet Atkins Tennessean guitars.
Baldwin Gretsch guitars
In 1967, Fred Gretsch decided to sell up. Buyers Baldwin, were already producing guitars in Booneville, Arkansas. They had previously bought British guitar company Burns, just two years earlier, and parts were shipped from the UK, and assembled in the US. With Gretsch production in New York, it was inevitable that one factory would close. In 1970 Gretsch moved to Booneville, where it remained throughout the 1970s.
There were several new models, but classic Gretsch guitars remained in production at the new plant.
Finally as the 70s turned into the 80s, a small number of Gretsch guitars were produced in Kansas and then Tennessee, before production ceased in 1981.
Today, Gretsch guitars are produced by Fender.
Gretsch solid-body guitars
6126 Gretsch Astro Jet
6121 Gretsch Chet Atkins Solid Body
7628 Gretsch Committee
6132 / 6134 / 6135 Gretsch Corvette
6128 Gretsch Duo Jet
6131 Gretsch Jet Fire Bird
7680 Gretsch Super Axe
7685 Gretsch Atkins Axe
7611 Gretsch Roc Jet
7620 Gretsch Country Roc
7625 Gretsch TK 300
Gretsch acoustic guitars
6014 Gretsch Corsair
6038 / 6039 / 6040 / 6041 Gretsch Eldorado
6003 Gretsch Folk
6000 Gretsch Golden Classic
6050 Gretsch New Yorker
6005 Gretsch Ozark
6022 Gretsch Rancher
6001 Gretsch Silver Classic
6010 Gretsch Sun Valley
Latest Gretsch Updates
The Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean, or model 6119 was Gretsch's best selling hollow body of the 1960s. This wonderfully faded example from 1965 was originally Dark Cherry Red, but has turned a mid-orange brown. The original color, however, can be seen underneath the pickup surrounds. 1965 specs: maple body, two-piece neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard and Hi-Lo 'Tron single coil pickups. Nickel plated Gretsch Bigsby tailpiece.
The 1965 Gretsch catalog, or catalog #32, featured 10 hollow body electric guitars, including the newly launched Gretsch Viking; four solid body electrics, including the Astro Jet - making it's only catalog appearance; just one bass, the single pickup PX6070; nine acoustics and 12 tube amplifiers. Pride of place went to the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman that adorned both the front and back covers. 24 pages, six of which are in full color.
Two new photosets of 1970s Gretsch guitars. A 1971 Chet Atkins Country Gentleman
and a 1976 Chet Atkins Country Gentleman
. Both guitars have that 17" maple hollowbody, maple neck and ebony fretboard. Gretsch altered models continuously, and despite having been produced just five years apart, these guitars have numerous differences in hardware. The essential Country Gent features are there in both guitars.
That Great Gretsch Sound
. The 1979 Gretsch catalogue has the new Gretsch Committee on it's front cover, and features a selection of hollow, semi-hollow and solid-body guitars and basses. This was printed shortly after Chet Atkins ended his involvement with Gretsch, and although he is not mentioned explicitly, many of the models featured have some form of Chet Atkins connection, be it a name or signature-embossed scratchplate.
'That Great Gretsch sound' - full scan of all 36 pages. Features all guitars, basses, acoustics and amplifiers produced by Gretsch at that time. Electric guitars: White Falcon, Viking, Country Gentleman, Nashville, Tennessean, Double Anniversary, Single Anniversary, Jet Fire Bird, Duo Jet, Corvette, Clipper, Rally Acoustics: Rancher, Folk, Sun Valley, Silver Classic, Eldorado, New Yorker Basses: 6071, 6073 Amplifiers: Fury, Chet Atkins, Dual Playboy, Tornado, Nashville, Rogue, Super Bass, Pro Bass, Dual Twin, Compact, Pre Amp Reverb, Deluxe Reverb.
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