What is This Custom Gretsch?

drmilktruck

I Bleed Orange
May 17, 2009
18,655
Plymouth, MN
Saw this one today on Reverb.

Gretsch Custom Shop L 953 - RARE

kfahtviansbkvkiyia2g.jpg


https://reverb.com/item/40109557-gretsch-custom-shop-l-953-rare

Was that part of the recent auction?

Seems more like a Gretsch neck grafted onto a random body.
 
Last edited:

j.s.c

Country Gent
Aug 19, 2008
3,587
france
I Know that Somewhere in Time during the WWII Gretsch used the Chicago guys' of Harmony as manufacturer under the Gretsch brand. Thus sole gretsch are Harmony made guitars. Here the body is clearly from Harmony and it probably has been modified with a cutaway addition. Of course I sure of nothing.
 

Hammerhands

Country Gent
Aug 26, 2011
2,386
Winnipeg
Julien’s Auction.

It’s in the catalogue…p.24 lot 186.

"A custom archtop guitar, natural finish, no serial number, single florentine cutaway body with F-holes and one forward neck pickup. Includes a hardshell case. From the Bachman-Gretsch Collection. 41 1/2 by 16 by 3 1/2 inches $ 1,000 - 2,000"

You can download the catalogue from this page:
https://www.juliensauctions.com/about-auction?id=363

Direct link to PDF catalogue:
https://www.juliensauctions.com/auc...Property From The Gretsch Family Archives.pdf
 

j.s.c

Country Gent
Aug 19, 2008
3,587
france
Btw the humbucker is very cool and strange piece, never saw this one before... So yes rare and perhaps unique Beast.
 
Last edited:

drmilktruck

I Bleed Orange
May 17, 2009
18,655
Plymouth, MN
Julien’s Auction.

It’s in the catalogue…p.24 lot 186.

"A custom archtop guitar, natural finish, no serial number, single florentine cutaway body with F-holes and one forward neck pickup. Includes a hardshell case. From the Bachman-Gretsch Collection. 41 1/2 by 16 by 3 1/2 inches $ 1,000 - 2,000"

You can download the catalogue from this page:
https://www.juliensauctions.com/about-auction?id=363

Direct link to PDF catalogue:
https://www.juliensauctions.com/auctions/2021/Gretsch/Property-From-The-Gretsch-Family-Archives-Flipping-Book/files/assets/common/downloads/Property From The Gretsch Family Archives.pdf

What did it go for at the auction? If it were cheaper, it'd be a fun modding project. (I still think there's a chance Randy B and Gretsch were bamboozled.)
 

Highroller

Country Gent
Jun 11, 2015
1,840
Portland, OR
Florentine jazz box! I like it! That is, until I saw the neck joint ...

Screenshot 2022-01-19 162652.jpg

Looks a bit worrisome to me, and especially so at $2500! Too bad, otherwise it's such a pretty guitar.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
18,350
Petaluma
Aren't all the custom shops rare, if not unique? The only gretsch thing about it aside from the name is the zero fret.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,249
Tucson
I’m thinking parts guitar, myself. I suppose that it’s possible for Gretsch to have built this as a one off, back in the day, but I’d need a lot of convincing before accepting that as fact. To me, it looks like a Gibson L4 body with a Gretsch neck grafted on.
 

Hammerhands

Country Gent
Aug 26, 2011
2,386
Winnipeg
Whatever is written above L 953 in the f-hole must have been written with the front or the back off. It’s either the way it was built or it has been refinished.

Whatever it is, it’s not from the Custom Shop.

I’m guessing it has lived many lives.

zrvschyutf4rkveu5h1h.jpg
 
Last edited:

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,249
Tucson
Whatever is written above L 953 in the f-hole must have been written with the front or the back off.

Whatever it is, it’s not from the Custom Shop.

zrvschyutf4rkveu5h1h.jpg
Good call. The concept of a Custom Shop from guitar manufacturers is a fairly recent thing, perhaps for the last 40 years or so, and many of those are more accurately described as Custom Paint and Accessories Shops. In the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, some companies would do “special orders” such as a friend that ordered a Gibson Johnny Smith with sunburst back and sides and a natural top, to match Johnny Smith’s D’Angelico, or another friend who ordered an ES-175 with a bound headstock.

I’m not sure just what to make of this Gretsch, but I’d wager that it didn’t come out of Brooklyn like that.
 

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Nov 13, 2009
21,252
Monkey Island
Whatever is written above L 953 in the f-hole must have been written with the front or the back off. It’s either the way it was built or it has been refinished.

Whatever it is, it’s not from the Custom Shop.

I’m guessing it has lived many lives.

zrvschyutf4rkveu5h1h.jpg

I have no idea but I will say the handwriting is a deadringer for the Gretsch script logo…

Maybe not deadringer, but I could easily see someone at Gretsch stylize the handwriting into an inlay.

-TNTcQIgz8Wb_vBXzI0wO7_6czYEObC3-bTKmPpXv_RzB0bS0JP6rgt_VFleLuXtmd6HaQ3bw_6NrRUaPSSgthH15Hs3--XiOZjQ8qbAHf2c6PoGfjNTGDPUW4dUtJnptRHwcV_XXTt_6JU
 
Last edited:

j.s.c

Country Gent
Aug 19, 2008
3,587
france
ok from Chicago's Kay manufactury... under Silvertone's logo for Sears : 1959-early '60 with several variants some with longer life : So first came the 619 models family originally discontinued in 1960/61 then 627 / 630 changed to 619 / 618L Introduced in the fall / winter of 1959 and all models were retired in 1969.

Btw the 619 seems to be the largest-selling guitar model in the whole Sears' history !
Here is an exemple : https://reverb.com/item/18748734-silvertone-f-hole-arch-top-57-619-6-string-1960-s-sun-burst

Of course, none with a cutaway, so this box had to be open to the winds and marked "custom shop".
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,249
Tucson
ok from Chicago's Kay manufactury... under Silvertone's logo for Sears : 1959-early '60 with several variants some with longer life : So first came the 619 models family originally discontinued in 1960/61 then 627 / 630 changed to 619 / 618L Introduced in the fall / winter of 1959 and all models were retired in 1969.

Btw the 619 seems to be the largest-selling guitar model in the whole Sears' history !
Here is an exemple : https://reverb.com/item/18748734-silvertone-f-hole-arch-top-57-619-6-string-1960-s-sun-burst

Of course, none with a cutaway, so this box had to be open to the winds and marked "custom shop".
The body of the Gretsch in question appears to have a solid spruce top. The construction and cutaway look like a Gibson L-4 to my eye, but I suppose that it could be merely similar in style.
 


Latest posts

Top