Modern Gretsch Guitars

Mysterious 6120 - Setzer or Atkins or something else?

1

I just bought my first Gretsch, used from a local guitar store. The store was selling it as a Brian Setzer model, which is what it (almost) looks like, but I noticed that the model number was G6120TM. This is where the mystery comes in.

The guitar looks exactly like a G6120SSx, Brian Setzer Nashville model, except all the hardware is gold, including the Bigsby vibrato. I sent the serial number to Gretsch, which starts JT1202, and they kindly sent me back the specs for that guitar - the specs for a Chet Atkins Tiger Maple. It's definitely a (very nice) Tiger Maple but it otherwise looks like a Setzer.

It has dice knobs, (gold) TV Jones Setzer-signature pickups, pickguard with Setzer signature and the word Nashville above the word Gretsch. It has (gold) Sperzel tuners though there is a small hole next to each tuner meant for a different style (and I can't tell if the holes have ever been used).

The fretboard has the half-moon markers on the side, and not the Western motif that the specs state. There is also a thin support block going from the front to the back under the bridge.

When I again got in touch with Gretsch, pointing out the differences and wondering if the factory could have made a mistake, I was simply told that that was all the info they had and that the factory doesn't make mistakes.

So it appears that either the factory made a Setzer instead of an Atkins without changing the model number, or a previous owner invested a lot of money to convert an Atkins to a (gold) Setzer Nashville. The latter scenario seems unlikely because that means that they had to have changed out the fretboard since the serial number on the head matches the serial number in the body. Oh yeah, it has a serial number on the back of the head but no Setzer signature there.

Anyone know something about these 2012 models that might help me solve this mystery?

Incidentally, I'm not at all unhappy with this guitar - it looks and sounds great. Just wondering about the history of it.

Thanks, Pete

2

It will really help if you post a few photos.

3

Neither a Setzer or 6120TM have western motif. Sounds like someone dressed up a 6120TM to look like a 6120SSL.

4

Thanks for the responses.

Photo attached now that I've found the button.

Here's the reference to the fretboard markers from the specs for this particular guitar (according to the Gretsch database): Model Name: G6120TM, Chet Atkins Hollow Body (Tiger maple) Model Number: 2401250850 Colors: (2401250850) Tiger Maple Orange Stain, (G6120TM) Unique Features: Aged Pearloid Blocks with Western Motif Inlaid Position Markers, Curly Maple Headstock Overlay, Horseshoe Headstock Inlay, Bound Fingerboard, Multiple Body Bindings

5

Gretsch printed guitar specs have always be suspect at best. The Bigsby is wrong for either guitar. Setzer would be chrome. TM would be gold V-cut. If that's a bar bridge, original to neither. Setzer pups are chrome(nickle?). Looks like a TM with replaced guard, TRC, tuners, Bigsby, dice knobs, and bridge.

Sounds like someone couldn't leave well enough alone. Come on...fess up. This had to belong to someone here.

6

I agree with Charlie's assessment. It's a TM that someone had modded to look like a Setzer model. Likely someone got a good deal on a TM and decided to mod it into the guitar they really wanted. Is there a sound post inside, or trestle bracing?

7

I agree with Charlie's assessment. It's a TM that someone had modded to look like a Setzer model. Likely someone got a good deal on a TM and decided to mod it into the guitar they really wanted. Is there a sound post inside, or trestle bracing?

– built4speed

Ah! Trestle bracing. Now that's the big tell.

8

Welcome pete. Whatta great guitar! Congrats. Love the mods

9

I also agree with Charlie. While the factory may not make mistakes (snicker) the specs -- both in print and on the web -- often do. TMs never came with western stuff.

10

Thanks for all the responses! It sounds like someone may have put a lot of work, and money, into it. The one other thing I know about it is that the case was exposed to a lot of cigarette smoke, which I'm working on, but if the guitar was used for gigging it was well taken care of - the finish looks perfect to me.

11

That's a classic case of someone (who happens in this instance to be a heavy smoker) modding a 6120TM to suit themselves better. While I'm not a smoker I have changed my SSLVO to suit ME better - no pickguard, plain truss rod cover, V-cut Bigsby, Gibson TOM bridge, regular Gretsch knobs... Basically I wanted it to look as much like a regular Gretsch as possible. And I love the V-cut Bigsby in polished aluminium. I really don't like gold hardware.


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