A Near Mint and All Original 1957 Gretsch 6121 Chet Atkins Solid Body
1957 Gretsch 6121 Chet Atkins Solid Body
This 13 1/4-inch-wide, just under 2 inches deep, semi-solid body version of the Chet Atkins 6120 features a quad-bound chambered mahogany body and weighs just 7.60 lbs. One-piece mahogany neck with a wonderful medium profile and a nut width of just under 1 11/16 inches. Single bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard with original aluminum nut, 22 original small frets, inlaid pearloid plastic hump-top block position markers and a scale length of 24 1/2 inches. Headstock with inlaid pearl Gretsch "T-roof" logo and pearloid horseshoe inlay. Individual Grover StaTite open-back tuners with oval metal buttons. Two single-coil DeArmond (Gretsch Dynasonic) pickups with outputs of 3.83k and 3.86k. Gold Lucite pickguard with pantograph-engraved Gretsch "T-roof" logo and "Chet Atkins" signature framed in a signpost (the signpost and signature highlighted in black). Four controls (two individual volume controls and master tone control in a triangular configuration on lower treble bout and master volume control on upper treble bout) plus three-way selector switch on upper bass bout. The potentiometers are all stamped "134 619" & "134 641" (Centralab May & October, 1956). "Arrow-through-G" knobs with cross-hatch pattern on sides. Space Control roller bridge on ebony base and non-plated aluminum Bigsby B-3 vibrato tailpiece with pivoting arm. Original Gretsch rectangular white label inside control cavity, with the model number "6121" stamped in black, and the serial number "23262" stamped in red. The serial number is also etched on to the triangular control cavity cover. All hardware (except Bigsby) gold-plated. Apart from some minimal belt-buckle wear and a replaced small white plastic binding strip at the 'butt' end of the fretboard, this is a totally original and near mint (9.25) example. Complete with the original Gretsch "Telling You How", six-page, folding instructional hang-tag and an original? guitar lead. Housed in its original white leather, shaped "cowboy" case trimmed with "western-style" embossed brown leather. Interior with brown plush lining and Gretsch ribbon intact (8.75).
This guitar, produced in April of 1957, is one of the very last to have a 'Straight/Rocking-Bar' bridge.
"The solid companion to the Chet Atkins Hollow Body debuted in 1954. The only differences between it and the Round-Up are standard Chet Atkins model features: Bigsby vibrato, non adjustable bridge, signature pickguard, and...metal nut" (George Gruhn and Walter Carter, Electric Guitars and Basses: A Photographic History, p. 175). Despite the name, the Chet Atkins Solid Body had Gretsch's customary semi-solid construction.
Despite the name, the Chet Atkins Solid Body had Gretsch's customary semi-solid 'chambered' construction.
"Since both the hollowbody and solid body Chet Atkins signature models were launched simultaneously for 1955, it is plausible that the factory was hurried into making a initial quantity of each to equitably fill orders after the first of the year. The result was that the first Chet Atkins production batch (#16450 - #16549) was comprised of approximately 75 hollowbody 6120 examples and 25 solidbody 6121 guitars. When examining the batching approach of the Brooklyn factory in the late 1950s, it becomes clear from the serial number data that the 6120 model production was typically planned in sequence with other 16" archtops, particularly after the the 1958 introduction of the 6119 and Anniversary models. From the start, however, the factory produced a few examples of the 6121 solidbody within many of the 6120 hollowbody batches. This was possibly an effort to insure consistent color finishes between the two related models. Other times this practice has occurred was when the White Penguin solidbody (model 6134) was periodically produced during batch runs of White Falcon archtops (model 6136). Presumably, like the Chet Atkins signature models, some dealers would market the two related models together, ordering examples of each. These occurrences might provide additional evidence to support the theory that the paint room controlled a lot of the production scheduling within the Gretsch factory. Once a certain pigment or stain was loaded, it seems that they went to great lengths to get all the guitars requiring that finish treatment through the system before having to wash up and go to another color. Throughout the hollowbody format's single-cutaway era, the 6121 solidbody model reflected very similar features to its respective 6120 littermates. Although increasingly rare after the 1960 model year, there have been specimens found as late as the 1962 model year complete with the double-cutaway body styling of the period" (Edward BALL. Gretsch 6120 The History of a Legendary Guitar, p. 79). (#2130)
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