6120 Chet Atkins Hollow Body (Brian Setzer version) Guitars

1960 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins Hollow Body (Brian Setzer version)

Color: Western Orange, Rating: 9.00, $9,500.00 (ID# 02004)
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An Exceptionally Fine 1960 Gretsch 6120 a la Brian Setzer…


1960 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins Hollow Body (Brian Setzer version).


This 'third-version' "Holy Grail of Gretsches" weighs just 7.40 lbs. and has a nice wide nut width of just under 1 11/16 inches and a scale length of 24 1/2 inches. Fifteen and a half inch wide, two and a half inch deep double-bound laminated maple body with two double-bound 'f' holes. Three-piece maple neck with two ebony center strips and a very comfortable medium profile. Brazilian rosewood fretboard with original bone nut, zero fret, twenty-two frets and inlaid pearloid hump-top block position markers. The frets have been expertly replaced with the correct .08 gauge fretwire. Pearloid plastic, horse-shoe headstock inlay set into a mahogany-stained, maple peghead overlay. Inlaid mother-of-pearl Gretsch "T-roof" logo and two layer (black on white) dome shaped plastic truss-rod cover with three screws. Gold-plated Grover StaTite open-back tuners with small oval metal buttons. Two Gretsch 'Patent Applied For' Filtertron 'humbucking' pickups, the neck pickup with an output of 4.02k. and the bridge pickup with an output of 3.97k. Gold lucite pickup surrounds with some small repaired cracks at corners. 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). Three volume controls (one for each pickup plus master volume control), one three-way pickup selector switch and one three-way tone switch. Gold-plated "Arrow-through-G" knobs with cross-hatch pattern on sides. Gretsch 'Space Control' bridge on original rosewood base and non-plated aluminum V-Style Bigsby B3 vibrato tailpiece with pivoting arm. Rectangular Gretsch label inside bass 'f' hole with Model "6120" written in black ink and Serial No. "34545" stamped in black. Careful examination under ultra-violet light shows a very slight line around the neck joint at the heel possibly suggesting a professional neck-reset but I may be being over cautious as the line is so thin… The guitar has been expertly re-fretted and again under ultra violet light one can see slight finish wear on the treble-side of the neck by the first three frets only. This guitar really is in exceptionally fine (9.00) condition with just the tiniest amount of belt buckle rash on the back. Housed in the original Gretsch four-latch, white 'Western' shaped hardshell case with stamped brown leather edges and dark plum plush lining (9.00).

"In the second batch (#337xx) of the 1960 model year, which also originated several Brian Setzer-owned specimens, including the famous "Steve Miller" guitar #33767, the 6120s model's body depth was reduced by a quarter of an inch to 2.5". This batch also contains 6121 solidbody examples that were similarly outfitted with the B3-sized, V-style Bigsby unit… Specimens from the following batch (#341xx) are elusive, which suggests that this is another example of one of the few 50-unit batches. The features are unchanged from the prior group and, in fact, carry over some of the figured grain bodies, although the examples found in this batch typically have a more subtle grain pattern. This is also a batch where there are several soecimens documented with five-piece necks… Another benificiary of the "Setzer affect" is the #345xx batch, which claims two representatives in Setzers stable of vintage 6120s, and is a popular group with collectors." (Edward Ball. Gretsch 6120 The History of a Legendary Guitar, p. 114).

"The success of Gibson's new Les Paul guitar...alerted other manufacturers, including Gretsch, to the value of a 'signature' model endorsed by a famous player...Around 1954 Jimmie Webster succeeded in securing talented Nashville-based country guitarist Chet Atkins for this role, a move that in time would completely turn around Gretsch's fortunes. After various discussions and meetings between the company and the guitarist, the Gretsch Chet Atkins Hollow Body 6120 model appeared in 1955. Atkins wasn't keen on the Western paraphernalia that Gretsch insisted on applying to the guitar...but relented because he was so keen to get a signature guitar on to the market. In fact, the decorations on the Hollow Body model were gradually removed over the following years" (Tony Bacon, Electric Guitars: The Illustrated Encyclopedia, pp. 165-166).

"The Model 6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbody electric premiered in 1954, priced at $385 and destined to become one of the company's most popular models, the 6120 enjoyed immediate success and three decades later would be resurrected and revered by the guitar-playing community as one of two most desired Gretsch models. It was first displayed on the inside front cover of the 1955 catalog, in full color, beneath its solidbody sibling the Model 6121 Chet Atkins Solidbody electric. The 6120 is 15 1/2-inches-wide -- not 16-inches as indicated in the catalog -- like the previously mentioned Model 6190 Streamliner, 2 2/3-inches-deep and is finished in what the catalog called Amber Red but what has come to be known, among the cogniscenti [sic], as Western Orange. The very earliest models appear as a ruddy orange-brown but most 6120s present as a deep, vibrant orange. (Jay Scott, The Guitars of the Fred Gretsch Company, p. 66).

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