Gretsch Silver Jet, '55
Silver Sparkle, Serial # 16622.
In 1953 the Gretsch Company introduced its first solidbody electric guitar: the Duo Jet. It was intended to compete with Fender’s Telecaster and Gibson’s Les Paul. The Duo Jet had a similar shape to the Les Paul, but instead of being truly solid, its separate pieces of mahogany had hollow spaces left open for electronics and wiring. The pressed arched top was often covered in the same black plastic material used on some Gretsch drums.
The Duo Jet also included the innovative Melita Synchro – Sonic bridge which allowed separate intonation adjustment for each string.
While Gretsch was behind Fender and Gibson in the introduction of a solid body, they were ahead in eye catching colors. Each guitar received a different model name relating to its striking finish, even though it remained essentially a Duo Jet. These models were the Silver Jet (Sliver Sparkle), the Round Up (Orange with western style inlays and leather trim) and the Jet Firebird (Red).
This Silver Jet has all the features common to 1955 Jets: a rosewood fingerboard with large pearloid block inlays, chrome master volume, two individual pickup volumes and master tone controls all stamped with an arrow in the center, a small bullet shaped trussrod cover, two DeArmond single coil pickups, Melita Bridge, silver pickguard, and a chrome “G” cutout tailpiece. The feature unique to Silver Jets is the silver sparkle top made made from the same material Gretsch used to cover its drums. The 1955 Gretsch catalog lists a Silver Jet for $255.