Modern Gretsch Guitars

Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120, 1957 - The Eddie Cochran Guitar

1

So I was curious who all has the Gretsch Chet Atkins guitar that was nothing more than the Eddie Chochran guitar. I happen to have one and I love it. I wonder if the Eddie Cochran signature guitar is exactly the same other than the pickguard. Do you all know if there were any real changes besides that?

Scott

2

It looks like you have the 6120w-57, the earlier "unofficial" replica. Apart from the Bigsby and pick guard, the sig model has a 9" radius fretboard and no tone post. That's about it for differences.

3

Do you know what all is different other than Chets name being removed and Eddies being added?

4

Radius and tone-post vs. no tone-post can be significant differences to some.

5

Also, I think Billy Zoom is right. It's actually better to have the P90 in the bridge and the Dyna in the neck. Dynas have more clarity and snap down low. P90s have that special bristle in the trebles. What did Eddie know...

6

FMIC also went to the gold bigsby on the new authorized Eddie Cochran signature guitar. I have a 2000 model, which was before Chet Atkins family brought his name back to Gretsch so my pickguard simply has "Nashville" on the signpost. Also, mine has the silver bigsby but with the black enamel on it whereas it looks like yours is just silver. And mine has the silkscreened G brand, which is the only thing I wish was different. I like the look of the routed G. Oh well. I love mine!

7

Also, I think Billy Zoom is right. It's actually better to have the P90 in the bridge and the Dyna in the neck. Dynas have more clarity and snap down low. P90s have that special bristle in the trebles. What did Eddie know...

– Strummerson

I also agree with this because I like to get a clear, spanky and funky sound out of the neck pickup but when you listen to Eddie Cochran I understand why he chose to put the P90 in the neck. He was going for that warm, more traditional jazz tone.

8

Yup, as I recall based on what I've read an acquaintance of Eddie's, can't remember who, said Eddie liked the tone Johnny Smith was putting down at the time. Supposedly he liked to be able to switch from warm to twangy jangle depending on what he was playing. I like to be able to do that as well.

9

Nick, I have the same one you have, but a March ’01 model. What’re your last three digits? Mine are 107.

FWIW I actually prefer the printed G. The decal G they used on the other pre-FMIC 6120s is gross, but the silk screened version they used on the W1957 is very different and pretty cool. My bug bears with it are the big flamey headstock and the blingy white binding.

10

Thats awesome, I think I remember connecting with you about that on this site in the early 2000's. I can't remember what my handle was back then but I sort of stopped visiting the site for a few years for some reason. Then when I came back I had to sign up again. I'll check out the serial number when I get home and will get back to you. Glad you still have it! Lots of temptation over the years to "upgrade" to the new FMIC models, but I love mine too much to do that.

11

Indeed. While I kinda wish I had one or two of the cooler features I also kinda like the fact ours are part of what was ultimately a limited run.

12

Remember: Eddie played a Gretsch Chet Atkins model. He added the P90, but it was a Chet Atkins guitar.

13

So it’s kinda like a cover of a cover. Ha! Just kidding. Isn’t there a pic of him where his guitar has tape over the Chet signpost? Then is it true he sanded the pick guard so it wouldn’t have Chet’s name on it at all? I can’t remember the folklore behind that. It’s been a while since I’ve read “Never Forget Me”. Good book though. Deke I had no idea they had decals for some of those. That does sound horrid. I checked my serial number, the end is “-74”. Does that make it the 74th one made that year? Any idea how many they made of our “limited run”?

14

Well, I don’t know for sure they were decals, but the standard 6120W of the time had much sharper edges to the G and it had the little tail between the G and the underline. Ours are softer edged and have no tail.

The 74 indicates the 74th of that model, but I don’t think it’s year specific. I think it was total.

15

Curiously, I think my bridge on my 6120W57 is not compensated for an unwound G. Which you'd think would be a given on an Eddie Cochran guitar. Deke is yours compensated? How about the new FMIC Eddie Cochran models?

16

I think mine is plain G comp, but I’d need to check it out to be sure.

18

Scott, while Uncle Daddy has correctly ID'd your guitar as being pre-Cochran Family endorsed, Nick's and my guitar pre-date even that. Our guitars are pre-FMIC; Nick's is 2000, mine is 2001. So ours don't have the Chet Atkins sig, nor many of the huge improvements FMIC made when they came onboard. They are still great guitars, but, like yours, they fall into a kind of no-man's-land of history.

The current EC models are fully fledged and have been/will be around a goodly while. Nick and I have the 1st Generation - almost prototype - version, and you have the 2nd Generation - almost there - version.

19

I can still remember how excited I was to get mine. At the time (2000), I was torn between a Setzer signature and a Duane Eddy Guild. When the Eddie Cochran model came out my decision was easy. In my opinion it was the best of the Gretsch 6120 models at the time and looking back I'd say it certainly pointed to the direction Gretsch ended up going. Just look how far they've come from the late 90's to now! The shop had three of them in stock that I got to play and choose from. Scott, another difference to note between mine and the current models is mine has an ebony fretboard. The current sig model has the more period correct rosewood. I can't tell what you have by looking at your picture. It doesn't look as black as ebony but that could be the lighting. Also, if you want to get real particular, mine has the butter knife flatter bigsby handle whereas the new models have the "vintage wide" handle which looks more correct, even if they're not fixed like Eddie's was. On a side note, I tried the fixed handle on mine for about a year and switched back to the moveable handle. So is this a new purchase of yours?

20

Not a new purchase of mine. I got it back in 2006ish as a last minute purchase when another guitar wasn't available. I thought I would take my chances on it. I really dig P90s and thought, a Gretsch with a P90 how could go wrong? :)

I posted this picture on my Instagram yesterday and it inspired me to take it out again and play it through an amp I have never tried it on. I think it went well! This sucker sounds awesome through a Marshall Class 5.

21

I have one, a 2004 that I bought here from a GDP member about 6 years ago. I love it, I really dig using the P90 at home and I mostly use the bridge pup if I'm doing band stuff, sometimes switching between the middle and neck too. I do love a p90 in the bridge position as well but I think this config works really well, and looks very cool with the black dog ear in the neck position. I put a black glass Tru-Arc on mine, had a T-Armond in the bridge for a bit but put the stock dyna back in.

22

One thing to note, at least on my 2004, if you replace just one of the pickups, you either need a reverse wound or do the wires the opposite way so the middle won't be out of phase.

23

Sounds good through the Marshall! Its amazing the range of sounds that can be pulled from this one guitar.

24

Sounds good through the Marshall! Its amazing the range of sounds that can be pulled from this one guitar.

– Rockabilly_Nick

I agree. I took it to a jam a few years back and that was the guitar I played most of the night

25

Here's mine. It's a 2005. I stripped the gold off everything, changed the tuners to nickel, and bought a repro arm made in the UK because Bigsby was not making the Vintage handle at the time. It's a great guitar and the radius is 9.5".


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