Following up on the success of the 6120 Country Gentleman, Gretsch introduced the 6119 Tennessean in 1958 as another Chet Atkins endorsed guitar. Upon introduction the 6119 was somewhat less ornate than the 6120 and featured only one pickup in the bridge position. Like other Gretsch archtops of this era the 6119 went through a number of cosmetic and design changes in the late ’50s and early ’60s. Perhaps most notably the guitar gained a second pickup in 1961.
This is a very cool classic – a Gretsch Tennessean model from 1962 in good condition.
This model is arguably most famous for being the guitar George Harrison played in the Beatles film “Help!” It sports a hollow laminated maple single cutaway body with a gorgeously thin brown burgundy nitrocellulose finish and painted F-holes as well as a stock Gretsch branded Bisgby vibrato system.
The body on the slimmer side for a hollow body being 2” thick and 16” wide. The two-piece maple neck fits nicely into the palm of the player’s hand, having what could be best described as a medium C shape neck profile. It measures about 1 11/16th” at the nut with a rosewood fingerboard and pearloid thumb-nail inlays. Counting the zero fret it has a total of 23 frets with only a minimal amount of wear in the lower positions.
The Gretsch Hi-Lo-Tron pickups sound nice and clear without losing that key punch that tends to light up a good tube amp. The open-back tuning machines, chrome steel bridge ebony bridge base, grey plastic pickguard, pickups, controls and switches are all correct for this model and all are working well.
Cosmetically the body is in great shape for its age with some light-to-average checking and player wear. The binding has yellowed nicely and is generally great shape, especially for an older Gretsch many of which suffer from serious binding rot. But the only area where this is evident is on the rear of the neck heel – see pics.
This nice 1962 Gretch Chet Atkins Tennessean is in nice original condition – way better than many we have seen. Frets are in good shape, neck plays smoothly, Bigsby is sweet and it sounds like a vintage Gretsch – what more can you ask for ?
The bonus with this one is that it comes in its original blonde Gretsch hard shell case in very good condition.