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Please note lots marked with a square will be move… Read more GRETSCH The Fred Gretsch Manufacturing Company was founded in Brooklyn, New York in 1883, by 27-year-old German immigrant Friedrich Gretsch. Originally launched as a musical instrument shop for the manufacture of percussion instruments, by 1910 the company was making ukuleles and banjos, and in 1933 debuted a line of archtop guitars. By the 1950s Gretsch had shifted their concentration to electric guitars, where they would make a lasting impression in the market. With a crowded field of manufacturers producing electric guitars, Gretsch set itself apart by first concentrating on hollowbody and semi-hollowbody electric guitars. They embraced color schemes and eye-catching ornamentation not found on Gibsons, Fenders or Rickenbackers. The endorsement of guitarist Chet Atkins and the subsequent release of Chet Atkins models drew a loyal following, as did artists who performed on Gretsch hollowbodies, such as Stephen Stills and Neil Young. The model 6120 and similar Gretsch hollowbodies became a mainstay for guitarists of the early British Invasion. George Harrison, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Gerry Marsden, Brian Jones and Pete Townshend are all seen performing on Gretsch electrics.


Inlaid at the headstock with the logo Gretsch and applied at the pickguard, inscribed on the control cavity cover 21785, with original hardshell case bearing a label inscribed GRETSCH 6129 SILVER JET and SERIAL NO. DG1072
Length of back 17 7/8 in. (45.3 cm.)
Bacon, T. and Day, P. The Ultimate Guitar Book, London, 1991, illus. p. 91.
Special notice

Please note lots marked with a square will be moved to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn) on the last day of the sale. Lots are not available for collection at Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services until after the third business day following the sale. All lots will be stored free of charge for 30 days from the auction date at Christie’s Rockefeller Center or Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn). Operation hours for collection from either location are from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm, Monday-Friday. After 30 days from the auction date property may be moved at Christie’s discretion. Please contact Post-Sale Services to confirm the location of your property prior to collection. Lots may not be collected during the day of their move to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn). Please consult the Lot Collection Notice for collection information.
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Lot Essay

With the introduction and success of the Fender Esquire in 1948, followed by Gibson’s Les Paul Model in 1952, Fred Gretsch Jr. realized the solid-body electric guitar was here to stay and released their version of the design in 1953. Called the Duo Jet, the body was modeled on the Les Paul shape with a single cutaway and two single coil pickups. Unlike the now successful Telecaster and Les Paul, the Duo Jet was actually a semi-solid body guitar owing to the large amount of wood routed out of the body cavities. This made for a lighter guitar, which lent a very different tonal quality to the instrument. These attributes were attractive to players for both practical and aesthetic reasons and the guitar drew a loyal following. In addition to guitars, Gretsch also produced drum kits in its line of musical instruments. By incorporating the plastic materials used to cover the wooden drum rims in their solid body guitars, Gretsch was able to add a distinctive color and sparkle to their instruments.
Having seen and admired an example of the Silver Jet as a teenager, David Gilmour acquired this guitar from a shop on Denmark Street, London's Tin Pan Alley, in 1976 and kept it for studio use. Gilmour told us: I always had a fondness for Gretsch. That may be because of Duane Eddy playing a Gretsch in his early years, and of course Chet Atkins - legendary on a Gretsch… They’re trickier to play but the silver and gold ones were always something I fancied. And this one came up. I’ve never taken it on the road or anything, although I’ve played it a fair bit. There’s a tone on some of these Gretsch pickups that has a particular hi-fi zing to it which is just unlike any other pickups. They’re not fantastic for every purpose but there are moments where that is just the tone and sound that you want and Gretsch certainly did some of those beautiful combinations of pickup and guitar that make a sound that you just can’t get anywhere else.

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