Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Very Early Video of Chet … can you explain the Kaufman ???

1

In this early clip of Chet performing "the Poor People of Paris", he is playing a very early 6120, but it has a Kaufman Vibrola instead of the stock Bigsby tailpiece. Any theories about how and why this would have been?

3

The earliest 6120 (aka "Streamliner Special") had the cowboy Round-Up tailpiece but Chet wanted a vibrato. Enter Paul Bigsby. Lotsa pics and info in this book (a must-have.)

Edit: Hmm, that's interesting. That's not the "Streamliner Special" in the vid. That one has no f-holes. Looks to be the sealed top '55 prototype but all pics of that have the the early Dyna-sized Filtertrons and gold anodized B6 with wire arm. Earlier iteration?

4

I believe this is the first incarnation of his sealed top 6120. Looks quite experimental so to speak with its bits. Two different pickups, sealed top, full western appointments, can discern what this tremolo exactly is doing. Maybe part bigsby part Chet.

I really enjoyed this one. I watched it several times.

Fred

5

I know I'm a bastid, but it's so refreshing to hear Chet inadvertently mute a melody note at :33.

I'm imagining I can hear the blend of Dyna at the neck and some kinda double-coil at the bridge. A model like that would still have legs. I also think I hear the slapback in his Echosonic amp finishing up at the end of the song. Sounds like the repeats are set so fast, so close together, that what he's really getting is doubling - perhaps another attempt to get the rounded, golden tone he had in mind's ear from the guitars Gretsch was providing in response to his requests.

6

I can't get the video to play for some reason, but I think I've seen it before. Chet had the vibrola on his Gibson and the D'Angelico, and he transferred it to his first Gretsch guitars until Paul Bigsby perfected his vibrato tail piece. I love those old videos of Chet. Nashville was still trying to figure out what to do with him. They didn't have anyone to compare him to.

7

Chet had the Kauffman vibrato on his D'Angelico prior to getting involved with Gretsch. He had it on the Streamliner Special proto 6120 at first too.

8

Wish Norm were here to comment

9

Ok yes that’s his Kaufman vibrato on the sealed top 6120.

The lead pickup certainly looks like a very early filter humbucker thingy.

So cool. Sounds heavenly.

10

"An error occurred. Please try again later. (Playback ID: JR7tnNZ9DU-07Por) "

Vid won't play.. Regional issue?

11

Let's try posting it a second time:

12

TIL: I knew the song but didn't know the name!

Also to see the Western Model and the Country Gentleman (men) model taking shape is fascinating to see. I think the CG line was evolved from the Electromatic?

Thanks for sharing!

13

Thanks for re-posting that Geoguy! A link popped up after your video, of Chet playing the sealed top 6120 in it's more familiar version with an extra special bonus! Behind Chet are two rhythm guitarists: one playing a Gibson flat-top, the other playing what appears to be a pre-war blonde Gretsch Synchromatic 100.

Check out the guy in the striped shirt: that tortoise-shell binding, first fret inlay and headstock shape looks a lot like Windsordave's Synchro 100. The Tennessee Polka in living color!

Edit: Thought I was seeing things but I wasn't: in the Tennesse Polka and Poor People vid, Chet's sealed top 6120 has a steershead inlay on the headstock, not the usually seen horseshoe inlay. Was there only one sealed-top 6120?

14

Thanks for re-posting that Geoguy! A link popped up after your video, of Chet playing the sealed top 6120 in it's more familiar version with an extra special bonus! Behind Chet are two rhythm guitarists: one playing a Gibson flat-top, the other playing what appears to be a pre-war blonde Gretsch Synchromatic 100.

Check out the guy in the striped shirt: that tortoise-shell binding, first fret inlay and headstock shape looks a lot like Windsordave's Synchro 100. The Tennessee Polka in living color!

Edit: Thought I was seeing things but I wasn't: in the Tennesse Polka and Poor People vid, Chet's sealed top 6120 has a steershead inlay on the headstock, not the usually seen horseshoe inlay. Was there only one sealed-top 6120?

– lx

Chets sealed top got a new neck sometime in 56' from what I read.

The neck broke in travels to NYC. Went to the Gretsch factory and got a new one--horseshoe and block inlays without western appointments.

15

Chets sealed top got a new neck sometime in 56' from what I read.

The neck broke in travels to NYC. Went to the Gretsch factory and got a new one--horseshoe and block inlays without western appointments.

– Gasmoney

Correct... the re-neck story is referenced in "lx's secret decoder" book.

16

Doh!

17

It's interesting that he would have reverted back to the Kauffman after his signature models already had a Bigsby. Maybe he just couldn't get along with the feel and location of the standard Bigsby fixed arm and preferred the Kauffman until he figured out his own modified arm to make the Bigsby more suitable to his playing.

My only Kaffman experience is with the Rickenbacker replicas on the 325C58. Totally useless. But I have heard people say that the old ones, when set up right, work just fine. And some pretty high profile players made them work, so I guess they couldn't have been that bad.


Register Sign in to join the conversation