above-model 6119: note the “cadillac” V at the bottom! gretsch 6119 chet atkins tennesseean (also 6120, and the 6121 model, released at the same time, 6121 looked like a solid body, but was actually more of a small, semi-hollow version).
below-model 6196: a beautiful green country club from 1956. (click images to see detail)
below-model 6136: the dream machine that gretsch originally put together to show off a little at the trade show was never intended for production. but it became the symbol of the glorious excesses of the 50’s and a cult item. from its debut in 1954 falcon featured white paint, real mother of pearl, exotic ebony hard wood and 24 karat gold plating and remained virtually unchanged until 1958. it was the cadillac of guitars when cadillac was the cadillac of cars. it cost $600 back in 1954 that’s like 5 figures today!
we were discussing guitars the other day and i couldn’t help but look into my dream guitar that i never had, a vintage gretsch! vintage as in before 1966, when the family sold the company. from my first trip to new york until today, everytime i crossed the bridge to brooklyn i would see the old factory and wonder how it must have been. unfortunately it has been turned into a pseudo-luxury apt. complex now… my favorites were and are the jazz synchromatic archtops (not pictured here), and the chet atkins semi-hollow bodies. they run about 10-15k if you can find them, or must settle for a new reissue for about 3-4K. either way, like my favorite chess set that i never bought, i have to become much better of a player to actually deserve owning one. by dd