Gretsch Musical Instruments had its beginning in 1883 when a German immigrant named Friedrich Gretsch opened a small music store in Brooklyn, New York. It was there he manufactured drums, tambourines, and banjos and built a solid reputation. Friedrich Gretsch died at age 39, in 1895, at the age of 39.
drum manufacturing business. It was not until 1927 that Gretsch not only produced their first line of American made drum, they also started in the guitar manufacturing business. As early as 1939, Gretsch produced their first electric guitar.
A few years later, in 1942, Fred Senior retired and handed over the company to his sons, Fred Junior and Bill Gretsch. Bill passed away in 1948.
Fred Junior retired in 1967 and sold the company to the Baldwin piano company. Fred Gretsch III was able to buy what was left of the company and the Gretsch trade name back in 1985 and once again, Gretsch was in business.
|Fred Gretsch III|
The first Gretsch bass, produced in 1961, had a dismal reception. The Bikini Bass had a modular design and one model in the Gretsch Bikini line.
double neck option that could be set up as a bass/guitar or guitar/guitar combination. Not well liked, those that have played it state that it did not sound as good as other basses of the day. By 1963, the Bikini Bass was out of production.
model 6070. The guitar had a 34” scale, which is comparable to most long-neck bass guitars, a single pickup placed near the bridge, a built in muffler, adjustable near the bridge, a padded back and 24 carat gold plated hardware.
The 6071 came with one pickup and the 6073 had two pickups. The bodies of both models were hollow, however the F holes were simulated.
model 6073. Production on both models ended in 1972.
In nineteen-seventy-two saw the introduction of model 7615. This was a double-cutaway, solid body bass guitar, with a long-scale 34” neck.
Most recall that Fender had to cease use of the name Broadcaster, since Gretsch objected.
Ironically, the Broadkaster Bass looked somewhat like a Fender Bass, but for its two-on-a-side headstock. The solid-body Broadkaster came with a 30.5” scale.
Gretsch Committee Bass, model 7629, developed in 1980 came with a single Supertron pickup, two on side-chromed tuners, chromed hardware and a beautiful walnut finish.
matching maple neck with a walnut stripe in the center that runs into the body.
The Committe bass was a nice instrument with a 34" scale.
Gretsch model TK300 was a very odd-looking instrument. Its appearance is reminiscent of a Teisco or old Ibanez model. The bodies’ cutaways are straight. The bottom of the body has a slight indentation and the headstock is almost rectangular. The guitars pickguard is also quite unusual.
This was a product of the Baldwin years. There are complaints about the quality of parts on this model.
Gretsch entered a deal with luthier/pickup designer T.V. Jones in 2005. They would market and sell his guitars and basses known as the Spectra Sonic series. By this time, all Gretsch manufactured all instruments in Asia.
Spectra Sonic Bass, model G6145, came with twin TV Jones pickups. The body came in black with a large white pickguard. The $2000 price point effected sales.
Gretsch has dropped the line; however, Jones is manufacturing Spectra Sonic guitars and bass guitars and selling them on his own.
White Falcon Bass, model G6136L. This comes with gold plated hardware, ebony roller bridge, and twin TV Jones pickups. Scale is 34”. Suggested retail price is $4700.
Broadkaster Bass, G6119B, is a single cutaway design in the Tennessee Rose style. The hardware is entirely chrome plated. The F holes are simulated. The bridge is adjustable and the twin pickups are both Filtertron humbuckers. Scale is 30.3”. Suggested price is $2500.
Gretsch Electrotone model G6073, is somewhat similar to the Broadkaster. Although it is a hollowbody instrument, the F-holes are sealed. Scale on this bass is 30.3”. This bass comes with TV Jones pickups and retails at $2900.
The Gretsch Thunder Jet model G6128B bass is a chambered body, single cutaway instrument in the style of Gretsch Jet guitars. Like the previous two models, this has chrome-plated hardware. It comes with twin TV Jones pickups. It has a 30.3” scale and retails at $2800.
Gretsch 6199B Billy-Bo Jupiter Thunder Bass is the style of Bo Diddley’s guitar, with touches by the “Reverend” Billy Gibbons. The solid mahogany body is topped with twin TV Jones pickups and a rosewood “space controlled” bridge. This unique instrument retails for $3600.
For the more economically minded, Gretsch also produces the Electromatic series. There is only one current model.
Junior Jet model G2202 comes with a bolt-on neck and a TV Jones mini-humbucking pickup. Like most other Gretsch basses, this also has a short scale 30.3” neck. It is only $250.