Dating vintage gretsch guitars

In about 1969, Gretsch began to use another version of the Orange and Grey label on F-Hole instruments.

This third iteration of the label had “Fred Gretsch Mfg. and serial No., and it said “That Great Gretsch Sound” at the bottom. The 5-digit numbers on these labels always begin with 1 or 2 and are sequential, do not follow the “date-coded” convention, and precise dates cannot be determined using the serial numbers.

Gretsch numbered most of their guitars chronologically, which would give a pretty accurate picture of when it was built, but specs were pretty fluid, to say the least, so the serial number and the actual specs of any particular guitar may not match.

dating vintage gretsch guitars-48dating vintage gretsch guitars-27

After the war that method continued, but some guitars had the serial number embossed on the headstock.

With the advent of labels in the late '40s, the serial number is usually found on the label, which is usually visible through the soundhole on hollowbody models.

They made some to unveil in January at NAMM and tried to be ready to fill orders immediately. Furthermore, some less popular models may have sat on the shelf either at the factory or at the dealer for years before being sold as new.

Technically, they are new, since they'venever been sold.

The numbers were once again located on the back of the headstock and would have been printed in Gold, Black or White (depending on the color of the guitar).

As an example, serial number 68409 would break down as: 6: June 8: 1968 409: Unit number As an example, serial number 109837 would break down as: 10: November 9: 1969 837: Unit number Obviously, with the change of the decade, there is plenty of room for confusion in interpreting the numbers.

When Fender took over production in January 2003 the serial number scheme changed again.

Toward the end of 1967, Baldwin took over the Gretsch Company.

Another New Serial Number Scheme 1973 to 1981 A number is impressed into back of the headstock.

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