Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Another fake 6120 S/N to watch out for!


With the other thread exposing a conversion as a 6120, here's another one to be on the watch for if you ever see it. I ran across it in a guitar shop in Vancouver, BC this past Spring. I contacted Ed with the S/N and he said he knew of this particular guitar being a fake. The S/N is 17838 which his book shows is from a batch of '56 Streamliners. Pretty guitar and plays well but isn't a 6120!!

Ed knew of this guitar being in the states but back in the Spring was here in Vancouver. The shop owner is a retired musician with ongoing connections in LA along with a "vault" of vintage guitars there, some of which he brings here.

Here's what Ed had to say about it: *"....the #178xx batch isn't even a group of 6120's, it's a group of '56 Streamliners (red flag!).  This guitar (17838) is actually a known conversion (or fake depending on the creators intension).  I've attached photos of the guitar from when WarpDrive Music had it for a sale awhile back.  It's not a bad conversion, although the Bigsby is all wrong (needs to be a fixed-arm model).  The pick guard is a poor reproduction.  Not sure what the black spacers are under the pickups.  Changed bridge.  The lack of a brass nut is another red flag."

"As it stands, this guitar is a worth in the $1500-1800 range.  It's just a flashy looking player... very little "collector" value."*


We should get these SNs in the database for posterity.


So Dave..., did you inform the shop owner of this guitar being a known fake?

– Don Butler aka: Toneman

No I didn't. I found out 'officially' that it was a fake 6120 after I got home and emailed Ed. He already knew about this guitar from it's Streamliner batch S/N and it's last known location, which was in a music shop in Minnesota, and in certain circles, known to be a fake 6120.

When I was playing the guitar, which played beautifully and sounded just right, but not with all the correct features, I asked the owner what the price was and he replied: "You know what these are going for these days. I have one guy who's thinking about it." He didn't quote a price because IMO, he wanted the buyer to make an opening [for possible negotiation] offer and go from there. By doing that, he could avoid a case of fraud because he wasn't saying the guitar was specifically anything, and therefore worth such and such. Legally, it's clearly a case of caveat emptor if the buyer paid a high vintage 6120 price for what's clearly a conversion and claimed he was cheated.

The guitar wasn't displayed but was in its case and handed to me to play - I was doing some fingerpicking on a mid-'60's Tenny. This avoided having to put a label on it with the price and a model designation. Too many things had a bad odor about this guitar.

His prices for vintage Gretsches are always high and are labelled and hung up on display but not this one and if it were on the up and up it would be labelled and displayed. He'd want as many to see it as possible so if someone showed interest but didn't shell out right there, he could use the fact that it being on display, got a lot of interest, which would be true, and first guy with the cash gets it. If he had this for sale for say around $2K and clearly labelled it as a Streamliner conversion to [some] 6120 specs/finish, I don't this other fellow, assuming there really was someone thinking about it, would've balked at the price and bought it. I tend to believe he was trying to leverage me by saying there was someone else interested. If someone were thinking about it, I tend to think it's because the price was for big bucks. Call me a cynic but I just got that vibe.

I'll let someone else put a label on this seller, but you can gather what I think would be appropriate.



What a weasel to have thought of all that.

My guess is that he got burned and is trying to recoup his losses.


What a weasel to have thought of all that.

On the other hand, one might apply Hanlon's razor here. Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.


Windsordave, you are doing a public service by making sure that people know that this guitar may not be what it appears to be at first glance.

That being said, I cringed when I read you quoting our own KCEddieB. Just wondering if you had cleared with him that you were going to post his verbatim remarks on this guitar on a public forum like this? He may have intended, or at least assumed, those remarks to be shared only with you. Hopefully, you got his clearance in advance and my worries are needless.


If I was to spend the going price for a 58-61 6120, I'd do a bunch of research on it before shelling out one quid/dollar. Ed's book would be my first stop!


I started this thread as a public service. And I did it for a few reasons. This dealer is a former touring musician - not famous by any means, but very well connected. With this guitar at some earlier point having been for sale in a US music store, to me, it's "making the rounds."

And to Guitarcapo's comment, this guy could never get taken. He's sharp as a tack regarding guitars and equipment. He doesn't need the money as he told me a few years back so he can afford to sit on vintage stuff till he gets his price. His daily business is in moderate priced acoustic and electric guitars. He does vintage business in LA and here in Vancouver and I surmise his connections brought him into contact with this guitar at some point.

While a nice Streamline conversion, it's a fake 6120.

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