The Gretsch Astro-Jet

bustedacres

Electromatic
Nov 17, 2022
11
Seattle
Hey folks—here, as promised, are some pics of my beloved (beaten, but unbowed) Astro-Jet. The story on this is that in the 90s in LA, a friend found it at a yard sale for $15; the headstock was snapped off, but he took it home and gave it a very temporary glue job. After a few years he loaned to me. As simple as the repair was—he was no luthier, just stuck it together as “good enough for now”, it was surprisingly durable.

When I moved from LA to Seattle, he very kindly said “well, you know you’re taking that with you,” and I was delighted and grateful. I had it for years, and then when I moved the to another place, the guitar fell gently against a table and CRACK, the headstock snapped off. I was horrified, but I took it to luthier Randy Parsons, who had a shop here for years (he’s also the guy who outfitted Jack White’s Gretsch with a bullet microphone, as seen in IT MIGHT GET LOUD). For $100, he stuck it together.

One day I will properly refinish the headstock—I think. I sorta like,it showing off its battle scars. It’s a unique guitar; the pickups give it an unusual compressed tone. I don’t really play garage rock, but it’s kind of a perfect garage rock tone. And the electronics are nuts. I’ve had the thing for two decades and they still mystify me…hope you like it. I’m really proud of it, and my friend Mark Heggen is a prince for giving it to me.
 

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bustedacres

Electromatic
Nov 17, 2022
11
Seattle
Very cool! I am a fan of Randy Parson's work.
He was great; he also repaired a family violin, my great-grandfather’s—likely a cheap Sears catalog thing from the 1910s, but a lovely instrument—that was in pieces. When I took it to the premier violin repair service here, they wouldn’t even consider it; Randy glued it, made it fully playable (and beautiful in worn and unrestored fashion) for $125. I wish he was still here; I’d like to pick his brain now that I’m building my own guitars.
 

tartanphantom

Friend of Fred
Jul 30, 2008
6,056
Murfreesboro, TN
Very nice!

As far as the electronics go, the original layout was as follows:

Knobs-- Master volume, neck volume, bridge volume.
Switches-- Pickup selector, tone switch, and standby switch.

Obviously, the electronics may have been modified over the years, but that's the original setup.
 

ToneM1

Gretschie
Mar 10, 2009
277
Oxnard/Ventura County Calif.
I wish I had kept the one I had built. I bought one of those bodies out of Nashville and had a neck made for it. I then had it painted and assembled. I had all the parts so it wasn't bad. The guitar did weigh a small tonne.. But played great.
How much does yours weigh?? Thanks!
 

1adam12

Electromatic
Feb 25, 2022
82
Atlantic City
Ha! in the 70's I left an Astrojet in a car overnight with the doors unlocked and the windows down...and there were three more sitting next to it in the morning!🤣 Seriously though! I love em'
That sincerely is the strangest guitar Gretsch ever produced, however . its worth $2000-$3000 on Ebay, It Couldn't have sold for more that $200 in the 70"s a real find
 

bustedacres

Electromatic
Nov 17, 2022
11
Seattle
I wish I had kept the one I had built. I bought one of those bodies out of Nashville and had a neck made for it. I then had it painted and assembled. I had all the parts so it wasn't bad. The guitar did weigh a small tonne.. But played great.
How much does yours weigh?? Thanks!
I’m not sure how much it weighs, but it’s not particularly heavy…

Well, just decided to do a rough weight test. My SG a is about 8 lbs, my Les Paul DC Thin (slightly thinner than a normal DC) is approx 9 lbs, and the Astro-Jet is about 10. But I have 79 Les Paul that has to be at least 12 pounds, maybe more (Les Pauls are always heavy, and this one is the heaviest Les Paul I’ve ever seen).
 

drmilktruck

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Double Platinum Member
May 17, 2009
20,328
Plymouth, MN
I wouldn't mind getting another one of those body's, but I haven't seen any in a while, I think the last one I saw,the guy wanted like $500.00 for, and it was rough 😵‍💫 I think I paid $90.00 for mine.
I bought five of them. Put a couple together with necks from a guy on the GDP. All of the necks warped. Sold the rest off.
 


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