Gretsch Tennesean

This is a project that is currently in the “let’s think this out” stage. There are a couple of issues. From the SN, we figure it’s probably late 1965 and in mint condition worth $3,000-$4,000 but this one AIN’T mint baby!

To “restore” the guitar into somewhat original shape, allowing for some cuts and bruises here and there, about $1,000. To make it a “player” and staying with some of the more heinous “modifications”, probably around $500.

The front of the guitar. Note the “custom” tape job where the 2 switches used to be. The switch where the dial used to be and vice versa. Note also the custom Super Distortion hum buckers. Great! Let’s drill holes!! After some careful measuring, new Gretsch bezels and either TV Jones or Gretsch OEM Filtertrons will cover up the holes.

Next on the hit parade are some more or less typical Gretschism’s. The neck joint, although stable, looks nasty. I would leave that alone I think. Now, I should point out that the entire fingerboard has been re-glued, poorly, but is stable. Also under the “believe it or not” section is the fact that I think (think a big word) that a level and crown will have this guitar playing ok without having to remove frets, etc. (which, BTW, I think was already done at one point, at least in the 12th fret and up area). Note the detailed “rust plating” on the Low E string!

The binding is going to need some attention in spots just so it doesn’t grab on someone’s clothing and get yanked off entirely.

You can tell by the garage rot that this guitar is in some serious need of TLC.

The switch where the dial should be. Hmm. Can’t find a proper nut driver? Let’s use a plumber’s wrench, yeah, that’s the ticket!

I think I might have to stabilize the Bigsby just a TAD!!!

Some REALLY nasty pickup installation techniques. Can’t find a router or router template, get out the old jigsaw and get jiggy with it! Here’s the Neck pickup:

And just as nice a job on the Bridge pickup:

How about a custom “Phantom” panel courtesy of 3M (hey, didn’t they have duct tape back then?)

Now we have already seen some excellent tool choices, but I really think that Fred Flintstone was contacted for the bridge saddle work. CLEAN baby!:

An now ladies and gentlemen, the Pièce de résistance, Mr. Jigsaw, if I can have the envelope please! The Patented Custom Cavity Access Panel!:

There was also an attempt at some point to try and use wood filler/putty around the cut but that’s either rubbed or just flaked off.

OK, so a lesson learned in what NOT to do to a 1965 Gretsch Tennesean. That’s OK, I know a  guy who took a drill to the headstock of a 1959 Les Paul Gold top (in mint, under the bed condition) and drilled out the holes and mounted Grover Rotomatic tuners. Will wonders never cease? I will update this if we decide to go along with the work. Thanks for looking!

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