The Good Ol' Days....Not

Discussion in 'Vintage Gretsch Discussion' started by journeyman, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Country Gent

    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    Me too.
    7E3173DE-AF6D-4671-8F6E-CD3C09D5A37D.jpeg ( my ‘29 coupe)
    Merc, T Bone, radd and 1 other person like this.
  2. Stefan87

    Stefan87 Synchromatic

    May 20, 2019
    Brisbane, Australia
    Totally agree too, and i love everything in that picture.
    radd likes this.
  3. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    I think i would rather have a vintage Gretsch myself, call me crazyo_O
  4. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    I've played new Gretsch guitars that were crap and old ones that were awful too.
    Like wise I've played old ones that were awesome and I own two newer ones that are great guitars. I don't think it's fair to say one is better than the other - there's good and bad in both old and new.
    It's pretty much that way with every brand ever made. Gibson, Fender, Rickenbacker included. Although all my Carvin guitars have been excellent...;).
  5. speedicut

    speedicut Friend of Fred

    Jun 5, 2012
    I've seen a few single Annies like that, usually late 50's, early 60's models
  6. afire

    afire Country Gent

    That's the quality that has always drawn me to vintage. Well, that and the fact that I just like old things. And for the most part I've been able to be a picky enough buyer to stick to vintage Gretsches that were well cared for and issue-free.
  7. Wayne Gretschzky

    Wayne Gretschzky Country Gent

    Aug 27, 2008
    East Coast
    Nope. I don't feel like the definition of "vintage" is the same for every brand. For Gretsch... "vintage" is typically considered pre-1980. The guitars that were produced after the brand was brought back in 1989 are just early modern reissues. Perhaps your 20 year rule might apply better to PRS guitars.
    Waxhead and dak55 like this.
  8. Runamok

    Runamok Gretschie

    Aug 25, 2017
    USA midwest
    You have to watch that in dry climes.

    My one-time stand up bass is now a baritone ukelele.
    T Bone and Ricochet like this.
  9. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    I've never owned a PRS.
    Oldest guitar I presently have is a 1993 MIA Strat.

    So pre 1989 is your personal "vintage" benchmark for Gretsch ??
    Has there been any discussion on GT about the year?
  10. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    So... where is it off? all along? Nut placement? Is it possible he nut was changed? Could you make a custom nut and move the scale the direction you need rather a new fretboard? Did the "conversion" you speak of change from a zero fret model?
  11. Wayne Gretschzky

    Wayne Gretschzky Country Gent

    Aug 27, 2008
    East Coast
    Not necessarily MY personal vintage benchmark, more like a general consensus that I've subscribed to.

    I think the term "vintage" is associated to an era of guitars, more than some arbitrary age threshold. For Gretsch, the guitars made before the brand went dormant in the early 80s represent a completely different company than the guitars made in Japan after the rebirth in '89. It might not be as clear-cut for other brands.
    Waxhead, dak55 and new6659 like this.
  12. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    ok fair enough :)
    Much harder to ID a vintage year for other brands though.
    In your opinion would my 93 MIA Strat make "vintage" status yet at 27 yrs old ??
  13. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    The good old days weren’t that great. I was just a kid in the ‘60s, but I know that not all guitars were wonderful back then, not even all Gretsch. There were some stunning instruments to come out of Brooklyn and I can’t blame anyone for desiring one of those, but production of virtually everything was far less consistent back then, and Gretsch did not bat 1,000.

    Pots were more prone to problems, back in the day and having scratchy sounding pots was pretty common. Likewise, amps were not as consistent. Taking an amp in for repair was much more common back then than it is now.

    I echo the sentiments that this is the golden age for guitars. $800 dollars in 2020 will buy a lot of guitar, and that’s not all that much money, these days. I remember looking at a new ES-175 in 1972 and they were asking $800 for it. Back then, that was a bunch of money.

    There are all sorts of fine vintage guitars that would be a pleasure to own, but there are a lot of new production guitars which are of high quality and quite affordable.
    Waxhead, emitex, T Bone and 2 others like this.
  14. Wayne Gretschzky

    Wayne Gretschzky Country Gent

    Aug 27, 2008
    East Coast
    It's a reasonable question. But because I associate "vintage" to an era of guitars, my opinion (others will no doubt disagree) is that your '93 Strat will never be "vintage". Much like (in my mind) my Grandmothers '68 Buick will never be an "antique" car, despite being over 50 years old.

    It would be interesting to ask George Gruhn how he defines the term "vintage guitar".
    Waxhead, new6659 and Robbie like this.
  15. afire

    afire Country Gent

    Now that surprises me. The build quality of old pots used in guitars and amps is clearly higher and more substantial. And even cheap guitars mostly used good pots. Maybe the technology for laying down the carbon track just wasn't what it is today.

    That's how I see it too. At this point, "vintage guitar" has a pretty fixed meaning. It's edges are blurry, and it varies from brand to brand, and it has expanded somewhat over the years, but it's not expanding year-to-year in real time across the board.

    I think the car analogy is an apt one. It's kind of like the term "oldies." That's always going to mean pretty much '50s and '60s rock and roll and pop. When I was a teenager, the only radio station I listened to was the oldies one. Those songs were only 25-40 years old then. "Back in Black" is 40 years old. It's still not an "oldie." It'll always be "classic rock."
    loudnlousy and new6659 like this.
  16. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Yes agree :)
    I've had similar experience - and so have my muso friends.
    My amps, guitars, pedals in the 1980s and 90s overall were not as reliable, did not sound as good, were less versatile, were heavier and more expensive than can be easily found and bought today.

    There were more lemons made in the "vintage" era than today imo.
    Often a whole model range was a lemon then plus individual guitars and amps that slipped through QA/QC.

    This is way I place no special value on "vintage".
    The emotional/nostalgic appeal of vintage gear has no value to me :D
  17. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    Keep in mind that they where more or less handmade custom guitars at that point of time. All the luthiers there built them according to their gusto. Some were great , some were lemons. I saw incredibly bad neckjoints on some vintage speciems. And there were very inconsistant neck-profile measurements back in the day. Not everything Gretsch was gold during the classic period. It was like tossing a coin.
    new6659 likes this.
  18. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    You know I wouldn’t say this just to be argumentative, but it see,s to me that having pots cleaned or replaced was more common in the old days. Perhaps the old pots were make of better materials, but not as resistant to dirt or moisture. I dunno.

    With regard to the definition of vintage: I think it’s like nailing Jello to the wall. Here’s how I see it, but this is definitely a product of my place in the stream of time. I see “vintage” as being guitars made before the restructuring that took place in the ‘80s.

    Fender changed dramatically starting in 1982 and then there was the eventual buyout. Gibson floundered through the early ‘80s and all but closed their doors, but was then bought out and restructured. Gretsch, of course, sort of fizzled out and went out of production until Fred III brought it back from the dead.

    But the story doesn’t end there. From the perspective of the early ‘70s, CMI (pre Norlin) Gibsons, pre CBS Fenders and pre Baldwin Gretsch were considered the real article while the production of the early ‘70s was considered inferior.

    I distinctly remember hearing that new guitars aren’t made the way they used to be, and that was in 1972. The fact is, they were only somewhat right. There was a time when solid woods were more common, but that is not to say that laminates are inferior. One of the best sounding flattops I ever played had a laminate top. I’ll quickly agree that some manufacturers sought to trade on their name and sold de-featured instruments to the unwary, but some of the changes happened for reasons other than cost.

    The laminate ES 175 was a bit of an innovation because it was not as feedback prone as a solid topped L-4 with a floating pickup would be. It was not a second rate instrument, but one purpose built for the era of the electric guitar. They’ve been selling that same instrument since 1949, so it must have something going for it, but from the standpoint of a purist, no, it is not the guitar an L-5 or even an L-4 is.
    loudnlousy likes this.
  19. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    I think of electric “vintage” guitar like an art style or movement, having had their zenith in the ‘50s/60. Where their pioneering insights and existing production methods culminated in the prime exponents of their art form. An exemplary quality chased by many followers.

    All the manufacturers(artists) working in the same style , arguably matching or even surpassing it, are not part of the same movement in historical context, so can not be considered vintage. ‘70s LPs, ‘70s Strats, nope and nope.
    loudnlousy and new6659 like this.
  20. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    Yeah, vintage is done around '69 for me.
    With a few exceptions.
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