Dating vintage gretsch guitars

dating vintage gretsch guitars

How to date a Gretsch guitar by serial number?

DATING GRETSCH GUITARS BY REFERENCE OF SERIAL NUMBERS Over the years, Gretsch Company has been owned by various companies that also use their own method of serial numbers and dating. Where to find the serial number On most modern (after 1989) Gretsch guitars you will find it on the back of the headstock.

Are Gretsch guitars collectible?

Pictures, history for Gretsch vintage guitars. 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) dont tend to hold up to time as well as other makes.

How can you tell if a Gretsch is a pre-war guitar?

In the early years ( 1939-1945) Gretsch started with handwritten sequential serial numbers ( 001-999 ), written directly on the inside of the guitar. Often these serials are vague or almost illegible or completely erased. If you see at least three hard-to-read numbers, you can be pretty sure that it is a pre-war instrument.

When did the Baldwin era Gretsch guitar label come out?

In 1973, the 2nd iteration of the Baldwin era Gretsch label was introduced. These labels were once again a Black and White rectangle, and had “Gretsch Guitars” printed on them, as well as a line for the Baldwin model number and the date coded serial number.

How many digits are on a Gretsch serial number?

Nine digits, last three hyphenated, on headstock. 1989 - 2002. Two letter prefix, eight digits, on headstock. 2002 - present. Pre-War: 1939 - 1945 In the early years, Gretsch began with sequential serial numbers, written by hand usually in pencil directly on the inside of the guitar body.

How do I tell what year my Gretsch guitar is?

If you have absolutely no idea whether your Gretsch is old or new, a good place to start is the model number. This will give you an approximate idea of the era during which your guitar was manufactured. Its also one more piece of evidence to pair with the serial number to corroborate the actual year.

When did the Baldwin era Gretsch guitar label come out?

In 1973, the 2nd iteration of the Baldwin era Gretsch label was introduced. These labels were once again a Black and White rectangle, and had “Gretsch Guitars” printed on them, as well as a line for the Baldwin model number and the date coded serial number.

When did Gretsch start making Synchromatic guitars?

Starting in 1999, Gretsch began producing budget-level Electromatic, Synchromatic and Historic Series guitars in Korea. Unfortunately, these guitars followed no clear numbering system. Worse yet, the serial numbers were put on a simple sticker on the back of the headstock, ensuring that they would be lost immediately.

What years did Gretsch guitars have serial numbers?

Some Viking, Falcon and Country Gentlemen guitars made from 1958 to 1965, had the serial number impressed onto the nameplate on the headstocks. The table identifies Gretsch serial numbers used from 1939 to 1965. Toward the end of 1967, Baldwin took over the Gretsch Company.

When did Fred Gretsch buy out Baldwin?

In 1984, Fred W. Gretsch, along with his wife, Dinah, purchased Gretsch back from Baldwin, returning it to the family after a 17-year absence. Throughout the 1990s, Fred and Dinah brought Gretsch back into the limelight with a series of successful reissues and new models.

What happened to Gretsch guitars?

Baldwin ceased Gretsch guitar production altogether by 1981, and parent company Baldwin United declared bankruptcy in late 1983. During this period, ownership of Gretsch and its remaining resources changed hands several times, each time coming back under Baldwin control. As of summer 1984, Baldwin CEO Dick Harrison owned Gretsch.

When did Gretsch stop using the Orange and grey label?

In about 1969, Gretsch began to use another version of the Orange and Grey label on F-Hole instruments. This third iteration of the label had “Fred Gretsch Mfg. Co” with lines for the Model No. and serial No., and it said “That Great Gretsch Sound” at the bottom. It was used until 1981.

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