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Vintage Gretsch find/inheritance advice needed

teleking36

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,984
A friend of mine just took receipt of his father's 1966-1967 Gretsch Viking. Apparently it was played for about a year and then stored away in the closet literally until about a month ago, when my friend stumbled upon it at his parents' house. He asked his dad about it and was told he could have it. It's VERY clean save for some cracked/shrunken binding and corrosion on the neck pickup and frets. I wanna help him get this guitar up and running properly without doing anything but cleaning it up and getting it setup, so I want to approach it the right way. Anyway, he just picked it up last night and this is what he's got:























 

jbraun002

Member
Messages
792
That thing is wild and crazy (in a good way)! What's the deal with the leather thing on the back, and is that wooden block thing really the bridge?
 

teleking36

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,984
That thing is wild and crazy (in a good way)! What's the deal with the leather thing on the back, and is that wooden block thing really the bridge?
yes it is! the block (which appears to be missing the felt) is a lever-activated mute bar. the back pad is used for protecting the guitar against damage and/or hiding access panels to wiring/controls.
 

RockDC

Member
Messages
1,470
That thing is wild and crazy (in a good way)! What's the deal with the leather thing on the back, and is that wooden block thing really the bridge?
The "wooden block" is not wood. It a damper system like palm muting. The leather pad is to cover the compartment to the electronics in the back. These are 2 staples of the Gretsch guitar builds.
 

Kiwi

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,086
That's a great old find! I'd head straight over to the Gretschpages.com site and also put this up there. The folks there on the vintage board will probably have some good advice.

But please keep us current when you/ he gets it fixed up. The before-and-after photos will be interesting to see. Unfortunately, cracked binding is not uncommon on the old Gretsch guitars. It'll be a great restoration project.

=K
 

TimD

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
802
That's a really cool find for your friend. Like already noted, binding rot is common on some older Gretsch's and usually require a pro's touch.
You should be able to get 'er up and running with some elbow grease though.
Have fun and keep us updated on the process.
 

Fab4ever

Member
Messages
771
If it were me, I would take it to a tech/luthier you respect and get it cleaned/restored properly. But there will be no harm in cleaning it first, assuming you get the right techniques. Unfortunately I can't help you there (which is why I would use a tech!).

What a cool find!
 

tamader74

Member
Messages
3,675
Cool Find,...Now get the guitar over to a qualified Luthier to get the binding removed and replaced immediately,...The string/fret damage, and other issues are caused by the "Gases" coming from the 'cracked/shrunken' binding, and now that it is more exposed to air, the worse it can become quick. Do not use anyone unqualified with this issue, as there is no quick fix to this issue. Also, not to be an 'alarmist',...But, keep the case outside of the house (maybe a garage, shed, etc.), and away from your other Instruments...The (VOS gases) spread into the air. Again, awesome guitar, AND a proper fix will NOT devaluate it, as it is a known problem among collectors and players. Tom
 

cookedbutok

Member
Messages
968
That's a great old find! I'd head straight over to the Gretschpages.com site and also put this up there. The folks there on the vintage board will probably have some good advice.

=K
Yes. Go to the Gretsch Pages. They are super helpful and have forgotten more about Gretsches than most will ever know.
 

fe911

Member
Messages
801
Wow, love the old Gretsch's. I understand the wood block mute system. But what is the strange roller/pulley system that the strings are run through after the bridge?
Any self respecting Gretsch owner knows there isn't any electronics under the pad. Wiring repair is even harder than an es335-through the f-holes in front! That pad is to protect the finish from your ten pound belt buckle that was a required accessory for anyone to play the guitar!
 

Bob Pollock

c'était des extraterrestres
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,706
I owned an identical Viking. There is an access hole under the pad, trust me, not only for access to the electronics, but to adjust the mute system. Yours still Has the tuning fork bridge! More on that here http://gretschpages.com/history/memorabilia/3353433/
You can remove it and set the guitar up normally with the 'space control' bridge.
Absolutely consult the members at The Gretsch Pages! They truly know whereof they speak.
 

'70 RS

Member
Messages
5,294
Any self respecting Gretsch owner knows there isn't any electronics under the pad.

When Gretsch changed the 6120 to a double cutaway, painted on f-hole in 1962, they added a plastic access cover to the back for wiring harness installation.
 

Gas-man

Unrepentant Massaganist
Messages
18,605
Interesting find, but probably looking at $500 to get that up to par and it's not exactly a super desirable model.

Is the neck warped?

There is mold on the guitar--so moisture was obviously a problem at some (or many) point(s).
 

JimR56

Member
Messages
729
There is mold on the guitar--so moisture was obviously a problem at some (or many) point(s).
Read post #10. It's not mold, and it's got nothing to do with moisture. It's corrosion caused by a nasty gas released by de-composing plastic (in this case, binding). This is a fairly common issue with the material used in Gretsch binding during the 60's. You will also see it with archtops with old tortoise pickguards. Same gas is released when they decompose, same corrosion occurs.
 

teleking36

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,984
Thanks for all the info everyone! Glad to know its not a moisture issue too. It looked too clean and healthy otherwise to be an issue of moisture. The paperwork would be all mildew-y and that stuff is very clean, as well as the case.
 

Gas-man

Unrepentant Massaganist
Messages
18,605
Read post #10. It's not mold, and it's got nothing to do with moisture. It's corrosion caused by a nasty gas released by de-composing plastic (in this case, binding). This is a fairly common issue with the material used in Gretsch binding during the 60's. You will also see it with archtops with old tortoise pickguards. Same gas is released when they decompose, same corrosion occurs.

I'm dubious of this "Gas" theory.

There isn't some corrosion, there is a ton! The vol and tone knobs are green fer chrissakes and the neck pickup is caked with green stuff that looks a lot like mold.
 

'70 RS

Member
Messages
5,294
I'm more concerned with this photo:





Gretsch is known for lousy glue....whatever got in between the binding and fretboard had a pretty good chance of getting between the fretboard and neck.

A vintage 6120 or Country Gent would be a no-brainer....restore it.
A Viking? Hmmmmm....
 






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