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LOT 52CHRISTIE’S 2004
EST: $4,000 - $6,000
Serial No: 46387
Body: Mahogany, burgundy sparkle Nitron top, bound
Neck: Mahogany, 21 frets, bound ebony fingerboard
Bridge: Gold-plated ‘space control’ bridge, gold-plated Burns vibrato
Pickups: Two humbucking Filter’Tron with gold-plated covers
Controls: Three volume (master, neck pickup, bridge pickup)
Switches: Three-position pickup selector, three-position tone colour, two-position standby
Case: Original hardshell case with adhesive tape inscribed ‘Auction #29 1962/ Champagne Sparkle/Roc Jet #46387’
The Silver Jet was one of several models that Gretsch introduced in 1954 to compete with the Gibson Les Paul. With its sparkling silver Nitron top – the same material Gretsch used to cover drums – it is even more eye-catching and flashy than the Les Paul’s early 1950s gold top finish. Like Gretsch’s other ‘solid body’ models of the day, the Silver Jet actually wasn’t solid at all, but rather featured a hollowed-out mahogany body.
When Gibson switched the Les Paul’s design to the double-cutaway ‘SG’ shape in 1961, Gretsch also followed suit by changing the Duo Jet, Jet Firebird, and Silver Jet to double-cutaway models in 1962. In typical Gretsch fashion they took their ‘one-upmanship’ even further by using gold-plated parts and offering the Silver Jet with a choice of silver, burgundy, champagne, gold, or tangerine Nitron sparkle tops.
The latter four options were available by custom order only, but even though Gretsch didn’t charge extra for the optional colours only a few buyers took up their offer. When Pete Alenov of Pete’s Guitar in St. Paul, Minnesota, brought this stunning 1962 Gretsch ‘burgundy’ Jet backstage to a concert, Clapton found the guitar impossible to resist.