Lou Reed's Gretsch from The Shades

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nomdeplum
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Lou Reed's Gretsch from The Shades

Post by nomdeplum » 08 May 2021 16:41

Image
  • A teenage Lou Reed as a member of The Shades.
  • The guitar Lou is holding is most likely to be a Gretsch 6182 Corvette.
  • I'm no Gretsch scholar, but from what I gather, this model briefly replaced the 6185 Electromatic before being superseded by the 6187 Corvette.
Image

Either way, it's the same guitar we see Lou play during his college days.

Image

AND it's the same guitar seen in Nat Finkelsein's photo of John Cale in the factory.
Two observations regarding this photo —

1. It looks as though the frets have been removed.
2. There are less than six strings on the instrument.

Questions:
  • Is this the mythological Ostrich guitar?
  • Is it possible this is the same guitar Reed took to Pickwick?
  • If so, would it possibly be the same guitar he used to record 'The Ostrich'?

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Mark
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Re: Lou Reed's Gretsch from The Shades

Post by Mark » 10 May 2021 17:15

I can't answer your questions, but that's some very cool detective work there!

If it adds anything at all, I'm sure one of Cale's New York in the 60s CDs credits "fretless guitar" on one of the tracks. I guess that's what we're looking at here then.
8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

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nomdeplum
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Re: Lou Reed's Gretsch from The Shades

Post by nomdeplum » 10 May 2021 22:43

Hey Mark, thank you and thanks for filling in another piece of the puzzle.

I've always been interested in the question and feel satisfied that I may have finally found the answer.

On another thread, Eddie Sedgewick posted — 
… I thought the original ostrich guitar was an old green Gretsch that lou had ripped all the frets out of … it's mentioned in the interview with Mo in the Velvet Underground Companion
I think this case is closed. Yay.

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simonm
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Re: Lou Reed's Gretsch from The Shades

Post by simonm » 11 May 2021 21:47

it looks to be the same guitar, but there's no reason to think the ostrich guitar was de-fretted, there's no slide sound on either All Tomorrow's Parties or the Pickwick 45.
I always took 'ostrich guitar' to be a playing style rather than a single instrument; lead guitar, rhythm guitar, ostrich guitar.

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simonm
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Re: Lou Reed's Gretsch from The Shades

Post by simonm » 11 May 2021 22:23

ignore

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