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Collectable Guitars pt 5 – Gretsch 6134 White Penguin



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Gretsch have made a huge selection of quality electric guitars since the mid-1950s (interestingly, Gretsch have been around since 1883 making other instruments, but started vying for domination in the electric market around 1954-5), of which the 6134 model, better-known as the White Penguin is among the rarest.

penguinThe 6136 (also known as the White Falcon or “the Cadillac of guitars”) is a well-known Gretsch guitar, a big-bodied semi-acoustic finished in gleaming white, with all manner of elaborate trimmings like an armrest on the bass side of the body, gold binding and a huge tone that saw it used by Brian Setzer, Billy Duffy of The Cult and Stephen Stills.

In 1955 Gretsch made a solid-bodied guitar with all the usual Falcon features. It was based on the body of Gretsch’s well-known solid-body Les Paul alternative, the Duo Jet. They named it the 6134 White Penguin.

Looking like a shrunk-in-the-wash White Falcon, a successful guitar, the Penguin should have sold well, but only around 100 were ever made before its demise in 1963, and tracking one down is like trying to find an exquisitely-made white-finished needle in a haystack.

Gretsch make a reissue model of the White Penguin, but trying to get enough money to buy one is possibly harder than finding an original. The Penguin is one of the rarest and most desirable solid-bodied guitars ever made, and with good reason.

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