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Decals And Gretsch Guitars

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Drewgrass, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. Drewgrass

    Drewgrass Country Gent

    Dec 20, 2009
    Teesside ENGLAND
    Where did the tradition of putting decals on Gretsch guitars start?
    To me it is possibly the only guitar able to carry it off with any dignity. While it's not something I do myself, (yet), I dont find it to be in any way a strange practice on Gretsch's, however, it does seem odd to me when I see it on other guitars. With the possible exception of Alvin Lee's Gibson 335.
    Guitars in themselves are works of art, and it's true to say I have been known to spend more time discussing and admiring them hanging on the walls of guitar stores than I do works of art in a gallery! So, who where & when did it start?
  2. Synchro

    Synchro Super Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson, AZ
    Admin Post
    It probably started with early Rockabilly artists. Brian Setzer sort of continued the tradition. I don't have decals on any of my guitars but I don't have strong feelings either way.
  3. araT

    araT Gretschified

    Mar 24, 2009
    Berlin, Germany
    The Tele owners are big on their decals, too :) It seems to be a country/rockabilly thing.. I don't really feel the decal love, the only reason I'd put a decal on my guitars is if I became famous & came up with a logo of sorts, and then it'd go on all of them.
  4. Scott

    Scott Country Gent

    Jun 27, 2008
    Winston-Salem, NC
    The earliest rockabilly player that I remember seeing putting decals on his guitar was Brian Setzer. I don't really recall anyone back in the day doing it(other than guys like Elvis putting their name on top of their guitars with sticky mailbox letters)...someone remind me if I'm wrong with some pics or something.

    It's just not my thing either. A few years back, just for giggles, I put a decal on my 6120(I guess peer pressure got me...seemed like everybody was putting stickers on or pinstriping their 6120s). Stepped back, took a look at it, and within 30 seconds that sucker came off! Just didn't look right to me for some reason...but to each their own.
  5. Pappy

    Pappy Country Gent

    Jun 4, 2008
    Some look good. But some (most of the time some sort of pin up girl) has been done to death, resurrection, and then back to death again.
  6. Wayne Gretschzky

    Wayne Gretschzky Country Gent

    Aug 27, 2008
    East Coast
    I've seen stickers/decals on guitars for years. Stevie Ray Vaughn comes to mind, and who was that guy in the 60's (played a red Gibson 335 with a peace sign and some other stickers) I think from Jefferson Airplane maybe? That's not my era. Paul McCartney has been playing that acoustic fat-top with the Detroit Redwings sticker on it for decades. Mick Jones (The Clash) had the same "record girl" decal on his white Les Paul that Setzer used. I guess it's kind of a rebel thing. Not many Jazz greats tarting up their prized Jazz boxes with decals!
  7. Sarah93003

    Sarah93003 Friend of Fred

    I have no idea of the origin, but I lean towards the "rebel" thing. I happen to like how it looks when people personalize their guitars. I wouldn't do it to all of mine, but I would certainly for one.
  8. Drewgrass

    Drewgrass Country Gent

    Dec 20, 2009
    Teesside ENGLAND
    Alvin Lee, (Ten Years After) with the Gibson 335 and peace sign.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 1, 2010
  9. Wayne Gretschzky

    Wayne Gretschzky Country Gent

    Aug 27, 2008
    East Coast
    THAT'S that one... thank-you Drew! -- WG
  10. Helloid

    Helloid Electromatic

    Apr 14, 2009
    Decals? Try decoupage. This was done in the 70s by the original owner. When I got it, the body was in pretty rough shape. I did some of the fixing just to keep it from disrepair. I even considered refinishing it, but decided to clear coat it instead. Her name? MOTHER. It had both of the (Mosrite) pickups, but the wiring was really kooky and there was a homemade access HOLE cut into the back. I made a wooden patch, but also figured out that a Les Paul plate fits perfectly.

    The Americana stuff I can live with, but there were some weird mushrooms and puppy dog stickers that seemed like a nine year old's crafts project. Looking at the details in that star, you can see why I kept it. It's star spangled, for sure.
  11. Sarah93003

    Sarah93003 Friend of Fred

    Can we some the whole image of Mother? I think it's pretty cool looking!
  12. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    so cal
    Some folks are just minimalist and fine with things as they are, others like
    myself want to irritate those guys and put crap all over our stuff just to
    say "up yours, elitists".
    I believe that was Brian's point when he was young, hence
    the Pompadour that was 5x bigger than the "vintage" one.
    One group will never understand the other.
    ..yes I do have $5 decals all over my SSU, front and back
    John C likes this.
  13. Renegade

    Renegade Country Gent

    Jun 21, 2009
    Alvin Lee (Ten Years After)

    Oops I didn't see Dewgrass' post.:eek:
  14. Drewgrass

    Drewgrass Country Gent

    Dec 20, 2009
    Teesside ENGLAND
    Thanks for the pics Helloid!
    I think you made the right choice in preserving it. In itself it's a nice example of
    of the technique. I would even consider a coating with a UV inhibitor, providing you could find one that was safe to use, thereby reducing any further fading. Its got to the point where it looks like it belongs. As for the subject matter, it reminds me of the kind of thing any self respecting 70s Hippy would appreciate! As for the weird mushrooms and puppy dogs. it reminds me of the kind of thing any self respecting 70s Hippy would appreciate!
  15. RepentOrPerish

    RepentOrPerish Synchromatic

    Jun 4, 2008
    BTW.......what IS the deal w/ McCartney and the Redwings' sticker? Is he some sort of hockey fan that we dont know about?
  16. Drewgrass

    Drewgrass Country Gent

    Dec 20, 2009
    Teesside ENGLAND
    Personally I haven't had much recent exposure to that scene so didn't know the origins of the decal thing. I can understand your point of view and it's a great way of asserting your individuality, up to the point where everybody else is doing the same thing. And there is always the tribal thing, which always strikes fear in the hearts of those on the outside. Trouble is, after a while it gets watered down as more people copy it and the original intention gets lost.
  17. LATS

    LATS Country Gent

    Jan 3, 2010
    Calgary, Alberta
    Thanks for sharing pix of your guitar. I've always thought decals looked tacky, but the decoupage raises some interesting possibilities...
  18. Drewgrass

    Drewgrass Country Gent

    Dec 20, 2009
    Teesside ENGLAND
    Apparently in 1976 when he played Olympia Stadium in Detroit, a fan gave him the Detroit Red Wings sticker that he stuck on his Epiphone Texan.
    Strange then that nobody to my knowledge has come forward to claim that it was them. Possibly too embarrassed to admit they were a fan after McCartney released Rupert The Bear and The Frog Song.:eek:
  19. Hot Rod Michelle

    Hot Rod Michelle Country Gent

    May 9, 2009
    I highly doubt that I would ruin the look of my guitar with a sticker or decal, however, some Von Dutch styled, hot rod custom car type pin-striping I could go for.

    If I did put a sticker, well, it would have to be super cool.
  20. Staudi

    Staudi Gretschie

    Jan 5, 2010
    at home
    I love the look of Brian Setzers Gretsch but I wouldn´t put decals on mine.
    I think decals look best on a tele.
    I put one on the back of mine selfmade Tele. I like the new school look: