Vintage Gretsch Guitars

The tale of two 1955 6121’s: the next chapter


Well as you may have seen from Ed’s original post, I am the new owner of the “mutt”. A 1955 6121 western dressed jet that had most of its western clothes removed.

Here is a link to his side of the story…


Headstock with its 58-59 overlay that doesn’t quite fit


The first thing I did was remove the black tape and found the original binding is pulling from the waist on both sides and cutaway. But it is there.

So I decided to see what is under all that white. What did I find? Well under white there was a gold top. Under the gold top was grey. Under the grey lots of black.


And under all that black.... the original factory finish!


Oh....and big surprise, no G brand on this one while others in this batch did have them.


Very cool project. You could laminate another another layer to the top the way Shuggie did with his Annie to 6120 conversion to cover the holes. There is so much potential with this. Can't wait to see what you do. I like rescue animals.


Cool! I can't wait to see how this develops!


As with so many repairs and projects, I often spend more time undoing “prior repairs” by previous repairman before I can perform the correct repairs. I am guessing every Pro has has many of the same stories.

As part of my evaluation, I realized the neck angle was shallow and decided to pull the neck off. While I know this neck had been out before (by the pics Ed sent me and his original post) I didn't plan for what happened when i went to remove it again. I guessing it was improperly removed the first time and had the dovetail severely destroyed during that removal. Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have seen this happen...but what happens next is the real disappointment. The previous person attempted to restore the dovetail and for all practical purposes did so to some degree. The repair was not properly done and the results made any future maintenance almost impossible. Almost.

After some time with the StewMac Heat-stick I got the neck loose but it would not release in the dovetail joint. I realized that the fingerboard and extension had to come off so I could see what was holding it in place besides just the wrong glue. There were 3 dowels and a strange cut patch that all fell apart with the heat used to remove the neck. BTW, had the neck been set at the right angle, this may not have been caught for years.


Top view of the dovetail once the fingerboard and extension was removed.


In the above picture you can see wings were added to the dovetail. This in itself is ok, but the first dowel you see went through the extension right into the glue joint. Fail.


Using a small chisel, I slowly dig out around the wings trying not to damage what’s left of the original joint.


Neck out, you can see the extent of the old repair and how the dowels actually caused more issue then they solved.


An upper and lower dowel was used to hold the wings on and one straight down through the extension which I have no ieea of that was to accomplish


Another look. As you can see, the pine dowels held nothing, collapsed under pressure and made the joint weaker.


Ok, so now we have to rebuild the tenon on a way that the wings get added on and glued with something that is permanent and won’t fail under heat (so we can remove the neck in 20-30 years as needed).

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