Gretsch Corvette

Gretsch’s Corvette hollowbody model was never as famous as the later solidbody Corvette, and with good reason. It was really just a re-named version of Gretsch’s original electric model, introduced in 1940 just before WWII brought a halt to electric guitar production, and until 1955 it was still known by it’s unimaginative, generic but typical prewar model name: Electromatic Spanish.

The Corvette retained the earlier model name on the peghead. The “matic” part tied it in with Gretsch’s high-end Synchromatic acoustics, but the 16-inch Corvette was a step below Gretsch’s prestigious archtop line.

The DeArmond pickup on the Corvette also tied it to an established tradition; DeArmond made the most popular add-on pickups that electric guitarists used to convert acoustic archtops to electric. The DeArmond pickup, featured on all early- and mid-1950s Gretsch electrics, was (theoretically, at least) a step above Gibson’s P-90, with height -adjustable magnet-slug polepieces rather than the simpler screw-poles used by Gibson.

It didn’t help the Corvette, however, which was left in the dust of Gretsch’s more modern designs of the late 1950s.