1930s Gretsch Model 25 Archtop Guitar

Update: the owner mentioned that it's probably a model #25 rather than a #35 as it lacks binding. I concur! Thanks!

The 1524 serial number at the headstock suggests a 1940s build, though I'm pretty sure this was made in the '30s. The owner of this instrument has had this since he was 12 years old. I think he came by it via his music teacher and, as a result, he's been into the archtop sound from an early age. How about that? Sometimes instruments certainly will mold your playing and ear.

Said owner is moving to the Shetland Islands in a few weeks' time and so this will get boxed-up and sent over the pond really soon. How about that? I'm a fan of Scotland in general and have been there multiple times, though I never made it as far as the Shetlands. I'd always wanted to go, though! Maybe I'll have to pack myself in the box with it.

It was in a pretty dilapidated state when he brought it in, though... the neck was warped and had an unrepaired hairline split in the heel, the bridge had been lowered and lowered and lowered, there were a few unrepaired cracks on the top, and there were several open side/top seam areas. The tuners and tailpiece were replaced. The good about it, however, is that one could tell the top was nicely-cut (I'm unsure if this is a carved-top or pressed-top, but it's solid and I assume carved) and all of the many decades of wear and tear give it a really lived-in, lovely look.

After work, it's a super-loud and punchy instrument with a nice, velvety midrange and a lot of bite. It basically roars. One can back-off a lot on the attack or lean-in to comp-it-up big-band-style.

Work included: a neck reset, board level and refret (with medium-big), seam and crack repairs, adjustment to the bridge, new tuners, and various cleaning and setup work. It plays like an absolute champ, though, now. With a Gibson-ish short scale and medium-round neck, it handles easily and the refret makes it feel like something new and boutique rather than funky and ragged. The neck's straight, action is bang-on (and adjustable) at 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret, and I have it strung with 54w, 40w, 30w, 22w, 16, 12 gauges. The neck is reinforced with steel but I think it's good to shave as much excess tension as possible as it'd warped in the past.

Scale length: 24 5/8"
Nut width: 1 3/4"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/4"
Body length: 20"
Lower bout width: 16"
Upper bout width: 11 1/2"
Side depth at endpin: 3 1/2"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: ply flamed maple
Bracing type: tonebar braced
Fretboard: ebony
Bridge: ebonized maple, Harmony-style reverse-wheel adjustment
Neck feel: medium C shape, 7-12" compound radius board

Condition notes: non-original tuners and tailpiece, lots of wear and tear throughout, repaired cracks on the top near treble-side f-hole.


Ivan said…
Too bad it's heading far away. That guitar is a great fit for you. Abundantly obvious when you played it.