You want to buy a high-quality, American-made guitar. It can be challenging to determine whether a product like a Gretsch guitar is American-made because so many businesses outsource their manufacturing to foreign nations.
Gretsch guitars are made in Corona, California, in a custom shop. Fender took over manufacturing and distribution after the company changed hands multiple times. Some Gretsch Guitars are now made at factories in Korea and Japan, but not custom models. Musicians still regard Gretsch guitars as some of the greatest quality instruments, despite the fact that the majority of them are not made in the US.
Where Are Gretsch Guitars Made?
All of Gretsch’s instruments were made in Brooklyn, New York, when it was first founded by Friedrich Gretsch. But it has been a very long time since Gretsch produced there.
Japan has a number of factories. In Nagoya, Japan, the Terada plant was founded in 1912. Since the 1990s, this factory has produced Gretsch guitars from the pro line. Since the early 1980s, the Terada factory and the other two factories, Matsumomku and Fuji-Gen, have produced some of the greatest quality Gretsch guitars.
Other Gretsch guitar manufacturing facilities are located in Indonesia, China, and Korea. Gretsch guitars with Electromatic and streamliner pickups are predominantly produced in these plants. The Samick and Peerless Gretsch guitar plants are located in Korea. Some consumers claim that these guitars don’t have the same premium finish as guitars built in Japan.
In Corona, California, there is a place called the Gretsch Custom Shop. This store is not a large, free-standing store. The Gretsch Custom Shop is located upstairs in the Fender building in Corona, California.
A bespoke guitar will undoubtedly cost more than a regular Gretsch guitar. To that end, you have complete control over every small aspect when ordering an American-made Gretsch custom guitar. In other words, you might get the ideal guitar!
Gretsch’s Early History
Gretsch was founded in 1883 by Friedrich Gretsch in Brooklyn, New York. The company began as a small business that produced drums, banjos, and tambourines. It wasn’t until the turn of the century that Gretsch began producing guitars. These early instruments were made in the company’s Brooklyn factory and were known for their high quality and unique sound.
During the 1930s and 1940s, Gretsch expanded their guitar line and began producing a wider range of models. The company continued to manufacture guitars in Brooklyn until the early 1960s, when production was moved to a factory in Boonton, New Jersey.
The Move to Japan
In the 1960s, Gretsch faced increasing competition from overseas manufacturers. In an effort to reduce costs and increase efficiency, the company decided to move production of its lower-end models to a factory in Japan. These Japanese-made Gretsch guitars were known as the “Japan Series” and were sold at a lower price point than the American-made models.
Despite the move to Japan, Gretsch continued to produce a limited number of high-end models in the United States. These American-made instruments were known as the “USA Custom” series and were made in the company’s New Jersey factory.
The Return to the United States
In the early 2000s, Gretsch was acquired by the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. Under Fender’s ownership, the company decided to bring production of all Gretsch guitars back to the United States. Today, all Gretsch guitars are made in the company’s factory in Ridgeland, South Carolina.
The return to the United States has allowed Gretsch to once again produce high-end, American-made instruments that are known for their exceptional quality and unique sound. The Ridgeland factory employs skilled craftsmen who use traditional techniques and modern technology to build guitars that are true to the Gretsch legacy.
Custom Shop Guitars
In addition to the standard production models, Gretsch also offers custom shop guitars. These are handcrafted instruments that are built to the specific specifications of the customer. Custom shop guitars are made at the Ridgeland, South Carolina factory and are known for their exceptional attention to detail and use of premium materials.
Custom shop guitars are available in a wide range of models, including the famous White Falcon and Duo Jet models. Customers can choose from a variety of woods, finishes, hardware, and other options to create a truly unique instrument.
Custom shop guitars are also a great option for musicians who are looking for a specific sound or feel. The craftsmen at the Gretsch custom shop have the expertise and knowledge to build instruments that are tailored to the individual needs of the musician.
Collaborations and Limited Edition Models
Gretsch also collaborates with some of the most renowned guitar makers and musicians in the industry to create limited-edition models. These collaborations are an opportunity for Gretsch to showcase their craftsmanship and innovation while also paying homage to some of the most iconic and influential musicians in history.
One such example is the Gretsch George Harrison Tribute Duo Jet. This guitar was created in collaboration with the George Harrison estate and features many of the same specifications as the guitar that Harrison played during the Beatles’ “Help!” and “Rubber Soul” period.
Another example is the Gretsch Brian Setzer Nashville Cats Tribute Hot Rod. This guitar was created in collaboration with Brian Setzer and features a unique design that pays homage to Setzer’s love for hot rods and vintage cars.
Gretsch guitars are a true American classic, known for their unique sound and iconic design. The company has a long history and has produced guitars in a variety of locations over the years. Today, all Gretsch guitars are made in the company’s South Carolina factory, where skilled craftsmen continue to build instruments that are true to the Gretsch legacy. In addition to the standard production models, Gretsch also offers custom shop guitars and limited-edition models created in collaboration with some of the most renowned guitar makers and musicians in the industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are Gretsch guitars made?
All Gretsch guitars are made in the company’s factory in Ridgeland, South Carolina.
Are Gretsch guitars still made in the United States?
Yes, all Gretsch guitars are made in the United States in the company’s factory in Ridgeland, South Carolina.
What is the difference between a Gretsch custom shop guitar and a standard production model?
Gretsch custom shop guitars are handcrafted instruments that are built to the specific specifications of the customer. They are made in the company’s factory in Ridgeland, South Carolina and are known for their exceptional attention to detail and use of premium materials. Standard production models are made using the same methods and materials but are not customized to the customer’s specifications.
Are there any limited edition Gretsch models available?
Yes, Gretsch collaborates with some of the most renowned guitar makers and musicians in the industry to create limited-edition models. These collaborations are an opportunity for Gretsch to showcase their craftsmanship and innovation while also paying homage to some of the most iconic and influential musicians in history.
Are there any Gretsch guitars for beginners?
Yes, Gretsch offers a range of guitars that are suitable for beginners, including the Gretsch G5022CE Rancher Jumbo Cutaway and the Gretsch G2622 Streamliner Center Block Jr.
How can I find a Gretsch dealer near me?
You can visit the Gretsch website and use their dealer locator tool to find a dealer near you. You can also check with local music stores in your area to see if they carry Gretsch guitars.