Gretsch Collectability

November 18, 2007

Nicolai Foss

Among archtop collectors, Gretsch archtops have seldom been considered worthy of much attention. However, having followed prices for archtops offered at ebay closely over the last five years, I am pretty certain that I can discern a tendency for the better Gretsch archtops to fetch increasingly large prices, particularly early Synchromatics. Perhaps archtop collectors are finally seriously turning their attention to Gretsch?

Although I tend to think of Gretsch archtops as generally somewhat less aesthetically pleasing than high-end Epis and Gibsons, there are some very fine specimens among their early archtop models. Here is a particularly fine blonde example of the Artist Model (with some later additions, including the finish)

2 Responses to “Gretsch Collectability”

  1. Hi Nicolai,

    I love Gretsches and I agree with what you are saying but times change, things change and who knows what they will be worth in the future. I am sure that most proffesional collectors don’t realy know what is going to take the publics fancy in the future and which guitars, will all of a sudden become popular.
    I find it hard also to come to terms with how some guitars which have been very easy to manafacture, and there are thousands of them around out there, and yet because it has the name Gibson or Fender on them and because they are just more popular bring extremly big dollars. It sometimes has nothing to do with quality or design or rarety, it all has to do with popularity.
    Demand and popularity is greater than value. ( To most people)
    In the meantime I will continue to drool over Gretsches and buy them when they come my way, for what they are. A very unique guitar with their own personal character and (from my perspective) good value for money

  2. Hi Nicolai,
    As you know I have this love of archtops and can’t resist looking around the world for the best value for money in archtops. Some times they are cheap and sometimes thay are expensive. Some times thay ae made in Asia like the Eastmanas which are made in China and would not be carved tops for that price unless they we made in China. (not that carved tops are that important to me. Iam more intrested in the finished sound. I am not a snob) The Japanese as we know make some wonderfull guitars like the D’Aquisto and D”Angelico reissues and are made in the Terada factory which is the same factory that some the famus Gretsch guitars are made. I also look for the makers of arch tops around the world that are trying to break ground in taking the archtop forward into the future, instead of just copying the archtop in the traditional way. A lot of the makers around the world are just doing that at the moment and so it is very hard to find someone like Jimmy D’Aquisto who in his latter ten years of making guitars began taking the arch top forward. Most guitarist want to sound like their Idols and so that’s what they do. However most of their Idols did not always approach their guitar playing sound that way, especially the older ones. Yes, That right, they were the pioneers of their own sound because they just did not want to sound like anyone else. Anyway, back to my love of archtops. There is a young man in New York called Cristian Mirrabella and he is making very fine arch tops and I have to confess that I have got my eye on one of his arch tops. For the real lover like my sef, he makes what I will call a few modern arch top guitars, which surprise, surprise do not have pick ups fitted. What this means is that the guitar is made totally in the intrest of the acoustic sound and not the plugged in sound and his work is beautiful. As with is name. So for all those other lovers of arch tops out there and for your your enjoyment look up Mirabells guitars and see our future.
    Going back to sound, I would just like to mention that earlier this year I purchased a unique Epiphone arch top guitar (Yes, Korean made) from a very well known USA guitarist who had removed the pick up and electronics and played it on his recordings just using a microphone in front of it. Now I don’t why he sold it because it sounds rather unique. I had intended to refit the floating pick up with the electronics he gave me but… just like him, I like it as it is, and plugging it in would only loose that natural acoustic sound it produces. So I have left it the same way he sent it to me. If he reads this now, he might want it back. Sorry Ric. I’m keeping it. I told you it would have a good home and I meant it.
    Good night arch top lovers. Speak later.

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