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Neo Classic Fingerboard

One of the most distinctive things about the majority of Gretsch guitars is the Neo Classic fingerboard – something no other manufacturer ever tried to copy. In typical Gretsch fashion, the marketing department pulled out all the stops describing what it called the “fingerboard for the perfectionist.” Beginning in late 1957, the company included a card with every guitar that sported this style fingerboard. The list of superlatives included “Conservative Beauty,” “Classic Fidelity,” “Satin Ebony Feel,” and “Classical Touch.” On the reverse side was a rather lengthy block of copy that continued extolling the virtues of this feature: “The beautifully inlaid mother-of-pearl half moons on the bass side of the board are perfect position markers and do not in any way detract from the classic feel which is so essential to perfect performance…once tried, it is certain to satisfy those discriminating guitarists who have long desired that a fingerboard of this type be designed and built.” It was this type of florid prose that convinced so many guitar players that Gretsch had somehow accomplished something no other manufacturer had managed up until that point, and kept the prices of Gretsch guitars higher than any competing brand. Modern Gretsch reissues include the inlays, which certainly are distinctive, though they are more often called thumbnail inlays today. They’re also part of that unique Gretsch vibe.

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