The guitar in the photo, above, is a 1955 Gretsch DuoJet. This is the same year and model of guitar played by legendary Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps lead guitarist Cliff Gallup. The DuoJet made it’s debut in the Gretsch line in 1953 as their answer to the success of the previously released Gibson Les Paul.
Although billed as the first solid body from Gretsch it actually isn’t a solid body at all but is semi-hollow. The 1955 model sported DeArmond Dynasonic single-coil pickups, block inlaid pearloid fret markers, control knobs with an arrow motif, an adjustable Melita floating bridge and a teardrop shaped lucite pickguard with the Gretsch brand name. Standard from the factory was a ‘G’ cutout tailpiece but many players, including Cliff Gallup, opted for the upgrade of a fixed arm Bigsby B-3 Vibrato unit.
Greg’s DuoJet, apart from a replacement pickguard, is 100% factory original and he found an incredibly rare original 1955 B-3 unit to replace the ‘G’ cutout tailpiece…just as Cliff Gallup did with his DuoJet 62 years ago.
Greg rotates through several Gretsch hollowbodies as his guitars of choice for live shows as each of them have their own distinctive sound and feel and the DuoJet by far has the most spank and punch from the pickups.
One very cool feature of this guitar is it’s serial number. It is from the same batch as Cliff Gallup’s DuoJet and is only 27 numbers away from that famous guitar.
Gretsch Guitars recently launched a Cliff Gallup Signature Model DuoJet which was based on the specs of Cliff’s original guitar, although the whereabouts of Cliff’s actual guitar is unknown. The photos below show Cliff and the DuoJet in their heyday with the Blue Caps.