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Thread: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

  1. #1
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    I have a mahogany New Yorker (bought on 4th Avenue, Manhattan, just up from Bob Dylan's first apartment). Finally got it set up and it plays terrifically, and sounds great.

    Anyway, Gretsch no longer make mandolins? They started as mandolin makers. Was it purely commercial? Or some other reason? Any one know?

    Thanks in advance.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    Are you talking about the recent Gretsch mandolins?
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

  3. #3
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    Possibly - Mine's a 2015 model?
    JBovier ELS; Epiphone MM-50 VN; Epiphone MM-40L; Gretsch New Yorker G9310; Washburn M1SDLB;

    Fender Nashville Deluxe Telecaster; Squier Modified Vintage Cabronita Telecaster; Gretsch 5420T; Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat: Washburn Banjo B9; Ibanez RB 5string; Ibanez RB 4 string bass

    Pedalboard for ELS: Morley Cry baby Miniwah - Tuner - EHX Soul Food Overdrive - EHX Memory Toy analog Delay
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    Ya lost me on the Dylan reference.....

    Kinda like saying I bought my Sony video camera at Best Buy in Los Angeles, a town known for motion pictures.....?!

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    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    I guess Bob's first apartment is an NYC landmark, sorta like Jimi's grandmother's place in Vancouver.

    (edit) Hoping Mike will fill us in on Gretsch mandolins.

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    Wild speculation but looking at their website they are no longer making them. Why, wild speculation, there's no money in it for them. Guitars and Ukes are wildly popular. Outside of this site, mandolins are... not wildly popular.

    Pandemic resourceing, staffing, supply chain, an abundance of good quality, lower cost imports likely outcompetes anything Gretsch can make or sell now. Martin no longer makes mandolins. Only mandolin strings. Just like Gretsch, they make ukes and guitars. Breedlove suspended mandolin production in the US in 2016.

    Considering the effort and expense required to make an archtop mandolin, vs a uke or flat top guitar, I'm not surprised.

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    Quote Originally Posted by JEStanek View Post
    Wild speculation but looking at their website they are no longer making them. Why, wild speculation, there's no money in it for them. Guitars and Ukes are wildly popular. Outside of this site, mandolins are... not wildly popular.
    As niche as they are, Mandolins may be getting even a bit less popular if this Google Trends chart of search terms since 2004 is any indication (and this probably includes searches for the kitchen gadget also):

    https://trends.google.com/trends/exp...=US&q=mandolin

    Interestingly, the track for "acoustic guitar" as a search term is on a similar slightly downward trend over the years:

    https://trends.google.com/trends/exp...ustic%20guitar

    Blame the current state of Pop music, I guess. The guitar isn't as front-and-center as it used to be, and mandolins are practically invisible outside niche folk music genres.

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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    Although you can no longer buy a Gretsch mandolin on 4th Ave. in Manhattan, Bob Dylan's first apartment is still just up the street.

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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hudmister View Post
    Although you can no longer buy a Gretsch mandolin on 4th Ave. in Manhattan, Bob Dylan's first apartment is still just up the street.
    Positively!
    "The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations, and often lose themselves in error and darkness!"
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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    Many reasons, but one main one is that you can easily get TAB (chords) for guitar and uke if you want to play twentieth century music.
    Simplified, one page melody TAB with lyrics for mandolin?
    Nope.

    Writing succinct melodic notes or ideas, especially in TAB (.abc) format would be illegal anyway.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    These later Gretsch New Yorker mandolins were said to be a copy of the older Gretsch New Yorker mandolins that, by the way were rebadged Harmony products.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...rker-Mandolins
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
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  18. #12
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    Dylan's apartment was on West 4th Street. In Manhattan there is a 4th Street and a 4th Avenue. Streets go cross town and Avenues go uptown and downtown. The song was called Positively 4th Street for a reason.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

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  20. #13

    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    Quote Originally Posted by JEStanek View Post
    Outside of this site, mandolins are... not wildly popular.
    I simply MUST get out more often!

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    Registered User Customxke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    I don't believe Gretsch started out as mandolin makers. Weren't they drums, banjo (a drum with a stringed neck) and tambourines (a banjo without a neck, and tiny high hats)?

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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    As niche as they are, Mandolins may be getting even a bit less popular if this Google Trends chart of search terms since 2004 is any indication (and this probably includes searches for the kitchen gadget also):

    https://trends.google.com/trends/exp...=US&q=mandolin

    Interestingly, the track for "acoustic guitar" as a search term is on a similar slightly downward trend over the years:

    https://trends.google.com/trends/exp...ustic%20guitar

    Blame the current state of Pop music, I guess. The guitar isn't as front-and-center as it used to be, and mandolins are practically invisible outside niche folk music genres.
    The lack of popularity is partly what attracted me to mandolin. I could be a mediocre guitar player or a slighter less mediocre mandolin player. The mandolin is underappreciated but I'm OK with that

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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Dylan's apartment was on West 4th Street. In Manhattan there is a 4th Street and a 4th Avenue. Streets go cross town and Avenues go uptown and downtown. The song was called Positively 4th Street for a reason.
    In the UK, streets tend to have names rather than numbers which makes them more memorable. In Manchester there is even and “Every Street” which enables people to say that they’ve walked down “every street in Manchester”.

    As to the lack of Gretch mandolins, I’m sure that it’s all down to economics; if nobody’s buying them, why bother selling them.

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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    It's probably been mentioned here on the cafe already, but other mfrs (Breedlove, Collings/Waterloo) have more recently ceased mandolin production as well. I think the reason was its hard enough to try to keep up with guitar demand considering staff shortages, supply and shipping issues, all around material cost inflation, etc.

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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveGinNJ View Post
    The lack of popularity is partly what attracted me to mandolin. I could be a mediocre guitar player or a slighter less mediocre mandolin player. The mandolin is underappreciated but I'm OK with that
    Or as I've often said, "It's more enjoyable being one of a dozen mediocre mandolin players in my area than being one of a thousand mediocre guitar players."

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  31. #19

    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    I don't think it's got anything to do with lack of popularity. I think it has to do with where you put your financial and labor efforts. You can sell a lot more guitars than mandolins, and mandolins are more labor intensive. I think for Gretsch, their monies and efforts are better spent on making guitars and the other products they have decided to go with.
    Sorry, I am no longer suffering fools

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    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    A Gretsch 60’s on eBay $3,400.Three at reverb,$260 to $800.A 50’s electric solid body Gibson is listed with the Gretsch.( Orange Gretsch color )

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  35. #21
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveGinNJ View Post
    The lack of popularity is partly what attracted me to mandolin. I could be a mediocre guitar player or a slighter less mediocre mandolin player. The mandolin is underappreciated but I'm OK with that
    When I first started on mandolin after 30-odd years of guitar, I was soon asked to play in one local roots band, then another one, and finally in an Irish trio with fiddle and guitar.

    In certain genres of music it's almost like being a bass player. You're guaranteed a gig!

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  37. #22

    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveGinNJ View Post
    The lack of popularity is partly what attracted me to mandolin. I could be a mediocre guitar player or a slighter less mediocre mandolin player. The mandolin is underappreciated but I'm OK with that
    The mandolin got a revival when blue grass became more mainstream, and I think that's a good thing. I want to see more price points for good mandolins, not fewer. I want to see more people playing the mandolin, not less. I don't want to see the mandolin go the way of the hurdy gurdy; a niche instrument for the rich.

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  39. #23

    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    My brother still asks if it a little guitar.
    Most regular folks do not know what they are. But I sure do !

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  41. #24
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gretsch not making mandolins? Does anyone know why?

    Countless times people have come up to ask what the instrument I'm playing is. After informing them it is a mandolin the reply is almost always "Oh!! I love the mandolin!!" In other words that know they love the mandolin even if they don't know what it is I'm playing!
    THAT'S about the best endorsement I could imagine!

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