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Expert help appreciated on vintage 6190...

Discussion in 'Vintage Gretsch Discussion' started by Staffs Blue, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. Staffs Blue

    Staffs Blue Electromatic

    34
    Jun 27, 2016
    Stafford, England
    Hi All - relatively new poster here, and a big Gretsch fan - proud to have a Country Club in Cadillac Green, White Falcon, 6120 Chet in blue burst, and a Setzer Hotrod on the way. :)

    I also saw this guitar a few months ago, fell in love with it and bought it - it's (IMO) absolutely beautiful, but I'm a bit puzzled by it, due to the serial number and a few other things. First things first - it's aesthetically in gorgeous condition, but the inside of the F-holes nearest the neck, have bowed inwards, although it doesn't appear to be getting any worse - it may have had a neck repair at some stage and it's currently wearing a Gibson bridge, although I do have the original which is missing a couple of parts. The frets are so low that it's almost a fretless, so may well be original. Oh yes, and I think the pickguard is a replacement.

    One of my quandaries is what to do with it! It's OK to play occasionally, and has a wonderful, bright, rockabilly sound, so I could leave it as it is, as it's beautiful, or to get it restored (structurally) and make it into a player. I can't see that refretting it would damage its 'worth' too much, but you might feel differently. Opinions welcome - on everything! :)

    The other thing is - I'm a bit puzzled as to exactly when it was made and exactly what it is - I 'think' it's a 1954 guitar and a Streamliner (6190) but looking at the specifications, it would seem, to my ignorant eyes, to be a '55 model. It's serial number is 12445. Any expert information would be gratefully received - please forgive my ignorance, as I'm very new to the world of Gretsches, but they're wonderful, characterful things, and I love them - and I want to do the right thing by this guitar, as it came from an estate of the owner, and his family were pleased that it had gone to someone who would look after it. Thanks for your help in advance. :)

    6190 1.jpg 6190 2.jpg

    6190 3.jpg 6190 4.jpg
     
  2. musicman100

    musicman100 Country Gent

    Age:
    36
    Aug 15, 2008
    england
    I think I might have seen this guitar. If I'm correct it was doing the rounds at the northern shows last year.
     
  3. Staffs Blue

    Staffs Blue Electromatic

    34
    Jun 27, 2016
    Stafford, England
    You could be right - I bought it in Macclesfield. I'll be at the vintage guitar fair at Formby on Sunday. Some people never learn!!
     
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  5. musicman100

    musicman100 Country Gent

    Age:
    36
    Aug 15, 2008
    england
    We've stop going to the little shows because they got to the point were the same stuff was at every show n very little sold and just got traded between dealers.
     
  6. Staffs Blue

    Staffs Blue Electromatic

    34
    Jun 27, 2016
    Stafford, England
    Fair point - it's the first one that I've been to, so it's all new to me!
     
  7. j.s.c

    j.s.c Country Gent

    Aug 19, 2008
    france
    yep ! nice 1953/54 (perhaps very early54) 6190... the wood grain and sunburst are both looking fabulous !
    bullet toss rod + big e l e c t r o m a t i c letters spacing, probably more 1953.

    Btw the serial number 12445 is documented by Ed Ball's manual as 1953 6190-1 (electromatic cutaway just before they change their name to streamliners* starting @ 133xx).

    *same features with hump vs plain block inlays
     
    Staffs Blue likes this.
  8. wildeman

    wildeman Friend of Fred

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    I cant see any top weirdness in the pictures. I love this model for the same reasons you describe. If i was you i'd bring that back to its former glory and play the heck out of it.
    I owned a natural '58 before and am currently buying a '57 burst very similar to yours, its such a light and lively guitar.
     
  9. Staffs Blue

    Staffs Blue Electromatic

    34
    Jun 27, 2016
    Stafford, England
    Wow, thanks. That's wonderful. I really appreciate your help. What was confusing me was the 'Electromatic', when I thought it should have said 'Streamliner' - really helpful, thanks. It was actually advertised as a '57, but the research that I did indicated that it may have been a '54 manufacture, and a '55 model year, but thanks for setting me straight.
     
  10. Staffs Blue

    Staffs Blue Electromatic

    34
    Jun 27, 2016
    Stafford, England
    Yes, the sound is very bright and punchy - rockabilly all the way! The sinking of the wood around the f holes is probably more pronounced looking at the 'head-on' photos, where the light catches the sunken bits a little better. I wondered about the practicality of having them restored to their former shape if that's possible.
     
  11. j.s.c

    j.s.c Country Gent

    Aug 19, 2008
    france
    Gretsch 6190 (10).JPG

    I have a 56 streamliner, as you can see she has the "Electromatic" on the headstock too (but with smaller letting spacers). "Electromatic" became the generic name of all pickup equipped models... also a good way to use old raw materials stocks. I guess the Electromatic disappeared somewhere in 1957... living the space blank between G logo and the tussrod cover.

    Electros' Cutaway to Streamliners history :
    1953/54 : Angle Gretsch logo, plain block inlays
    1955/56 : Horizontal GreTsch logo, transition from short to long tussrod cover + the smaller spacers between letters... Humpblock inlays
    1957 : no more Electromatic !
    1958 : transition from dyna to filtertrons, from tone pot to tone switch.
    1958/59 : some models seems to be trestle braced...
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
    Staffs Blue likes this.
  12. wildeman

    wildeman Friend of Fred

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    From what i see its just natural aging and settling of a 60+ yr old instrument. If the neck angle is good all i would do is the refret.
     
    j.s.c likes this.
  13. wildeman

    wildeman Friend of Fred

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    This is the one im getting 20170209_135316.jpg
     
  14. Staffs Blue

    Staffs Blue Electromatic

    34
    Jun 27, 2016
    Stafford, England
    Thanks for the education so far, folks. It's so helpful. I'll try and get a better photo of the 'depression' around the F-holes, as I hope you're right, but they're quite substantial depressions. I think there might have been a neck break at some stage, although I'm not sure - I don't know if the pic is of good enough quality to tell.

    Some more questions, then! Does anyone know of anywhere where I could get Melita bridge parts - the pickguard, I think, is a replacement too, and I don't suppose that anyone has any contacts in that area? Sorry for all the questions - I've been saving them up!!

    6190 neck.jpg 6190 f hole 1.jpg 6190 f hole 2.jpg
     
  15. Staffs Blue

    Staffs Blue Electromatic

    34
    Jun 27, 2016
    Stafford, England
    Wow, that's lovely. Just lovely.
     
    wildeman likes this.
  16. wildeman

    wildeman Friend of Fred

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Well, the neck on yours looks standard issue vintage Gretsch, the F holes are also normal, as you can see on mine. You can buy a brand new Melita im pretty sure. Is this your 1st vintage Gretsch?
     
  17. wildeman

    wildeman Friend of Fred

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    I think the only way to reshape the top would be steam, i would be worried about messing up something else ( braces, finish, etc.). Plus you would have to remove all the electronics and hardware to do it safely. Not worth it imo, i would and am just gonna happily live with my beautiful old guitar.......warts and all;)
     
    Staffs Blue likes this.
  18. j.s.c

    j.s.c Country Gent

    Aug 19, 2008
    france
    Woow, I wasn't expected such a big fhole "," sinking ! Nevertheless it not a real issue to enjoy the guitar.

    Here is mine... I really love the sunburst lacquer checking on those babies !
    IMG_8384.jpg
     
    JC higgy, wildeman and Staffs Blue like this.
  19. Staffs Blue

    Staffs Blue Electromatic

    34
    Jun 27, 2016
    Stafford, England
    Actually, it's not QUITE as bad as it looks in the pics, believe it or not! It's my first vintage Gretsch, although I have a 1955 ES-125, a 1959 Roger Junior Cutaway, and am going to have a look at a 1950-ish ES-150 tomorrow. The place where I'm viewing the ES-150 also restores guitars, so I think I'll ask their advice, and certainly wouldn't want to try anything myself. In the UK, we have a TV character called Mr Bean, and he's at about my level of competence! It's a tough call really, because it's beautiful, and I want to do the best for it.
     
  20. Staffs Blue

    Staffs Blue Electromatic

    34
    Jun 27, 2016
    Stafford, England
    That's gorgeous. I'm dribbling - part of that's due to my age, but that is sheer beauty.
     
  21. wildeman

    wildeman Friend of Fred

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    That's the best thing, having a luthier look at it. Old Gretsches are quirky critters. I looked up Melita's and you have a couple of new options.Keep us posted how it goes