February 6, 2008

Gretsch: Old 'n' Busted or New Hotness?

by Chris Randall

I've been pondering getting a Duo-Jet for a while now, and I think once tax time is over, I'm gonna take the plunge. My question is thus: has anyone here played an early '60s Duo-Jet, and will the Heavens open forth and Shine all sorts of sticky, gooey goodness on me should I decide to spend c. $3K for an oldie, versus the $1.5K to $2K for a current one?

Or, in other words, is a "real" '62 $1000 better than a new '62? Gruhn has a '57 for $2650 and a '63 for $4K. I'm sure if I shopped about, I could find more, but they'd all be in that range, no doubt. Obviously, the older ones are going to hold their value better; that goes without saying. Since I'm not as familiar with Gretsch guitars as with other brands, I don't know. Feelings? Thoughts? Talk me off the ledge?



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Feb.06.2008 @ 3:57 PM
Michael Moncur
I can't answer your question, having only a cheap (but wonderful) Gretsch Electromatic 5120 myself, but I can tell you'll find tons of people who can answer your question at <a href="link [gretschpages.co...]">link [gretschpages.co...]">the Gretsch Pages</a>.

Feb.06.2008 @ 3:59 PM
raoul duke
buy a variax; all the guitars you'll ever need, including gretsch!

I jest of course.....


Feb.06.2008 @ 4:03 PM
I once played an Elliot Easton (remember him?) model Duo-Jet and it is one of the best guitars I've ever played. Unfortunately, I didn't have $1800 to drop on it. I can't speak to an actual vintage Gretsch, but I'll definitely attest that the recent ones are excellent guitars.

link [gretschpages.co...]">link [gretschpages.co...]

(The one I played was just black, not the "Cadillac green.")

I have a DeArmond Duo-Jet knock off and while not as sleek as an actual Gretsch it's fine, fine instrument.


Feb.06.2008 @ 4:09 PM
Chris Randall
I've been looking at the cheaper ones as well. Quite frankly, I'm not the World's Greatest Guitar Player. I do recognize the rather strange fact that there is a world of difference between a $500 guitar and a $2500 guitar, having owned many of the former (11 right now, in fact) and a few of the latter.

But that said, for the kind of music I make w/ guitar, and the skill level I play at, I'm wondering if the extra cost is warranted. I don't mind paying it, and it's not like I have to sell a kidney to afford one. I've just been thinking of my guitar rig lately, and wanted to put together a nice combination for my upcoming recordings, and the Duo Jet has the basic sound I'm thinking of.

So I guess my _real_ question is thus: is it _really_ worth it to spend, say, $2500 on a '57 Duo Jet and the same on a new Matchless combo, when you can get maybe 80% of the vibe by spending 20% of the money? I mean, for $2K and a little shopping I could get an excellent 70s guitar from any number of brands and an Orange or HiWatt combo.



Feb.06.2008 @ 4:46 PM
raoul duke
if your looking for an orange/hiwatt style combo make sure you check out Matamp (matamp.co.uk). These guys make hand-made amplifiers that are usually cheaper than the Orange and Hiwatt equivalents but are built like brick shit houses and sound great (to my ears anyway). They cater for all price ranges.

Plus they are really cool guys - i think they have their stuff in the US.


Feb.06.2008 @ 5:36 PM
i think there is a lot of internet circle jerking that goes on about vintage instruments and mojo and tone and all that bullshit, but there is something to be said about an instrument that has been played a lot and broken in.

in my opinion the only problems with new guitars are the fresh-from-the-factory necks. a guitar neck feels awesome once someone takes the time to play the shit out of it. the edges of the fretboard get rounded off and the back of the neck gets a rubbed to a nice smooth patina from being played so much. but until someone puts the time in they always just feel stiff and unnatural. i hate new shoes, i hate new baseball gloves, and i hate new guitar necks.

just get something used that looks cool, feels great and sounds decent. you can always change the electronics to whatever you want, and you dont have to worry about maintaining vintage value or whatever. and then get a bad ass amp!!

and play the guitar before you buy it...nothing is worse than mail ordering a used guitar. i had to learn this one the hard way a few times.


Feb.06.2008 @ 8:06 PM
I picked up a Gretsch box guitar right before moving, don't ask model to lazy to check. but it felt, sounded, and mojoed, just as much as a comparable vintage model they also had.
I say the tone is in the new ones as much as the old, so save some coin, or buy 3 new ones.

Feb.06.2008 @ 8:45 PM
Damm it ..go to a pawn shop pick up an old f-top and rig some new pick ups to your liking and save your self some cream...Sorry..opinions are like assholes..

Feb.07.2008 @ 1:47 AM
Man up and buy the old one.. haha.. just kidding.. had to say it.

The 63 looks pretty sweet.. not only does it have the blingy gold hardware but it all has a nice patina and looks well loved (and well played)... but then you might feel compelled to caress it with a mink chamois relentlessly.

The 57' is nearly spotless.. what's up with that? It's just old, but not "mojo" old . Might as well buy the new one and play it for a week to achieve the same result.

Without playin 'em in person, it's a total crapshoot. But a Gretsch is a Gretcsh, IMHO. Unless it's a Bono Irish Falcon.. that's just tragic. If anyone were to slag you for having a new Gretsch, you could just beat them with it and then buy another one.

Oddly enough I had never heard of Matamp until a week ago.. a local store now sells them.. very nice. They also sell Savage Amps, also classy looking. No idea what they sound like. The pathetically bad guitarist in me is happy with my dinky little Orange Crush 30r.


Feb.07.2008 @ 9:55 AM
Not being a collector, I will only buy a guitar that I can put my hands on first due to the variations in wood and mfg process. I don't think the heavens will open any more with a old or a new solid body unless the wood was just that much better in the 1950s. Your opinion on feel is probably worth $1000 though, but that goes back to buying local.

I think great amps get you a lot closer to Shangri-La than great guitars.


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