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Gretsch Guitars

Gretsch guitars and basses induce a nostalgia trip every time we play them, for a time we never got to experience first-hand but seem readily familiar all the same. From country and rock ‘n’ roll to punk and rockabilly, Gretsch seems to marry sophistication with an uncompromising attitude that no other brand seems to come close to.

When Fred Gretsch took the reins following the passing of his father Friedrich Gretsch, the company could have gone down a very different path. However, Fred Gretsch was a smart man and knew what people wanted – and the people wanted guitars!

Beginning with acoustic archtops for jazz players and flattops for country players, humble beginning but they started on the road to greatness. Never ones to shy away from incorporating the avant-garde in their design as exhibited in their “Atomic Age” era models of the ‘50s, which embraced the burgeoning Sci-Fi focus of the time - and which were resurrected and re-released recently to wide acclaim.

Over the years Gretsch won over admirers including the great Chet Atkins, Eddie Cochran and Duane Eddy. These players helped establish Gretsch credibility but also served to endorse models such as the G6110 Tennessee Rose, G6121 1955 Solid Body, Country Gentlemen, and the G6120. Since then artists from a diverse range of genres such as Rockabilly, Punk, Bluegrass, Roots, Reggae, Latin, Post-Rock, Hardcore Punk – you name it and Gretsch has been there, done it, and bought the t-shirt.

Whether you want to go acoustic, electric, or bass; take yours hollow-,semi-hollow-, or solid-body, there is a Gretsch to suit all tonal flavours, playing preferences, and styles.

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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)…