5/20/2018

1957 Gretsch 6003 "Jimmie Rodgers" 000-Size Flattop Guitar




A customer of mine sent this nice old Gretsch in for work. It's a good, earlier example of the 6003 "Jimmie Rodgers" model and while it looks like a Martin 000-18 at first glance, it specs-out more like a slightly-larger 00-size and has a long scale length which imparts more of a Martin OM vibe when the notes pop off the top. I have to admit that I love the plainspoken, country-style voice this has -- even though I'm generally not a huge fan of long-scale flattops.

It has a solid spruce, x-braced (with very stout squared-off braces) top over ply mahogany back and sides. The neck is solid mahogany, the fretboard is rosewood, and the bridge is ebony. The top and back are bound in white and it has a multi-ply, single-ring rosette. Unlike the later, weirder, pseudo-firestripe pickguards, this one is pretty typical tortoise.

Work included a fret level/dress, crack cleat/repair on the upper bout top, and a bunch of bridge work: I had to move the saddle back over 1/8" and move the pin-holes back, too. While I was at it I converted the saddle-slot into a drop-in type and aligned the pins with the angle of the saddle in the way one finds on newer Martins. It's a fast player after work and the neck has a great feel.

Specs are: 25 1/2" scale length, 1 11/16" nut width, 1 7/16" string spacing at the nut, 2 1/8" spacing at the birdge, spot-on 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret with a straight neck, ~14" radius to the fretboard, mild-to-medium C-shaped neck profile, 14 1/2" lower bout width, 11 3/8" upper bout, and 4" side depth at the endblock. The strings are standard 54w-12 "lights."

This guitar also had a jack installed in the side but no pickup in it. I had a spare, extra-large-size, K&K pickup from a resonator guitar that'd had it removed, so I fussed-around until I found a place to mount it successfully (behind the A+D pinholes on the rear part of the bridge plate), and wired it to the jack. Hey presto! It actually sounds good. I'm always impressed by K&K adaptability.



The nut is the original plastic one, though the saddle is a new bone one I made. The truss rod works perfectly.


The frets are a low-ish, medium stock, though they have plenty of level/dress jobs left in them.




The saddle is nice and tall with plenty of depth to the slot to adjust up/down.





The tuners are interesting as they're the same type I'm used to seeing on Swedish guitars like Hagstroms and Levin/Goyas.


I added an antiqued strap button to the heel for rocking-out purposes.






The serial places it at '57.

2 comments:

Nicholas Ratnieks said...

I think Gretsch used Dutch made Van Ghent tuners at some point and that is what this guitar has. They most often have metal buttons but yours have plastic.

Jake Wildwood said...

Thanks for that!