Gretsch Traveling Wilburys TW100T

To many budding musicians I was friends with during the late ’80s it was all about metal, hair or otherwise. For me Buddy Holly was everything. The Beatles were everything.  Their influences, their contemporaries all of it I wanted to hear. A friend and fellow Beatle devotee had lent me George Harrison’s Cloud Nine cassette and I was obsessed. While I valued all Beatles and recognized without the four there was no Beatles, George was my favorite. What was pivotal about Cloud Nine was that it was new music from an established hero. The impact Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 had then was even greater. Roy and George were already trusted icons but this new super group fast tracked my introduction and exploration of Dylan’s catalog and introduced me to ELO and established Tom Petty as source of constant inspiration.

Some may nitpick that the Wilburys fail to transcend the sum of their parts, that no one song exceeds the work the artists created on their own.  “BAH!” I say. As far as I’m concerned it is a solid set of songs. Thoroughly enjoyable start to finish. There is some straight-up old fashioned rock & roll highlighted by  tender optimism, with a few whimsical moments and a brief glimpse into some darker stuff. The songs are just packed with catchy melodies that you can’t resist singing or strumming along to. It embodies exactly what it is, four friends making music for the fun of it.

I was just learning guitar and about guitars when the album was released. I distinctly remember flipping through the Fall Sears Catalog in ’88 at my folks’ house and seeing the Wilbury guitars among the acoustics and pointy headstocks and thinking they looked pretty cool. Of course I was too naïve or just didn’t care about such things promotional tie-ins so I couldn’t help wonder why the huge semi-hollows featured in the group promo photos weren’t offered in the catalog instead of those funky little solid bodies.

While not the highest quality instrument Gretsch ever released, there is a certain charm to these Wilbury guitars. Light, easy to play, colorful with twang in spades. From 1988 till the early ’90s, the company released six different models , each with different graphics and features. All resemble the classic single cut away Danelectro more than anything  of Gretch’s own design. Apparently, these made in Korea marketing tools were intended to raise money  and help raise awareness in the brand to get Gretsch back in the guitar game.

The ‘lil Wilbury featured here is the TW100T and dates to 1988. It has a smaller than ¾ sized body. With one single coil pick-up and volume knob. A Strat-style tremolo, 18 frets and a bolt on neck.

Other models offer a humbucker, dual single coils, volume and tone knobs. The deluxe TW600 even boasts a locking nut and Floyd Rose Tremolo! They all sport the “autographs” of each Wilbury; Lefty (Roy), Charlie (Tom), Lucky (Bob), Otis (Jeff) and Nelson (George).

Price: $NFS
Manufacturer: Gretsch
Voltage: n/a
Color: white pearloid/multi