"Women produced nearly 25,000 guitars during World War II yet Gibson denied ever building instruments over this period," according to a 2013 history of the company. Exceptionally fine conditions for a 40 year-old instrument, really "near mint".in company histories) took over the family business (at 15! In March of 1940 Gretsch acquired the B & D trademark from the Bacon Banjo Corporation. Outbid in their attempt to buy Fender in 1965, the D. Baldwin company bought Gretsch in 1967, and Gretsch, Jr. Baldwin had previously acquired the manufacturing facilities of England's James Ormstron Burns (Burns Guitars) in September 1965, and Baldwin was assembling the imported Burns parts in Booneville, Arkansas.In a business consolidation, The New York Gretsch operation was moved down to the Arkansas facility in 1970. Distributed by the Fender Musical Instrument Corporation (FMIC) in Scottsdale, AZ since 2003.Previously distributed by the Fred Gretsch Company of Savannah, GA from 1989 to 2002.
If you'd like to learn more about Gretsch serial numbers, we highly recommend Ed Ball's "Gretsch 6120: The History of a Legendary Guitar." Ball is one of the key researchers who have determined the actual dates, years and features Gretsch serial numbers correspond to.
The original finish has lots of checking and wear on both sides, showing the beautiful figure in the wood.
The neck, dated May '56, still has the "clubby" pre-V shape typical of '55; it has some wear and original nut and frets. but, compared to the '55 "no-lines" they have again the single-line stamped Kluson Deluxe words. The black-bottom pickups fixed to the single-ply pickguard have the original bakelite covers, two of which are broken from playing wear.
The Fred Gretsch Company began manufacturing instruments in 1883 (while Friedrich maintained his proper name, he "Americanized" it for the company). Beginning with percussion, ukeleles, and banjos, Gretsch introduced guitars in the early 1930s, developing a well respected line of archtop orchestra models. Zildjian Cymbals, and debuted the Gretsch tenor guitar. was the primary president during the great Gretsch heyday, and was ably assisted by such notables as Jimmy Webster and Charles "Duke" Kramer (Kramer was involved with the Gretsch company from 1935 to his retirement in 1980, and was even involved after his retirement! During the 1950s, the majority of Gretsch´s guitar line was focused on electric six string Spanish instruments.
Gretsch passed away unexpectedly (at age 39) during a trip to Germany in April 1895, and his son Fred (often referred to as Fred Gretsch, Sr. During the Christmas season of 1929, the production capacity was reported to be 100,000 instruments (stringed instruments and drums); and a new midwestern branch was opened in Chicago, Illinois. William Walter Gretsch assumed the presidency of the company until 1948, and then Fred Gretsch, Jr. With the endorsement of Chet Atkins and George Harrison, Gretsch electrics became very popular with both country and rock ´n roll musicians through the 1960s.