Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Is This a Gretsch 6120 from Jan ‘68 or …

1

My father in-law recently past on and left behind his guitar collection. So I'm researching this model trying to establish its worth. Link. The information I've found on this site so far has been nonconclusive. From the serial number I gather it is a 6120 from Jan 1968 however there are no markings on the neck head which this site indicates there should be. So is it possibility a 1956 model? The fact that it's serial number ends with 559 seems out of scope for those model years.

2

It is not a Gretsch 6120 from 1968, that's for certain. Looks like it is a '56... it's got the DeArmonds and cowboy appointments. Pre humpblock inlays. There are many more knowledgeable folks than me here, though. I'm sure you can get a pretty reliable model year.

3

Man, typos! It's a 6120...and I assume you mean 1958, not 1968 (which it definitely isn't).

But you call it a "1968 1620" in two locations in your post, making me question if they're typos or confusion.

In any case, from appearances the guitar is most consistent with 1956 model-year features. For one thing, the western trim (brand, fret markers, etc) were discontinued for 1957. And by 1958 the model would have different pickups.

But there are some non-original items on the guitar, including the bridge, the pickguard, and probably the Bigsby unit. Most Bigsby-equipped guitars in 1956 had a fixed arm, not one that pivots. But the Bigsby on your guitar looks nearly "period-correct" (probably from a couple years later) and may have been added by a dealer or an owner early in the guitar's history.

I do think that's the sloppiest, messiest G-brand work I've seen - though I don't know if that proves anything. There are some messy ones out there.

Your serial number is perfectly consistent with a 1956 batch.

And, non-original features and ugly G-brand aside, the guitar looks in very nice condition. An interested buyer would want to know about some other details - playability, condition of the neck joint, functionality of electronics, etc - and would like a close inspection. But the bridge and pickguard could easily be returned to something much closer to original, and no one would turn up their nose at the Bigsby. I see no evidence of a refinish or other major work.

But you want to know what it's worth. Only an interested buyer and a seller will know for sure, but if it's as fundamentally clean a 1956 as it seems, and the case is nice outside as inside...

I dunno. I'm not the expert on values. Wild range: 4k - 8k.

Someone will be along to set me straight.


Also, we're guitar junkies around here. I'm sure we'd be interested in the rest of any collection that included this guitar. Do you have a list?

4

Yes

Its a 56'. Lots of changed parts--but a cool old gal.

Its value as is --indeed 4-8k depending on the motivation of the buyer. The lack of a lot of the original parts kind of brings down the real cash value for me.

Thanks for stopping by. I love these old 6120s.

5

"The information I've found on this site so far has been nonconclusive."

I don't recall this guitar having been posted and questions asked regarding it's originality and value. This website, while the best source of info on Gretsch guitars on the planet, isn't a 'self-serve' format. You have to post and ask the experts here for info/advice and post pics then they'll chime in. The world's foremost Gretsch authority Ed Ball (author of 2 books and 1 is on this model ) should be along soon and flush out the details on your guitar. His book is great for pinning down features & details but the great value with the website is that with the pics, the experts can quickly determine the degree of originality and how changes affects value.

6

You're right about the typos for the model number, it was late and I was using my phone. I made the corrections.

Great feedback. I'll put together a list of the other guitars and share some photos later today. Two of which are Fenders, I believe one is a blondie strat and the other a bass.

7

Since we're all so helpful I'm betting you'd do well to try and sell it here, first.

Sorry about your Father in law's passing.

8

Man, typos! It's a 6120...and I assume you mean 1958, not 1968 (which it definitely isn't).

But you call it a "1968 1620" in two locations in your post, making me question if they're typos or confusion.

In any case, from appearances the guitar is most consistent with 1956 model-year features. For one thing, the western trim (brand, fret markers, etc) were discontinued for 1957. And by 1958 the model would have different pickups.

But there are some non-original items on the guitar, including the bridge, the pickguard, and probably the Bigsby unit. Most Bigsby-equipped guitars in 1956 had a fixed arm, not one that pivots. But the Bigsby on your guitar looks nearly "period-correct" (probably from a couple years later) and may have been added by a dealer or an owner early in the guitar's history.

I do think that's the sloppiest, messiest G-brand work I've seen - though I don't know if that proves anything. There are some messy ones out there.

Your serial number is perfectly consistent with a 1956 batch.

And, non-original features and ugly G-brand aside, the guitar looks in very nice condition. An interested buyer would want to know about some other details - playability, condition of the neck joint, functionality of electronics, etc - and would like a close inspection. But the bridge and pickguard could easily be returned to something much closer to original, and no one would turn up their nose at the Bigsby. I see no evidence of a refinish or other major work.

But you want to know what it's worth. Only an interested buyer and a seller will know for sure, but if it's as fundamentally clean a 1956 as it seems, and the case is nice outside as inside...

I dunno. I'm not the expert on values. Wild range: 4k - 8k.

Someone will be along to set me straight.


Also, we're guitar junkies around here. I'm sure we'd be interested in the rest of any collection that included this guitar. Do you have a list?

– Proteus

Here's the list of the guitars he left behind. Your comments concerning their value or remarkability are appreciated. I've placed them in order of estimated age (oldest first) : - Gretsch 1620 Link - Fender Stratorcaster Link - Fender Musicmaster Bass Link - Ibanez Talman Link - Ovation Celebrity Link

Thanks for taking a look.

9

Hmmm... that '56 6120 is pretty nice. And I even have the correct Bigsby to put on her too!

10

Would you happen to know Jerry if the original parts for the 6120 are kicking around in a drawer. They would help bring it back to having as many original items as possible.

11

Hi Jerry

I sent you an message through the gdp.

Shoot me an email at gasmoney51@gmaildotcom if you don’t get it

Thanks Fred

12

The Talman and the Ovation are not noteworthy guitars, Jerry. Use the reverb.com site to research selling ranges for those models. Both those guitars have their followings, for sure - but they're not rare or terribly "interesting."

The Fenders, I don't know. Can't tell for sure from the pics, but the Strat looks to have been stripped of its finish, and (from the wear on the neck) well-played. Many buyers don't mind the well-played part (though if there's significant fretwear or other playability issues, it will push the value down) - but a stripped finish certainly reduces value. The action looks very high as well, which could suggest playability issues.

I'm not enough of a Strat guy to even know how old that one is. Someone will surely drop in who can render an opinion on that. If it's "contemporary" (which in Strat terms means 90s-present), it would only be worth a few hundred dollars. The older it is, the more it's worth (regardless condition). It's almost certainly not from the 70s - nor the 50s. If it happens to be a 60s Strat, even with the finish stripped I'd think it would go into the low thousands.

The Musicmaster bass. I'm not well enough informed to discuss it, but I will anyway. I don't know if that model has been reissued since the 60s. If that's a reissue, again, it's probably in the low hundreds. But the heyday of the Musicmaster was the mid-60s and onward - and if it's from that era, again, value goes up significantly.

If you can find the serial numbers on those guitars, it would go a long way to establishing what you really have.

13

It's been a few years since I've been in the market, but I haven't ever seen a full western 6120 for under $8000 with good bones. Can't tell from one picture, but I'd take a careful assessment of its condition before setting a price. Sharks abound.

14

Beautiful aul geet that,and in great condition other than the replaced parts!

15

Hello, beautiful 6120. The Strat appears to be a early 60's that's been stripped of its finish. Depending on what else is not original and if wood was removed with the finish it could have considerable value and could be restored. I had Lays guitar in Ohio do a '57 Tele for me and it was perfect, cost around 500 bux about 15 yrs ago.

16

Dear whoever posted the last comment. You don't appear to have a username. It's blank. That's disconcerting.

17

Dear whoever posted the last comment. You don't appear to have a username. It's blank. That's disconcerting.

– Proteus

Sorry, I'm Wildeman and i just signed on yesterday. I've been on GT forum for a while though. Ill see about fixing my user name.

18

Dear whoever posted the last comment. You don't appear to have a username. It's blank. That's disconcerting.

– Proteus

Well, it looks like ill probably need help from a mod with that.

19

I didn't even know that was possible. Good to see you over here, Wildeman.

20

The Stratocaster saddles are not original, they are American Standard saddles. The bridge and screws also look newish. When you see something like this, it makes you wonder what else, if anything, is not original. The finish is obviously long gone. Every changed part detracts from the value. With that said, it looks like more of a player that has led a good life. The rest of the guitar looks legit but you never know with Fender guitars, there are a lot of fakes and repros out there. Old photos of your FIL or somebody else with the guitar could help clear up any doubt and add some provenance. The same goes for the Gretsch.

21

The Stratocaster looks to be the less common "hardtail" version (no vibrato).

22

Would you happen to know Jerry if the original parts for the 6120 are kicking around in a drawer. They would help bring it back to having as many original items as possible.

– Windsordave

We didn't find any identifiable parts. We don't know when he purchase it nor what condition it was in when he got it.

23

The Stratocaster looks to be the less common "hardtail" version (no vibrato).

– knavel

Interesting. Thanks for sharing this insight.

24

Also, the tuners in all likelihood are not original to the guitar.

25

It's been a few years since I've been in the market, but I haven't ever seen a full western 6120 for under $8000 with good bones. Can't tell from one picture, but I'd take a careful assessment of its condition before setting a price. Sharks abound.

– Afire

Agreed! And if you click the link, there's more pix. It looks pretty clean and none of the changes appears irreversible.


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