Gretsch Custom Shop's new 2022 Masterbuilt collection

Back in Black

Country Gent
Jun 22, 2020
1,532
Ontario Canada
You said it! I mean, if you were gonna spend 12k, why not have at least two or three guitars? A brand-new, customized everything guitar from my luthier friend would "only" be 4k. Would love to know if anybody buys these to play. Only one I've seen that appeared to be in real use is this guy's (at least I assume that's Custom Shop) --



Seamus,

If an actual, ''original'', date correct, unmolested, investment caliber guitar of my dreams became available for 12K, I may do some serious considering, but a brand new, limited run, custom shop...call it what you will guitar for 12 K, absolutely not.

Especially when something as beautiful as a Rosewood Tenny can be had for $2500.

Best,

BIB
 

Jscordoba

Electromatic
Jun 10, 2022
11
Beaver Island, MI
Custom shop pricing puzzles me, I've ordered 2 guitars. A penguin and a 6120jr. Neither were 12k and arguably more custom than these. They were indeed expensive, but not near 12k.
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,724
Where the action is!
I mean, if you were gonna spend 12k, why not have at least two or three guitars?
Why buy a Mercedes when you could have two or three Toyotas? Somebody might not need or want two or three guitars, but would like one very special one.
Would love to know if anybody buys these to play.
I suspect the overwhelming majority are bought to play. As much as guitarists may appreciate guitars as practically works of art, I doubt there are many non-players who share that view. Certainly not enough to create a three year backlog. I just ordered one, and it will be going to every dive bar gig I play.
I'm at a loss to explain why exactly, but yours is gorgeous and the new one leaves me cold.
For one, Ed's has proper Imperial stairstep buttons, not the misshapen lumps that Grover has been producing since the 1970s.
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,724
Where the action is!
Custom shop pricing puzzles me, I've ordered 2 guitars. A penguin and a 6120jr. Neither were 12k and arguably more custom than these. They were indeed expensive, but not near 12k.
I have to wonder if it's a list vs. street price discrepancy. When you order one yourself, you're de facto paying street price. Guitars like these that aren't being built for a specific customer probably get a list price attached to them later to be discounted.
 

Seamus

Country Gent
Feb 25, 2011
1,031
New England
Why buy a Mercedes when you could have two or three Toyotas? Somebody might not need or want two or three guitars, but would like one very special one

Totally get you there. Maybe I would feel differently if I could try one of these, but I feel like something like a Falcon or my Phoenix is a Mercedes. And these are more akin to Mercedes with leather seats in custom colors. If you can, you do, and if you can't, well, you already have a Mercedes.

My Epiphone? Great guitar, but that's definitely a Toyota!
 

dspellman

Gretschie
Jul 4, 2020
397
Los Angeles
Given the wealth of the top 1%, it almost behooves guitar companies to build products that will attract that cash. I can't fault the companies that make the products nor the people who've got the interest and cash to buy them. I've spent most of my life disinterested in most Gretsch guitars and only recently picked up a couple to see what they were about. If I were devoted to the style or the brand over time, I might have considered a more expensive version.

As it is, that's unlikely, and I've moved past buying products that will inspire envy in others. None of my toilets are gold-plated, my jet's a small one, my wife is no longer asked to appear in the Sports Illustrated swimwear edition, my yacht's right at the 24 meter limit to keep it from super yacht status and I can make it from one end of the house to the other in under a day.
 

Back in Black

Country Gent
Jun 22, 2020
1,532
Ontario Canada
I have to wonder if it's a list vs. street price discrepancy. When you order one yourself, you're de facto paying street price. Guitars like these that aren't being built for a specific customer probably get a list price attached to them later to be discounted.

af,

I would be curious to know the process for ordering up a Gretsch Custom Shop guitar, care to share?

Things like initial contact, do you have full control over what you want the build to be, discussion of price, deposit required, lead time, and anything else of interest.

I'm sure I'm not the only one here who would be interested in this information.

I built a Malcolm Young Signature Jet a couple years ago as an isolation project during the peak of the pandemic. My only regret was having to start out with a brand new G5222, as opposed to a brand new G6131T-62. I tried desperately to buy a T-62, but there was not one to be had anywhere. My main reason for wanting the T-62, was because it already had most of the parts I needed for the build.

I consider myself reasonably talented, with lots of world wide contacts, and regardless of the doner guitar, I'll match my relic Malcolm, with Mr. Stern's any day of the week.

First attached is the Gretsch Custom Shop crew, with Mr. Stern holding his 10 K Malcolm.

Second photo is another shot of the Gretsch 10 K, Custom Shop, Limited Edition Malcolm.

The third and fourth photos are my build, on the left. It's not 100% correct, but when I compared my Malcolm Signature G6131-MY, to Malcolm's original, it's not correct either

3K, as opposed to 10K, including doner guitar, deluxe Gretsch case, and one very expensive original Burns Vibrato, and my name's good on anything I choose to put it on. The Malcolm Signature G6131-MY is not bad either, and it was only $2600, with Deluxe case and all the documents.

After all, they're both only copies, and more than enough money was spent!

BIB

DSCF1575.JPG CS 3.jpg DSCF1320.JPG DSCF1321.JPG
 
Last edited:

gazzie

Electromatic
Nov 10, 2010
28
Frome
These are works of art, to be sure. I'm sure it's come up a million times, but $12,000? I mean, I understand and support the need for luthiers to get what they deserve for their superior skills, but is that even in the ballpark of attainable by humans who would play them, as opposed to just look at them?

All that said, if I had loads of cash, I'd have one. Or, you know, several...
Top level guitars cost this much and more. Just look here The North American Guitar.com, link below (and they are "just" acoustics). Nearly all these are more than the Gretsch Custom shop models. Yes they are in the ballpark of attainability for people to play them, but like top cars, houses etc you have to wait to afford them. When you're older or have a higher paid job. I could afford quite a few if I wanted (not bragging just saying, be patient and wait a few years, Things that seem completely unrealistic now will become available if you're patient. I couldn't afford them when I was in my 20s!). By the way, I don't like any of these 3 particular models, but I have seen plenty of Gretsch Custom Shop stuff I really do like.
https://thenorthamericanguitar.com/collections/guitars
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,724
Where the action is!
IIRC Ed's Prototype Gent had the rare 5 piece neck. Wonder if Stern's does. Also, did these proto Gents all have 25.5" scales?
I don't have a firm accounting of them, but it appears that the known prototypes, Ed's, which is actually the first of production and about the first dozen off the line predominantly have the 25.5" scale, IIRC, towards the end of that first dozen you start to see some with the 24.5" scale sprinkled in.
I would be curious to know the process for ordering up a Gretsch Custom Shop guitar, care to share?
In my case, I contacted the nearest Custom Shop dealer and sent them an email with a detailed description of the specs I wanted. Basically a '55 6120 with every deviation from original spec that I could spot on other examples they've made rectified. Nothing major, but several small tweaks. It took them about a month and several follow-up emails to get a quote. They said Stern was on vacation and they couldn't get a price without running my tweaks by him. Eventually they got me a price (nowhere near $12,000) and estimated completion timeframe and requested a 20% down payment to get the order placed. Nervous about the prospect that I'd just get a notice in a couple of years that my guitar is ready and that they might not have correctly interpreted my requests, I talked to the shop and a couple of other people who've ordered from the Custom Shop and what happens is that when they're a month or two from getting to your build, they will contact you to nail down the specs and make sure you're getting what you are envisioning.
 

stiv

Country Gent
Sep 12, 2014
2,563
Firenze, Italy
The Wayne Gretzky Signature it’s gorgeous, but I’d have put the fake F anyway in it. Too much white.
On the other side, a total black version of it would be my dream hollow body for decades.
I remember drooling on a ‘65 Gent refinished in Black ( but with gold hardware, that is more predictable… aged chrome it’s a lot better) a while ago. I didn’t have the money then, but it was beautiful.
 

Seamus

Country Gent
Feb 25, 2011
1,031
New England
Top level guitars cost this much and more. Just look here The North American Guitar.com, link below (and they are "just" acoustics). Nearly all these are more than the Gretsch Custom shop models. Yes they are in the ballpark of attainability for people to play them, but like top cars, houses etc you have to wait to afford them. When you're older or have a higher paid job. I could afford quite a few if I wanted (not bragging just saying, be patient and wait a few years, Things that seem completely unrealistic now will become available if you're patient. I couldn't afford them when I was in my 20s!). By the way, I don't like any of these 3 particular models, but I have seen plenty of Gretsch Custom Shop stuff I really do like.
https://thenorthamericanguitar.com/collections/guitars

I guess it depends on your parameters for determining top-level, and what genre you're in. At least in the Gypsy Jazz world, where I've done the majority of my playing for the last couple of decades, vintage guitars from extremely well-known makers like Favino might possibly cost you $8,000 or more, but a brand new guitar from the best luthier isn't going to be that much. The only exception is a real Selmer, like Django played. That's far more than $12k. But the only person I know who has one wouldn't dream of gigging with it. And there are only a few hundred in existence.

Maybe I just have a non-rich guy's view, but even $6,000 seems like an awful lot to pay unless it's how you make your living. I suppose it's all a matter of perspective on what you need/want/can afford.
 

Back in Black

Country Gent
Jun 22, 2020
1,532
Ontario Canada
I don't have a firm accounting of them, but it appears that the known prototypes, Ed's, which is actually the first of production and about the first dozen off the line predominantly have the 25.5" scale, IIRC, towards the end of that first dozen you start to see some with the 24.5" scale sprinkled in.

In my case, I contacted the nearest Custom Shop dealer and sent them an email with a detailed description of the specs I wanted. Basically a '55 6120 with every deviation from original spec that I could spot on other examples they've made rectified. Nothing major, but several small tweaks. It took them about a month and several follow-up emails to get a quote. They said Stern was on vacation and they couldn't get a price without running my tweaks by him. Eventually they got me a price (nowhere near $12,000) and estimated completion timeframe and requested a 20% down payment to get the order placed. Nervous about the prospect that I'd just get a notice in a couple of years that my guitar is ready and that they might not have correctly interpreted my requests, I talked to the shop and a couple of other people who've ordered from the Custom Shop and what happens is that when they're a month or two from getting to your build, they will contact you to nail down the specs and make sure you're getting what you are envisioning.

afire,

Thank you very much.

Why did you pick Mr. Stern, he is only one of several according to this.

I believe it's Stern holding the Malcolm.

I'd really like to know what these guys get paid for building guitars that FMIC charges 10/12 K for.

Best,

BIB.



DSCF1575.JPG
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
18,985
Petaluma
I guess it depends on your parameters for determining top-level, and what genre you're in. At least in the Gypsy Jazz world, where I've done the majority of my playing for the last couple of decades, vintage guitars from extremely well-known makers like Favino might possibly cost you $8,000 or more, but a brand new guitar from the best luthier isn't going to be that much. The only exception is a real Selmer, like Django played. That's far more than $12k. But the only person I know who has one wouldn't dream of gigging with it. And there are only a few hundred in existence.

Maybe I just have a non-rich guy's view, but even $6,000 seems like an awful lot to pay unless it's how you make your living. I suppose it's all a matter of perspective on what you need/want/can afford.
My perspective is that a custom shop is within reach as a once in a life time purchase for someone passionate about guitars. No, the average person can't afford a fleet of them, but someone saving up over years for this can buy one in their life.

It's not a chicken, there won't be 2 in every pot. some people will spend their money on a fancy trip, or a motorcycle or boat for fun, etc. But I don't think the average family should have one of each luxury - an average family should be able to choose and save up for one luxury, maybe a couple more.

How many middle class people have you seen purchase a new car, when they could have saved $10,000 and bought a perfectly fine used car? And that is a purchase made several times through their life. Or for that matter spend $20+ dollars a day on cogarettes, bad coffees and sandwiches? for that money you could buy a cusom shop every other year!

A custom guitar is as much an expression of priorities and commitment as wealth.

P.S. I acknowledge that I am now writing from a relatively privileged position but even I don't think I "deserve" a custom guitar, and I have certainly lived through periods in my life where I had negative income and lived off of debt.
 

6187LX

Electromatic
Aug 11, 2022
95
Marineville
I don't have a firm accounting of them, but it appears that the known prototypes, Ed's, which is actually the first of production and about the first dozen off the line predominantly have the 25.5" scale, IIRC, towards the end of that first dozen you start to see some with the 24.5" scale sprinkled in.

In my case, I contacted the nearest Custom Shop dealer and sent them an email with a detailed description of the specs I wanted. Basically a '55 6120 with every deviation from original spec that I could spot on other examples they've made rectified. Nothing major, but several small tweaks. It took them about a month and several follow-up emails to get a quote. They said Stern was on vacation and they couldn't get a price without running my tweaks by him. Eventually they got me a price (nowhere near $12,000) and estimated completion timeframe and requested a 20% down payment to get the order placed. Nervous about the prospect that I'd just get a notice in a couple of years that my guitar is ready and that they might not have correctly interpreted my requests, I talked to the shop and a couple of other people who've ordered from the Custom Shop and what happens is that when they're a month or two from getting to your build, they will contact you to nail down the specs and make sure you're getting what you are envisioning.
Make sure you specify the un-kerfed lining on the inside of the guitar. The two CS6120-55s I tried had this vintage feature and the acoustic response was almost identical to vintage, which I've not found in any of the new models. Even the Brian Setzer Custom Shop '59 replicas all have modern kerfed linings, for what it's worth. Cheers, lx.
 
Last edited:

Jscordoba

Electromatic
Jun 10, 2022
11
Beaver Island, MI
I went through Wildwood, sent my initial specs in. Took a while but got a quote back. I agreed to the price, put down 20%. Then MANY months later I hear the build has begun. I eventually heard from 2 different CS employees including Mr Stern, talked to him on the phone a few times. I wanted something I couldn't get off the shelf in both cases. Short scales 22.75". Custom logo art (I still can't believe they did that). Non typical pickups, the 6120jr is a 14" body in full size depth, etc. They knocked both out of the park, and honestly I haven't had much interest in a new purchase since. Also, I do gig with these regularly. Got a calton for the Jr and a hoffee on order for the Penguin. Just local gigs with the Penguin till the case arrives. The Jr. hopped the Atlantic with me a few times.
 

Attachments

  • 20220324_105239.jpg
    20220324_105239.jpg
    258.2 KB · Views: 23
  • 20220706_092518.jpg
    20220706_092518.jpg
    185.8 KB · Views: 26


Top