1930s Gretsch "Artist"
Model 50 or 65
Gretsch released the Model 50 /65 back in
1934. Their catalog that year mentions the instrument’s
“hand-cut ‘F’ holes” and provides these tidbits:
“Six-string Spanish style Orchestra Guitar in Auditorium
Special size. Arched top of old seasoned cello spruce, carved
and graduated for tone.
Curly maple sides, arched back, and three-piece,
steel-reinforced maple neck, joining the body at the 14th
This is not to be confused with the Artist 150, which is
much more elaborate.
Nevertheless, a very rare example of the lesser seen
Archtop's of this era
Mine has the tailpiece that I see on
the Style 65's
has the Pick guard I see on the Style 35's
I am not a
Gretsch Expert, others feel free to weigh in.
Example of Style 50
Example of Style 65
This is the first I have seen with the
addition of "Artist" on Peg head and Tailpiece
6 string guitar
Carved spruce top
Maple back and sides
Back pulled to get to the repair areas.
Some kerfing was broken out from dryness
All celluloid's were completely Gassed Out.
Repair bent tuner post
Crack in peghead
Celluloid logo lifting
Orig Tailpiece- VG
Orig Pick Guard -VG
I will not be able to find pre made mahogany purfling this
large, I already know that.
So I will make up a repair with straight grained mahogany
veneer, laminated to the right thickness.
First I will seal all the braces, seal a few cracks on the
Pulling the gassed celluloid
Cracks sealed and removing finish
Nice wide grained Spruce.
You can see how tall the binding channels are, this is tall
Inside repairs on top and sides completed and interior sealed
Time to fix the damaged kerfing
Taking off all the bad spots
I'll smooth that and then add veneer strips.
With veneer I can make the bends easily without kerf''ing
The kerf just helps the wood bend easily
You can see I have the height I need to get the binding height
correct, and will add layers so I have a "Land" for the back.
4 layers in
6 layers in, 2 to go.
I will take my dremel and shape it to conform to the look of
the original and seal it up.
Then get the back on.
All layers in, profiled, ready for the back installation
Back is Maple laminated onto Poplar
All scuffed, ready for glue
Mahogany cleats over the 2 cracks, 1 left to add sealer to.
Pulling frets, ready to radius the fingerboard
I will get this peghead sealed where it is cracked.
I will hide the repair under the neck fade.
I will do the back glue - up 1 side at a time, so I can
push the other side into its old profile without having a
After curing, everything is nice and tight again
I'll clean up the binding channel
Stripping the back
That maple is about .030" veneer, will not take alot of
sanding so it will still show a few battle scars even in the
All stripped, sealer coat applied.
The cracks will be hidden by the new burst
It will take a very tall binding, 5/16 is just enough.
.060 thickness needed , this .040" is too thin.
Sealing celluloid Logo
I use #10 to flow in under the pieceThen I put my zip kick on
the wax paper underside, hit it with the wood and burnish it
in as tight as I can while glue sets
Now to trim the flashing
After buffing black celluloid peghead to high shine
As good as it will get.
Leveling the hump from the board
Keeping a 9.5" Radius
I'll save that dust for repair work
Nothing goes to waste if I can help it
Center is down, not to finish up
Board oiled, new slots being cut to depth
Installing the binding
Coming round the front
Ready to final profile, clean fret slots and fret
Dunlop 6105 wire
Side markers in
Choosing the right caul
Compressing the frets
All completed, ready to radius level, crown, end dress and
I will make a new bone nut for it
Just a look-see
Starting on the neck finish, first tint applied, Vintage
Amber, white heel cap installed (taped over)
Second tint applied, Medium Brown, now for clear coats to the
Neck buffed and waxed
Tuners cleaned and oiled, bushings installed. That is the old
nut, it will be replaced
Tailpiece buffed and waxed.
Brassed out on logo.
Pick guard cleaned then buffed back to high shine and waxed
Now to special order the extra large binding, when funds
Since no one makes a binding thatsize, I will choose to run a
backer binding and then a tall binding, to get both height and
White on white, with white glue
Now for the other 3 sections
The 3 color tint is applied with a coat of sealer on back and
I will scrape my bindings and move ahead
A mock up, to give a look where it is headed.
Top colors on and sealed, will clean bindings and start final
Weather has cooled again, so heat booth time.
Last top coat complete
Will cure, then buff body and neck
Body and neck mated back together
Since it is an old guitar, I will use ancient weight.
during the cure.
Making a bracket for missing pick guard upper, did not
get a final pic.
After a 3 hour glue set, I can move it around a minute, wipe
off squeeze out, then back in the clamps.
So I will shoot a few glam shots with parts mounted.
Dom does not like the disruption of his nap.
I will give it 3 times the normal cure time before string it
up, It's cooler weather and I'm in no rush.
It had no bridge but thanks to Mike Soares I had bits and
pieces in my drawer to fabricate something to at least get the
Strings are Ernie Ball "Earthwoods" med lite
54 to 12 Bronze wounds
I am using my Dremel rxtension at low speed, to cause
vibrations that will accelerate the wood opening back up
I move it from f hole to fhole every 30 min
I will wait a few days then dial in the setup after everything
gets used to being at tension, no telling how long this ax had
any play time
Initial noting is good, seems to be fretting out very well for
just the first tune-up.