Photos of Guitars Owned by Freddie Green

Here's a rare look at three instruments that were once owned by the legendary guitarist Freddie Green. Photographic evidence suggests that Freddie didn't own all that many "boxes" (as he often referred to them) during his long and productive career. This would seem to make sense, given what we've learned about his frugal nature.

These photos were generously provided by the Freddie Green Estate © Copyright 2006, All Rights Reserved.

Found in one of the guitar cases:

  • Gibson Medium Pick
  • Set of Gibson "Genuine Strings"
  • Ernie Ball "Custom Gauge String" .032 (D string)
  • D'Addario "High Finish Ribbon Wound" .056 (low E string)

Gretsch Eldorado (Model 6041)

The serial number indicates the guitar was made in 1956.

Freddie's Eldorado appears to have had the neck replaced as the headstock does not match the photo in the 1955 Gretsch catalog. This would be consistent with what former Gretsch employee, Dan Duffy stated on an online forum. According to Duffy, the folks at Gretsch rarely ever saw their endorser, Freddie Green except for when he broke the neck (or headstock) on two separate occasions and the instrument was repaired at the factory. This might also explain why the crossed peghead ornament no longer appears in photos after the early-mid 1960s.

Description (Direct Quote) from the 1955 Gretsch Catalog:

Gretsch "Eldorado" Custom Built 18" Guitar

Big! Beautiful! Superb tone quality and power to meet every top professional requirement! And all this plus the speed and comfort of Gretsch "Miracle Neck" construction. Extra choice curly maple in the body and neck; prime mountain spruce of choicest grain for the top; finest Madagascar ebony fingerbaord inlaid with large pearl position markers. Finished in the finest lacquers polished by hand to brilliant lustre. Body edges, fingerboard, and F-holes full bound in compound black-and-ivory with gold sparkle inlay. Deluxe hardware including Grover 16-to-1 ratio machines. Metal parts heavily plated in 24-K gold. Custom build to order.

X6040 -- Gretsch "Eldorado" 18" guitar in rich, brown finish shaded to golden amber sunbursts. $475.00

X6041 -- Gretsch "Eldorado" 18" guitar in clear, natural finish. $490.00

If you want your Gretsch "Eldorado" to be built 'cut-away' style, add $75.00 to the price.

(Please Note: This information was taken from a 1955 Gretsch catalog to provide some historical perspective. This web site is by no means promoting Gretsch guitars nor supplying pricing for any Gretsch instruments.)

Front of Gretsch. (The purpose of the red tape is unknown.  It may be holding f-hole binding that was loose, or it may indicate where to place the microphone.  Freddie did not "suffer fools gladly"; the red tape arrow would quickly and clearly show his preferred microphone location to any sound engineer that might have a different opinion about microphone placement).

Back of the Gretsch.

Front of Gretsch headstock.

Back of Gretsch headstock.

Tailpiece, bridge and lower f-hole on Gretsch.

Stromberg Master 400 (Blonde)

Label Inscription:
Master 400 Model 1
Ser. # 499
Chas. A. Stromberg  Son
40 Hanover St.
Boston Mass.
For lifetime guarantee to original purchaser if used properly

Early photos show Freddie playing a sunburst Epiphone Emperor until October 28, 1940 when he is seen playing a blonde Stromberg Master 400 during a recording session. Freddie most likely obtained this guitar around that time and kept it for his entire life. In the late 1950's Freddie stopped using this instrument on the road when the value of the guitar suddenly went way up after the deaths of Charles and Elmer Stromberg.

Front of Stromberg.

Back of Stromberg.

Front of Stromberg headstock.

Back of Stromberg headstock.

String height at bridge on Stromberg.

Stromberg Master 300 (Sunburst)

Label Inscription:
Charles A. Stromberg

Not long after obtaining the Master 400 (above) photos of Freddie show him with a sunburst Stromberg Master 300 as well. Again, we presume that he obtained this instrument around 1940 or 1941, perhaps as part of an endorsement for Stromberg.

Master 300 in its case.

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