Impeccable Craftsmanship

From the birth of rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly in the 1950s to the British Invasion of the 1960s; from punk and new wave and the rockabilly revival in the 1970s and ’80s to the alt-indie and roots-Americana movements of the 1990s to today, Gretsch guitars have provided a highly distinctive musical identity for musicians everywhere who prefer to stand out by wielding instruments of superior style, sound, construction and heritage. They’re perennially revered as instruments of magnificent quality, with a heavy dose of indisputable cool.

The Gretsch Custom Shop is where the time-honored legacy reaches its creative apex. No instruments epitomize the extraordinary expertise and attention to detail of Gretsch’s most trusted hands like Custom Shop instruments. From modern versions of legendary Gretsch instruments to artist tribute models and specially requested one-off guitars, the Gretsch Custom Shop takes “That Great Gretsch Sound” to an entirely new plane, but also preserves and perfects it.

  • STEPHEN STERN

    Master Builder Stephen Stern has led the Gretsch Custom Shop since 2005. Stern arrived at the world-famous Fender Custom Shop in 1993, where he became a Master Builder in 1994 and studied under the great arch-top luthiers Jimmy D’Aquisto and Bob Benedetto. His exquisite arch-top construction skills eventually led him to the Gretsch Custom Shop.

    One of Stern’s top projects early on was the exquisite 2007 Brian Setzer Tribute Nashville™ model. Other high-profile projects included the Billy Zoom Tribute Custom Shop Silver Jet™ and Chet Atkins 125th Anniversary Hollow Body (2008), and the Eddie Cochran Tribute Hollow Body (2010).

    One of his proudest achievements was the 2011 release of the George Harrison Tribute Custom Shop Duo Jet. He also crafted the prototype for the Duane Eddy Signature Hollow Body and built instruments for other noted guitarists including Steve Miller, Steve Hunter and Brian Ray.

  • TONY CORONA
    Tony Corona rose to the Gretsch Custom Shop from humble origins. He started at Fender in 1995 and gradually progressed from packing guitars to inspecting them to buffing them. Others took note of the quality of Corona’s work, and he joined Stern in 2004 for binding detailing, sanding and buffing on fine Benedetto arch-top guitars.

    Corona subsequently contributed to notable Fender Custom Shop models featuring extensive relic treatments, including the Eric Clapton "Blackie" Stratocaster, Jeff Beck Esquire, Yngwie Malmsteen "Play Loud" Stratocaster, Stevie Ray Vaughan "Number One" and "Lenny" Stratocasters and Andy Summers Tribute Telecaster, and to the EVH "Frankenstein" replica guitar. Given Corona’s matchless relic experience, Stern enlisted him in 2010 for an extraordinary Gretsch Custom Shop undertaking–all the relic work on the acclaimed Gretsch Custom Shop G6128T-GH George Harrison "Tribute" Duo Jet.

    Oh, and in his spare time, Corona likes painting and gardening.
  • GONZALO MADRIGAL
    Gonzalo Madrigal started out at Fender in 1996 by binding and sanding guitar bodies on the production line. A superior craftsman, he gradually made his way to the Fender Custom Shop in 2004, where he worked on Benedetto guitar bodies, binding and neck fitting. He too worked on various high-profile "tribute" projects, including the Fender Custom Shop Eric Clapton "Blackie" Stratocaster, Stevie Ray Vaughan "Number One" and "Lenny" Stratocasters and Andy Summers Tribute Telecaster, and the EVH "Frankenstein" replica guitar.

    Madrigal’s exemplary work also brought him to the attention of Stern and projects at the Gretsch Custom Shop, where he contributed to the Brian Setzer and Eddie Cochran 6120 models, the Billy Zoom Silver Jet and the G6128T-GH George Harrison "Tribute" Duo Jet.

    Oh, and in his spare time, Madrigal enjoys playing soccer and basketball, and going to the movies with his family.
  • CHAD HENRICHSEN
    Chad Henrichsen joined the Gretsch Custom Shop in 2008, after spending four years with Fender as a guitar tech and, later, group lead of quality control/inspection.

    Henrichsen brings that developed eye for subtle nuances and perfection to the Gretsch Custom Shop, where he specializes in crafting custom necks.

    A tinkerer at heart, Henrichsen enjoys woodworking, modifying amps, fixing cars and building computers. Proficient on the guitar, bass, piano and drums, he says he takes the most pride in being challenged by requests from artists like Zac Brown (Custom Falcon and Custom Penguin), or Cheap Trick’s Tom Petersson (Custom 12-string bass) or Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Billy-Bo).

    “I always loved things apart to see how they work and trying different ways of doing things so I especially enjoy a request that outside the norm and makes me figure out how to make it work,” he shared. “I enjoy the challenge and the reward of the finished product.

    “It doesn’t get any better than seeing the final product and the pride associated with making the finest instruments available, and watching artists perform with our guitars.”
  • ANDY HICKS
    Andy Hicks has been part of the Gretsch Custom Shop since 2013 when he became an apprentice under Master Builder Stephen Stern, focusing on fretwork, electronics, assembly and setups.

    A member of heavy metal band Morbid Eclipse, Hicks spends a vast majority of time outside the office tweaking and modifying guitars for his bandmates and friends. It’s an obsession that began after paying for some mods on his own gear, and finding the results to be lackluster.

    “The work was so sloppy I decided to learn to do it myself,” he said.

    Since graduating from Musicians Institute of Hollywood’s Guitar Craft Academy in 2010, Hicks has made a home at Fender’s Corona, Calif., facility, working on the Fender production line and in the Jackson Custom Shop before moving over to Gretsch and working on projects with Stern like the one-of-a-kind Gretsch Custom Shop Bayou Round-Up Jet that was covered in alligator hide.

    “The best part about working in Gretsch is that we still make the guitars almost entirely by hand,” summed up Hicks. “The Gretsch Custom Shop is still a little wood shop with just a few guys making the best guitars in the world. It is very special and I am not sure there are many places like it left in the production world.”

Custom Shop News

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Custom Shop Dealers

BIZARRE GUITAR

(775) 331-1001
2677 ODDIE BLVD
RENO, NV 89512

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THE MUSIC ZOO

(516) 626-9292
55 LUMBER ROAD
ROSLYN, NY 11576

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RAINBOW GUITAR

(520) 325-3376
2550 N CAMPBELL AVE
TUCSON, AZ 85719

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STREET SOUNDS

(718) 680-7946
9206 3RD AVENUE
BROOKLYN, NY 11209

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WILDWOOD GUITARS

(303) 665-7733
804 MAIN STREET
LOUISVILLE, CO 80027

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PRIVATE RESERVE GUITARS

(866) 926-1923
4001 NORFLEET AVE.
KANSAS CITY, MO 64161

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CREAM CITY MUSIC

(262) 860-1800
12505 W BLUEMOUND RD
BROOKFIELD, WI 53005

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CHICAGO MUSIC EXCHANGE

(888) 686-7872
3316 N LINCOLN AVE.
CHICAGO, IL 60657

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