The first Gretsch-branded guitars appeared 90 years ago when the instrument was rapidly gaining popularity. And when the Synchromatic range was introduced at the end of 1930s, pro players started taking notice.
In the post-war period, the electric guitar began to gain traction, becoming ever more popular throughout the 1950s as popular culture embraced rock and roll.
During these times, Gretsch was responsible for some of the greatest and most influential designs in the history of American guitar building.
Seen in the hands of rock and roll innovators Cliff Gallup and Bo Diddley, the ‘solidbody’ Duo Jet appeared in 1953.
In 1954, Gretsch’s flagship White Falcon was unveiled at the NAMM trade show, while the premier guitar hero of the day, Chet Atkins, received his first signature model, the Hollow Body, the same year.
Atkins’ top-of-the-range Country Gentleman was then developed in 1957 for the 1958 model year.
Also in 1958, Gretsch celebrated its 75th anniversary with the release of the budget-friendly Anniversary models. Appearing in single- and double-pickup formats, these electric archtops have since become desirable pieces, fetching several thousand dollars on the vintage market.
This year, Gretsch celebrates its 140th anniversary.
Marking the occasion, the family-owned company has announced the release of six unique models that pay tribute to their generations-long instrument building legacy.
Appearing in the all-new Double Platinum Collection is the Duo Jet-inspired G5230T-140 Electromatic 140th Double Platinum Jet.
Chet Atkins’ perennially popular Hollow Body is commemorated with the G5420T-140 Electromatic 140th Double Platinum Hollow Body while the G5622T-140 Electromatic 140th Double Platinum Center Block guitar’s feedback-busting semi-hollow construction may appeal to players using more gain and/or volume.
The G6118T-140 LTD 140th Double Platinum Anniversary completes the new range with a tip of the hat to Gretsch’s ‘golden era’ Anniversary models.
Visit the Gretsch website for more information.
Get The Pick Newsletter
All the latest guitar news, interviews, lessons, reviews, deals and more, direct to your inbox!
Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.