1940 Gretsch "Synchromatic 300"
This guitar is no longer mine, but in the capable hands of a very fine swing rythm player. It is a very early Gretsch guitar still with a hand-penciled serial numer 323, which was formerly owned by (Epiphone-) guitar historian Jim Fisch. Although original factory records have been lost it is probably dating back to 1939 or 1940. The Synchro 300 was Gretsch' answer to the advanced-body Gibson L5. Although it has some battle scars it still is a superbly playing and sounding instrument.
The guitar is adorned with all art-deco features, dubbed 'Streamline Moderne' in Gretsch lingo, setting it apart from any other archtop made. In fact there is a lot of lingo involved; the elongated 'lightbulb' headstock, 'catseye' holes, 'slashed humpblock' position markers, 'synchromatic' stair-step bridge, and goldplated hardware including a 'chromatic' harp tailpiece, and Kluson Deluxe SealFast tuners. The pickguard I manufactured myself, while the shape was traced from an original example. More info see here.
The body is graced with no less than 11-ply bindings. Noteworthy also is the 'non-pressure' or 'miracle' neck, which is a-symmetrical and shaped somewhat thicker on the bass side. As a guitar from the big band era, it purposedly has an extra long 26" scale, and a very thick top, meant to obtain a more powerful rythm midrange chop. It is the most heavy of all my archtops weighing no less than 3,3 kg (7 pounds and 3 ounces). I personally much prefer to pick it more gently though, as then it produces a wonderful warm and rounded tone.
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