Is it possible to understand Gretsch model numbers...

MadKaw

Gretschie
Apr 17, 2020
337
Michigan, USA
... without taking drugs?
Ibanez numbers can be decoded and tell you about how the guitar is configured. ESP... well, bigger numbers mean better, or more accurately, more expensive.
I haven't figured out how to decode Gretsch model numbers though. Is there a system I have missed, or are they just the ramblings of somebody who spent too much time in the '60s and '70s?
 

bluenote23

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 17, 2009
1,814
Montreal, Canada
G1XXX are mid 90s or so entry level models.
G2XXX are entry level models.
G3XXX are Korean made Historic series, a forerunner to the Electromatic line.
G5XXX are Electromatic budget models, made in Korea, China or, I think recently, Indonesia.
G6XXX are either vintage models or USA made Custom Shop models or Proline made in Japan models. If you want to term it thus, these are the 'good' stuff.

There are 7593/94 Falcons too. I don't know where this number comes from (most Falcons are G6196). There are other 7XXX models, higher end, maybe Baldwin era?

Is this what you're asking or are you wondering why a G6121 and a G6130 kinda look the same but have such different model numbers? I can't answer that one.
 
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juks

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Nov 26, 2020
3,681
Fremont, California
I think the short answer is no but the above is a good start.

Also, the last digit sometimes designates the color, sometimes single cut (0) vs double cut (2).
 

Yr23

Newbie
Nov 5, 2022
3
Stockholm, SE
The late 80s and after 7593/7594 Falcons are ‘70s style’, so small f-holes, plain headstock, plain block inlays. Otherwise features vary. No idea if Gretsch used any other 70’s 7xxx model numbers post Baldwin.
 

LesB3

Synchromatic
Silver Member
Aug 17, 2021
508
Philadelphia, PA
I thought I read somewhere that the second digit meant something too, like "0" was archtop and "1" meant it was 'lectrified. So "6120" was "Proline, 'lectric, Model 20" but don't know if that's true or not (or consistent to this day).

7xxx are all Baldwin re-designs.

6119 = 7655
6120 = 7660
6122 = 7670

Etc. No rhyme or reason there AFAIK
 

ForTheLoveOfIvy

Gretschie
Feb 28, 2022
376
London
And of course they sometimes reuse the same designation. 6199 applies to both vintage Convertibles and modern Billy Bos.
 
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jvin248

Gretschie
May 16, 2017
249
Near Detroit
.

Some product brands use model designations that are tough for outsiders so that those 'in the club' find it charming and sometimes even more desirable that way. European car manufacturers have done this for decades.

Is a confusing numbering system increasing or decreasing Gretsch guitar sales? No idea.
But they remain confusing.

I find if you confuse consumers, especially on the used market, they are less willing to spend cash -- so the used products sell for lower prices on average. When a new instrument buyer has a harder time selling old gear or selling it for less on average, they have less money to spend on a new guitar from the factory. Factories need to ensure the used market sells for the highest prices to make their new products sell for a better premium. Used gear is an enabler of new gear sales.

So I urge companies to be the clearest they can with product model designations, just like Goldilocks taught us all 'just right'.

.
 

senojnad

Synchromatic
Platinum Member
Jul 13, 2008
860
Lehigh Valley, PA
Wayne Gretschky has it all figured out and explained in his books.

Those books (by Edward Ball) -- for those who have not read them -- are fascinating and enjoyable reads. Personally I have read them multiple times besides consulting them for information or simply "sentimental journies".....
 
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mbkri

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Sep 22, 2012
3,131
Chicago
I just spent the day at the Air Force Museum in Dayton Ohio. Superb!!!!!
But i believe the person in charge of naming airplanes went to the same school that the Gretsch folk went to. Bewildering. A 100% discernible system applied 53% of the time across 73% of the products.
 

MadKaw

Gretschie
Apr 17, 2020
337
Michigan, USA
I just spent the day at the Air Force Museum in Dayton Ohio. Superb!!!!!
But i believe the person in charge of naming airplanes went to the same school that the Gretsch folk went to. Bewildering. A 100% discernible system applied 53% of the time across 73% of the products.
Actually airplanes, at least military airplanes are easy.Well... easyish.
 

Wayne Gretschzky

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Aug 27, 2008
3,796
East Coast
Wayne Gretschky has it all figured out and explained in his books.

Those books (by Edward Ball) -- for those who have not read them -- are fascinating and enjoyable reads. Personally I have read them multiple times besides consulting them for information or simply "sentimental journies".....
The books mentioned above (thanks Dan!) will address the vintage Gretsch line (pre-1980). And yes... the Golden Era Gretsch approach was #61xx for electrics and #60xx for acoustics. Once the brand was resurrected in the early 90s... things got pretty convoluted, or maybe I just wasn't paying as much attention, being I'm more of a vintage nerd.
 


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