Vintage Guitars Info's
Vintage Gretsch Guitars.
General Information and Specs.


Gretsch vintage guitars history and collecting. Private vintage guitar collector. Pictures, history for Gretsch vintage guitars.
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Bunch of Gretsch

Hollowbody Acoustic Archtop Models:

  • Synchromatic 160 models 6028/6029
  • Synchromatic 200
  • Synchromatic 6030/6031 or Constellation
  • Synchromatic 300 models 6036/6037
  • Synchromatic 6038/6039 or Fleetwood
  • Synchromatic 400 models 6040/6041 or Eldorado
  • Synchromatic 400F flat top-model 6042

    Solidbody Models:

  • 6121 Chet Atkins Solidbody
  • 6128 Duo-Jet
  • 6129 SilverJet
  • 6131 Jet Firebird
  • 6130 Roundup
  • 6134 White Penguin
  • Corvette 6132, 6133, 6134, 6135 solidbody
  • Princess 6106 solidbody
  • Astro-Jet 6126 solidbody
  • Bikini 6023, 6024, 6025 solidbody

    Flat top Models:

  • 6022 Rancher flat top
  • Jumbo Synchromatic 125 flat top model and 6021 Town and County

    Introduction:

      Collectible Gretsch instruments are mostly the models endorsed by Chet Atkins made from 1954 to 1961 (single cutaway models). Earlier models with western ornamentation ("cows & catus") are the primary models desired.

      Older Gretsch models (pre-1970) don't tend to hold up to time as well as other makes. Older binding materials and glues tend to deterior with age. This can cause expensive repairs such as neck sets and binding replacement. Additionally, Gretsch electronics (pickups, switch/knob layout) is not as sonically sound or versatile as those of other makers during the same period.

    1955 Chet Atkins 6121 solidbody with Western trim
    1955 6121
      Despite the drawbacks, Gretsches from the mid 1950's have a certain "look" that is undeniably cool. Models most highly regarded are the single cutaway versions with western trim. Engraved position markers ("cow and cactus"), the "G" brand, and western pickguards is what makes Gretsches valuable and collectable. This especially applies to the 1954 to 1956 western models such as the 6120 Chet Atkins hollowbody, the 6121 Chet Atkins solidbody, the 6130 Roundup and the 6022 Rancher.

      The 6136 White Falcon and 6134 White Penguin from 1954 to 1957 are also highly collectable instruments. These have DeArmond pickups, engraved pearl position markers, vertical Gretsch logo, "Cadillac" tailpieces and gold sparkle binding. Unfortuneately, after 1957 many of these attributes disappear, making later models less desirable.

      The appeal of solidbody Grestch guitars seems to be more "show" than go. That is they are collectable for their unusual looks, rather than for playing or sound. Gretsch solidbody really aren't solid, but are semi-hollow construction. The most collectable solidbody models are those with western ornamentation closely related to the most desirable hollowbody models. The Duojet, which has no hollowbody equivalent, is also collectable. The custom color and sparkle top models are worth more than the standard black or red top models.


      Gretsch acoustic archtops appeal primarily to collectors only, as players tend to steer clear of these models. Gretsch's reputation is based more on their electric guitars than acoustic. The quality of Grestch workmanship is not as good as Gibson and Epiphone instruments from the same period. Due to poor material and/or construction techniques, many older models haven't survived the test of time. The high-end acoustic archtops with "cat-eye" soundholes are visually appealing and collectible strickly for their unusual looks. Other models with convential "F" holes are much less desirable.

      Gretsch flat tops tend to have inferior sound and playability compared to Gibson and Martin. The 6022 Rancher from 1954 to 1956 with "G" brand and engraved inlays is collectable, but mostly as an accessory to the other western models of the same period (6120, 6121, 6130). Other Gretsch models, though older and rarer, are less well known and are of little interest. The problem with Gretsch flat tops has to do largely with poor materials. Most use veneer (plywood) spruce tops with ladder bracing, opposed to solid spruce tops with "X" bracing that Gibson and Martin use.

      The original Gretsch company based in Brooklyn, New York went out of business in 1981. Recently a Japanese company bought the Gretsch name and starting producing copies of the original 1950's Gretsch instruments.

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    1946 to 1957 style Gretsch label (this label is
    actually from 1956). Note "T" roof Gretsch logo.

    1957 to 1964 style Gretsch label starting with
    serial number 25001 (this label is actually from 1963).

    Gretsch General Specs.

      Labels
      Beginning in the late 1940's, labels have serial number printed and model number written. On solidbody and closed hollowbody models, the label is on the backside of the control cover plate or in the control cavity.
      • 1946-1957: White rectangle label, "Fred Gretsch Mfg. Co. - 60 Broadway, Brooklyn, N.Y.", serial number in red, model number in blue or black. All models have this label by 1954.
      • 1957-Early 1965: Gray top part, orange background for "The Fred Gretsch Mfg. Co.", beginning with serial number 25001.
      • 1965-1972: No label, serial number on peghead.
      • late 1960's: "That Great Gretsch Sound" across bottom of label, most with 5 digit serial number beginning with 1 or 2.
      • 1972-1981: White label with black border, "Gretsch Guitars", no address.

      Gretsch Logo

      • Script logo: introduced late 1930's, used on most models until mid 1954. Last script logos used on Synchromatics in late 1950's.
      • "Grestch N.Y.C.", used in the 1930s and 1940s on low end models.
      • "T" roof logo ("T" extends from "G" to "H"): introduced on some models in 1933 on the BroadKaster, mid 1940's for the New Yorker, and model 6003 flat top in 1951. All other models got this logo in mid 1954.

    Gretsch "humptop" fingerboard inlays (left, 1956 Chet Atkins 6120) and
    "neoclassic" inlays (right, 1960 Chet Atkins 6120). Also note the zero fret
    just after the nut on the neoclassic inlay fingerboard (a zero fret was
    not used on the earlier fingerboards, but an aluminum nut was!) And finally
    the use of Brazilian rosewood on the humptop inlay fingerboard, and ebony
    on the neoclassic board.

      Fingerboard Markers

      • Pre-1957: "Humptop" or block inlays on mid to upper line models. Humptop inlays are usually made from celluloid, and the block inlays can be either celluloid or pearl. In this era, humptop inlays are rare, with block inlays being the norm on mid to high end models. Low end models used dot inlays.
      • 1955 to 1956 "Cowboy" Markers: On certain Chet Atkins and solidbody models (6120, 6121 and 6130 Roundup), Gretsch used block celluloid fingerboard inlays panographed with "Cows and Cactus". After panographed, the engraving is filled with gold paint (which quickly turns green and then black from playing). The Cow and Cactus inlays are probably one of Gretsch's coolest features, at least in my eye.
      • 1957 to early 1958: "Humptop" celluloid inlays on mid to upper line models (block markers discontinued). As a general rule, humptop inlays on a Gretsch means 1957 or early 1958. Low end models still used dots.
      • mid 1958 and later: "Neoclassic" or "thumb print" pearl inlays on mid to upper line models. Low end models still used dots.

    Cow and Cactus fingerboard inlays on a 1955 Gretsch 6130 Roundup.
    Often the inlay at the first fret is not engraved. The 3rd fret engraving
    is a cactus on this guitar. Notice the peghead's engraved steerhead.

      Truss Rod
      • 1933 to 1951: No truss rod cover.
      • 1951 to 1952: Truss rod adjustment at butt of neck by body.
      • 1953 to 1955: Truss rod adjustment at peghead, small truss rod cover.
      • 1956 to 1970: Truss rod adjustment at peghead, large bell-shaped truss rod cover.
      • 1970 to 1980: No truss rod cover on peghead.
    The peghead on a 1962 Gretsch 6125
    single Anniversary. Note the "T" roof
    Gretsch logo, the bell-shaped truss rod
    cover (as used in 1956 and later), and
    the peghead name plate denoting
    "Anniversary Model".

    gretsch peghead

      Peghead Plates
      Used on some models from 1958 to 1970. Square metal plate with engraved model name. White Falcon and Country Gentlemen also have their serial number on plate till 1965.

      • Country Gentlemen: 1958 to 1970.
      • Anniversary, Double Anniversary: 1958 to 1970.
      • White Falcon: 1959 to 1970.
      • Tennessean, Nashville: 1964 to 1970.
      • Viking, Monkees: 1965 to 1970.
      • Van Eps, Roc Jet, Streamliner: 1968 to 1970.

      Zero Fret
      This "feature" used a fret as the actual nut (though there was a nut too for guiding the strings to the tuners only). Gretsch called this their "Action-Flo" nut.

      • Chet Atkins models: 1959 and later.
      • Duo-Jets: 1962 and later.
      • White Falcon, Country Club: 1963 and later.
      • Sal Salvador, Astro jet: 1965 and later.
      • Viking, Anniversary, Rally, Broadkaster, Rancher: 1968 and later.
      • Clipper, Corvette: never got a zero fret.

      Gretsch Pickups and Bridges:
      DeArmond (upper left), Filter'tron (upper right),
      HiLoTron (lower left), SuperTron (lower right).
      The bridge in the upper right is a Melita,
      and the bridges in the lower photos are Space Control bridges.
      pickups

      Pickups

      • 1949-1957: DeArmond Gretsch Dynasonic (Fidela-tone), single coil, black face, poles adjust by a separate set of screws. Because the screws and the poles are each in a separate row, these are often confused as being a "humbucker" pickup.
      • 1957-1958: Filter'Tron, double coil (humbucker), 2 rows of poles, no markings on cover, smooth plastic frame.
      • 1958-1960: Filter'Tron, "Pat. Applied For" stamped on cover, smooth plastic frame.
      • 1960-1970: Filter'Tron, patent number 2892371 on cover, ridged plastic frame.
      • 1961-1980: Hi-Lo'Tron: single coil, poles thru black face, low-end models only. Really a single coil version of the Filter'tron.
      • 1970-1981: Filter'Tron, black face, no cover markings, height adjustable, open metal frame (same case as Hi-Lo'Tron).
      • 1964-1980: Super'Tron: double coil, 2 metal bars (blades, no screw poles). Used on high end models like the Viking, Country Gent and Monkees.
      • 1958-1959: Optional Project-o-Sonic stereo split stereo pickups, each pu with 3 pairs of poles on 1 side, bass/treble split. White Falcon and Country Club models only.
      • 1959-1980: Optional Project-o-Sonic 4 switch system, 6 pairs of pole screws per pu, 4 switches on upper bass bout, many tone combinations. Used on White Falcon (1959-1980), Country Club (1960-1962), and Double Anniversary (1960-1962, 1 pu per channel) only.
      • 1976-1980: DiMarzio or generic Japanese Humbucking pickup were used on some models, screw poles, metal cover.

    Duane Eddy in 1957 with his 6120.
    D. Eddy
      Bridges
      • 1930's: Ebony bridge on mid to high-end models.
      • 1930's to 1980: Rosewood bridge on low-end models.
      • late 1930's to 1953: Rosewood stairstep bridge with extended stairstep on bass side.
      • 1951 to 1957: Melita bridge with individual adjustable intonation (intonation could be locked in place).
      • 1954: Metal (Aluminum) Compensating Bigsby bridge. Seen mostly on Bigsby Chet Atkin models, a simple aluminum bridge without string intonation, this bridge was designed by Bigsby to be used with their tremolo system.
      • 1958 to 1980: Metal bar bridge. Mostly seen on Chet Atkins models. No adjustment for intonation or string spacing.
      • 1958 to 1980: Space control bridge. This was a metal threaded rod with individual rolling string guides to adjust string spacing. No adjustment for intonation.
      • 1965 to 1972: Floating Tuning Fork bridge. Unattached to the body, tuning fork extends thru hole into body. Usually seen with Space Control bridge. Very unpopular and often removed.
      • 1970 to 1980: Adjustamatic bridge. Much like Gibson's tuneamatic bridge.

    1961 Gretsch catalog.
    catalog
      Tailpieces
      • 1933 to 1980: Trapeze tailpiece used on many archtop models.
      • 1930's to 1954: "Chromatic" Harp shaped tailpiece used on Synchromatic models.
      • 1951 to 1980: "G" tailpiece with a "G" cutout.
      • 1955: Bigsby vibrato with fixed arm.
      • 1956 to 1958: Bigsby B-6 vibrato with rotating arm (DuoJets used the smaller B-3, and Corvettes used the horseshoe B-5 Bigsby).
      • 1958 to 1980: Gretsch Bigsby B-6 vibrato, "V" cutout (Gretsch name now on the Bigsby tailpiece).
      • 1963 to 1980: Burns vibrato with a 3 sided pyramid base and long arm.
      • 1963 to 1968: Palm vibrato with a short arm.

      Pickguards
      • 1930's to 1980: many acoustic models use tortoise grain celluloid pickguard material.
      • 1954 to 1980: many electric models have a 1/4" thick clear acyrlic plastic pickguard that is back-painted gold or silver.

      Knobs (electrics)

      • 1949 to 1954: Clear knobs, barrel shaped.
      • 1954: Plain top, gold or chrome plated brass, cross-hatch pattern on side.
      • 1955 to 1957: Arrow on top ("plain arrow"), gold or chrome plated brass, cross-hatch pattern on side.
      • 1957 to 1967: Arrow thru a "G" on top, gold or chrome plated brass, cross-hatch pattern on side.
      • 1966 to 1980: Aluminum knob, arrow thru "G" on top.

      Mutes

      • 1961 to 1963: Single mute with 1 rotate knob (hollowbody Chet Atkins models only).
      • 1961-1963: Double mute with 2 large rotary knobs. Used on White Falcons and Country Gentlemen only.
      • 1963 to 1972: Single mute with 1 small lever knob. Used on Chet Atkins hollowbody models. Also used on Country Clubs (1963-1965), Country Gentlemen (1966-1971), and Viking (1968-1969).
      • 1963 to 1972: Double mute with 2 small level knobs. Used on Country Gentlemen (1963-1966) and White Falcon (1963-1972).

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    Gretsch Model Numbers.

    1955 Gretsch catalog.
    55 Cat
      1948 to 1975 Model Numbers
      6000    Classic Hauser, inlaid peghead
      6001    Classic Hauser, plain peghead
      6002    Folk, sunburst
      6003    Model 6003, 1951-1955
      	Grand Concert, 1955-1959
      	Jimmie Rodgers, 1959-1963
      	Folk Singer, 1963-1965
      	Folk, natural top, 1965-1975
      6004    Burl Ives, 1952-1955
      	Folk, mahogany top, 1970-1975
      6005    Ozark Soft String
      6006    Electro Classic
      6007    Synchormatic Sierra
      6008    Wayfarer Jumbo
      6009    Jumbo Flat top
      6010    Sun Valley
      6014    Synchromatic 100, sunburst, 1948-1949
      	Synchromatic 6014, sunburst, 1949-1955
      	Corsair, sunburst, 1955-1959
      6015    Synchromatic 100, natural, 1948-1949
      	Synchromatic 6015, natural, 1949-1955
      	Corsair, natural, 1955-1959
      6016    Corsair, Bordequx burgundy
      6020    12-string flat top
      6021    Jumbo Synchromatic model 125F, 1948-1955
      6022    Rancher
      6023    Bikini guitar
      6024    Bikini bass
      6025    Bikini double neck
      6028    Synchromatic 160, sunburst
      6029    Synchromatic 160, natural
      6030    Synchromatic 6030, sunburst, 1951-1955
      	Constellation, sunburst, 1955-1959
      	Sho-Bro Spanish, 1969-1971
      6031    Synchromatic 6031, natural, 1951-1955
      	Constellation, natural, 1955-1959
      	Sho-Bro Hawaiian, 1969-1971
      6036    Synchromatic 300, sunburst, 1948-1951
      	Synchromatic 6036, sunburst, 1951-1955
      6037    Synchromatic 300, 1948-1951
      	Synchromatic 6037, natural, 1951-1955
      6038    Synchromatic 6038, sunburst, 1951-1955
      	Fleetwood, sunburst, 1955-1959
      	17" Eldorado, sunburst, 1959-1968
      6039    Synchromatic 6039, natural, 1951-1955
      	Fleetwood, natural, 1955-1959
      	17" Eldorado, natural, 1959-1968
      6040    Synchromatic 400, sunburst, 1948-1951
      	Synchromatic 6040, sunburst, 1951-1955
      	18" Eldorado, surburst, 1959-1968
      6041    Synchromatic 400, natural, 1948-1951
      	Synchromatic 6040, natural, 1951-1955
      	18" Eldorado, natural, 1959-1968
      6042    Synchromatic 400f flat top
      6050    New Yorker
      6070    Hollowbody bass, long scale, 1 pu
      6071    Hollowbody bass, short scale, 1 pu
      6072    Hollowbody bass, long scale, 2 pu
      6073    Hollowbody bass, short scale, 2 pu
      6075    12-string electric, sunburst
      6076    12-string electric, natural
      6079    Van Eps 7-string, sunburst
      6080    Van Eps 7-string, walnut
      6081    Van Eps 6-string, sunburst
      6082    Van Eps 6-string, walnut
      6100    Black Hawk, sunburst
      6101    Country Club, stereo, sunburst, 1959-1963
      	Black Hawk, black, 1968-1972
      6102    Country Club, stereo, natural, 1959-1963
      	Streamliner double cutaway, sunburst, 1969-1975
      6103    Country Club, stereo, Cadillac Green, 1959-1963
      	Streamliner double cutaway, cherry, 1969-1975
      6104    Rally, green
      6105    Rally, bamboo yellow/cooper mist
      6106    Princess
      6111    Double Anniversary, stereo, sunburst
      6112    Double Anniversary, stereo, 2-tone smoke green
      6115    Rambler
      6117    Double Anniversary, sunburst
      	Custom cat's eye soundhole model, 1965-1968
      6118    Double Anniversary, 2-tone smoke green
      6119    Chet Atkins Tennessean
      6120    Chet Atkins Hollowbody, 1954-1966
      	Nashville, 1967-1971
      6121    Chet Atkins Solidbody
      6122    Chet Atkins Country Gentlemen
      6124    Anniversary, sunburst
      6125    Anniversary, 2-tone smoke green
      6126    Astro-Jet
      6127    DuoJet Tenor, 1959
      	RocJet, Porsche Pumkin, 1969-1971
      6128    DuoJet
      6129    SilverJet
      6130    Roundup, 1955-1959
      	RocJet, Mercedes Black, 1969-1973
      6131    Jet FireBird
      6132    Corvette Solidbody, 1 pu, no vibrato
      6133    Corvette Solidbody, 2 pu, no vibrato
      6134    White Penguin, 1955-1963
      	Corvette Solidbody, 1 pu, vibrato, 1963-1968
      6135    Corvette Solidbody, 2 pu, vibrato
      6136    White Falcon
      6137    White Falcon, stereo
      6145    Jet Airliner lapsteel
      6147    Jet Mainliner lapsteel
      6148    Jet Twin Console lapsteel, no legs
      6148L   Jet Twin COnsole lapsteel, 4 legs
      6152    Electromatic Student lapsteel
      6156    Electromatic Standard lapsteel
      6158    Electromatic COnsole lapsteel
      6182    Corvette hollowbody, sunburst
      6183    Corvette hollowbody, natural
      6184    Corvette holowbody, Jaguar Tan
      6185    Electromatic Spanish, sunburst, 1949-1955
      	Clipper, 2 pu, sunburst, 1972-1974
      6185N   Electromatic Spanish, natural
      6186    Clipper
      6187    Electro II, non-cut, sunburst, 1951-1955
      	Corvette, ivory top, grey mist body, 1957
      	Corvette-style, cutaway, ivory top, grey mist body, 1958
      	Clipper, natural, 1959-1960
      
      	Viking, sunburst, 1967-1975
      6188    Electro II, non-cut, natural, 1951-1955
      	Viking, natural, 1967-1975
      6189    16" elctric cutaway, 2 pu, 1950-1955
      	Streamliner single cut, bamboo yellow/copper mist, 1955-1957
      	Viking, Cadillac Green, 1967-1972
      6190    16" electric cutaway, 1 pu, sunburst, 1950-1955
      	Streamliner single cut, sunburst, 1955-1957
      6191    16" electric cutaway, 1 pu, natural, 1950-1955
      	Streamliner single cut, natural, 1955-1957
      6192    Electro II, cutaway, sunburst, 1951-1954
      	Country Club, sunburst, 1955-1971
      6193    Electro II, cutaway, natural, 1951-1954
      	Country Club, natural, 1955-1971
      6196    Country Club, Cadillac Green
      6199    Convertible, 1955-1958
      	San Salvador, 1958-1968
      
      1971 to 1981 Model Numbers
      7176    Southern Belle
      7505    Folk, sunburst
      7506    Folk, natural
      7514    Sun Valley, sunburst
      7515    Sun Valley, natural
      7525    Rancher
      7535    Deluxe
      7545    Supreme
      7555    Clipper
      7560    Double Anniversary, sunburst
      7565    Streamliner, sunburst
      7566    Streamliner, cherry
      7575    Country Club, sunburst
      7576    Country Club, natural
      7577    Country Club, walnut
      7580    Van Eps, 7-string, sunburst
      7585    Viking, sunburst
      7586    Viking, natural
      7593    White Falcon, single cutaway
      7594    White Falcon
      7595    White Falcon, stereo
      7600    Broadkaster solidbody, natural
      7601    Broadkaster solidbody, sunburst
      7603    Broadkaster hollowbody, bigsby, natural
      7604    Broadkaster hollowbody, bigsby, sunburst
      7605    Broadkaster bass, natural
      7606    Broadkaster bass, sunburst
      7607    Broadkaster hollowbody, no bigsby, natural
      7608    Broadkaster hollowbody, no bigsby, sunburst
      7609    Broadkaster hollowbody, red
      7610    RocJet, black, 1971-1975
      7611    RocJet, Porsche Pumpkin, 1971-1975
      	RocJet, black, 1975-1980
      7612    RocJet, cherry
      7613    RocJet, walnut
      7615    Solidbody bass
      7617    BST 1000, 2 pu, walnut
      7620    Country Roc, 1974-1979
      	BST 2000, walnut, 1979-1980
      7621    Roc II
      7623    Corvette solidbody, 2 pu
      7624    TK300, red
      7625    TK300, natural
      7626    TK300 bass, red
      7627    TK300 bass, natural
      7628    Committee
      7629    Committee bass
      7632    Deluxe Corvette
      7635    Roc I
      7655    Tennessean
      7660    Nashville
      7667    Streamliner II
      7670    Country Gentlemen
      7680    Deluxe Chet, red, 1973-1975
      	Atkins Super Axe, red, 1976-1980
      7681    Deluxe Chet, walnut, 1973-1975
      	Atkins Super Axe, ebony, 1976-1980
      7685    Atkins Axe, ebony
      7686    Atkins Axe, red
      7590    Super Chet, red
      7691    Super Chet, walnut
      7705    Sho-Bro Hawaiian, 6-string
      7710    Sho-Bro Hawaiian, 7-string
      7715    Sho-Bro Spanish
      8210    BST1000, 1 pu, walnut
      8211    BST1000, 2 pu, red
      8215    BST1000, 2 pu, walnut
      8216    BST1000, 1 pu, red
      8217    BST1000, 2 pu, walnut
      8220    BST2000, walnut
      8221    BST2000, red
      8260    BST5000
      
      Japanese Model Numbers, 1989 to Present
      400     Synchromatic, similar to Synchromatic 400
      6010    Sun Valley, triangle soundhole
      6020    Crimson Flyer, electric acoustic, cutaway, triangle soundhole
      6022    Rancher acoustic
      6030    Nightbird, electric acoustic, cutaway, triangle soundhole
      6119    Tennessee Rose, similar to Tennessean
      6120    The Nashville
      6120w   The Nashville, western
      6121    Round Up
      6122s   Country Classic I, single cut, 
      	similar to 1958 Country Gentlemen
      6122    Country Classic II, double cut, 
      	similar to 1961 Country Gentlemen
      6128    DuoJet
      6129    SilverJet
      6131    Jet FireBird
      6136    White Falcon I, single cutaway, no vibrato
      6175    Electric acoustic fretted bass
      6176    Electric acoustic fretless bass
      7593    White Falcon I, single cutaway, bigsby
      7594    White Falcon II, double cutaway, bigsby
      
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    Left: The serial number and "made in usa" stamp
    on a November 1967 (the "107" part of the serial number)
    model. This was the 58th instrument made that day.
    Right: The serial number on a February 1967 (the "27"
    part of the serial number) Chet Atkins Nashville 6120.
    Note the lack of a "made in usa" stamp.

     

    Gretsch Serial Numbers.

      Only approximate year of manufacturer can be determined by Gretsch serial numbers before 1965. It is best to date your pre-1965 Gretsch by serial number and by specs. Although Gretsch's during this period seem chronologically ordered (and in many cases are), the numbers and labels often can not determine the exact year of manufacture due to spec inconsistences.

      The serial number on a 1963 Gretsch 6128 DuoJet,
      under the backside control panel cover.

      For example, two 1957 gretsch models could have consecutive serial number, but different specs. Examples include a later numbered model having humptop inlays and no zero fret (earlier specs), and an earlier numbered model having thumbprint inlays and a zero fret. This is the opposite of what the consecutive serial numbers would indicate.

    The serial number on a 1958 Gretsch 6129 Silverjet single cutaway model.
    Note the mistaken model number crossed off and restamped! It looks like
    some of the wiring has been replaced on this Gretsch, which is very common
    on 1950s Gretsch models. Often the wire's insulator cracks, shorting the wires.

      1949 to 1965 Gretsch Serial Numbers.
        Numbers are ink-stamped on the inside back or on the Gretsch label. Most F-hole models have the label on the inside back, seen thru the f-hole. Solidbody models with control plates on back have the label in the control cavity. Sometimes the serial number is scratched on the inside control plate of solidbody guitars. Sometimes the serial number is impressed on the top edge of the peghead.
        Number          Year
        2000 -3000's  = 1949-1950
        4000 -5000's  = 1951
        5000 -6000's  = 1952
        6000 -8000's  = 1953
        9000 -12000's = 1954
        12000-16000's = 1955
        17000-21000's = 1956
        22000-26000's = 1957
        27000-30000's = 1958
        30000-34000's = 1959
        34000-39000's = 1960
        39000-45000's = 1961
        46000-52000's = 1962
        53000-63000's = 1963
        63000-77000's = 1964
        77000-84000's = 1964-early 1965 (partial-new number scheme
                        started early 1965).
      1965 to 1972 Serial Numbers.
        Number on back of peghead, or on the top edge of the peghead (prior to 1967), no hypen in number. "Made in USA" stamped on back of peghead next to serial number starting June 1967 to 1973.
          First digit or first 2 digits = month (1-12).
          Next digit = last digit of the year 
        	       (1965 to 1972: 5,6,7,8,9,0,1,2).
          Remaining digits = rank of individual instrument.
        Example:
          118243 = November 1968, 243th instrument.
          31041  = March 1971, 41th instrument.
          993    = September 1969, 3rd instrument.
        
      1973 to 1981 Serial numbers.
        Hyphenated number impressed into back of peghead.
          1 or 2 digits before hyphen = month (1-12).
          First digit after hyphen = last digit of year.
          Last 3 digits = rank of instrument.
        Example:
          10-5155 = October 1975, 155th instrument.
          4-622   = April 1976, 22nd instrument.
        

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