T-Shirts and Microfiber polishing towels

Get your custom tone today!

Vintage Restorations

Restoration: Gretsch (Cadillac Green)

This the condition I recieved this guitar in. The customer wants it restored back to Cadillac Green. I am still doing a lot of research to find this color. I know Gretsch first used it in 1954, I have it down to GM 3 colors. If anyone has any info I would appreciate it.
I have already repaired and rewound the pickup.

Update: I have finally found the color made a test block and matched it with a '59 Gretsch Perfect!! So I have started painting.

Paint info:
PPG Duracryl DDL Acrylic Lacquer
DDL 2439
Hunter green Metallic

I have been getting a lot of questions on this color here are the most common:
Is the Green Nitro Lacquer? No and neither was the Green on most of the original Gretschs. Nitro auto paints were not a good thing for a car that is exposed to the elements so Dupont converted these paints over to Acrylic lacquer back in the late 50's. Gretsch did, as most guitar makers, used off the shelf auto paint for their custom colors and clear coated them with Nitro furniture lacquer which caused the finish to yellow and crack. This is a common misconception.

If I matched this to a 50's Gretsch how do I know this is the original color? Experience I have been doing this for over 20 years and If you look at the instrument in the right places you can either find color where the clear has rubbed off or has been protected from fading. Second I knew the year Gretsch started using Cadillac Green which limits it to only a few Cadillac greens that Gretsch could have used. I prefer using the original color and age it myself that way as it wear and chips it looks correct.

Has Dupont started reissuing nitro lacquers? No the EPA has Outlawed lacquer for the auto industry you can still find small spots where you can get the old lacquer colors but as supplies run out so will they. Luckily Dupont has made their new enviro friendly paints use the same old color mixtures.


As I recieved it.

As I received it

Curtis Novak Guitars and Pickups Inc.
curt@CurtisNovak.com Copyright 2008 CurtisNovak.com All rights reserved.
Fender, Stratocaster, Telecaster is a registered trademark of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation.
This site is in no way affiliated with Fender Musical Instruments Corp.