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Super Axe

This hollowbody Gretsch guitar began life in 1976 as a Chet Atkins-conceived prototype. It was originally going to be called the “High Roller” because the square pearl fingerboard inlays were engraved with dice-like dots. The Super Axe was designed with extra-wide white binding on all the body edges. The scrolled, cutaway, 16-inch wide all-maple body had a machine-contoured top and back and a standard orange-red finish Gretsch called Red Rosewood. But the thing most people remember about the Super Axe, which was in production for about two years, was the 9-volt-driven bank of onboard effects matched with a pair of DiMarzio pickups. Mounted on a football-shaped black plastic panel on the guitar’s top were a compressor, phaser, sustain control, and master volume, along with individual tone and volume controls. However, by this time, there was very little interest among guitar players for Baldwin-produced instruments, and the last Baldwin-built Gretsches rolled off the production line in about 1970.

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