This beautiful Gretsch 6022 Rancher was made in Brooklyn, New York, in 1957. And Premier Guitar did a piece on one just like this (same year and everything).
The 50s were a great era for Gretsch. The family was in its third generation of leadership, and they began to focus heavily on guitars. They were the first to do custom color finishes, and they offered all kinds of crazy bridges and options and such. They were so popular in the 50s that they “even outsold Leo Fender’s wonderful new creations, with a boost in sales also credited to high-profile artists and endorsers like Chet Atkins, Eddie Cochran and Duane Eddy.” This according to GretschGuitars.com.
This guitar’s serial number (#23170) dates it back to mid-to-late 1957 and confirms that its from a documented batch of 50 Ranchers made in that period. And there are surely not many in this type of condition! You don’t really see them. This one is in wonderful shape. No cracks or repairs. All original. Some faint scratches and scuffs on the face of the body from normal play, but it doesn’t seem to have been played too much. Frets are great. And the binding is all in tact and beautiful (which is rare for old Gretsch’s it seems). The guitar seems like it’s 12 years old, not 62 years old.
It’s one of the coolest guitars I’ve seen. The amber red finish on the laminated spruce top with the branded G symbol on the body is just super cool looking. It has a great jumbo body shape. The triangle sound hole is a cool look as well, and the elaborate rosewood bridge is awesome. The sides and back are a beautiful figured maple with a gold finish. The neck feels great to play. The fretboard is rosewood, and the block inlays with a hump top are beautiful. Also the horseshoe on the headstock is hella cool as well. It’s just a great looking guitar.
The back of this guitar is amazing not only because of the beautiful figured maple and great finish, it’s also arched. So, on the back, it’s like an archtop guitar, and the front is flat, like a flattop guitar. I’ve seen this in only a few places. Santa Cruz Guitars makes what they call the FTC – which is a flattop/ archback guitar.
The guitar plays great. It has wonderful action with room to go up or down. I would describe the sound as more warm than bright. It sounds great to me. I love to pick it up and play it. Plus, I feel cool just holding it.
I also love that they call it the Rancher. It sold for $275 in 1957. This would have been just after it received some attention from the Jane Mansfield movie The Girl Can’t Help It where you can see Paul Peek of Gene Vincent’s The Blue Caps playing one looking oh so cool.