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View Full Version : dating a gretsch uke (happily married, it's not what you think)



garyg
07-20-2011, 03:41 PM
I probably should have titled this post carbon dating a gretsch uke. I just bought an old gretsch American uke, solid mahogany, no decal, Gretsch American stamp on back of the head stock and in the body with wooden tuners. From the scant information on the web -- the lack of decal on the front of the headstock and the mfg. stamp on the back puts it in the 20's to early 30's but I'm wondering if the wooden tuners provide a clue to more exact date. When did Gretsch start making ukes,-- does anyone know? TIA, g2

ukulelecowboy
07-21-2011, 12:27 AM
Hi,
I'm assuming that this is the one that you are referring to:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320725353228&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

Nice score. The Gretsch Americans were among the best of the vintage ukuleles. Very high quality and they sound great. The date that you have is about right. At the time, Gretsch also produced

a Banjo Ukulele (which I own)
tenor ukulele
and a Tenor Guitar

The Gretsch Baritone Ukulele didn't show up until the fifties and was a Gretsch branded instrument not a Gretsch American.

The tuning knobs on your ukulele are not original. Gretsch never produced an instrument with wooden tuning knobs. I suspect that those were made by someone to replace the lost or broken knobs at some point in the instrument's history.

Oddly enough, there is another Gretsch American soprano on Ebay right know. (When it rains, it pours) I believe that it has the original knobs:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130547829252&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

Fore more detailed info and history on the instrument, you might want to shoot an email to Ed Ball. Ed is an expert on Gretsch stringed instruments and also the Gretsch American line. He has written several books on the subject. In face, he may have been bidding against you in your auction and might be an active bidder in the one I listed! In any event, he's a great guy and LOVES to talk about anything Gretsch. He is at gretsch_ed@yahoo.com

He might be able to provide more information on your specific ukulele.

Enjoy,

Mike

garyg
07-21-2011, 01:12 AM
Thanks, that's great information and yes you were right about the "score". Didn't know the tuners weren't original. Funny, the one that I bid on had a better description and is in at least as good condition but went for substantially less. Well that's ebay or rather ebay bidders for you. cheers, g2

Uke Republic
07-21-2011, 04:53 AM
Another G for Gx2 :)

garyg
07-21-2011, 05:19 AM
Yeah but this is probably it. I've still got that one with your name on it <g> but I'm going to move on it soon. No one could as get as good a sounding uke for that price ;) and then its got that vintage thing going too.