1967 Gretsch 6003 "Folk" 00-Size Flattop Guitar

Update 2019: I originally worked-on and sold this to a friend back in 2014, but it's come back in trade and so I've updated the post with new pics, a video, and new description.

These 00-size Gretsch guitars from the '50s and '60s are unknown to most players and are phenomenal bang for the buck. The necks are truss-rodded and comfortable, the sound is generally robust, chunky, and with decent volume, and the looks are retro and classic. They come in two types -- ladder-braced and x-braced -- and thus generally have two distinct voices. The ladder-braced ones tend to be short scale and have a Gibson LG-1/LG-0, woody-ish tone to them. The x-braced ones (like this one) are long-scale and have a mini-OM vibe going on. This is much more leapy and projecting and has a nice, compressed little rumble to it. It's a bit like a Gibson-player's Martin in terms of how that tone comes out and the way it feels in the hands.

Anyhow, back in 2014 I'd given it a fret level/dress, new bridge, new saddle, parts-bin pins, new tuners, cleaning, and did some stabilization of the deteriorating (as in most Gretsches) binding.

Recent work included: a new compensated saddle, bridge plate cap (with very thin maple -- the original plate was spruce) and pinhole fill/redrill, new tortoise-style pickguard to replace a warped original pickguard (it's the same shape as the original, though), minor cleaning, and a good setup with 54w-12 string gauges. The neck is straight and it plays bang-on with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret. The truss-rod works as intended.

Scale length: 25 1/2"
Nut width: 1 3/4"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"
String spacing at saddle: 2 1/4"
Body length: 18 1/2"
Lower bout width: 14 3/8"
Upper bout width: 11 3/8"
Side depth at endpin: 4 1/8"
Top wood: solid spruce, x-braced
Back/sides: ply mahogany
Neck wood: mahogany
Fretboard: rosewood
Neck shape: 14" radius with slim-to-medium C-shaped rear
Bridge: rosewood, new
Nut: original
Saddle: bone

Condition notes: binding is deteriorated along the top and back on the bass side. It's not chipping-off like crazy, but it may chip some more if it gets bumped in those areas. The pickguard, bridge, saddle, bridge pins, and tuners are all replacements, but the guitar is otherwise original. The bridge plate has a very thin (less than 1/32") cap on it to help seat the pins better. There's average wear-and-tear throughout the finish and some discoloration near the binding deterioration on the top.

While the new bridge is fairly thin like the original, the saddle does have ~1/8" adjustment room for action adjustments.


Jeffery Mason said…
I found it interesting that your 6003's serial number is 117558 because my 6003's serial number is 117560. You said the sides are laminate. I always thought that the top and sides were solid. Please tell me how you know the sides are laminate.
-Jeff Mason
Jeffery Mason said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jake Wildwood said…
Several ways: you can see the layers of ply at the endpin plug and you can also see that none of the grain on the outside matches any of the grain on the inside.
KVac said…
I am ecstatic that I found your site and description of my guitar, a 6003 with a serial number on neck of 4 7518.
There is no Gretsch logo on the neck, but otherwise it is identical in every way to your photos. I was told when I bought it back in '74 for $35 from its original owner that it was "about 15 years old" but I have no way of confirming its construction date. It needs some of the same restoration work that you did to yours, but still sounds great. Any idea where I can check on the serial number or find a logo decal? Thanks!
Kim Vacariu
Unknown said…
there are quite a few differences with my model 6003 gretsh. one main one being the solid bar at back of tuning nuts. yours shows individual gears, and mine is on two solid decorative bars. also the neck where it connects to the body seems a little different (skinnier). lastly the original pick guard is black plastic. serial no. 67933. would really like to get the age on this guitar. thanks
Unknown said…
also it looks like the grain is the same with rounded edges on the inside (side walls) of guitar. I do not believe the sides are laminate
KVac said…
Anonymous: As far as I can recall, your 67933 serial number translates to 6 (June) ; 7 ('67); 933 (933rd guitar produced that year).
I could be wrong but that's the way it was explained to me.
Unknown said…
Before 65 the serial numbers were not based on those factors. serial numbers between 63000 and 77000 were made in 1964. I own serial number 64755, which is also a 64 vintage.