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6131 Jet Firebird Guitars

1961 Gretsch 6131 Jet Firebird

Color: Red with black, Rating: 8.75, Sold (ID# 01489)
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One of the Very First 'Double-Cut' 6131 Jet Firebirds…

 

1961 Gretsch 6131 Jet Firebird.

 

This wonderful little guitar weighs just 7.30 lbs. and has a 13 1/4 inch wide and just under 2 inch deep chambered mahogany body with three-ply binding and a pressed arched top with the Firebird red finish. The back and sides of the body and the back of the neck are finished in black. One-piece mahogany neck with a nut width of just over 1 5/8 inches, a wonderful medium profile and a scale length of 24 1/2 inches. Single-bound ebony fretboard with 'Zero' and 22 medium-jumbo frets and neo-classic inlaid pearl thumbprint (half-moon) position markers. Single-bound, walnut veneer faced headstock with inlaid pearl Gretsch "T-roof" logo. Individual open-back Grover StaTite tuners with oval metal buttons. Two Filter'Tron 'Patent Number' pickups with gold plastic surrounds and outputs of 4.23k and 4.14k. Original black plastic pickguard with Gretsch "T-roof" logo engraved from the underside in white. Three controls (two volume on lower treble bout, one master volume on upper treble bout) plus two three-way selector switches (one for pickup selection and the other for tone variation) on upper bass bout and a three-way standby switch on lower treble bout. "Arrow-through-G" knobs with cross-hatch pattern on sides. Original Space Control bridge on ebony base and 'earliest' straight flat-arm Burns vibrato tailpiece with "Gretsch" engraved on top face. All hardware gold-plated. The control cavity cover is etched with the serial number. The underside of the control cavity cover has the original orange, gray and white Gretsch printed label with the Model no. "6131" stamped in blue and the Serial No. typed in black. This is one of the very earliest 'double-cut' Jet Firebirds with the straight flat-arm tremolo and before the gold-trimmed 'Gretsch' black pad was added onto the back of guitar. All hardware gold-plated. This fifty-one year old Jet Firebird has been re-fretted with medium jumbo frets and plays like a dream. There is no belt-buckle rash whatsoever and just the tiniest edge-wear on the top bass side. As is often the case with Gretsches of this period there is some very slight separation of the three-ply binding on the top in the treble and bass side cutaways. There is also some deterioration of the 'single' binding on the bass side of the headstock. Aside from the re-fret this fifty-one year old guitar is in all original and near fine condition with the exception of the aforementioned 'binding' issues so we shall only give it a (8.75) excellent-plus rating (otherwise it would have received a strong 9.25). Housed in the original Gretsch gray, four-latch shaped, hardshell with burgundy plush lining (9.00).

"In 1962 major style changes occurred [in the Jet series] which continued on the line until the re-introduction of the single-cutaway body style in 1970: gold-plated metal parts replace chrome, a gold pickguard engraved with a black 'Gretsch' block letter logo supplants the Duo Jet's and Silver Jet's white pickguard, and a gold-plated Burns vibrato tailpiece anchors the Jets' 24 1/2 inch scale length instead of the previous 'G'-cutout, chrome tailpiece. Most notably in 1962 the company expanded its 'spotlight sparkle'-top line to include not only the Silver Jet but a panoply of other shimmering Model 6129s available at no greater cost than the $350 Model 6128 Duo Jet: the gaudy, Romanesque Gold Sparkle, delicate-lilac Champagne Sparkle, a deeper, wine-colored Burgundy Sparkle and squeezable Tangerine Sparkle. All double cut-aways are extremely rare and few of any color other than Silver Sparkle were made. 1962 also saw the introduction of the standby switch on all electric models" (Jay Scott, The Guitars of the Fred Gretsch Company, p. 101).

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