GretschTech: Serial Numbers 1930s-1966

Close-up of a the label in a Gretsch New Yorker arch-top acoustic shows serial number 19730, dating the guitar to 1956. Previously, we’ve discussed modern Gretsch serial numbers and how to read them. Now we travel to the other end of the spectrum; to the first 30 years or so of Gretsch guitars

GretschTech: Ukulele Tuning

The Gretsch Roots collection includes several ukulele models of varying sizes and styles. Given the resurgence of the instrument’s popularity in recent years, many who acquire a ukulele for the first time often find themselves wondering how to tune it. Of several ways to tune ukuleles, the most common standard tuning is gCEA.

Gretsch Custom Shop Unveils New Vintage Correct Knobs

Stephen Stern of the Gretsh Custom Shop is always on a quest to ensure his guitars are as close to vintage correct as possible, accomplishing that by having his builders closely analyze all the vintage instruments that come across his desk. Stern's group recently examined Stephen Stills' 1959 White Falcon— the one he played at

GretschTech: Reentrant Tuning

Most ukuleles and five-string banjos, including many of those found in the Gretsch Roots Collection, use a form of tuning called reentrant tuning. Fair bet that you’re unfamiliar with the term, but you’re probably familiar with the concept if you play those instruments. On a stringed instrument with reentrant tuning, the strings are

GretschTech: Center-Block Guitars

Gretsch G6137TCB Panther Center-Block The coolest new guitars on the block are Gretsch’s new “center-block” models. Each distinctively designed instrument boasts “That Great Gretsch Sound” with a solid new sonic advantage in the form of a special spruce center-block design. These new Gretsch guitars include the G6137TCB Panther Center-Block (pictured), and the G6139CB Falcon™ Center-Block Single-Cutaway and G6139T-CBDC Falcon Center-Block Double Cutaway models, with more to come. All are distinguished by classic pickups and special “thinline”-style bodies (1 ¾” deep, which is unusually thin for a Gretsch hollow-body guitar).

GretschTech: Understanding Modern Gretsch Serial Numbers

Even if this headstock didn’t say “Made in Japan,” the “J” that begins the serial number indicates that it was. The serial number on your modern Gretsch guitar or bass contains specific information about where and when it was made. This allows you to accurately date a modern Gretsch guitar by its serial number. By

GretschTech: The Baldwin Era

Every once in a while when exploring the Gretsch world, you’ll run across mention of the “Baldwin era” or the “Baldwin years.” What does this term refer to?

GretschTech: the Zero Fret

What’s the deal with the zero fret found on some Gretsch guitars? What is it, why is it there and what does it do? A “zero fret” is an extra fret located directly in front of the nut. You don’t often see them these days, although they were once fairly commonplace. Regarded today

GretschTech: Trestle Bracing

Trestle bracing on the underside of a Gretsch guitar top. What is trestle bracing, and what advantages does it offer on Gretsch guitars that feature it? Is it a modern development or a vintage design? Good questions. The short answer to all of the above is that trestle bracing is a distinctive bracing

GretschTech: Tailpieces

One of the things that makes Gretsch guitars stand out from the rest of the pack is the unique tailpiece options the company has utilized over the years. Of course, not all guitars boast one of these metallic accoutrements, but the ones that do seem to suggest a souped-up elegance. Both utilitarian and aesthetically-pleasing, here is a look at the main tailpieces you’ll find on a Gretsch guitar. Bigsby Vibrato Tailpieces Developed by Paul A. Bigsby, these vibratos allow the player to bend the pitch of notes or chords with their pick hand with the help of a spring-loaded arm called a whammy bar or tremolo. Available on Gretsch guitars since the 1950s, the device also makes sure the instrument stays in tune while adding those bending effects. Bend the arm down toward the guitar and the strings will loosen, lowering their pitch. Release the arm, and it’s back to normal. You can see Bigsby Vibrato Tailpieces on the 1958 Chet Atkins Country Gentleman, the G6118T-LTV 130th Anniversary Jr., the 1959 Chet Atkins Solid Body and the Duane Eddy Signature Hollowbody, among several others.