Gretsch PX-6187 Clipper Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1957)

Gretsch  PX-6187 Clipper Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1957)
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Item # 10982
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Gretsch PX-6187 Clipper Model Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1957), made in Brooklyn, NY, serial # 22985, Lotus Ivory top, Metallic Grey back and sides finish, laminated maple body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, original grey hard shell case.

This is a stunningly well preserved example of a lovely and rare Gretsch, the 1957 Model PX-6187 Clipper. This was not a high end instrument, but right at this moment in Gretsch history was briefly offered in this format with a particularly attractive combination of features. Earlier Clippers had been non-cutaway guitars, and by 1959 the model was re-cast as a thinline budget guitar with lesser grade electronics. The 1957-8 Clipper was offered in two finishes, a standard sunburst (as the PX-6186) and this much more striking solid color rendition as the PX-6187, the much scarcer version.

This guitar is from the debut 229xx serial number batch of cutaway Clippers in mid-1957, and is essentially a stripped-down Model 6120, sharing that more celebrated guitar's body size and feel but with only a single pickup and no Bigsby tailpiece. That pickup is the classic DeArmond Dynasonic used on all Gretsch guitars up into 1958, giving it Clipper a bright and punchy sound for a full-depth archtop. The clear Lucite pickguard is back-painted to match the back and sides, the tailpiece and "G-logo" knobs are typical Gretsch fare for the period and the bridge is an adjustable rosewood piece.

The 15 3/4" wide body is triple bound top and back with large unbound F-holes. The neck has an unbound, dot inlaid rosewood fingerboard with the earlier style wide headstock faced in plastic the Gretsch "T-roof" logo incised. The tuners are openback Waverlys with plastic buttons typical of the period. The profile is a fairly chunky deep almost "U" shape specific to Gretsch guitars of this year; some players (notable Duane Eddy) rate it as their favorite of all time.

While not an high-end guitar this particular style of Clipper from 1957 is one of Gretsch's most attractive period guitars, and that's saying as lot! The "Lotus Ivory" top over the metallic grey-green back and sides have the look of a 1950s two-tone car, and the simple hardware accentuates the clean lines compared to many more cluttered-looking instruments from the company. This is as nice an example as we can imagine, a lovely instrument in every way and a real time capsule guitar from 1957 Brooklyn to the 21st century.
 
Overall length is 42 in. (106.7 cm.), 15 3/4 in. (40 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

This is a VERY clean guitar, and even more surprising for a Gretsch from this era structurally as good as they come. The neck angle is excellent, no reset done or needed, the binding shows no deterioration at all and the original frets show only very light wear. Many Gretsch instruments from this period require substantial renovation to be good playing instruments; this one is absolutely ready to go.

The finish overall has some small dings and scrapes, a bit of staining to the top from bridge base contact and a few tiny flaked edges. The lacquer colors are spectacularly well preserved and do not appear to have faded at all The headstock wings separated slightly at the top end (nearly all do) and were neatly resealed with some minor touchup to the top edge of the headstock only.

This is a superb playing and sounding guitar, perhaps not as versatile as some but with an excellent tone from its single DeArmond and a nice natural ring. Really after 65 years it is pretty rare to find any Gretsch as nice as this one, whatever the model. This is one of the finest we have seen in a while, still housed in the original lower-line HSC, fully intact but with a funky middle latch. Excellent + Condition.