1965 Gretsch Viking Hollowbody Electric Guitar

Gretsch Viking

Update: the owner shared a video with me (above) from when he was here grabbing it. Thanks! Right at the end I engage the bridge mute... so now you know...!

I'm a SuperTron fan and this one has that thick, sweet, clear, jazzy-ish tone to a T -- with just a bit of snarl from the bridge pickup.

Suffice to say, this early Gretsch Viking is a winner. It has unusual features that set it apart from more-typical Vikings, including no "tuning fork" bridge, and a Webster-style, Gretsch-brand whammy (with telescoping arm). The pickguard is not original but is period and, like some early Viking pickguards, doesn't having "Viking" script on it.

Work was typical -- a level/dress and seating of the frets, new foam pad for the bridge mute (lever-action, very cool), restring, and setup. The fretboard (with its tilted frets from fret 12 and on) was dried-out and pretty quirky. Intonation is actually pretty good for have a wonderful/terrible roller/spacer bridge, too, but I did string it with a wound G string (50w-11) set because I knew that would be a mess to listen to without a wound one.

Amazingly, the binding on this one is in superb shape. The guitar apparently survived a house fire, so the owner is wondering if maybe that "set" the celluloid to keep it from the usual celluloid rot death of '50s and '60s Gretsches (I hate fixing that).

These play fast and easy, though the wide (but thin front-to-back) body can be a bit to handle for some. They definitely make an impact on stage. The wider 1 3/4" nut width and long scale makes this quite a different beast handling-wise compared to some of the other period Gretsch models with their almost Jaguar-like handling.

Setup notes: action is 1/16" overall at the 12th fret with room to adjust. The neck is straight and strings are 50w-11 with a wound G-string.

Scale length: 25 1/2"
Nut width: 1 3/4"
String spacing at nut: 1 3/8"
String spacing at bridge: 2"
Body length: 20 3/4"
Lower bout width: 17"
Side depth at endpin: 2" +arching
Body wood: ply maple
Fretboard: ebony
Bridge: MojoAxe relic'd lightning-bolt wraparound/compensated
Neck feel: slim C-shape, ~10-12" board radius
Neck wood: 2-piece maple

Condition notes: clearly it has finish wear including weather-checking and usewear throughout. The pickguard is an old replacement, the mute pad foam is replacement, parts of the telescoping whammy arm are replacements (but right), and the white backplate for the control cavity access is a replacement (but original Gretsch). The serial number dates it to 1964 per normal charts, but features date it to 1965 per some of the net's wise Gretsch collector knowledge.