DORADO by Gretsch MIJ

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by GaryT, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. GaryT

    GaryT Newbie

    Jan 27, 2010
    Anyone aware of the Dorada MIJ Gretsch line fron the late 60's early 70's? I just picked one up and can't find anything about them. Looks like its gonna be a Killer 12 though. Model 5993


    I been playing Gretsch since an Astro Jet back in 67. I never seen one of these. Came in the shop yesterday and been hanging around someones closet for 30 years in no bag or case just plain filthy. But its all here and gonna work out fine.

    Anyone know anything about these?
  2. S Macp

    S Macp Country Gent

    Sep 6, 2009
    Glasgow, UK
    Dorado guitars were imported from Japan by Baldwin and marketed as "Distributed by Gretsch" - they were separate from Gretsch production at the time. There's a fine picture of yours on page 7 of this 1973 catalog.

    Congratulations on the purchase, hope it sounds good! Oh, and welcome to the forum, you'll like it here!
  3. OpenMike1963

    OpenMike1963 Country Gent

    Mar 30, 2009
    Alexandria, Virginia
    Welcome and congratulations on your new 12-string!

    It would worry me that there are so many strings missing. Are those your photos, or were they sent to you by the previous owner? Careful with the neck joint when you string her up completely!

    And Good Luck!
  4. Sarah93003

    Sarah93003 Friend of Fred

    Good luck with the new 12 string. Let us know how you like it. I've seen these Dorado guitars quite frequently on eBay. I think, as someone stated, that it was a straight distribution deal.
  5. GaryT

    GaryT Newbie

    Jan 27, 2010
    It came in my shop the other day. I rescued it from an addict who was looking to cop. I told him I wouldn't pay much nor was he looking for much.

    Anyway I went through the entire guitar. Its Snowing here in CT as we speak and I don't have a set of Twelves so i strung it as a 6. me Great idea of the action, fret-work, playability and Tone. I like it and it plays great.

    As a 6 its kinda mellow. But as a 12 I could see I'm gonna like it cause the high strings will be emphasised.

    Anyway thanks for everything guys. The info was a GREAT help.

    I guess I'll be coming back to Gretsch soon. Its been a LONG TIME. I grew up playing an Astro Jet with Super-Trons back in the day. I been thinking about a Falcon though. Or maybe another type of Arch-Top. Have to get out and play a few.

    I been playing Strats and Hamers for a long time now and my main axe is a Custom built Hamer Newport Pro BE from Willcutt.

    I miss the Gretsch pick-ups though. Been thinking about maybe having TV Jones build a set of Super-Trons for me. They are very nice pick-ups which I always liked better than the original PAFs.

    BTW, I'm bummed out, I can't get that link to work above, though I appreciate the effort to post it!. Where do I find that info on-line? I'd love to see that photo and read about these. I like Old Wood.
  6. Toolguy

    Toolguy Newbie

    Feb 14, 2010
    I was online looking for a new case for my Dorado model 5965 when I saw your post. I absolutely love my Dorado. Bought it new in '74 and have turned down lots of offers to sell or trade. I hope yours is as good as mine. This is a smaller guitar and I need a new case. Does anyone have an idea where to get a smaller case for a 14 3/4" wide x 3 3/4 deep guitar. I've been filling up the space in a case with towels to hold it tight.
  7. Sarah93003

    Sarah93003 Friend of Fred

    Welcome to the forum, Toolguy. Have you checked GC or a local music store? You should be able to give them the dimensions for the lower bout, upper bout, waist, thickness, and overall length and they should hook you up.
  8. welcome to gretsch-talk, Toolguy and GaryT. we're glad to have you both join us. nice old guitar, Gary.

    Toolguy, you mught try Joel @ShangHai, Dave's Guitars, Black Rider, or maybe Street Sounds. someone has to have something for you.
  9. Don Paolo

    Don Paolo Newbie

    Dec 12, 2010
    Rock Island, IL
    Dorado 12 string

    My nephew gave me a Dorado 12 for my birthday ten years ago. He got it at an antique (junk) mall for 15 bucks. It sounds BETTER than the mid-60s Gibson 12 I struggled with (fat neck) for a few years, and it plays like a dream. Mine doesn't look like the one in your photo, though. It's got a slotted headstock and a trapeze bridge. No fancy block inlays on the fretboard, either. Mine looks just like the one on page three of the 1971 catalog:

    Made in Japan, imported by Gretsch, all laminated woods, still a great sound. Who knows why, huh?

    Hope you're enjoying yours as much as I am mine.
  10. Booneville Gretsch

    Booneville Gretsch Electromatic

    Sep 21, 2010
    Niles, Michigan
    Hey GaryT,
    I love the Dorado myself and have the same model 12 string as you. I also have 2- Model 5985 solid-body electrics. They are extremely well made and very playable. I am including information about them in a chapter of my book "Gretsch's Lost Weekend; The Guitars of Booneville and The Hagner Musical Instrument Company, 1970-1981" I am not going to be devoting much to the acoustic models but here's what I can tell you.
    The Dorado guitars were made by Matsumoko of Japan between 1971 and 1973. The most intersting thing is, other than minor cosmetic differences, Matsumoko made the exact same guitar for Epiphone, Aria, Conrad, Granada and Lyle, though less so, their acoustic guitars. The ones that were marketed by the other companies were manufactured between 1970 and 1976. The Headstock design seem to be the only real variable on all of the models. As to why they were distributed by Gretsch, there was a long standing rumor that the Dorado was imported by Gretsch/Baldwin to make up for the lack of inventory after the Booneville factory fire in January 1973 destroyed the Gretsch production facility. While a plausable theory, It doesn't work with the time line. It appears to be more of a deal worked out by Fred Gretsch (still on the Gretsch/Baldwin Board of Directors) and Bill Hagner to work with Japanese suppliers. Gene Haugh told me that the decision to import was made in the spring of 1972 by Baldwin and Fred Gretsch. The first catalogs with Gretsch's name appeared in the fall of the same year and offered only acoustic models. In the 1973 catalog they offered an electric 6 string solid-body as well as a solid-body 4 string bass. Your 12 string model was one of two 12 string models offered in the 1973 catalog. Interstingly they also offered drums that year. A little known fact that you might enjoy. Gene told me that Fred brought a Dorado acoustic to Booneville one day in early 1972. According to Gene, Fred had put some masking tape over the logo, came into Gene's office and asked him to try it out. Gene played around with it for a few minutes then Fred asked him how he thought it played and what he thought it was. Gene said it played great and thought it was a Gibson. Fred peeled the tape off to expose the Dorado logo and said "That's what I thought too. Were gonna start distributing these." Gene told me he didn't care much for the electric solid body model's finish but the acoustics were as good as anything anyone was making during those days. Dorado had 3 logos. Plain Gold screen in fat block letters, Gold silk screen normal block letters in 1971-72 and in 1973 they introduced a Stylish in-laid mother of pearl logo. Yours is a 1973. I'll see if I can find some acoustic pics of the Aria, Epiphone, Conrad, Lyle acoustics so you can see they are all the same. For now, here's how the Dorado solid-body electric compares with all the other Matsumoko solid-body electric guitars. I hope this helps.

    Mike Jones

    "In Gretsch We Trust"

    Attached Files:

    russmack likes this.
  11. Booneville Gretsch

    Booneville Gretsch Electromatic

    Sep 21, 2010
    Niles, Michigan
    That was early 1971 not 1972. Sorry about that
  12. mendnit

    mendnit Newbie

    Jan 5, 2011
    DORADO by Gretsch MIJ model 5993

    Hi everyone (yes I am also a newbie!),

    I also have a Dorado model 5993. The pics in the previous post were fun to see as mine is the only other one I've ever seen.

    I have not played it much over the last few years as the neck is badly bowed. Adjusting the truss rod does not seem to help. I am thinking of replacing the neck, but do not know if it is a dovetail connection to the body or a dowel connection. Does anyone know or do you know of someone I could contact who might know?

    I could just cut it off to find out and I just might do that but thought I'd check for info here first.

    I'd love to find a project unit that I could take the neck from if there is one out there.

    Thank you!

    Tom Messink
  13. Jukebox

    Jukebox Gretschified

    Jun 2, 2008
    Welcome Tom to the G-T, You would be better off staring a new thread . You will get now insight to your question this way.
  14. mendnit

    mendnit Newbie

    Jan 5, 2011
    Thanks Jukebox

    Hi Jukebox,

    Thank you for the advice.

    I will do that.

  15. gentlemanbass

    gentlemanbass Electromatic

    Aug 28, 2011
    I am about to purchase the Dorado 5988 Bass - I read your review of these instruments and a friend who is a MIJ specialists said it was probably very well made.
    It seems the Dorado 5988 was the economy option to the Gretsch 7615.
    The Gretsch7615 was listed as the 72-75 model however after reading your posted price lists on the Lost weekend web site the 7615 was in the August 72 and again in the March 73 price list and was discontinued in the October of 73 price list - The Dorado 5988 ran contemporaneously but continued until June 74 when the Broadkaster bass replaced both of them.

    With this purchase it leaves the 7615 as the only Lost Weekend bass instrument I do not have. I gig with all of them - along with a 1963 6070 & a 1964 6071 - 2 Broadkasters, 2 TK300's & 2 Committees - superb instruments. I just read your post above where you pointed out there was a fire in January 1973 - so it seems that there were very few, if any of the 7615 instrument ever made. Only produced for a year with a fire in the middle of the production time. Only the catalogue picture exists on the web. The earlier 1961 Gretsch Bikini only had 50 made and yet they can be found.

    If I may be so presumptuous to ask if you would ask or put me in contact with Gene Haugh or Bill Hagner who would know or would have built them.

    Take a look at that bass it is phenomenal - a hollowed horn, a tear drop wooden pick guard and a flame headstock. Who designed that baby?

    Peter Currie

    Attached Files:

  16. Lee Gruenhagen

    Lee Gruenhagen Newbie

    Nov 21, 2017
    Hutchinson mn
    I have a 1973 Gretsch Dorado 5993. I bought it in 1978. Still have it and play it every day...It's the only guitar I have ever owned.
  17. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Welcome to the forum, Lee! Can you share a pic of your guitar?
    welcome mat 33.jpg
  18. Brum60

    Brum60 Newbie

    Hi All,
    I have a few Gretsch guitars but was surprised when I saw a Dorado in a second hand shop in Whitley Bay, North East England. It was for sale at a price of £75.00. I picked it up and found the Dorado by Gretsch label inside with the model number 5992 and made in Japan. I had never heard of Dorado before and after a little haggling I walked out of the shop with my Dorado bought for £50.00.
    I took it to Andy at 'Curvey Sounds' in Newcastle upon Tyne, (sells 50's and early 60's guitars) who does all my guitar work, for a set up and new strings. It now plays like a dream, low action comfortable neck and a glorious full tone. Compared with my other acoustic 12 strings (Fender and Taylor) this one is the Dogs B-----s, it is great. IMG_0452.JPG IMG_0452.JPG IMG_0453.JPG IMG_0454.JPG IMG_0452.JPG IMG_0453.JPG IMG_0454.JPG IMG_0452.JPG IMG_0453.JPG IMG_0454.JPG IMG_0452.JPG IMG_0452.JPG IMG_0453.JPG IMG_0454.JPG IMG_0452.JPG IMG_0453.JPG IMG_0454.JPG
    MTurner likes this.
  19. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I’ve never seen anyone tie on a guitar strap that way. Usually they should go down by the nut. Doesn’t hang oddly that way? Nice looking guitar, by the way.
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