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Vintage Gretsch Synchromatic Archtop

  • Price:$400.00

Inside this guitar the number 2476 has been pencilled.  According to Jay Scott's book on Gretsch and the Gretsch Pages, this number (if it is in fact the serial number) indicates that this guitar was probably built around 1948 or just before Gretsch introduced labels and renamed the Synchromatic 100 the 6014.  The "f" holes seem to confirm that it is a 100 and the bound headstock and fingerboard seem to be correct to circa 1948, but I have seen a similar guitar sold as being from the early 50's.  So, I cannot date this guitar with absolute certainty.  If any Gretsch experts want to offer their knowledge, I will be glad to post it.  You can see the pencilled number in one of the pictures.
When I bought this guitar, it was not playable.  It only had three included, but basically nonfunctional original open back tuners and the frets were too low and deeply grooved.  But I thought it might be worth fixing up as it had no body cracks, a straight neck, and an excellent neck angle that indicated that it did not need a reset.  (The bridge now measures 7/8 of an inch from the top to the bottom of the low E string).  So I kept it until I could finally get to it.  Now retired, I used my training in lutherie and went to work.  First, I reglued some loose bindings.  They seem tight now, but have shrunk over the years and are no longer flush with the body.  Still they were complete except a chip in the fingerboard binding and the fingerboard end piece which I replaced with grained ivoroid.  Next I used a burn in lacquer stick to replace the small amount of wood that was lost when a pickup was apparently removed from the guitar.  The area is now flush, but visible in the pictures.  I'm guessing the pickup controls were on the missing original pick guard since no holes were drilled in the top. I then refretted the guitar with standard Martin fret wire and after leveling and recrowining, it is about .34 to .36 high.  The fingerboard is very nice Brazilian rosewood and the inlays are a synthetic material that has shrunk a bit, but are not sunken. Finally, I used a Gretsch pick guard to make a replica out of a plastic tortoise shell blank.  The bridge is high enough that the guitar can easily be played without it, but I like the look.  The finish is all original except for the one pictured repair.
I think this guitar sounds really good.  Very much a punchy arch top tone with nice twang,  but not as brittle as some arch tops.  The wear along the sides of the neck shows that someone once played this guitar a lot.  I have not tried to repair the worn areas along the fingerboard as its pretty, if not completely smooth.  I actually love the neck's chunky feel with the slightly elevated bass side which was a Gretsch trademark.  The guitar fits quite snugly in the modern jumbo case it will be shipped in.  Oh, the replacement tuners are Grover Sta-Tites which fit the imprint in the lacquer quite well.  The strings are D'Addario phosphor bronze lights.   There is a crack in the plastic headpiece, but the headpiece and neck are solid and tight to the body.  So there you have it.  A genuine  American made vintage Gretsch from the arch top era.  I know there is import competition out there, but honestly believe someone is going to get a nice guitar with some character to it and am offering a return option to back that up.  Please let me know if you have any questions.