The Gretsch 6120 was an instant classic from the day it was introduced in 1955. To many players, it is the definitive Gretsch guitar.
In 1958, the half-moon or “neoclassic” fingerboard markers common to most Gretsches were introduced. The single coil DeArmond pickups were discontinued in favour of Gretsch’s own FilterTron humbuckers. Chet Atkins is reported to have said the magnets on the DeArmond’s were too strong, “sucked the tone right out of the guitar”.
This design is the second version of the Gretsch 6120 which became a double cutaway and thinner in 1962. The change also saw that the F-holes on top became decals rather than the routed F-holes of the earlier version. And a big pad was added on the back of the guitar to cover the access to the electronics. It maintained the model number of the original 6120 until around 1966 when it became The Nashville but there is no discernible difference between guitars of that era.
By June of 1971, when this guitar was made, the original under-string muting pads had been dispensed with as had the pad covering the access hole in the back, so this one has a solid back.
The current owner bought this guitar second hand in 1983. It was completely original except for the bridge which had been replaced with a tune-o-matic bridge to improve the tuning and secured to the body by two tiny screws. Since then, the only changes have been to change the master volume knob to a master tone control, and to recently have the binding replaced after it got too uncomfortable to play. The binding work was done by respected Sydney luthier Piers Crocker who also gave this guitar an excellent setup.
During the ’80s and ’90s this guitar appeared on a variety of recordings and in film clips for various Australian bands. It has been well looked after, lightly played over the years and not abused.
This Chet Atkins Nashville is in great playing condition and has the original versatile FilterTron humbucking pickups which can go from Chet jazz tones to Brian Setzer bogie to Malcolm Young rock with ease. It also drives amps and pedals nicely, with that recognisable Gretsch sound.
It has its original Gretsch Bigsby vibrato in perfect working order. The knobs and pickup surrounds are aftermarket, but the originals are in the case. Unfortunately the original pickguard cracked some years ago so there is a 1990s replacement in the case which has never been fitted.
The original frets are in good condition (90%) and the metal hardware has a lightly dulled patina from its use over time. The original Grover tuners work perfectly, and all controls are clean and quiet including the ‘kill’ and ‘mud’ switches.
Overall an excellent vintage Gretsch with undeniable retro vibe and unique Gretsch character.
Comes with a non-original Gretsch hard case in good condition.