How to Date Gretsch Drums
Serial numbers were used in a very systematic and predictable way, not applied randomly as some contend. Their collective investigative legwork deserves the respect and gratitude of us all. The numbers after the hyphen represent the production number during the run of the model, not for that month or year.
Modern era Pre-Fender serial numbers Serial numbers have six numbers, with a three digit suffix. Examine the checking on the finish, the age of the wiring, the tuners, the bridge and the knobs to corroborate the age of the guitar you're looking at. The next digit is the month. Forums New posts Search forums. The problem was that the stamp was created with an ink that easily wiped off during routine cleanings!
Serial numbers were reused by Gretsch, introduced in the early s and started over once in the s and again in the s. Members Current visitors New profile posts Search profile posts. As such, many of these serials will be faded, nearly illegible or erased completely.
Each of them can be used to accurately pinpoint the age of a guitar, if you have the correct information. This happened with hardware and badges and these companies were competing in an ever aggressive market and had to do what needed to be done to remain profitable. Gretsch began numbering guitars sequentially, probably in but possibly earlier. Gretsch is family owned, growing to major distribution.
Gretsch Serial Number Dating Guide. The goal was to determine if a serial number based dating guide could be created for vintage Gretsch drums. If you have this badge you can't use the serial number guides below.
As such, there are a lot of vintage specimens hidden under beds, lurking in closets or parading in plain sight on shop walls and Reverb listings. Just make sure it's not modified or a partscaster before screaming from the Gretsch-pert mountaintops. And there's always the possibility of discovering a specimen that completely upends common knowledge about what was produced when. As collectors and historians we have to settle for a date range or a specific year at best.
This era continued the same sequential numbering scheme. Here are some references you can use to date by serial number. In general, a higher number means the guitar was produced later in the year or transitioned into the range for the overlapping year. Reference Books and Catalogs. In addition, these guitars followed no known numbering scheme.
The best approach is to cross-reference the serial number with known features for the model during different eras and the personal account of previous owners. Hope it's not too late, I just sent four more numbers! These pencilled-in numbers often fade and become illegible, speed dating or even disappear. Half the battle of finding a great deal or pre-empting conflict is accurately dating the guitar in question.
Specimens from - are mostly considered player-grade, non-collectible guitars, though some models like the Atkins Axe and Super Axe have a strong following. Be patient as this effort of more than four years is getting much closer to a conclusion. This only pertains the pre-Fender Korean-made guitars. One noted exception is John Sheridan, who developed a Rule of Thumb for round badge drums based upon the number of digits in the serial numbers. For example, would be a June Tennessee Rose, the th made.
Night Mission Well-Known Member. Jazz Drummer Well-Known Member. Rick, rich man dating site uk thank you for your efforts! This will give you an approximate idea of the era during which your guitar was manufactured.
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Per Falzerano's Gretsch book. Gretsch drums with those shells continued to ship long afterwards though. Early labelled Gretsches will usually have a printed serial number and a handwritten model number.
The tom had the sticker and number in there. However, research has indicated that they could be substantially off. There are always some exceptions to the general rule. If I am missing, pardon me.
In the beginning, Gretsch simply wrote serial numbers inside the guitar in pencil. In most cases the best way to estimate the date of a drum is its physical characteristics. As going off on a tangent, the serial numbers, I have two questions because you mention about screws and strainers in the paper. Although the original thread no longer exists, the serial number log has flourished.
Many pieces of information are included on each drum. Earlier catalog examples do exist, but are rare and expensive to acquire. Home Forums Main Vintage Venue. These catalogs although re-printed in some cases from year to year with limited changes do provide a timeline of when finishes were added and when hardware was used and or changed on drums.
The original Synchromatic models. Gretsch is unique in that it started as a family company, was bought out and later taken back by the family, only to be bought a second time. This reuse of serial numbers has contributed much to the confusion over the usefulness of serial numbers. The meaning of the numbers remained the same. Finding your serial number In the beginning, Gretsch simply wrote serial numbers inside the guitar in pencil.
- On the white part, the serial number is printed, and the model number should be handwritten.
- That gives you some ball park start dates.
- In some cases a serial number may leave you with a fuzzy span of several years, and in others you will know which number your guitar was within a batch during a specific month and year.
As to shells - I have read somewhere that Jasper and Keller were made the same way. The first two digits are the year of manufacture. In most cases they also included a host of other band instruments and items related to the music business. Thankfully, are dating sites guitars made in had different features.
It is also common knowledge that finishes that were discontinued were kept in inventory and people would order them, so production would use the finish. Harry Cangany told me via email that Gretsch probably filled orders with what they had available and some kits went out with mixed plys. This information has been compiled from multiple sources cited at bottom.
Gretsch Serial Number Dating Guide
How To Date A Gretsch Guitar
- It just seems that no one had done the data collection for Gretsch before.
- My snare drum - again, that came with the drums new - has stickchopper hoops while the toms have the regular die-cast hoops.
- On hollowbodies, the label is usually visible through the f-hole.
That being said some drums did get date stamped on the inside shell and that is the most accurate indication when a drum was made. Drumforum members have been very supportive and many have provided information on their drums. Unfortunately drum companies never really prescribed to any code of documenting a drum based on that serial number. Thankfully, regardless of the series or point of manufacture, Fender decided to use a single serial number system for all post guitars.
Gretsch drum serial number dating guide
So if you finally made it to this point then you are almost there! Actually he died in and I bought them off his daughter - the drums had been stored for decaded. At the very least, if you only see three hard-to-read numbers, you can be fairly confident that it's a pre-war instrument. The web site link is available so feel free to visit their web sites and learn more. Side-by-side, you can't tell the difference.
From there, things get a bit more complicated. Rick - I just bought a copy of your book from Rob Cook. Fender buys Gretsch with complete control.