Vintage Gretsch Guitars

NGD 60s Tennessean — ‘61 or ‘62?

1

I used to have a 1961 Gretsch 6113, the 'sort of Tennessean' model. Great guitar but I sold it a few years back, and was GASing for another one ever since.

Finally picked up this early 60s Tennessean and I love it! The serial number is 45113. It is the thinner body type of the '62-up model, but like the 6113 has no fake binding on the fake f-holes. The pick guard is also plain with no Chet sig, again like the 6113.

When I look up the serial number some sites call it a 1961 and some a 1962. Can anyone tell me which year it is? Doesn't really matter but I love this stuff! (Sorry for the crappy pictures, all I have right now)

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2

IIRC one of the later 6113s was s#44254, so that makes your Tenny one of the earlier of the "official" 6119s. The f-holes are just like on Hilton Valentine's of the Animals.

3

Nice bit of vintage history, looks great and hopefully sounds great. Im a 71 year old Liverpool guy and stood very close to guitars like that at the Cavern, Iron Door and Litherland Town Hall amongst others seeing great bands and the Gretsch looks so cool as they say"""

4

IIRC one of the later 6113s was s#44254, so that makes your Tenny one of the earlier of the "official" 6119s. The f-holes are just like on Hilton Valentine's of the Animals.

– lx

I played a birthday party for/with Jim McCarty and Hilton was maybe going to come. I was prepared to loan him my '63 Tenny!

I had a '62 just like this one. Great guitar!!

5

In most regards, classic '62 features. It seems that early ones didn't have a signature on the pickguard, but other than that, it's all there - thin body, bound neck, smaller faux f-holes, standby switch, metal tuner buttons.

6

I also had a '62 for a while. Best playing and sounding Tennessean I ever had, and I liked it a whole lot more than the 6113 I had briefly.

7

I also had a '62 for a while. Best playing and sounding Tennessean I ever had, and I liked it a whole lot more than the 6113 I had briefly.

– Afire

Thanks for the comments. I was hoping this would be close to the 6113, which was great, but I like this even better. And I'm not always fond of neck binding, but its nice thin and rounded comfortably on this neck so I dig it.

I've played other very nice 50s and 60s Gretsches, this is one of the best. Doesn't seem to be a model that gets a lot of respect, way underrated just like the Hilotrons.

8

That's a beauty!

9

Thanks again for all the replies!

Just to restate the original topic, does anyone know if 451xx serial numbers are from 1961 or 1962? I have seen it listed as both, so not sure which is right?

10

kazoo, there has been a 6113 for sale from Japan on Ebay recently. It has the thicker body depth and the larger faux "f" holes. The seller thinks it is a Tennessean rather than the 6113. Don't know it it is still for sale.

11

The gretschpages data base indicates it's an early 1962 guitar. Ed Ball has collected some info on serial numbers that might push that a bit earlier.

It would be interesting to know when the small painted f-hole became the small painted bounded f-holes.

Lee

12

Thanks again for all the replies!

Just to restate the original topic, does anyone know if 451xx serial numbers are from 1961 or 1962? I have seen it listed as both, so not sure which is right?

– kazoo

I think Ed would say, since it has '62 features, it's a '62, though not out of the question that it was built in late '61.

13

They may not be the hot lick now, but in '65 and '66 they sure were. I say George got some of his best Gretsch tones from his long-lost Tennessean. I sure liked mine -- my favorite guitar for years.

14

I think Ed would say, since it has '62 features, it's a '62, though not out of the question that it was built in late '61.

– Afire

Correct... I'm the features guy. However in this case it's clearly a 1962 model year and calendar year example. I've documented a number of guitars from the #434xx batch through to the #452xx batch which consistently have pot codes dated from Feb. of '62.

Gorgeous 6119... enjoy!

15

Correct... I'm the features guy. However in this case it's clearly a 1962 model year and calendar year example. I've documented a number of guitars from the #434xx batch through to the #452xx batch which consistently have pot codes dated from Feb. of '62.

Gorgeous 6119... enjoy!

– kc_eddie_b

Thanks very much for that info!

16

IIRC, Gerry Marsden's Tennessean was one with the "unbound" f holes as well.

17

Also, Hilton Valentine and David Crosby had 62 Tennies (no paint around the F holes). My 1st guitar was a 1962 Tennessean and I still own it.

18

She's a Beaut! Congrats!

19

I had what I believe to be the exact same model which I got new in the summer of 1962. The features/details were identical to yours even to the lack of signature/logo on the pick guard. Actually there was no reference to Chet Atkins or any model nomenclature any where. The dealer said he thought it was a prototype for new Chet Atkins model.

Unfortunately the serial number was VERY difficult to read -- I think we concluded it was 40680, but I would not bet the ranch on that.

Ed Ball and I had some email discussion on the guitar several years ago. My notes from that time show my guitar as a 1961, but I do NOT know if I got that from Ed (or from Jay Scott's book).

My guitar got pretty well butchered by a self-proclaimed "luthier". But that's a whole other long story (that was talked about here nine years ago)........

The photo is of my guitar in its younger, happier days.......

20

Another shot of that same guitar...

21

Also, Hilton Valentine and David Crosby had 62 Tennies (no paint around the F holes). My 1st guitar was a 1962 Tennessean and I still own it.

– wrd

I didn't realize that the Byrds' Tennessean (Not sure who owned it because Clark was playing it before Crosby) was a '62 (sans "binding"). Does anyone know what happened to it?

22

That's a lovely geet Kazoo,congrats!

23

The 6113's I think Ed figured out were maybe a couple of batches. I had one in 1975. The 6113's differences vs. the Tenny were: no neck binding, no F-hole outline, no "Chet Atkins" on the pickguard, No zero fret, body was 2.25" in depth. Mine I didn't have but a few months until I got a `58 6120 and then a '61 6120. It's funny as the 6113 cost me about $200.00, I sold it for $300. and use that to pay for the 6120 (which cost me $400. back then). Now they're stupid money.. Thanks Brian.. BTW, my 6113 was one of the worse Gretsches I've owned. I think basically until the 9th of February 1964, Gretsch built really great guitars. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall that next day(the 10th) after The Beatles had been on Sullivan the night before..I bet there was a hell of a sales/management meeting that morning at Gretsch and Rickenbacker had a head start by 3 days..

24

The 6113's I think Ed figured out were maybe a couple of batches. I had one in 1975. The 6113's differences vs. the Tenny were: no neck binding, no F-hole outline, no "Chet Atkins" on the pickguard, No zero fret, body was 2.25" in depth. Mine I didn't have but a few months until I got a `58 6120 and then a '61 6120. It's funny as the 6113 cost me about $200.00, I sold it for $300. and use that to pay for the 6120 (which cost me $400. back then). Now they're stupid money.. Thanks Brian.. BTW, my 6113 was one of the worse Gretsches I've owned. I think basically until the 9th of February 1964, Gretsch built really great guitars. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall that next day(the 10th) after The Beatles had been on Sullivan the night before..I bet there was a hell of a sales/management meeting that morning at Gretsch and Rickenbacker had a head start by 3 days..

– Don Butler aka: Toneman

Thanks for the well-wishes and comments!

Toneman, surprised you didn't like your 6113 but then with Gretsches there is a lot of variance between individual guitars.

As you mention, the 6113 has no neck binding, 'unbound' f-holes (they are a bit larger than later years too), plain pick guard, no zero fret, thicker body. Many had white plastic tuner buttons as well.

What's interesting to me is my early '62 still has unbound f-holes and a plain pick guard, but does have neck binding and a zero fret, as well as a thinner body, a bit of a mix of features. I think in '64 the headstock also gained the metal plate.


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