Prices on Gretsch Custom Shop Guitars

Mr Swisher

Country Gent
Jun 12, 2012
1,308
England
That is very nice! I myself do not have a particular Custom Shop that I fancy either (though Mr Swisher now has one that I could see in my house).
Rather, I was typing hypothetically.
I have more guitars than I need at the moment and fewer than I want.
If I were to get a guitar at this moment it would likely be a Gibson Les Paul. Just about the most useless guitar for what I typically play.
What my obsessions will have me drooling over next year is anybodies guess.
I love guitars and never tire of learning about brands, models and variations.

It's my precious...It can't be seen in your house :)
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Craig Encinitas

Gretschie
May 3, 2021
351
Encinitas, Ca
But then it wouldn't be my own personalized recipe ! It would be someone else's dream that I hijacked! :(

Excellent point!

Custom Shop guitars that are made for a retailer does not make in a custom
tailored guitar for the buyer.
 

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Mr Swisher

Country Gent
Jun 12, 2012
1,308
England
But then it wouldn't be my own personalized recipe ! It would be someone else's dream that I hijacked! :(

True, I bought this brand new, it was specced by the store not me.

Having said that, it had the specs I would choose. I wouldn't change a single thing about it, not the pickups, colour, neck carve, materials, Bigsby, aging, builder or anything else.

But that is the reason I felt I had to move on it...I was never going to commit to placing an order and waiting, so when I saw this config' it stopped me iny tracks.
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,740
Where the action is!
afire,

Can you show us some photos of your CS Gretsch(s), maybe then, some of us non-believers can start to feel your passion.
I can't, because I don't have one yet and probably won't for another year or two. My opinion is based on playing them every chance I've gotten when I've run across one in a shop. Mostly at Cream City Music in Milwaukee, but every time I travel to a major city, I look for a major Gretsch dealer that will have a couple. I've been wanting one since the first time I played a CS '55 6120 in 2005. But I was too committed to vintage and wasn't about to sink money into both of the most expensive options. Priorities and preferences have changed, and now I'm making the switch from vintage to Custom Shop (more on that later).

But photos really would only tell half the story, maybe not even. Let me translate into a language in which I know you are very fluent - Rickenbackerese. You have both a 325V59 and a couple of 325C58s. Imagine you only had the V59 and I showed you a few pictures of a C58. You might think, well yeah, different vibrato, single guard, and 1/4" deeper, but it looks like pretty much the same guitar, so I think I'll just stick with my V59 and pass on a C58. And nothing could be further from the truth. They are totally different animals. A C58 is so light, resonant and almost delicate feeling, and the tone is significantly different. I'm guessing that you, like I was, were totally blown away the first time you got your hands on a C58. A V59 is a modern Rickenbacker that feels like a modern Rickenbacker, but kind of looks pretty similar to a 1958 Rickenbacker. The C58 is a true replica of a 1958 Rickenbacker. Which isn't to say that the C58 is inherently better or would be everyone's preference, or that Rickenbacker was justified at doubling the price over what the V59 used to cost. But they are definitely different. And if a C58 is what speaks to you, then a V59 just isn't going to scratch that itch. That's how I feel about Custom Shop Gretsches. Playing vintage Gretsches since 1990 has conditioned me to something that the Prolines, while great in their own right and likely preferable to some, don't deliver to me, but Custom Shop Gretsches do.
As far as snake and alligator skin, that material looks much better on the ''live'' animals it came from. Cutting down rare specie trees to build guitars is bad enough, I draw the line on killing wild animals.

And...you can't tell me that alligator skin makes a guitar sound better...
My point was only that Custom Shop Gretsches aren't made using the same materials as Terada. They'll use anything you ask them to. And no, I can't image that an alligator skin top would improve a guitar's tone, nor would I want an alligator to die for my guitar, but I will admit that it's kind of cool looking.
The only point I don't completely agree with is: if it's true (and I don't absolutely have a reason to doubt it) that CS are built (feeling wise and tone wise) so close to the vintage ones, why don't go with the vintage in the first place? Why do you have to buy a guitar that resemble a vintage counterpart when there's still vintage counterparts available out there?
I addressed this a few pages ago, at least from my perspective. I sold a flawless '59 Country Gent to fund ordering a '55 6120 from the Custom Shop. With some diligence, I'm sure I could find a nice '55 6120 for about the same price. And if the Custom Shop didn't exist, that's exactly what I would be doing right now. But after 32 years of playing vintage Gretsches almost exclusively, and 17 years of craving a Custom Shop Gretsch, I decided to make the switch for a few reasons. Not least of all, binding rot. Over the last 15 or so years, it's gone from something that only affects Gretsches from the late '60s to affecting Gretsches from all of the '60s, and is now creeping back to the late '50s. I just don't trust that it's not going to keep creeping back to the point where you can't be confident that any guitar with celluloid binding is safe. I didn't want to be the guy holding the bag when my '59 Gretsch started rotting, and I don't want to turn around and spend a ton of money on a '55 Gretsch only to have my heart broken in a few years if it too starts to rot. Yes, they're beautiful, fun to play, and most of them are structurally sound. But neck joints were never well executed and overall attention to detail wasn't always the best. Then there's the fact that these guitars are 60+ years old. What else might go wrong? And how irresponsible am I gigging at dive bars with a guitar that's not only expensive, but also has survived decades as a historical artifact in such beautiful condition? I don't own things I don't use, and using vintage Gretsches was no longer giving me the unrestrained pleasure it once did. So, having a brand new guitar built to the specs of a '55 6120 by a master craftsman that captures the look, feel and tone of an original is more appealing to me now than owning the "real" thing. Others may have other reasons, but that's my reason.
 

TV the Wired Turtle

Gretschified
Jul 25, 2009
14,660
Sandy Eggo
I can't, because I don't have one yet and probably won't for another year or two. My opinion is based on playing them every chance I've gotten when I've run across one in a shop. Mostly at Cream City Music in Milwaukee, but every time I travel to a major city, I look for a major Gretsch dealer that will have a couple. I've been wanting one since the first time I played a CS '55 6120 in 2005. But I was too committed to vintage and wasn't about to sink money into both of the most expensive options. Priorities and preferences have changed, and now I'm making the switch from vintage to Custom Shop (more on that later).

But photos really would only tell half the story, maybe not even. Let me translate into a language in which I know you are very fluent - Rickenbackerese. You have both a 325V59 and a couple of 325C58s. Imagine you only had the V59 and I showed you a few pictures of a C58. You might think, well yeah, different vibrato, single guard, and 1/4" deeper, but it looks like pretty much the same guitar, so I think I'll just stick with my V59 and pass on a C58. And nothing could be further from the truth. They are totally different animals. A C58 is so light, resonant and almost delicate feeling, and the tone is significantly different. I'm guessing that you, like I was, were totally blown away the first time you got your hands on a C58. A V59 is a modern Rickenbacker that feels like a modern Rickenbacker, but kind of looks pretty similar to a 1958 Rickenbacker. The C58 is a true replica of a 1958 Rickenbacker. Which isn't to say that the C58 is inherently better or would be everyone's preference, or that Rickenbacker was justified at doubling the price over what the V59 used to cost. But they are definitely different. And if a C58 is what speaks to you, then a V59 just isn't going to scratch that itch. That's how I feel about Custom Shop Gretsches. Playing vintage Gretsches since 1990 has conditioned me to something that the Prolines, while great in their own right and likely preferable to some, don't deliver to me, but Custom Shop Gretsches do.

My point was only that Custom Shop Gretsches aren't made using the same materials as Terada. They'll use anything you ask them to. And no, I can't image that an alligator skin top would improve a guitar's tone, nor would I want an alligator to die for my guitar, but I will admit that it's kind of cool looking.

I addressed this a few pages ago, at least from my perspective. I sold a flawless '59 Country Gent to fund ordering a '55 6120 from the Custom Shop. With some diligence, I'm sure I could find a nice '55 6120 for about the same price. And if the Custom Shop didn't exist, that's exactly what I would be doing right now. But after 32 years of playing vintage Gretsches almost exclusively, and 17 years of craving a Custom Shop Gretsch, I decided to make the switch for a few reasons. Not least of all, binding rot. Over the last 15 or so years, it's gone from something that only affects Gretsches from the late '60s to affecting Gretsches from all of the '60s, and is now creeping back to the late '50s. I just don't trust that it's not going to keep creeping back to the point where you can't be confident that any guitar with celluloid binding is safe. I didn't want to be the guy holding the bag when my '59 Gretsch started rotting, and I don't want to turn around and spend a ton of money on a '55 Gretsch only to have my heart broken in a few years if it too starts to rot. Yes, they're beautiful, fun to play, and most of them are structurally sound. But neck joints were never well executed and overall attention to detail wasn't always the best. Then there's the fact that these guitars are 60+ years old. What else might go wrong? And how irresponsible am I gigging at dive bars with a guitar that's not only expensive, but also has survived decades as a historical artifact in such beautiful condition? I don't own things I don't use, and using vintage Gretsches was no longer giving me the unrestrained pleasure it once did. So, having a brand new guitar built to the specs of a '55 6120 by a master craftsman that captures the look, feel and tone of an original is more appealing to me now than owning the "real" thing. Others may have other reasons, but that's my reason.

I think I'm gonna make that a motto "I dont own things I dont use" ....time to sell a butt load of guitar gear
 

Back in Black

Country Gent
Jun 22, 2020
1,545
Ontario Canada
I can't, because I don't have one yet and probably won't for another year or two. My opinion is based on playing them every chance I've gotten when I've run across one in a shop. Mostly at Cream City Music in Milwaukee, but every time I travel to a major city, I look for a major Gretsch dealer that will have a couple. I've been wanting one since the first time I played a CS '55 6120 in 2005. But I was too committed to vintage and wasn't about to sink money into both of the most expensive options. Priorities and preferences have changed, and now I'm making the switch from vintage to Custom Shop (more on that later).

But photos really would only tell half the story, maybe not even. Let me translate into a language in which I know you are very fluent - Rickenbackerese. You have both a 325V59 and a couple of 325C58s. Imagine you only had the V59 and I showed you a few pictures of a C58. You might think, well yeah, different vibrato, single guard, and 1/4" deeper, but it looks like pretty much the same guitar, so I think I'll just stick with my V59 and pass on a C58. And nothing could be further from the truth. They are totally different animals. A C58 is so light, resonant and almost delicate feeling, and the tone is significantly different. I'm guessing that you, like I was, were totally blown away the first time you got your hands on a C58. A V59 is a modern Rickenbacker that feels like a modern Rickenbacker, but kind of looks pretty similar to a 1958 Rickenbacker. The C58 is a true replica of a 1958 Rickenbacker. Which isn't to say that the C58 is inherently better or would be everyone's preference, or that Rickenbacker was justified at doubling the price over what the V59 used to cost. But they are definitely different. And if a C58 is what speaks to you, then a V59 just isn't going to scratch that itch. That's how I feel about Custom Shop Gretsches. Playing vintage Gretsches since 1990 has conditioned me to something that the Prolines, while great in their own right and likely preferable to some, don't deliver to me, but Custom Shop Gretsches do.

My point was only that Custom Shop Gretsches aren't made using the same materials as Terada. They'll use anything you ask them to. And no, I can't image that an alligator skin top would improve a guitar's tone, nor would I want an alligator to die for my guitar, but I will admit that it's kind of cool looking.

I addressed this a few pages ago, at least from my perspective. I sold a flawless '59 Country Gent to fund ordering a '55 6120 from the Custom Shop. With some diligence, I'm sure I could find a nice '55 6120 for about the same price. And if the Custom Shop didn't exist, that's exactly what I would be doing right now. But after 32 years of playing vintage Gretsches almost exclusively, and 17 years of craving a Custom Shop Gretsch, I decided to make the switch for a few reasons. Not least of all, binding rot. Over the last 15 or so years, it's gone from something that only affects Gretsches from the late '60s to affecting Gretsches from all of the '60s, and is now creeping back to the late '50s. I just don't trust that it's not going to keep creeping back to the point where you can't be confident that any guitar with celluloid binding is safe. I didn't want to be the guy holding the bag when my '59 Gretsch started rotting, and I don't want to turn around and spend a ton of money on a '55 Gretsch only to have my heart broken in a few years if it too starts to rot. Yes, they're beautiful, fun to play, and most of them are structurally sound. But neck joints were never well executed and overall attention to detail wasn't always the best. Then there's the fact that these guitars are 60+ years old. What else might go wrong? And how irresponsible am I gigging at dive bars with a guitar that's not only expensive, but also has survived decades as a historical artifact in such beautiful condition? I don't own things I don't use, and using vintage Gretsches was no longer giving me the unrestrained pleasure it once did. So, having a brand new guitar built to the specs of a '55 6120 by a master craftsman that captures the look, feel and tone of an original is more appealing to me now than owning the "real" thing. Others may have other reasons, but that's my reason.
Hey afire...

You're right on all counts.

The C58, is fragile/delicate by comparison, and true to it's 1958 Grandfather. Could have been Custom Shop status, like you mentioned lots of its own parts, found on no other Rickenbackers, true 58 Vibrola assembly, 58 acorn strap buttons, short magnet, true 58 pickups, 1/4'' wide 58 nut, 58 style open gear, beveled edge butter bean tuners, alder instead of maple, correct body thickness...etc.

Although Rickenbacker does do ''Signature/Limited Edition'', they do not do Custom Shop. My opinion might be slightly slanted, but I think every Ric produced is CS quality. There is no MIC Line, MIJ Line, Standard Line, Pro Line, Custom Shop. Rickenbacker decided a long time ago, where their bread and butter was going to be, ''Some Others'' are still trying to figure that out, and not having a lot of success in the process. Fender, Gibson, PRS had no showing at NAMM this year, for reasons other than they are ''making too much money'' Rickenbacker has no ''spec stock''. Everything that leaves Santa Ana is ''pre sold'', which indicates to me they must be doing something right.

Back on topic, I guess my point is...the V59, the C58, 1993 Plus/12, the 4003 AC, The Gretsch Malcolm Sig, the Gretsch Rosewood Tenny, the George Harrison Duo Jet, all high end collectors...every one of them, and none are any where near 10K...not even close.

Just look at these seven beauties, every one ''Custom Shop Worthy'', and then some!

Best,

BIB. DSCF1507.JPG





DSCF1514.JPG IMG_1320.JPG DSCF1424.JPG DSCF1454.JPG IMG_0231.JPG
 
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stiv

Country Gent
Sep 12, 2014
2,569
Firenze, Italy
I addressed this a few pages ago, at least from my perspective. I sold a flawless '59 Country Gent to fund ordering a '55 6120 from the Custom Shop. With some diligence, I'm sure I could find a nice '55 6120 for about the same price. And if the Custom Shop didn't exist, that's exactly what I would be doing right now. But after 32 years of playing vintage Gretsches almost exclusively, and 17 years of craving a Custom Shop Gretsch, I decided to make the switch for a few reasons. Not least of all, binding rot. Over the last 15 or so years, it's gone from something that only affects Gretsches from the late '60s to affecting Gretsches from all of the '60s, and is now creeping back to the late '50s. I just don't trust that it's not going to keep creeping back to the point where you can't be confident that any guitar with celluloid binding is safe. I didn't want to be the guy holding the bag when my '59 Gretsch started rotting, and I don't want to turn around and spend a ton of money on a '55 Gretsch only to have my heart broken in a few years if it too starts to rot. Yes, they're beautiful, fun to play, and most of them are structurally sound. But neck joints were never well executed and overall attention to detail wasn't always the best. Then there's the fact that these guitars are 60+ years old. What else might go wrong? And how irresponsible am I gigging at dive bars with a guitar that's not only expensive, but also has survived decades as a historical artifact in such beautiful condition? I don't own things I don't use, and using vintage Gretsches was no longer giving me the unrestrained pleasure it once did. So, having a brand new guitar built to the specs of a '55 6120 by a master craftsman that captures the look, feel and tone of an original is more appealing to me now than owning the "real" thing. Others may have other reasons, but that's my reason.
I can see your point, but I'm not sure I agree with it. No problem though...
First thing, I think that if I would buy a guitar (any guitar) for playing purposes and not only to own it or use it as a very expensive wall hanger, then the "oh the binding it may get worse" would be the last thing to come to my mind after all the good feelings that I'd have with playing a piece of history (not to mention the tone). I can agree with the fact that you must be very carefully with spending all that money and you should know the item you're buying very well specs-wise, but then... would the binding get worse at some point? Then I'd be thinking about it when it's the case and btw today there's more than a treatment for that to avoid a complete rotting. Anyway, it's a player, remember? If it stays on the road it would get scuffed no matter what you'll do to avoid it.
Second thing, I can see your point about playing dive bars with such an instrument but.... is a CS really different? I mean, it's a five figure guitar anyway, it's not like you're playing with a PE. The fact that is new wouldn't protect it from getting bumped and ticked and all the rest. I would understand you if we were talking about playing a VS or an original, but it's a 10000 (original) dollars guitar versus a 10000 (new) dollars guitar. Sure, maybe the binding wouldn'd get rot, but it's a exceptionally expensive instrument both ways. If I'd be bound to be worried, I don't think that the fact that is new would makes me feel better. When I bought my pre FMIC 6120 in 1990 (that costed me like a small car at the time, the equivalent of 4000 dollars today) I was worried about anything, so I know what you're talking about. Then I had my first bump, then my first scratch, so things went slighlty better :)
I had another point of view though, that always comes to my mind when it comes to buy very expensive cars (there's an old line that says that the day you'd pick it up from the dealer, then your brand new expensive car would loose 10% of the retail price.... :)): Let's say you'd buy a '55 6120 CS as per your specs and starst playing dive bars with it. Let's say that after one year the guitar would wear the normal signs of a one-year duty (if you're lucky. If you're not and some drunked fella would make it fall from the stand or the drummer spills half a pint on it, just saying... I mean not a real structural damage but something it can be easily noticed in a picture), what would happen at that point? Probably you'd have lost a thousand on the value if you want/need to sell it again.
Would that happen with a real '55? I doubt. At least here in the old continent, a vintage guitar holds value waaay better than any other custom order you'll ever buy. In fact, aftermarkets are really fuller of CS guitars (Gibson the most) than they are of vintage guitars.
Anyway, it's all good my friend. I don't have the money (or the will, at this point) to buy no vintage or CS guitar, so none of these problems would bother me in the next future. ;)
 
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Jscordoba

Electromatic
Jun 10, 2022
11
Beaver Island, MI
For what it's worth, the Gretsch custom shop is by far the most reasonably priced name brand shop, and they'll go farther and not charge the premiums other shops charge.

I like shortscale guitars. I asked Gibson about building a new ES140, would have essentially been an ES Les Paul with a short scale. They told me off the bat $20-25k depending on features. Nope

I went to Gretsch, ordered an extremely custom shortscale penguin. 50s gibson sunburst, submitted my own custom logo art, 2 f holes, a real vintage DeArmond FHC neck pickup and TK Smith Bridge pickup. Full disclosure I had the pickups in my parts stash, but final cost from Gretsch, $6500. Nothing to sneeze at, but far less than Gibson. And to my knowledge that's what they'd quote for a basic white penguin.

I tour with all my guitars, none are case queens. The guitar described will come to Europe for a month with me next week. They're made to be played.
 

BCRatRod73

Synchromatic
Sep 1, 2020
786
Mississippi
I treat all my guitars with care, I try my not to carelessly damage any, but I play the heck out of everything.
I don’t mind the dings and dents…so long as they’re organic and happened naturally. Paying to put them there is one of those “it’s your money” kind of things for me. Dings and dents you put there yourself kinda give a guitar character and tell a story.
 

Jscordoba

Electromatic
Jun 10, 2022
11
Beaver Island, MI
When the blues lawyers get tired of looking at their $8500 custom Murphy aged Gibson Les Paul hanging on the wall and want to try something new they look into a Gretsch Custom Shop.
For a few years there, Gibson was pumping out some of the worst colors on their high end guitars. Remember the last Les Paul Supreme? I think it came in flame top "ocean water", "seafoam" and "rootbeer". Something about those colors in flame top just screamed 1992 to me. Give a sunburst or black option at least
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,740
Where the action is!
I can see your point, but I'm not sure I agree with it. No problem though...
No problem at all. I'm not trying to convince anybody else to drop vintage in favor of Custom Shop. I just looked at my options and reached my own conclusion about what appeals most to me in this moment.

First thing, I think that if I would buy a guitar (any guitar) for playing purposes and not only to own it or use it as a very expensive wall hanger, then the "oh the binding it may get worse" would be the last thing to come to my mind...
Unfortunately, that was getting to be the first thing that came to my mind every time I picked up my guitar. Maybe that's a symptom of mental illness and a healthier mind could just enjoy it for what it is and hope for the best. Not me. And I don't want to have a bunch of money tied up in an object that causes my mind to go to unhappy places. Seeing other people's vintage Gretsches brings me joy. Owning one no longer did.

Anyway, it's a player, remember? If it stays on the road it would get scuffed no matter what you'll do to avoid it.
Second thing, I can see your point about playing dive bars with such an instrument but.... is a CS really different? I mean, it's a five figure guitar anyway, it's not like you're playing with a PE. The fact that is new wouldn't protect it from getting bumped and ticked and all the rest. I would understand you if we were talking about playing a VS or an original, but it's a 10000 (original) dollars guitar versus a 10000 (new) dollars guitar. Sure, maybe the binding wouldn't get rot, but it's a exceptionally expensive instrument both ways. If I'd be bound to be worried, I don't think that the fact that is new would makes me feel better.
This is really a secondary concern. But I would definitely feel worse about damaging a 60+ year old Gretsch than one I bought new, even with values being equal.

When I bought my pre FMIC 6120 in 1990 (that costed me like a small car at the time, the equivalent of 4000 dollars today) I was worried about anything, so I know what you're talking about. Then I had my first bump, then my first scratch, so things went slightly better
Heck, I might even enjoy putting a little wear and tear on a guitar that was built for me. I'm not requesting a relic job, but maybe I should just to get that first bump and scratch out of the way. ;)

That said, I was a little careless with my gear when I was a teenager, but I think I can honestly say no guitar I've owned in maybe the last 25 years has left my possession in worse condition than I received it in. Never had a headstock break (which Gretsches aren't really known for anyway), blown out jack, major scratch, etc. I gig about once a month these days and am mindful of my surroundings as are my bandmates. When any song that invites drunken two stepping starts, I just take two steps back myself so when somebody tumbles over my monitor and the mic stand goes flying, I'll be out of the blast zone. I really shouldn't have too much trouble both putting it to use and keeping it nice.
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,740
Where the action is!
The C58, is fragile/delicate by comparison, and true to it's 1958 Grandfather. Could have been Custom Shop status, like you mentioned lots of its own parts, found on no other Rickenbackers, true 58 Vibrola assembly, 58 acorn strap buttons, short magnet, true 58 pickups, 1/4'' wide 58 nut, 58 style open gear, beveled edge butter bean tuners, alder instead of maple, correct body thickness...etc.
Esactly. Even though Rickenbacker doesn't use the term Custom Shop, that's pretty much what the C (for Custom?) series was, especially the C58. So you've experienced in that guitar what I'm trying to describe about what I feel like I'm experiencing with Custom Shop Gretsches I've played.
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,740
Where the action is!
I went to Gretsch, ordered an extremely custom shortscale penguin. 50s gibson sunburst, submitted my own custom logo art, 2 f holes, a real vintage DeArmond FHC neck pickup and TK Smith Bridge pickup. Full disclosure I had the pickups in my parts stash, but final cost from Gretsch, $6500. Nothing to sneeze at, but far less than Gibson. And to my knowledge that's what they'd quote for a basic white penguin.
That thing is wicked.

And I've defended Gibson's pricing for their standard line of guitars as being very comparable to Gretsch, but as soon as you get into anything in the Custom/Historic realm, it gets real crazy real fast. For starters, most of what they call "custom" are really more or less production models, albeit built by the "A team" with a higher attention to materials, details, and craftsmanship. I think you're the first person I've heard relay a tale of trying to order a Gibson that was truly custom. And I think it's great that Gretsch doesn't really charge a lot to deviate from more common specs. If the guitars are custom built one at a time, why should they cost more just because they're different?
 


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