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Subsequent research has unearthed quite a few inaccuracies in Scott's numbers, so any serial number guides cribbing from Scott are also incorrect.
The Gretsch-GEAR database exists to get it right: to document the actual serial numbers, to determine once and for all what was built and when, and to harness the collective knowledge of thousands of Gretsch fans to put the pieces together.
Most online guides (and quite a few print guides) are based on Jay Scott's groundbreaking book "Gretsch: the guitars of the Fred Gretsch Company," which is a fine book, but is nearly two decades old.If you'd like to learn more about Gretsch serial numbers, we highly recommend Ed Ball's "Gretsch 6120: The History of a Legendary Guitar." Ball is one of the key researchers who have determined the actual dates, years and features Gretsch serial numbers correspond to.Gretsch began date-coding serial numbers in August 1966.Sutcliffe grew up in the Philadelphia area and Delaware.At 13 years of age, he got one of those 4-pickup Kent solidbodies with the horrible pickups. Armed with guitar experience, in 1978-79 Sutcliffe cut his teeth on guitarmaking at the short-lived flop—but ultimately fascinating—Renaissance (plexiglass) guitars out in Newtown Square, PA. Sutcliffe began working with another Delawarean, George Thorogood, converting Gibson hollowbodies to his taste and repainting them white. In 1988 one of Sutcliffe’s employees was working on a Matsumoku-made Westone body when the router hit a knot near the treble cutaway and accidentally cut a big gash in the body.