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Gretsch Guitars: A Brief History

Freddy Gretsch stared the family dynasty upon his arrival in New York from Germany way back in 1883. Beginning life as a producer of banjos, drums, and tambourines, Gretsch went on to produce guitars that would go on to inspired kids in the 1950s and change the music world forever in the 1960s. The 1950’s heralded a surge in popularity for Gretsch, with their first of a kind colour finishes and “Atomic Age” gizmos they not only captured the imagination of the nuclear kids, but the guitars also looked out of this world. The Gretsch look has changed very little in that time, yet the musical landscape has changed significantly.

From country and rock ‘n’ roll to punk and rockabilly, Gretsch has been there every step of the way. Chet Atkins was an early player of the Gretsch 6120, which was proceeded by the Country Gentleman and Tennessean, high-end and budget options respectively. However, the Country Gentlemen become Atkins’ model of choice and has since become legendary with many features enduring such as Filter’Tron pickups, updated bracing for the body top (trestle bracing), a thinline body, and even thumbnail position markers.

Modern endorsees such as Tim Armstrong benefit from many of those early pioneering features yet put them to use in much different way to Atkins. As well as their revered hollow body guitars, Gretsch have been known to produce solid body models such as the Duo Jet and Jet, which were favoured by the George Harrison and Malcolm Young (you might have heard of them)…