A highly playable, inimitable piece of music history! This one sounds so good you'll forget what year it is ;)
A truly classic instrument transported to our showroom from the golden years of rock and country. It plays and sounds lovely and the pickup configuration has a huge range of tonal color to offer. I was able to dial in tones that were appropriate for jazz, country, and really any style a killer clean tone might be needed for. It is very responsive and a pleasure to play in both flat picking and finger picking styles. The neck is great for quickly grabbing some unconventional chord shapes as well. This guitar needs a home with a player looking for that classic Chet Atkins Nashville tone in a vintage and well-playing package.*
*Condition: This guitar has been re-fretted and had a neck heel repair job. Its mute pad has degraded over time.
The Gretsch 6120 was an instant classic from the day it was introduced. To many players, it is the definitive Gretsch guitar.
At its 1955 introduction, the 6120 cost $385 and sported a wagonload of western decorations: cow’s heads and cactus etchings in the block markers, a big G brand on the top and more. It was the first in the “Chet Atkins” line of signature Gretsch guitars.
In ‘58, the half-moon or “neoclassic” markers common to most Gretsches were introduced. The DeArmond pickups were discontinued in favor 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”, and Duane Eddy was the only person he knew who got a good tone out of them.
The fake f-hole, thinline, double cutaway Electrotone body guitar of ‘62 was a completely different beast than previous 6120s. The price was up to $495, which bought you the all-new body, complete with a padded back, which conveniently hid the big access hole in the back. The signpost disappeared after ‘62, but a standby switch and muffler appeared, so if a guitarist got bored without anything to look at, he could always twiddle his knobs.
Some confusion exists over the difference between a Nashville and Chet Atkins 6120. In a nutshell, there isn’t much. The Nashville name was arbitrarily stuck on the 6120, beginning in 1966. There’s no difference between the guitars. It’s just a name, but it came in handy when Atkins pulled his endorsement.
Like most Gretsches, 6120s began changing dramatically after the Baldwin Piano and Organ company took over Gretsch in ‘67. By ‘70 the 6120 was wearing the squared-off pickguard common to the Baldwin era. In 1972, the model designation was changed to 7660.
In the modern era the 6120 was one of the first guitars to be revived, and the 6120 line quickly expanded to include a wide range of new models and variations. The Brian Setzer signature collection, in particular, was a very popular revamp of the classic 6120 formula, and it significantly raised Gretsch’s profile during the rebuilding years of the 90s.