Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Vintage wiring help needed


My '56 6120 was crapping out a lot and finally gave up so I've gutted it tried to find the problem. Most of the wiring is heavy black, but there are a couple of thinner grey bits, specifically the bits that run from the individual volume pots to the master tone pot.

I'm guessing when it was new it would all have had the same heavy black wiring throughout the harness and these grey bits are modern replacements, does that sound reasonable?


I think you are correct.


Wouldnt it have the DeArmond flexible conduit like a 1957 6120?


Wouldnt it have the DeArmond flexible conduit like a 1957 6120?

– Billy Zoom

I've only ever seen that steel wrapped conduit in Jets, Billy. But I guess anything is possible.

That heavy black stuff is all starting to fail and short out now. The inner insulation cracks and crumbles and trimming it back doesn't work. The more you wrangle it around, the more it shorts out. You pretty much just have to remove it all and replace it.


Obviously the wire doesn't make a whole lot of difference to anything. But the last time I had to do wiring work on a '50s 6120, I did want to use original materials. I ended up buying some random DeArmond product (I think a surface mount violin pickup?) that had several feet of cable that was the same thing they used in the Gretsch harnesses. If I have a point (which I probably don't), it would be that you can recreate or restore just about anything you want to, if you really want to. It just takes a little effort and resourcefulness.


Thanks guys, very helpful.

Josh, I’m kinda resigned to the fact I’m going to have to replace it all at some point. I found a couple of bad joints on the grey wires which I’ve made good so hopefully that’ll keep the ol’ girl singing for a while yet.


Well, she’s all back together and sound is now coming out in all the right places so I reckon it was a successful exercise.

Thanks again for you input.

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