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Property From the Gretsch Family Archives Auction Takes Place This Friday & Saturday at Julien’s Auctions!

Property From the Gretsch Family Archives Auction Takes Place This Friday & Saturday at Julien’s Auctions!

A Sensational Selection of Gretsch Drumsthe Choice of Drum Legends, Tony Williams, Max Roach, Phil Collins, Vinnie Colaiuta, Steven Ferrone and Moreto Stand Atop the Auction Stage.  Guitars from the Renowned Bachman-Gretsch Collection, Banjos, Mandolins, Awards, Amplifiers, Memorabilia, Furniture, Artifacts and Materials from the Gretsch Factory Among Top Highlights!

News Release:

Julien’s Auctions, the world record-breaking auction house to the stars, is proud to present Property From The Gretsch Family Archives Benefiting The Gretsch Foundation, a two-day tribute to one of the most celebrated names in music instrument history to take place on Friday, March 26th and Saturday, March 27th live in Beverly Hills and live online at Rocking the auction stage will be the storied American music company Gretsch’s famous collection of guitars owned, played and/or used as early generation prototypes of their signature instruments by music legends such as Bono, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Brian Setzer, and more. Hundreds of items will be coming out of the Gretsch Family archive and heading to the auction block for the first time, where the public and music collectors will have the opportunity to bid for a piece of their company’s rich legacy of world-class and high-end music artisanship. Items include a spectacular fleet of Gretsch’s signature designed vintage electric and acoustic guitars, legendary drums, mandolins, banjos, awards, prototypes, memorabilia and amplifiers as well as furniture, luthier tools, materials and patterns from their historic factory. Proceeds from this two-day auction will benefit The Gretsch Family Foundation.

Since 1883, Gretsch has been the premier manufacturer of the world’s finest guitars and drums for generations of musicians, music lovers, artists, and fans. Founded by a German immigrant named Friedrich Gretsch in a small music instrument shop in Brooklyn, New York, whose business would be passed down to the hands of family through the next generations, The Gretsch Company represents a 138-year-old family legacy unlike any other in the music industry as one of the few remaining musical instrument manufacturers that is still family owned today. Over the span of five generations, the Gretsch Company developed what came to be known as “That Great Gretsch Sound” that would influence and innovate all genres of music from rock to jazz to country western. Chet Atkins, Bo Diddley, George Harrison, Eddie Cochran, Billy Duffy, Duane Eddy, Brian Setzer, Stephen Stills, Pete Townsend, and Malcolm Young are among the many legendary guitarists whose superstar styles and signature licks have been synonymous with Gretsch’s dazzling design, versatile tone and iconic hollow body look and sound.

A few top highlights of the auction include (with estimates):

*A Silvertone Daneletro guitar owned by Tom Petty and George Harrison gifted to Fred Gretsch (in 1987) as the prototype of “The Traveling Wilburys” Gretsch guitar line (estimate $20,000-$40,000).

*A Gretsch prototype Bono Irish Falcon Model 6136 electric guitar, green finish, two pickups, with “The Goal is Soul” on the pickguard, gold hardware and no case (estimate $8,000-$10,000).

*Chet Atkins Gretsch guitars including a 1964 Gretsch Chet Atkins Nashville PX6120 electric guitar with orange finish, two gold Filter’Tron pickups, V-Cut Bigsby vibrato, Gretsch pickguard with signature and black pad on the back and gold tuners, a 1959 Chet Atkins PX6121 electric guitar, orange finish, single cutaway, mahogany body, two gold Filter’Tron pickups, ebony fingerboard with inlays, gold hardware, replaced pickguard and replaced tuners accompanied by its original case and a 1963 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean PX6119 electric guitar with dark cherry finish, single cutaway, two Hi-Lo Tron pickups, bound rosewood fingerboard, chrome tuners and Gretsch V-Cut Bigsby vibrato, accompanied by its original case (estimate range $2,000-$5,000).

*Several Gretsch Brian Setzer signature model electric guitars including his 1993 prototype Nashville signature model with all lacquer finish, a Gretsch G6120SSL Brian Setzer signature model electric guitar with orange finish and a Gretsch 6120SSU Brian Setzer Signature model electric guitar (estimate range $2,000-$5,000 each).

*A Gretsch 6120 Duane Eddy electric guitar with orange finish and Bigsby vibrato (estimate $1,000-$2,000).

Gretsch Irish Falcon, SilverTone Danelectro, Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean guitars.

Several showstopping guitars from Randy Bachman’s renowned personal collection of 300 Gretsch guitars, which The Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive musician amassed over the course of 35 years and is considered the largest Gretsch collection in the world, will make an appearance. Highlights include one of two made Japanese prototypes of a 1989 Gretsch Country Classic electric guitar with dark walnut finish, two Filter’Tron pickups, gold hardware and Gretsch Bigsby vibrato that Bachman received from Fred Gretsch; a Gretsch White Penguin electric guitar copy with white finish, gold sparkle binding, two Filter’Tron pickups, ebony fingerboard with inlays and gold pickguard; an early 1990’s Gretsch Black Falcon 7594 BLK prototype electric guitar; a red and black 1956 Gretsch Jet Fire Bird PX6131 electric guitar, with two chrome DeArmond pickups, an ebony fingerboard with inlays, Melita bridge and original open back tuners accompanied by its original case, and more.

An extensive collection of Gretsch’s acclaimed drums that are revered and described by music legends as the “best beat of a lifetime,” will be offered. Drum kits, prototypes, snares, shells, and parts featuring a 1990 Slingerland lite prototype drum with red stain finish (photo left); a group of assorted Gretsch drum shells consisting of three bass drums and two toms in various finishes; twenty-six unfinished and undrilled Gretsch drum shells made of various exotic woods; a lot of 23 Gretsch drums pieces including vintage badges in black finish and partially complete shells; a Gretsch 5-piece drum set in natural maple finish and block badges; an exceptional selection of Leedy snare drums in various finishes including, chrome, orange/gold sparkle, copper, black sparkle, red sparkle, white marine pearl and more will stand atop the auction stage for a thrilling finale.

Fred W. Gretsch, President of The Gretsch Company and the great-grandson of founder Friedrich Gretsch said, ”My wife Dinah and I have worked in the music business a combined 98 years and as you can imagine we have stories to tell….so many of them are intimately tied to the instruments and artifacts to be offered in this auction of Gretsch family treasures. We started the Gretsch Foundation to recognize our family’s work of enriching lives through participation and making music and are now taking this opportunity to share these beloved objects from our archive with the worldwide community of musicians, music lovers, artists, and fans who have blessed our lives these many years.”  Additionally, he sent this message to the music community: “Be well, be safe, be blessed, be musical in 2021 and beyond.”

Bo Diddley prototype.

“Gretsch instruments are one of the most iconic and renowned in the world and are part of American pop culture,” said Darren Julien, President/Chief Executive Officer of Julien’s Auctions. “We are honored to bring to auction this historic archive of the trailblazing Gretsch Family whose innovations and leadership produced these magnificent visual and sonic works of art that elevated the legends who played them.”

Additional highlights include: a Gretsch 6129SSL electric guitar with orange finish; a Gretsch prototype Electromatic Bo Diddley acoustic electric guitar (photo right); a framed canvas portrait painting of the Gretsch “Founding Fathers;” Traveling Wilburys posters; a Gretsch White Falcon electric guitar; Ode 5-string banjos; a Sho-Bud banjo and Sho-Bud pedal steel guitar; a Gretsch Historic Series #9 Archtop guitar with sunburst finish; a 1978 Gretsch White Falcon 7595 stereo electric guitar; a black 1972 Gretsch Roc Jet 7610 electric guitar; a Gretsch G3203 acoustic electric guitar, signed by Jonathan Edwards; plus, a Fred Gretsch Manufacturing Company 125th anniversary commemorative statue, Gretsch tailpieces, banjo necks and bridges as well as vintage guitar neck patterns, a rolling rack with ten drawers of saw blades, metal clamps with a large wooden hand drill, an antique cabinet, body forms, wrenches, a sanding table, vintage four-wheel open carts, and more from the Gretsch factory.

JULIEN’S AUCTIONS Public Exhibition & Live Auction Location

257 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210


Monday, March 22 – Friday, March 26, 2021

Daily 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Free to the Public


Property From The Gretsch Family Archives Benefiting The Gretsch Foundation

Friday, March 26, 2021

Session I: 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time

Session II: 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Session III: 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time

Session IV: 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Registering to Bid
Registration is required to bid in this online auction and can be done in person at the exhibition, or online before the sale at the Registration page to bid by phone, proxy or in person, or online at to bid live online, or by calling (310) 836-1818. For inquiries, please email or call 310-836-1818.

Placing Bids
There are four ways to bid in Live Auctions:

  1. Bid with Julien’s Auctions online and live in real time at or via our iPhone App.
  2. Bid over the telephone through an auction house representative.
  3. Bid in person in the room at our auction events.
  4. Bid in advance by absentee bid. Absentee bid forms are printed in the back of each catalogue, and are also available by calling Julien’s Auctions or online by visiting



Enriching lives through participation in music is the mission of The Gretsch Foundation–the charitable arm of the Gretsch family. The Foundation has a long history of providing financial support to schools and organizations by offering scholarships, establishing music education programs, and by donating instruments, as well as promoting music participation by sponsoring a variety of musical and educational events such as concerts, festivals, clinics, and workshops.


Julien’s Auctions is the world record-breaking auction house. Collaborating with the famous and the exclusive, Julien’s Auctions produces high profile auctions in the film, music, sports and art markets. Julien’s Auctions has received international recognition for its unique and innovative auction events, which attract thousands of collectors, investors, fans and enthusiasts from around the world. Julien’s Auctions specializes in sales of iconic artifacts and notable collections including Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Lady Gaga, Banksy, Cher, Michael Jackson, U2, Barbra Streisand, Les Paul, Neil Young, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix, and many more. In 2016, Julien’s Auctions received its second placement in the Guinness Book of World Records for the sale of the world’s most expensive dress ever sold at auction, The Marilyn Monroe “Happy Birthday Mr. President” dress which sold for $4.8 million. Julien’s Auctions achieved placement in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2009 for the sale of Michael Jackson’s white glove, which sold for $480,000 making it the most expensive glove ever sold at auction. In 2020, Julien’s Auctions received its third Guinness Book of World Record placement for the sale of Kurt Cobain’s “MTV Unplugged” 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic-electric guitar, which sold for $6 million making it the world’s most expensive guitar ever sold at auction. Based in Los Angeles, Julien’s Auctions has a global presence bringing their auctions and exhibitions to targeted destinations worldwide including London, New York, Las Vegas, Japan and China. Live auctions are presented for bidders on-site and online via live streaming video and mobile technology. For more information on Julien’s Auctions, go to Connect with Julien’s Auctions at or or