Modern Gretsch Guitars

6122-1959 vs. G6122T-59GE Vintage Select

1

Hey all, I am new here. I'm a big Chet fan and I have been seriously considering one of the CGs that Paul Yandell designed with Gretsch. From the research I have done, the Nashville Classic became the 6122-1959 CG in 2007, but was discontinued a few years back and replaced with a guitar that seems to me to be nearly identical: https://www.sweetwater.com/... http://gretschpages.com/gui...

Here is the old one: https://www.sweetwater.com/... http://gretschpages.com/gui...

Has anybody played both of these or owned both of these? Is this newer G6122T-59GE the same spec as the original "Nashville Classic" outlined here? http://www.misterguitar.us/... 1959 It seems like it is almost exactly the same, but I want to make sure I am not overlooking anything important

I got a chance to play a G6122T-59GE today at Sweetwater (full disclosure, I work there) and it was pretty fantastic. I have been trying to convince myself that a G5420 would be sufficient as my "Chet Style" electric guitar, but the more I compare the Electromatic to the Made in Japan stuff, the more I am drawn to the "real thing"

2

The 6122-59 is the only Gretsch model with a 1.75" neck width at the nut, which matters to many Chet/fingerstyle players. It also has only one pup volume control, not one for each. Good as the 5420 may be, it most certainly doesn't have the classy visual looks of Chet's Gent. Not a big deal but it comes with the Chet arm as well. Go big or go home.

3

I have a 6122-1959 Nashville Classic plus some other Gretsches. It stands out in my opinion because of the neck, tone, etc. and is basically the same guitar as the new version. Mine has waffle bracing. New ones may have trestle bracing (?). The 5420 is a well liked guitar, but it is different from the 6122-1959.

You already stated that you are drawn to the ‘real thing’. Therefore, IMO you will not be satisfied without the 6122-1959 whether it be an older or newer one.

4

I recently reviewed the same.

The newer version is lacquer and has the old style Squeezebox capacitors.

It also has a pair of SuperTrons whereas the earlier has a TV Jones Plus Ht in the bridge position.

5

"It also has a pair of SuperTrons whereas the earlier has a TV Jones Plus Ht in the bridge position."

Huh?? I've never seen or heard of a Gent having 2 Supertrons. As I recall, the Viking was the only model with 2 Supertrons. The Gretsch website shows the usual for this model: A pair of TV's with a Supertron for the neck and F'tron/humbucker for the bridge.

7

Update: pulled the trigger today on the Open box demo G6122T-59GE Vintage Select Country Gentleman at Sweetwater. Seems like all of the small changes on the new model are only improvements (at least IMO) like the nitro finish. Happy with the choice over the previous model and very happy with the choice over an Electromatic. This is THE Chet guitar. Go big or go home.

Thanks for all of the insight thus far. I have been continually confused about the pickups though. When comparing bridge vs neck pup on both the old and new models, they clearly look different. The neck looks like rail pole pieces and the bridge is screws. It seems the neck is the same. What is the difference between the bridge pups: TV Jones Plus Ht (from old model) and the Super'Tron Classic Plus (in the new one) if any?

Regardless of what pickups are in it... the TV Jones pups in any of the pro-line Gretschs I tried vs. the G5420/Electromatics were a shocking difference. Higher output, way more open highs and deeper/tighter lows. I bet that an Electromatic would sound pretty darn similar if the same pups were thrown in both guitars... I'd imagine it is a common upgrade.

Thanks again!

8

"It also has a pair of SuperTrons whereas the earlier has a TV Jones Plus Ht in the bridge position."

Huh?? I've never seen or heard of a Gent having 2 Supertrons. As I recall, the Viking was the only model with 2 Supertrons. The Gretsch website shows the usual for this model: A pair of TV's with a Supertron for the neck and F'tron/humbucker for the bridge.

– Windsordave

The Streamliners from the late 60's had a pair of Supertrons also, along with the Monkees model that was the same guitar with additional badging. Those were really hot Supertrons from that era. Chet's 59 had the earlier more mellow version.

9

Congrats on stepping up and getting the holy grail model. Rest assured, you're being a big Chet fan, I just know you'd eventuallybegin hungering for this guitar if you'd bought the Electromatic.

The Supertron has blades which don't have the individual adjustment of the screws in the F'tron. Both pups are humbuckers as they have 2 rows in each pup. This being the combination of pups that Chet liked, Gretsch recreated it for this model of Gent and use the finest pups available , that being TV's.

10

Looking at all of the bridge position humbuckers that TV Jones makes, there isn’t one that looks like the bridge position in either of these 6122-1959 models. The Supertrons appear to all have the rail pole pieces, so there’s no way the bridge could be that regardless of what the specs say for the newer model on various sites.

The bride pup doesn’t look like the classics or the power’trons either, unless the cover is just different?

The Paul Yandell FAQ page talks about how Chet had the bridge pickup re-wound at one point for higher output. The reissue isn’t a custom pup specifically for the guitar, right?

I figure since I work at Sweetwater, I could get to the bottom of this by contacting Gretsch.. I enjoy and appreciate every bodie’s thoughts and opinions on this so far . This is a great community and I am surprised by the amount of feedback from 1 day!

11

You did the right thing with getting the real thing. I actually have both the guitars you are discussing. It comes down to preference but I do in fact prefer the shorter scale of the 5420. But like the wider nut of the 6122-1959. The best pickups and resulting tone, that is purely 6122-1959, it sounds worlds better than the 5420 (stock so far). You got the guitar re-imagined by Paul Yandell, who knew Chet's preferences better than anyone. My feeling is he did Chet players a huge service by taking the time and using his expertise to do this, and anyone in the position to buy one of these guitars that wants to play Chet songs, should do just that, as you did.

12

Others have noted the main distinctives of these models: -neck width (the most important feature) -wiring configuration -pickups (I’m not clear from above... does the new version have different pickups?)

One difference I see between the old and new is the tuners. My 2003 has these enormous stepped tuners. The new version has butter beans?

Fantastic guitar... enjoy!

13

Yeah, the bridge pickup obviously is not a SuperTron. As is so frequently the case, the website specs are just wrong. It is a custom pickup for this model, an overwound FilterTron in a HiloTron cover (because that's what eventually wound up on Chet's guitar for some reason). I don't know if the actual winding specs are the same as a PowerTron, PowerTron+ or something else, but whatever it is, I'm sure you could get one from TV Jones.

14

Others have noted the main distinctives of these models: -neck width (the most important feature) -wiring configuration -pickups (I’m not clear from above... does the new version have different pickups?)

One difference I see between the old and new is the tuners. My 2003 has these enormous stepped tuners. The new version has butter beans?

Fantastic guitar... enjoy!

– jalexanderdixon

I think the switch to the butterbeans was Paul's suggestion, since he said that's what Chet preferred. It seems to me that change was made about the same time as the name change in 2007 or so.

15

The Streamliners from the late 60's had a pair of Supertrons also, along with the Monkees model that was the same guitar with additional badging. Those were really hot Supertrons from that era. Chet's 59 had the earlier more mellow version.

– Falcon64

Thanks for the update. I'd forgotten about the Monkey's model but didn't recall the Streamline, with the Viking in the lineup.

16

Lots more good info, especially on the bridge pickup! Thanks!

Tonight is the first chance I’ve had to spend some time with the guitar, and it really is a joy to play. The tone is unlike any other electric guitar I own (this is my first Gretsch). I haven’t even run it through a real amp yet, only amp sims.

The benefits of the wider neck are apparent when comparing it to something like a Les Paul it Strat. I got curious and pulled out the digital calipers to check a few things. The actual string spacing (E to E) near the nut and in the right hand picking area closer to the bridge is quite similar to (actually a tiny bit wider than) my Gibson acoustics that I am the most used to playing.

I also checked the gauge of the strings since it wasn’t clear whether they were the stock strings or not. 11-49 with unwound G. I grabbed a few sets of strings with a wound G (11-49 and 12-52) that I am going to try out. I also have quite a few sets of the Gretsch brand pure nickel Chet strings that also have a wound G (11-49 I think). I am very used to acoustic string gauge/tension so I am curious to try the 12-52 set.

Overall I am pleased with the choice to go with the real deal. This is a very unique guitar, hard to put it down for sure

17

as ever, i'm upset that you guys forgot to mention the feet signature 6118 has two supertrons. though i like it, the bridge one is problematic, because of the radiused blades. it effects how close you can get it to the strings (hint: you want it very close) and i think a little material was shaved out from under it to make it fit right. as a result, the neck overpowers it a bit. which is fine with me because i'm a neck guy, but it makes the middle position very interesting. closer to a slimmer neck sound but with a fair bit of the old great gretsch sound mixed in. it also looks super bad ass and the ladies can't get enough.

as for the 6122 59, that's one of the "ones that got away" for me. a guy agreed to sell it to me at lunch, and i was going to come by for it after work. in the intervening hours, he posted it on ebay and it sold for less than i was going to give him. what an astonishingly stupid man. i ended up getting an amp that led me to the voxes that became my sound, but i never even sniffed a 6122 59 again. i didn't realize they made a new version. if i had to guess, i'd prefer the older one because that's what i almost had. the lacquer could be interesting, but the electronics are fungible and i'm wary of the new u neck vs the old shape, which i already like.

and after a fair bit of thought, i think i'd rather have a wider nut than a skinnier nut. i have it on some acoustics and i get around fairly well on them. and since i don't really play that way anyhow, with my low tunings, fat strings high tension and general ineptitude, the wider nut probably plays into my style a little better.

so good on you. hope to hear some videos and see pics and stuff. congrats.

18

Besides the differences noted above does anyone know about the frets? I believe the older 6122-59 Nashville Classic had "larger" frets than vintage as Chet supposedly desired. But the Gretsch info for the new 6122T-59 says they are Vintage Small - "ebony fingerboard with 22 vintage-style small frets."

Anyone know for sure if the frets are different (smaller) in the newest model? Thanks

19

I don’t know about the frets, but I’ll take the opportunity to be pedantic about the bridge pickup on the 6122-59.

It is a custom pickup for this model, an overwound FilterTron in a HiloTron cover (because that's what eventually wound up on Chet's guitar for some reason). I don't know if the actual winding specs are the same as a PowerTron, PowerTron+ or something else, but whatever it is, I'm sure you could get one from TV Jones.

That’s most of the story, but I remember from conversations circa 2009 with TV, Mike Lewis, and/or Paul Yandell that the Classic Plus HT is simply a TV Classic Plus in a HiLoTron case. So not as overwound as a PowerTron, but a bit hotter than a Classic. SuperTrons themselves aren’t much hotter than Classics, though the blade (or something) gives them (to my ear) a fuller, smoother sound.

If Chet indeed wanted a fatter sound at the bridge (as good anecdotal evidence says he did), and had his bridge pup slightly overwound - and if TV Classics are as close to Vintage ‘Trons as we all believe - then the Classic Plus ought to capture what Chet was after. (FWIW, I agree with Chet’s apparent sense that standard FilterTrons could sound a mite thin and spiky at the bridge, especially for clean playing with no hair around the tone.)

All of which makes the Classic PLUS, in my estimation (and that of pretty much everyone who plays a 6122-59 for a few minutes) a perfect complement to the lush, full SuperTron at the neck. Just enough rounder and warmer than a Classic to suit the luxury cruiser the ‘59 truly is.

The HiLoTron case makes it visually distinctive, and is presumably close to the way Chet’s ‘59 was customized, but has very little (if any) impact on the tone. It does make it a great point of confusion, however. And to my knowledge, the Classic Plus HT has only been used by Gretsch on the 6122-59 Chet model. So in that sense, it WAS a custom pickup just for the guitar - even if the custom-est part was just the HiLo case.

If the “new” Chet version does not have a Classic Plus at the bridge...then it’s not the same pickup complement as the previous version.

20

I agree with Proteus, the TV Jones Plus HT used in the bridge of the older 6122-59 is a Classic Plus in a HiLoTron case. And I would assume the latest 6122-59 also has a TV Jones Classic Plus in the bridge. But Gretsch’s current website description adds confusion by calling the bridge pickup a Super’Tron Classic Plus: “A pair of TV Jones® pickups—a Super’Tron Classic Plus bridge pickup and Super’Tron neck pickup.”

And even more confusing is the info under Electronics that has this: Bridge Pickup: TV Jones® Super'Tron™ Neck Pickup: TV Jones® Super'Tron™ Classic Plus

https://www.gretschguitars....

Of course, this would not be the first time a manufacturer’s website has incorrect specs. Which is why I am wondering about the frets on the new model being labeled Vintage Small.

It seems this model (repro of Chet’s original) started in 2003 as the 6122-59 Nashville Classic and became the Country Gentleman in 2007 when Chet’s name was associated with Gretsch again. At some point, the bracing changed from waffle to trestle and the tuner buttons were changed to Butterbeans. Apparently not much else changed until 2015/16 when the new G6122T-59GE Golden Era Edition model was announced. The Golden Era moniker was soon dropped because of an issue with Martin Guitars and the new line became the Vintage Select Edition. In any event, the newer G6122T-59 model has a few changes from the 2003-2007 era. I will attempt to list them here with the new model spec first:

Body Finish: Nitrocellulose/ Urethane

Bindings and Purfling: Aged White/ White

Neck: Standard U/ ?

Frets: Vintage Small/ Medium Jumbo?

Position Thumbnail Inlays: Aged Pearloid/ White

Pickguard: Gold Vintage Thick/ non-thick?

Capacitors: Squeezebox paper-in-oil/ ?

If any of this is not accurate or you have additional information please chime in, especially about the frets. I have two of the older 6122-59 models. Bought one new years ago and couldn't resist picking up a used one at a great price subsequently. They are great guitars - as you all know. I have been thinking of looking for one of the latest models used and sell one of my older ones. But if the frets are Vintage Small I am less interested. The other changes seem OK. I actually like the bright white bindings on the older models but could live with the change to aged white on the new model.

21

Here is another confirmation the Classic Plus is the bridge pickup in the G6122-59. From TV Jones website:

"Installing the TV Classic Plus with a Super’Tron paves the way for some serious Chet Atkins glory (check out his ‘59 Country Gentleman) but is also a wonderful combination that brings out some of the best sounds in our line (and secretly one of TV’s favorite combinations)."

22

I have a 2017 vintage select in hand at the moment. It's surprisingly light. The specs say "parallel bracing," which I assume is neither trestle nor waffle. The neck is thicker than I expected, and the neck pup is louder than the bridge, which I find surprising. I don't think that it has as much sustain as the 6122-1962 I once owned. I may send it back. I've never actually played any of the earlier 1959 models. LMark

23

The newest model seems to have some very nice upgrades, in particular, going away from these dam stark, screaming white bindings in favor of a mellow, aged ivory look. I'm in favor of the latest 6122-59 having a few things unique to it and that binding change is a good start, in the looks department. I like the smaller vintage frets too but I don't hearing the neck got thicker. Okay for Chet as he had large hands. I know because I [carefully!] got to shake his hand, something he didn't do often and it's very gingerly.

While I'm not in the market for the this very latest version, if one came up locally at a great price, I might snap it up and sell a few other guitars afterwards to fund it. And I can always get the neck taken down if it's too deep and/or chunky.

24

Well, since playing the vintage select (VS) more this evening, I've decided she's a keeper. * I must clarify that I do not know whether this neck is actually thicker than the previous reproductions of the '59 CG. I don't recall ever playing any other version. I can say that the neck on the VS is slightly larger than the one on my Epiphone Elitist CG, and is shaped differently. The Elitist has a shallow "U" shape, which appears to be what is called in fact a "D" shape. The VS has a slightly thicker neck, but it's not just a thicker "D." It's rounded a bit more. The VS neck is no "baseball bat." (It felt so at first because I've been playing a Tradition Tele copy, which has a super-thin neck.) Both fretboards are the same width. * The Elitist has a solid center block, of course. I had to take a peek inside the VS to satisfy my curiosity about the "parallel" bracing. The top is supported by parallel rails. But a square post (maybe 1-1/2"x3/4"--just a guess) spans the space between the top and back right under the bridge. It looks like hardwood to me. This seems consistent with the description of the inside of Chet's related by Paul Yandell and posted somewhere else on this board. The sustain seems a bit shorter than the pre-Fender 6122-1962 I had long ago. I assume the '62 had trestle bracing. But the sustain of both is much longer than the pre-Fender 6120-1960 that preceded the '62 in my collection. I had to abandon the 6120 because it had far to little sustain. * On the VS in my possession, I was surprised by the lack of volume on the bridge pickup. It ought to have been louder than the neck pup. But wide open, the neck pup was noticeably louder by itself than the bridge by itself. When I removed the bridge pup to peek inside, I discovered that it was insulated from the parallel braces by two soft-ish rubbery blocks on each end. When I replaced it, I did not tighten it quite as tightly. I also tightened the neck pup a little more. Now the bridge pup is closer to the strings and in the center position performs relative to the neck pup more like the descriptions I've read elsewhere. So, the pickups are actually adjustable after a fashion. It would be nice to have some taller rubber blocks in case the looser fit against the rubber insulators also reduces sustain. Of course I can screw it down tighter and raise the pole pieces instead. * I hope this helps the curious. Sorry I do not have an earlier version of the '59 CG in hand to A/B against the VS. -- L.

25

Just curious here; what is your opinion of your Epi Elitist CG, especially in comparison to your Gretsch?


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