Vintage Gretsch Guitars

60’ies DC 6120 - Neck issues?

1

Well, thread title should explain it all, but after reading about about neck resets en masse on earlier SC 6120s, how stable are the DCs that followed?

2

Probably not much different really... the glue was part of the problem. Seen plenty of single cut Gretsch w/ neck probs... but hey double cut guys..neck set problems on Rallys and Streamliners?

3

I used to have a mid-'60s one back in the late '80s. Took it on at least three tours of northern Norway during the winter, but after the neck almost fell off, I didn't dare bringing it on the road anymore. I had the neck reset, and later sold it. (I couldn't afford having many guitars as a touring musician. These days, having a proper job, I'd gladly play more and have fewer guitars. No - wait, the part about "fewer guitars" isn't quite true, LOL...)

I always thought it was the cold, dry climate that caused the neck problems, but thanks to the knowledge on these pages I know it wasn't entirely my fault.

Anders

4

We've had a fair few DC 6120s and Gents come and go from/stay in the family. They consistently have had good to great necks.

By contrast I have a 1960 Anniversary that needs its 3rd reset and a 56 Streamliner which needed a reset within a year of an initial reset it had. It's all anecdotal, YMMV and such, but 60s models have always been far more reliable for me. The best neck on any guitar I have ever had is a 65 6120 that I otherwise bought in pieces in 1884.

5

I had a '64 Gent and the neck was perfect, not a hint of an issue with the neck joint or for that matter, any other part of that guitar. Quality of build was very high.

6

Not much experience here, but for what it's worth:

1965 Tennessean. Case queen. Rarely came out of the case for forty years. I know this to be true because I have owned it the whole time. It needed a neck reset when I resumed playing.

1967 Monkees. Case queen. It allegedly sat in the case for 40 years as well. I say allegedly because it was not mine during that period and I cannot confirm it. The neck set is still great.

7

Haha - so the verdict is that there is no real verdict?

Anyway, thanks for the input so far

8

I have a 1963 6120 (for 3 years now). No neck joint trouble at all, though my luthier said the neck is very straight and may need work to restore the bow some day.

9

I have two '60s 6120s––a '64 and a '68. No neck issues whatsoever.

PaulFF909

10

My early 66 has no issues....yet,i've owned it for 28 years.

11

I think neck set issues are few and far between with the double cuts and/or thinlines, though not unheard of. I think the is likely due to the use of a mortise and tenon joint. The full depth single cutaways with dovetail joints are the ones prone to problems. From what I've seen, the mortises weren't cut any cleaner, but apparently the increased gluing surface makes them more forgiving. Whatever the reason, they rarely seem to fail.

12

And a pattern is forming

13

I think neck set issues are few and far between with the double cuts and/or thinlines, though not unheard of. I think the is likely due to the use of a mortise and tenon joint. The full depth single cutaways with dovetail joints are the ones prone to problems. From what I've seen, the mortises weren't cut any cleaner, but apparently the increased gluing surface makes them more forgiving. Whatever the reason, they rarely seem to fail.

– Afire

I've wondered if in my situation (see post #6) if the cases made a difference? The case for the Tennessean is deeper than the one for the Monkees. Assuming that both were laying on their backs for 40 years inside different depth cases, I wonder if the resting angle contributed to the Tenny needing a reset rather than double cut vs single cut being the issue?

14

I would think that the issue for 60's double cuts would be binding rot --neck joint "issues" would've been successfully dealt with at this point. The "guitar boom" that Dan Duffy recounts (roughly after the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Shows) had the most problems that we currently see with Gretshes of that era -- that is to say-- binding rot. That is all arbitrary when you consider the guitar and the various climates/circumstances its been through. A fine double cut 6120 (or gent/whatever) can be had for a decent sum if you want to put up with the issues that a vintage model has: binding rot that will set you back $1K or whatnot. If you just want an axe to fill your quiver go modern; if ":mojo" tone, history, etc. mean anything to your creative endeavors, find what feels right to you and go forth. Dave Rawlings (IIRC) found the right vintage Epiphone and suddenly people are interested in those models and hadn't been for decades. Modern Gretsch has been quite responsive to consumer demand and have delivered quality product; something that was quite spotty in the past. The best double cut I've encountered was a '63 6120 and I'd be happy to find more. Happy New Years.

15

I love vintage guitars and have owned a 67 6120 in the past. However, I don't think any "mojo" (God, how I hate that word--it has been so overused in marketing!) can be associated with tone--I find it highly unlikely that many of us could hear the difference between a recorded vintage 6120 and a recorded modern TV Jones equipped 6120. I'll concede the argument about history, patina, and overall "cool." But none of my modern Gretsch guitars have required neck resets or refrets...


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