Gretsch Model 6137 White Falcon Stereo Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1967)

Gretsch  Model 6137 White Falcon Stereo Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1967)
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Item # 11812
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Gretsch Model 6137 White Falcon Stereo Model Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1967), made in Brooklyn, NY, serial # 117912, white lacquer finish, laminated maple body and neck, ebony fingerboard, original grey tolex hard shell case.

This is overall a lovely example of a late-60's PX-6137 Stereo White Falcon, the "Creme de la Gretsch" and one of the flashiest guitars ever built. With the exception of the new-for-'67 recessed-edge knobs, this guitar still sports all "pre-Baldwin" features, including twin patent-number Filter'tron pickups, telescoping-arm Gretsch vibrato, and "Kidney button" Grover Imperial tuners. This one was made in November 1967; at that time this was the most expensive production guitar you could buy. "Can you Believe it?" Gretsch asked in their ads "You better 'cause it costs a cool $1000!"

In 1967 the White Falcon had reached the absolute apex of Gretsch glitzy gadgetry. The unique stereo wiring sends the upper and lower halves of each pickup to a different output; unlike the common Gibson and Rickenbacker system that simply routs each pickup separately the Gretsch design actually separates the bass and treble notes. The two split Filter'Tron heads are each controlled by a volume knob and two tone switches, one for each coil half. A standby switch is provided, along with a convenient Stereo/Mono output switch, something Gibson rather annoyingly missed on their stereo offerings. "54 tonal variations; a rainbow of breathtaking sound" touted the publicity materials.

Apart from this the Falcon offered a gleaming white finish overall trimmed everywhere with gold sparkle binding. The bound ebony fingerboard has half-moon inlay except at the high end, where large dots indicate the "T-Zone tempered treble", with slightly skewed frets for supposedly improved intonation. This model has its own elaborate telescoping-arm vibrato, flip-up double mutes, and the practically inexplicable "Floating Sound Unit" bridge. "This amazing unit gives your sound richer, fuller life and holds it longer than any other electric guitar" Gretsch claimed. While this "tuning fork" bridge has been often removed by players over the years it is an interesting concept at least, effectively isolating the strings from any contact with the body. At any rate, like the stereo wiring it can be easily bypassed if desired!

While never made in large quantities, these very expensive buxom Mae West-like hollowbodies were falling out of favor by 1967-8 and are quite rare guitars. Resplendent in gleaming white festooned with gold sparkle, this 6-string fretted burlesque queen is still hard to beat for over-the-top flash. It also plays and sounds splendid, whether because of or in spite of the eccentricity of mid-60's Gretsch engineering! The White Falcon remains a lifetime favorite of vintage guitar dreamers and catalog page-turners everywhere, but especially here in New Yawk. "It's a big, new passionate attack of NOW sound" claimed Gretsch in 1968, and even if "now" sound is now "then" sound it still sounds great to us! Here in its birthplace the White Falcon maintains a special status, the glitzed out Cadillac cruising the misty boulevard of Brooklyn dreams.
 
Overall length is 44 1/4 in. (112.4 cm.), 17 in. (43.2 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.).

This is a very clean guitar overall, original with some high-grade restoration that looks and plays excellent. The guitar is original except the neck was expertly refinished down to the heel and fitted with a perfectly re-created white plastic headstock veneer with original gold glitter logo incorporated. The truss rod cover is a recent repro, and the original tuners and headstock plate were cleaned so now much of the gold plating is more muted than it was originally. In the case is a Gruhn appraisal from 2009 stating "the peghead veneer has severely deteriorated and cracked...will need to be replaced to prevent further damage to the instrument". Obviously a previous owner had this done. The original serial number was re-stamped on the back of the headstock; it is not as neat as the original machine stamping but in the correct style.

The remainder of the guitar is all original and complete with no other repairs except a few spots of glitter binding stabilized below the neck heel; the rest of the binding shows no signs of distress. The finish is very clean overall with only very slight scuffing and tiny dinks. All hardware is intact, clean and complete with only some minor loss to the gold plating, mostly on the top of the bridge. There is a tiny crack in the pickguard over the bracket screw. If not for the plastic deterioration on the headstock this guitar would have presented as close to near mint for its 55+ years on the planet.

The complex stereo wiring is intact and everything works as intended, this is a great-sounding Gretsch and perhaps in spite of the eccentric "tuning fork" bridge a fine playing one as well. It is et up as intended, but can be easily converted to use the "space control" unit as a firmer bridge relegating the floating unit to the case pocket if desired. The original two-tone grey/blue case is also nicely preserved and included a passel of original paperwork including the Guarantee certificate (which along with the Gruhn appraisal confirms the re-applied serial number as accurate) and most amazing, the original Gretsch-branded white padded leather strap. Excellent - Condition.