Availability of pro-series Gretsch guitars

Lucky Jim

Gretschie
Oct 16, 2020
186
Kent, England
I recently visited a large guitar store in England, my first 'post-Covid' visit. I headed straight for the Gretsch wall where there were plenty of Electromatics and a few Streamliners but no pro-series. I assumed they were tucked away in a more secure room so asked a sales assistant. His reply was that they no longer stock pro-series guitars because they are "too expensive and hard to shift". He said they sell a lot of Electromatics models because they are "much better value". He also said they might be able to order a pro-series guitar if I wanted a particular one.

This got me wondering whether other dealers were taking the same approach so I visited the websites of all the larger stores in the country. Most of them carried either very few or no pro-series. There were a number of Players Edition guitars but the majority of all the Gretsch guitars stocked were Electromatics and Streamliners. Most dealers showed pictures and prices of pro-series guitars but just about all were described as "pre-order", "available to order" or similar.

So is this due to a current shortage of pro-series/Players Edition guitars from the factory or are most the stores taking the same stance as the one I visited? What is the situation in other markets - the USA, Europe, Australia and other parts? Are they also seeing a dearth of MIJ models?

BTW, Gretsch Custom Shop models are very rare here at present although one store says it has several on order for delivery in Oct 2022.
 

Falconetti

Gretschie
Sep 18, 2012
392
Bagsville, Oxford UK
I recall a time when I was good mates with the manager of Oxford's biggest guitar store and he was also a Gretsch fan. At that time the wall of the store was full of Pro-line guitars and the racks on the floor full of Electromatics. You could play just about any Gretsch model. If they didn't have it he would get it within 3 days. Same store a couple of weeks ago (my mate long gone) and they had a few Electromatics, one Jet and one Streamliner. That's it. I wondered if they were struggling to get stock at the time until I tried to buy a few sets of Ernie Ball Power Slinky's and they didn't have any !!! What ? A guitar store that doesn't have 11 gauge strings ? Are you serious ? I came to the conclusion that they are running down the retail space and moving towards on line sales only. The way of the World it seems. Get used to it.

I walked into the store one day about 10 years ago and asked if they had a Silver Falcon. No but they had a pre-owned one at another branch just taken in as a part ex. It was shipped down the next day and came home with me. Today it looks like this.

IMG_7654.jpeg IMG_7673.jpeg IMG_7674.jpeg

It cost me less than £1500 and was mint. Done a few hard miles since then. It seems that the on line World will soon be the only World and that is not progress at least in my mind.
 

calebaaron666

Friend of Fred
Aug 15, 2018
7,060
Auburn, Maine
My local shop has had the same 6120 hotrod for sale for well over 4 years. It’s the only Japanese Gretsch they have in stock. They want more money for it than they’ll ever get.
However, they sell plenty of streamliners and electros.
 

rake_ether

Synchromatic
Aug 24, 2019
551
Athens, GA USA
My local guitar store has a good amount of Electromatics and Streamliners but I've never seen a Proline hanging from the wall. I asked the owner recently and he just stared at me.
 

Viking Power

Synchromatic
Jun 11, 2018
710
Mountlake Terrace, WA
Don’t see many pro-series models in the Seattle area guitar stores unless there’s a shop that I don’t know about. Makes it tough to figure out if the pretty pictures you see on Gretsch’s website will be a good fit when it comes to ergos and tone that you’re looking for…
 

General_Lee

Gretschie
Apr 23, 2022
202
Manitoba, Canada
At the rate that Prolines are not selling, I wouldn't be surprised to see Gretsch greatly curtail their production in Japan. Perhaps even stop building them altogether in favor of their Asian and Custom built series. There are many excuses (as opposed to reasons) of course, but I believe that one of the main ones is that retail outlets simply don't want anything interfering with their bottom line. Period. Given the incredible amounts of dollars spent at these outlets, it's a true kick in the head for those of us who have supported the upper end purchases of instruments over the years at these stores. Musicians tend not to buy what they can't see, hear, or touch. Don't expect a pretty catalog picture to sell a $4000 instrument.

The prolines are even treated like pariahs, vis-a-vis trade items, as stores like Long & McQuade (biggest vendor in Canada) pretty much refuse to offer anything near their proper value, should you care to move into something else. Buyers lose both incentive and faith in these products as a result. I purchased the last new '59 Country Gent in Canada (L&M have literally neither sold nor offered another ((except through their website - which stock is non existent)) since I bought mine 2 years back). There's probably the odd 6120 somewhere in the country, but try finding an actual selection of pro line gear. And forget about comparing one proline to another in the store of your choice.

It's a sad state of affairs and it won't improve anytime soon. In fact, I do see the end of the proline era approaching fast. If you need/want one, and are lucky enough to find the one you're looking for, I say buy it while/if you can. As for trading up to, or across this incredible line of guitars, those days are just about gone my friends. Gone...

Yes, Electromatics are good instruments at a decent price point, but they are not Terada quality builds, and never will be. Even Custom Shop items are not generally superior to the Proline models, trophy wives though they may be. Prolines have been the ultimate pride of the Gretsch pack, and will ultimately become valuable collectors items. And the day Gretsch closes the door on this incredible line, I for one will mourn their passing...

My Gent. 1656981030932.jpeg
 
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BrianW

Country Gent
Oct 21, 2014
1,416
Vancouver Island
At the rate that Prolines are not selling, I wouldn't be surprised to see Gretsch greatly curtail their production in Japan. Perhaps even stop building them altogether in favor of their Asian and Custom built series. There are many excuses (as opposed to reasons) of course, but I believe that one of the main ones is that retail outlets simply don't want anything interfering with their bottom line. Period. Given the incredible amounts of dollars spent at these outlets, it's a true kick in the head for those of us who have supported the upper end purchases of instruments over the years at these stores. Musicians tend not to buy what they can't see, hear, or touch. Don't expect a pretty catalog picture to sell a $4000 instrument.

The prolines are even treated like pariahs, vis-a-vis trade items, as stores like Long & McQuade (biggest vendor in Canada) pretty much refuse to offer anything near their proper value, should you care to move into something else. Buyers lose both incentive and faith in these products as a result. I purchased the last new '59 Country Gent in Canada (L&M have literally neither sold nor offered another ((except through their website - which stock is non existent)) since I bought mine 2 years back). There's probably the odd 6120 somewhere in the country, but try finding an actual selection of pro line gear. And forget about comparing one proline to another in the store of your choice.

It's a sad state of affairs and it won't improve anytime soon. In fact, I do see the end of the proline era approaching fast. If you need/want one, and are lucky enough to find the one you're looking for, I say buy it while/if you can. As for trading up to, or across this incredible line of guitars, those days are just about gone my friends. Gone...

Yes, Electromatics are good instruments at a decent price point, but they are not Terada quality builds, and never will be. Even Custom Shop items are not generally superior to the Proline models, trophy wives though they may be. Prolines have been the ultimate pride of the Gretsch pack, and will ultimately become valuable collectors items. And the day Gretsch closes the door on this incredible line, I for one will mourn their passing...

My Gent. View attachment 183939
I picked up my 6122-59 in 2014 from Long & Mcquade ... took a long time for "my" store to get it in. Even then they were saying there were only 2 in stores across Canada. As I recall it was several months waiting for it to show up. Nothing new in a shortage of that model at least!

cheers
 

mister rain

Synchromatic
Apr 23, 2020
776
new orleans
I recall a time when I was good mates with the manager of Oxford's biggest guitar store and he was also a Gretsch fan. At that time the wall of the store was full of Pro-line guitars and the racks on the floor full of Electromatics. You could play just about any Gretsch model. If they didn't have it he would get it within 3 days. Same store a couple of weeks ago (my mate long gone) and they had a few Electromatics, one Jet and one Streamliner. That's it. I wondered if they were struggling to get stock at the time until I tried to buy a few sets of Ernie Ball Power Slinky's and they didn't have any !!! What ? A guitar store that doesn't have 11 gauge strings ? Are you serious ? I came to the conclusion that they are running down the retail space and moving towards on line sales only. The way of the World it seems. Get used to it.

I walked into the store one day about 10 years ago and asked if they had a Silver Falcon. No but they had a pre-owned one at another branch just taken in as a part ex. It was shipped down the next day and came home with me. Today it looks like this.

View attachment 183931 View attachment 183932 View attachment 183933

It cost me less than £1500 and was mint. Done a few hard miles since then. It seems that the on line World will soon be the only World and that is not progress at least in my mind.
if only my silver falcon had those humpback block inlays… swoon.
 

Lucky Jim

Gretschie
Oct 16, 2020
186
Kent, England
@General_Lee that's a very well stated synopsis of the current situation.

When 3, 4 or more Electros can be bought for the price of one Proline it's not hard to see why buyers shy away from the latter. However, a similar cost differential exists with Epiphone and Gibson guitars but there is no shortage of Gibson sales. In fact, the store I visited had not only a range of Epiphones but also a wide selection of Gibson's, many of which were more expensive than Proline Gretsch would be. Perhaps the significant difference here is that Gretsch chose not to give their lower price models a different brand name. They are all just 'Gretsch' so there is, on face value, no incentive for buyers to choose the more expensive ranges - particularly if they are unable to try a Proline to discover the difference in quality. I see this as a failure in Gretsch's (Fender's?) marketing policy, which may or may not be intentional.

Will Prolines become sought after collectors' items? Maybe but at present used examples are often selling for little more than dealers' derisory trade-in values. I was recently able to sell a 53VS Jet for an acceptable price but only because there were (and still are) none available in the UK and the buyer particularly wanted one. I have been holding out for a 6120BSSMK but stated delivery dates come and go so I am doubtful that one will ever materialise.
 

Lucky Jim

Gretschie
Oct 16, 2020
186
Kent, England
@Falconetti the UK store I visited had a used Setzer Hotrod in flame maple Harbor Blue 2-tone for £2,100. I don't know if that's a reasonable price but they've had it for some time now so could be open to offers. PM me for details if you think it might interest you.
 

juks

Country Gent
Nov 26, 2020
2,568
Fremont, California
Retail is all about stock turns. If you can sell the inventory faster than you have to pay the supplier, you are golden. E.g. if you have 30 day payment term with the supplier but you can sell the inventory in 20 days on average, you already have the money before you have to pay the bill. After last couple of years I'm not surprised if physical stores are reluctant to stock anything that might take a long time to sell.

Somebody like Sweetwater moves such a huge quantity that having few models that move slower makes no difference to their inventory turn numbers.
 

Mr Swisher

Country Gent
Jun 12, 2012
1,271
England
Retail is all about stock turns. If you can sell the inventory faster than you have to pay the supplier, you are golden. E.g. if you have 30 day payment term with the supplier but you can sell the inventory in 20 days on average, you already have the money before you have to pay the bill. After last couple of years I'm not surprised if physical stores are reluctant to stock anything that might take a long time to sell.

Somebody like Sweetwater moves such a huge quantity that having few models that move slower makes no difference to their inventory turn numbers.

Nailed it.

In the UK, unless you are Andertons, GuitarGuitar, Peach or Guitar Village you probably just can't afford to hold expensive stock. PMT are quite big in the UK and on the recent visits I've made you can hardly find anything over £1000.

Great for choice for most players, not so good if, like me, you have money and no patience 🤣
 


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