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Reader Guitar of the Month: A Hen’s Tooth

A reader stumbles upon a Gretsch Duo Jet hardtail built as a prototype for Cars guitarist Elliot Easton.

Name: Jason Blatt

Location: New York, New York
Guitar: Gretsch Duo Jet (hardtail) Elliot Easton prototype

As southpaw guitar players know, finding a really unique lefty guitar (that’s not black) is like the search for the Holy Grail. Any super interesting lefty axes tend to stay within an owner’s barn since replacement options tend to be almost impossible to find.

I found this lefty (pre-Fender-owned) Gretsch Duo Jet hardtail in amazing drool-worthy Cadillac Green several years ago from a private dealer in Chicago who was selling super-cheap, lower-end guitars. Somehow, this high-quality guitar was within his “selling herd.” A fish out of water to say the least.

The dealer claimed this guitar was never played, in mint condition, sitting for years in storage at the Gretsch factory in original plastic, etc. It was a prototype built for Cars guitarist Elliot Easton. Unlike all modern Gretsches, it had no serial number on the headstock.

When I received the guitar the skies lit up. But when I went to play it, I soon found out the bridge stock Filter’Tron pup was dead, the frets were loose, and there was buzzing. But I was still in love and knew I could get those things fixed.

After bringing it to NYC’s famous 30th Street Guitars for some repair work, owner Matt Brewster said, “Wow, where did you find this hen’s tooth?” Brewster did great work to get the guitar back to life. After speaking with Tom Jones (owner of TV Jones), to get a replacement TV Jones Power’Tron, he confirmed this was a one-off made for Easton before Gretsch did his signature gold Bigsby line much later. To Jones’ knowledge, only one other lefty hardtail chrome exists besides mine, in red.

I later saw that red guitar in person by mere chance at Rudy’s Music in NYC as part of a private commissioned guitar sale via Rudy and Mr. Easton. Next time I returned to Rudy’s, soon after, it was gone.

A hen’s tooth indeed.

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