Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Chet 6121 pickguard minutiae detail for vintage nerds

1

If you take this photo and expand it a bit you will see a very cool detail. The pick guard does not have a post. It has a “sign” with Chet’s name, and it’s somewhat large. However the traditional signpost guard we know is not here. This guard is likely one the first ever made for Chet.

2

This would also be the only 6121 I've encountered with a wedge-style guard, and not the normal tear-drop shape (with signpost). Kind of mutation, caught in mid-transition, from the Round-up wedge guard made out of tortoise celluloid and the new 6120/6121 gold Lucite(?) guards.

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This is the stuff I get into. Very cool!

4

Great eye for detail. Wonder where this guitar is today?

5

I love this stuff too. The details we're learning is amazing. I was not aware until yesterday that the Mahogany bodies were made of stacked billets and not a single slab. LX stated he has seen two and three pieces stacked for Jets.

6

And it's pretty likely that wherever this guitar ended up, the pickguard has since turned to dust. It seems that the painted wedge guards were made of clear celluloid. Biel had one in its last stages of disintegration. And I know I've seen at least one other from the same batch with the guard missing, presumably having suffered the same fate.

I've posted this before, but here's a picture of one of the first Gretsch guitars I ever saw in the flesh. I didn't know scat from Shinola at the time, and only years later when I stumbled across the picture did I notice the unusual guard - both shape and color (as well as the reneck). The pickguard was hanging in fine back then, but this would have been taken close to 30 years ago.

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Anyone else find it interesting that it has arrow knobs instead of plain ones? Perhaps some prototyping going on here, or a guitar that’s getting updates as they become available.

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I bet it’s a mid 54’ Guitar.

Gearing it up for the 55’ release.

9

More evidence of the transitional guards on Jets and their deterioration. This one is the from the #156xx batch.

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And here's one from slightly earlier... at batch #150xx.

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But I'll reiterate... by the time the 6121 debuted (#164xx batch) the wedge guards (painted celluloid) were already gone in favor of the teardrop gold ones. This is the earliest 6121 I've documented at #16453. I own one from this same batch and it's signpost guard has a white etched image as well.

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Here's mine which is a few serial numbers later... note the damage to the gold finish from the outgassing of the Dyna spacer.

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Here's a cool image of that guard from my 6121... the gold had lost much of it's opacity. I assume a result of the outgassing.


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