NVGD: 1967 Gretsch Bamboo Rally

Jayyj

Supporting Member
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6,914
I've wanted one of these for as long as I can remember - the first Gretsch I ever played was a Bamboo Rally as a teenager at a lovely little shop in South Manchester that was always very cool about letting young kids try things they didn't stand a chance of affording.

This one is in pretty worn condition with lots of scars, lacquer checking and crackles in the binding, but I love the look of it scars and all. The bamboo yellow seems to attract two basic reactions - swooning, and immediately shielding your eyes and running away - but I'm firmly in the former camp and this is definitely my favourite finish for Gretsch.

It's taking a little getting used to - I initially assumed it would basically be a 335 in Gretsch clothing but it's much more in line with an old school Tennessean. The strings behind the bridge all seem to correspond with open strings so there's a lot of weird resonances going on back there - I kind of like that but might pick up some rubber grommets so I have a means of damping them if they get a bit much. I'm not convinced by the controls: there's at least four volume controls on this thing which seems a little excessive, but no tone except for the three way switch that gives you a choice of too much treble, not enough treble and several miles underwater. Oh, and the sonic boom switch that doesn't work because the battery clip has disappeared inside the guitar and I can't find it.

All that said, with a set of fairly meaty strings on it has a great acoustic ring to it with lots of sustain and it does Beatles chime and gnarly Jack White blues better than anything currently in my collection so I'm enjoying getting to know it.







 

Jayyj

Supporting Member
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6,914
Thanks guys!

These are relatively rare guitars, only made from '67-'69. I suspect they were intended to be a more modern styled update on the Tennessean and Anniversary, but they didn't catch on - perhaps with some hotter pickups they might have had more appeal to the rock and psych crowd.

I just need to set it off with one of those yellow suits Curtis Mayfield wrote on the cover of Curtis - that would be a strong look...
 

Jayyj

Supporting Member
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6,914
You can always put a piece of foam under those strings on the wrong side of the bridge to stop the sympathetic resonating.
In some respects I quite like it - but ýeah, if it starts annoying me I'm sure it's a fairly easy fix.
 

gkoelling

Member
Messages
16,921
I had to Google to find out WTF was bamboo on this guitar!

Shows you what I know about Gretsch.

Very cool, enjoy!

Oh, what's the plate on the back for?

Thanks
 

Jayyj

Supporting Member
Messages
6,914
I had to Google to find out WTF was bamboo on this guitar!

Shows you what I know about Gretsch.

Very cool, enjoy!

Oh, what's the plate on the back for?

Thanks
It's supposed to house a 9v battery to power the sonic boom (basically a treble boost) circuit. Unfortunately the clip for mine has disappeared inside the guitar and I haven't got round to trying to fish it out yet. It's not a guitar that exactly needs any extra treble anyway - if I could change one thing about this guitar it would definitely be to add a normal tone pot to tame the high frequencies.
 

DefaultII

Member
Messages
16
Better save up for rebinding. I had an Astro Jet where I stuck it in the closet for four months and in that time, the outgassing from the binding rot corroded the pickup cover,
 

Jayyj

Supporting Member
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6,914
Better save up for rebinding. I had an Astro Jet where I stuck it in the closet for four months and in that time, the outgassing from the binding rot corroded the pickup cover,
It was painful enough losing a 355 pick guard to that a few years back!

So far it's holding up well, just a few spots of noticable decay. I vintage dealer I know always recommends avoiding long periods of case time for guitars and pick guards that are prone to rot.

Weirdly I have another Gretsch with no signs whatever of binding rot. Similarly the guard on one of my 355s went but the other is still fine, and I had a Gibson A mandolin with a guard that was falling apart but the one on my current F2 is still fine. l I wonder what causes some to go and not others?
 

katuna

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,738
I had one of these, but the bamboo paint had been stripped off. It was pretty cool.
 
Messages
350
I suppose you'll have to try the treble boost because it's there...but...
I used to do a sort of Clash version of Brand New Cadillac, and would hit the treble boost just to get that sound that nobody likes.
 

Jayyj

Supporting Member
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6,914
I suppose you'll have to try the treble boost because it's there...but...
I used to do a sort of Clash version of Brand New Cadillac, and would hit the treble boost just to get that sound that nobody likes.
I'd like to try it if I can get it to work - the dealer it came from said it was working and I'm hoping the battery has just been dislodged in shipping so it will just be a question of fashioning something I can get hold of it with and fish it out past the wiring. If it's not working I might just put a normal tone pot in there though.

Typical Gretsch thought process there -
"we're building an electronic unit for this guitar that needs a battery - shall we put an access panel next to it?"
"Well, we could do, but I think it looks better all the way over here - just make sure we have some nice strong battery clips to stop it falling inside the guitar"
"We're only got these really cheap clips though, shall I order some better ones?"
"Nah, we've already paid for those ones now. It'll be fine."

On the later ones they have an access panel by the boost pot.
 




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