Vintage Gretsch Guitars

1962 Gretsch 6120 Double Cutaway non conforming to specs inquiry


Sam, when you have the guitar repaired, make sure that the tech makes note of the date codes on the potentiometers; if original they might further substantiate the time frame when this 6120 was made. Also, since these are open f-holes, can you peek inside (preferably with a mechanics mirror) and tell us if you see any kind of bracing connecting the guitars top to the back? Perhaps you could put the camera of a very slim cell phone through the f-hole?

I think this is a prototype/experimental 6120; while this can't be conclusively proved, it's at least as likely as it being a custom- order.

1) Body depth. Standard for these was 2"; this one is 2.25". We've seen the 6113 proto-Tennessean with this same body depth. If a customer wanted more of an acoustic response, would he have asked for only 1/4" more body depth? Maybe. Maybe not.

2) The lack of binding strips that DuoJet55 spotted. This seems too much a departure from the standard version as a customer request, but does make more sense as a preliminary iteration to the standard model. Were the 6120 double-cuts engineered/made before the double-cut Gents?

Gretsch was already making a radical departure with the sealed-top, double-cut design. It makes sense to me that there would be early iterations which would then be sent out into the marketplace.

Oh yeah, there's that weird heel cap too. Ed's 6120 book arrives next week.


Every now and again something crops up on these pages that really it out of the norm. This is one of those interesting times.

It looks to me like the neck has been off, or is about to come off. There seems to be a gap under the 4-ply heel cap and where the binding strips are missing it looks as though some Flagstaff Red chewing gum has been wadged in there .

Sam, is there any movement on the neck?

– Deke Martin

Deke, yes Sir, there is neck movement that renders this guitar unplayable. The owner retired it from service years ago because of this situation. I suppose the first step forward with this project is to address the neck joint, and fit the neck angle to an original or reproduction of original bridge. I am not informed how Gretsch guitars were designed and constructed. Now were it an old Martin, I could understand what procedure would be best to perform... here, I do not have a clue. Some confined finish restoration at the neck joint is obviously required. An earlier post reported some binding was missing in this jointed area.


Lx... to answer your question about what came first, double-cut 6122 or 6120, the answer is that they basically occurred simultaneously.

Earliest double-cut 6120 I've documented is at the very end of the last batch of 50 single cutaway examples (mid-way through #446xx). The earliest double-cutaway Gent occurs at the very next batch which makes up the the 50 guitars at the back end of the #446xx serial numbers.


The placement of these is simply too awkward; however, if you were to remove one of the tuners you would be able to tell that they were original if there are no other holes -- which there would be if it came with the standard Waverly open-back tuners.

If the original owner wanted Imperial tuners, Gretsch probably would have accomodated them by using a longer headstock. But this whole guitar is unusual -- it wouldn't take long to remove one of the Grovers to find out.

– lx

lx and all interested: thanks for these inquiries. I called the owner and asked him to remove a tuner and look for additional holes underneath their footprint. He found small drilled holes that never had screws fitted. The holes have no thread pattern within the cavities. I suppose the hardware department received the head stock with pilot holes for Waverly tuner screws, and then fitted the Grovers. He made some photos with his phone and I will post them in a few days. Please stay tuned.... Sam


Drilled holes, no threads - of course.

This thread gets better with every posting.

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