Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Question about the tuners on this 1958 Gretsch 6120?

1

I am not knowledgeable about every Gretsch model but I'm pretty certain this is the famed 6120? Can anyone tell me whether these gold plated Kluson Deluxe tuners are original to this guitar which represented as dating from 1958. The tuners are correct for that date time so they don't appear to be replacements but I didn't know that Kluson Deluxe tuners were original to any Gretsch's during this period? Was it just a one year one model thing?

Link

2

Those aren't original. Waverly gold plated tuners were standard in this era. Occasionally - especially around 1957 - Grover Sta-Tites would appear, the most famous of these were the ones on Duane Eddy's '57 6120. White-button Kluson strip tuners began to appear with the introduction of the '59 Clipper and probably the '59 New Yorker too. Billy Zoom put these on his Silver Jet but they weren't factory originals.

3

Yes I assumed they weren't original either but I really couldn't see any trademark imprints of the original Waverly gold plated Sta-Tite 5038 tuners and I think we should, right? The Waverly's have a decidedly longer plate than the Klusons. I measured both with a caliper and the rounded ends of the Waverly's stick out further than the ends of the Kluson tuners. That's why I wondered. I suppose it's possible that the back of the headstock got refinished to cover up the Kluson imprint but I don't see that evidence either? Oh well. Stranger things happen! Thanks for weighing in.

4

That 6120 appears to be a 1959 model year example based on it's features (zero fret).

It's ironic to me that every other seller who has a Gretsch guitar made before 1965 likes to claim that their Gretsch is a "'59"... and this guy actually has a '59 and is missing the opportunity to pimp it as such.

5

I guess you never can be 100% sure that something's not original, but these were never the norm and as far as I know, there are no confirmed examples of these being original. So, I would say replacement, but you could ask the seller for pics with a tuner removed to look for clues.

Also, not much of a description in that auction. And you can tell the binding is going on it by the shading around the edges and there are a couple of visible cracks.

6

I'm not big on Signatures on guitars, especially when it looks like it was sealed with super glue.

Does Chet's sig really increase it's value? And by how much?

7

The CA signature may have increased its value, but no more than the crappy clear coat reduced it.

8

I appreciate all the comments. I'm not really interested in the guitar itself. I have been researching vintage tuners and all the models they appeared on for a future publication and, when I saw this listing, my curiosity peaked because I had never seen Klusons on a 6120 and I couldn't see the tell-tale signs of the original Waverly's so I wondered whether folks here could tell me if this might have been a known/documented one year variant or aberration?

Afire's suggestion for a picture of a tuner removed is a good idea and one I have done before but most sellers are reluctant to undertake anything like that especially with the guitar strung up and even more so if it might uncover a unknown modification. Still, I could try.

Thanks again for all your polite and helpful comments.

9

Why would anyone put Gibson Kluson’s on a 6120? I like they way those tuners look on some of my Gibson’s, But... not on a Gretsch! Back in the 60’s/70’s we usually installed Grover Rotomatics as the stock tuners that come on most Gretsch’s are cheap and don’t work that great. The Grover’s work so much better. If you’re not going to play it then keep it stock, but if you gig with them like I do, then it needs to stay in tune. I’ll usually change bridges and tuners on a gigging guitar.


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