-- Museum of Musical Instruments
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   Many brands of arch-top guitars from the 1940s and 1950s showed great flair in their design, but those made by the Gretsch Company were especially artistic. Introduced the same year as the 1939 World's Fair in New York, the Synchromatic model exemplified a new style called "Streamline Moderne," characterized by curvilinear shapes suggesting motion and fluidity. This aesthetic is most evident in the Synchromatic's elongated teardrop soundholes and the undulating outline of the light bulb-shaped headstock. Punctuating the effect are hump-shaped fret markers, thirteen plies of black and white plastic binding, and boisterous tortoiseshell-figured bands along the sides of the body and fingerboard. The stair-stepped pattern incorporated into Gretsch's "chromatic" tailpiece, "synchro-sonic" bridge, and Grover-brand tuning machines is clearly derived from another prevalent style of the 1930s, Art Deco. A clear or natural finish was first offered on arch-top guitars in 1939. Present-day collectors have generally favored these rarer blonde instruments over those with the more common shaded brown finish.

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