Julien's Auctions to offer Gretsch Family Archive

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Julien's Auctions to offer Gretsch Family Archive
A 1990 Slingerland lite prototype drum with red stain finish.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Julien’s Auctions will present Property from the Gretsch Family Archives, a two-day tribute to one of the most celebrated names in music instrument history to take place on Friday, March 26th and Saturday, March 27th live in Beverly Hills and live online at juliensauctions.com.

Rocking the auction stage will be the storied American music company Gretsch’s famous collection of guitars owned, played and/or used as early generation prototypes of their signature instruments by music legends such as Bono, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Brian Setzer, and more. Hundreds of items will be coming out of the Gretsch Family archive and heading to the auction block for the first time, where the public and music collectors will have the opportunity to bid for a piece of their company’s rich legacy of world-class and high-end music artisanship. Items include a spectacular fleet of Gretsch’s signature designed vintage electric and acoustic guitars, legendary drums, mandolins, banjos, awards, prototypes, memorabilia and amplifiers as well as furniture, luthier tools, materials and patterns from their historic factory. Proceeds from this two-day auction will benefit The Gretsch Family Foundation.

Since 1883, Gretsch has been the premier manufacturer of the world’s finest guitars and drums for generations of musicians, music lovers, artists, and fans. Founded by a German immigrant named Friedrich Gretsch in a small music instrument shop in Brooklyn, New York, whose business would be passed down to the hands of family through the next generations, The Gretsch Company represents a 138-year-old family legacy unlike any other in the music industry as one of the few remaining musical instrument manufacturers that is still family owned today. Over the span of five generations, the Gretsch Company developed what came to be known as “That Great Gretsch Sound” that would influence and innovate all genres of music from rock to jazz to country western. Chet Atkins, Bo Diddley, George Harrison, Eddie Cochran, Billy Duffy, Duane Eddy, Brian Setzer, Stephen Stills, Pete Townshend and Malcolm Young are among the many legendary guitarists whose superstar styles and signature licks have been synonymous with Gretsch’s dazzling design, versatile tone and iconic hollow body look and sound.

Top highlights of the auction include (with estimates):

• A Silvertone Daneletro guitar owned by Tom Petty and George Harrison gifted to Fred Gretsch (in 1987) as the prototype of “The Traveling Wilburys” Gretsch guitar line (estimate $20,000 - $40,000).

• Tony Bennett’s Harley Davidson 100-Year Anniversary Road King motorcycle (estimate $10,000 - $20,000).

• A Gretsch prototype Bono Irish Falcon Model 6136 electric guitar, green finish, two pickups, with “The Goal is Soul” on the pickguard, gold hardware and no case (estimate $8,000 - $10,000).

• A Gretsch Historic Series G3100 acoustic guitar signed by John Prine (estimate $700 - $900).

• 1963 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean PX6119 electric guitar, Gretsch Brian Setzer Nashville signature model and John Prine signed Gretsch Historic Series G3100 acoustic guitar)

• Chet Atkins Gretsch guitars including a 1964 Gretsch Chet Atkins Nashville PX6120 electric guitar with orange finish, two gold Filter’Tron pickups, V-Cut Bigsby vibrato, Gretsch pickguard with signature and black pad on the back and gold tuners, a 1959 Chet Atkins PX6121 electric guitar, orange finish, single cutaway, mahogany body, two gold Filter’Tron pickups, ebony fingerboard with inlays, gold hardware, replaced pickguard and replaced tuners accompanied by its original case and a 1963 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean PX6119 electric guitar with dark cherry finish, single cutaway, two Hi-Lo Tron pickups, bound rosewood fingerboard, chrome tuners and Gretsch V-Cut Bigsby vibrato, accompanied by its original case (estimate range $2,000 - $5,000).

• A Gretsch Historic Series G3203 acoustic electric guitar, natural finish signed by Four Shillings Short (estimate $500-$700).

• A 1960 Gretsch Silver Jet electric guitar with Silver Sparkle top, walnut sides and back, mahogany body, ebony fingerboard with inlays, and two chrome PAF Filter’ Tron pickups, accompanied by its original case (estimate $3,000 - $5,000).

• A 1961 Gretsch Duo Jet PX6128 electric guitar with black top, walnut back and sides, two chrome Filter’Tron pickups, ebony fingerboard with inlays, chrome hardware, and original open back tuners, accompanied by its original case (estimate $3,000 - $5,000).

• Several Gretsch Brian Setzer signature model electric guitars including his 1993 prototype Nashville signature model with all lacquer finish, a Gretsch G6120SSL Brian Setzer signature model electric guitar with orange finish and a Gretsch 6120SSU Brian Setzer Signature model electric guitar (estimate range $2,000 - $5,000 each).

• A Gretsch 6120 Duane Eddy electric guitar with orange finish and Bigsby tremelo (estimate $1,000 - $2,000).

• A Gretsch Historic Series G3100 acoustic guitar signed by Keb Mo (estimate $500 - $700).

• A 1957 Gretsch Round Up PX6130 electric guitar with orange finish, Western-motif tooled leather sides, two Filter’Tron pickups, ebony fingerboard with inlays, Bigsby bridge, Bigsby vibrato, and new Kluson tuners, accompanied by its original case (estimate $3,000 - $5,000).

• A novelty oversized Harmony display guitar, a ten-foot guitar included in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest acoustic guitar in the world at the time of its original construction. Built in the early 1960s, it was used as a promotion piece for guitars of the Harmony company in Chicago, the largest guitar manufacturer in the world at the time, and is the only one of three guitars built known to exist today (estimate $4,000 - $5,000).

Several showstopping guitars from Randy Bachman’s renowned personal collection of 300 Gretsch guitars, which The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive musician amassed over the course of 35 years and is considered the largest Gretsch collection in the world, will make an appearance. Highlights include one of two made Bachman #199 Japanese prototypes of a 1989 Gretsch Country Classic electric guitar with dark walnut finish, two Filter’Tron pickups, gold hardware and Gretsch Bigsby vibrato that Bachman received from Fred Gretsch; a Bachman #218 Gretsch White Penguin electric guitar copy with white finish, gold sparkle binding, two Filter’Tron pickups, ebony fingerboard with inlays and gold pickguard; Bachman #411 an early 1990’s Gretsch Black Falcon 7594 BLK prototype electric guitar; a red and black Bachman #100 1956 Gretsch Jet Fire Bird PX6131 electric guitar, with two chrome DeArmond pickups, an ebony fingerboard with inlays, Melita bridge and original open back tuners accompanied by its original case, and more.

An extensive collection of Gretsch’s acclaimed drums that are revered and described by music legends as the "best beat of a lifetime," will be offered. Drum kits, prototypes, snares, shells, and parts featuring, a 1990 Slingerland lite prototype drum with red stain finish; a group of assorted Gretsch drum shells consisting of three bass drums and two toms in various finishes (photo above); twenty-six unfinished and undrilled Gretsch drum shells made of various exotic woods; a lot of 23 Gretsch drums pieces including vintage badges in black finish and partially complete shells; a Gretsch 5 piece drum set in natural maple finish and block badges; an exceptional selection of Leedy snare drums in various finishes including, chrome, orange/gold sparkle, copper, black sparkle, red sparkle, white marine pearl and more will stand atop the auction stage for a thrilling finale.

Fred W. Gretsch, President of The Gretsch Company and the great-grandson of founder Friedrich Gretsch said, "My wife Dinah and I have worked in the music business a combined 98 years and as you can imagine we have stories to tell....so many of them are intimately tied to the instruments and artifacts to be offered in this auction of Gretsch family treasures. We started the Gretsch Foundation to recognize our family’s work of enriching lives through participation and making music and are now taking this opportunity to share these beloved objects from our archive with the worldwide community of musicians, music lovers, artists, and fans who have blessed our lives these many years.” Additionally, he sent this message to the music community, “Be well, be safe, be blessed, be musical in 2021 and beyond."

"Gretsch instruments are one of the most iconic and renowned in the world and are part of American pop culture," said Darren Julien, President/Chief Executive Officer of Julien’s Auctions. "We are honored to bring to auction this historic archive of the trailblazing Gretsch Family whose innovations and leadership produced these magnificent visual and sonic works of art that elevated the legends who played them."

Additional highlights include: a Gretsch 6129SSL electric guitar with orange finish; a Gretsch prototype Electromatic Bo Diddley acoustic electric guitar; a framed canvas portrait painting of the Gretsch family; Traveling Wilburys posters; a Harley Davidson 100th year anniversary Road King motorcycle; a Gretsch White Falcon electric guitar; Ode 5-string banjos; a Sho-Bud banjo and Sho-Bud pedal steel guitar; a Gretsch Historic Series #9 Archtop guitar with sunburst finish; a 1978 Gretsch White Falcon 7595 stereo electric guitar; a black 1972 Gretsch Roc Jet 7610 electric guitar; a Gretsch G3203 acoustic electric guitar, signed by Jonathan Edwards; plus, a Fred Gretsch Manufacture Company 125th anniversary commemorative statue, Gretsch tailpieces, banjo necks and bridges as well as vintage guitar neck patterns, a rolling rack with ten drawers of saw blades, metal clamps with a large wooden hand drill, an antique cabinet, body forms, wrenches, a sanding table, vintage four wheel open carts and more from the Gretsch factory.

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