Thursday, 3 February 2011

1947 Gretsch Electromatic Spanish Electric Guitar

This surprisingly well preserved Gretsch Electromatic currently gracing eBay is quite a beauty. It has some remarkable features but the most unusual, for me, are the machine heads. We showed a Modulus Genesis G3 a while back that had compensated tuners to keep the strings in a straight line and this appears to be an earlier attempt at the same idea. I think this is what's known as an "engineering solution".

I'll let the sellers describe the rest:
This is for a 1947 Gretsch Electromatic Hollow-body Spanish Electric Guitar. This terrific guitar looks great! The top and back of the body do not have any cracks or chips in them. The right side of the body has two screws driven into, one right next to the neck and the other right next to the top binding between the upper and lower bouts; the screw between the bouts appears to have a couple of very small cracks extending about 1/8" away from it kinda parallel to the binding, but the other screw does not have any cracks involved with it. The top, back, and sides all show a few dings and indentions in them as well as a few very light surface scratches - none of which is through the lacquer to the bare wood. The inside of the body appears to be a bit dirty and some of the wiring is not original. However, the pickup and potentiometers do appear to be original.

The output jack is loose and needs to be re-attached and the knobs are missing on the front. The neck and headstock both show similar surface scratches and indentions as those found on the body, but are also free of cracks and chips. The tuners on the headstock are also original. The fretboard has a some noticeable spots of what appears to be dried glue on it, plus the frets show some fairly heavy wear, but are still playable. The action on this guitar is about medium-high and it plays well and sounds wonderful. This amazing guitar features a scale of 25-1/2", a 1-11/16" nut width, a 19-fret (14-fret accessibility) rosewood fretboard, and a Gretsch tailpiece.

I'm not 100% convinced that the tailpiece is original, personally.

David - Slacking in Barcelona

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!


  1. Not a word about the checkerboard binding all over this guitar. The dried glue is most likely where some amature dug out the colored dot fret markers and replaced them with what they thought was the correct color...white...well, the dots were colored markers on this guitar. The knobs are missing because they have been taken off this guitar. The knobs were the same as on the gretsch lap steel guitars and also, had radio knob plates held on by three screws each...the plates are missing too. The guitar is Electromatic Spanish style designating a 6 string electric held and played as we know it today apposed to the lap or pedal style of play. In 1939 Gretsch ramped up their style to combat the big guitar competition. In that year they excelled in style on many models. The bridge was one of the items that was taken from another model and used on this over the top Electromatic. The Tuners on this model has an impression on the back plate with the patent number. This same tuner style was used in the thirties on a few different brands. The first year electric spanish style guitar was this year, a 1939 over the top year for Gretsch. The war ramped up after 1940-1941 and the other electromatics are what you see listed in most books today. The Tuner style was not used on a Gretsch after this 1939 model.
    I know this because this guitar was in my collection before being sold. Original pickup, and tuners. The loose output jack is most likely from the buyer taking this nice guitar apart to check for a date code on the potentiometers and or pickup. The guitar played beautifully when I sold it. The tailpiece is not from the is a replacement. I have the broken original! There is a lot more to this story but, maybe not enough interest at this time.
    Thankyou for reading.

  2. What a beautiful 1947 Gretsch Electromatic and its peculiar headstock! I also like the idea of combining a paddle headstock with tuners aligned with the strings! It is hard to find this guitar on my local store. Could you tell me how to find in NewYork or US? I want to go see, feel the sound and write a full review about this guitar.
    Hope to receive your feedback soon.
    And, thank you so much for this sharing :)
    -- Online Guitar Lab



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