Vintage Gretsch Guitars

what is this instrument?

34

the label on the case. of course, it means nothing and could have been added, but it seems to be a packaged deal. thanks for the help.

35

Looks like there's a Gretsch date-coded serial number under the re-fin on the reverse of the headstock, and it appears to be Jan of '67.

36

Looks like there's a Gretsch date-coded serial number under the re-fin on the reverse of the headstock, and it appears to be Jan of '67.

– kc_eddie_b

Thanks, I believe that the guitar is original with modifications such as cut in F holes and a patched switch (removed with the muffler). One additional question relates to the bridge. It seems very close to the pick-up and doesn't match the look of many original versions. Why would someone move the bridge that close?

37

You have a January 1967 model 6120 that got 70s-ized by someone who probably didn't like the original orange color and wanted it to look like a Country Gentleman model, wanted real F holes and detested the mute system (he wouldn't have been the first to dislike it). The original serial number on yours is painted over.

One thing I would mention is that 6120s of the era did not receive gold plated Bigsbys but they did have gold plated tuners, knobs, strap buttons and pickups. Country Gentleman models did get a gold plated Bigsby.

This means that it's quite possible the guy who did the work on your guitar hunted down a gold plated Bigsby just to complete the Country Gentleman look. Your gold Bigsby is correctly vintage from the era of your guitar.

I actually don't have any pictures of either the inside of my own 70s-ized 1965 6120, but if you want I can take some put them here and you can see the mute apparatus.

Regarding the bridge the fact that your neck pickup correctly aligns with the notch for it but the bridge pick up does not makes me wonder if the 70s guy moved the pick up right up next to the bridge--I assume the bridge is correctly intonated where it is?

We've seen that 70s guy was OK competent with woodworking and this would also explain why you can't find a hole where the mute on your guitar originally was between the bridge and bridge pickup. This also means you should find traces of the original pickup rout above your bridge pickup in the direction of your neck pick up and also a couple of screw holes for the original position of the pickup bezel. A bit of speculation but the F holes cut into your guitar seem a little "low"; it could be the guy realized this and moved the bridge pickup down to make them look more centered.

I can almost guarantee you that if you pop those 4 escutcheon pins holding the plate to the front of the headstock you will find a horseshoe under there. My brother has an April 67 6120 Nashville in all original condition. I include a picture of the front of the headstock and you can see the pin holes. Country western things were very uncool by 1967 and so this was how Gretsch dealt with that. My brother's has the same sort of serial number look as yours, "Made in USA" was added around June 1967 to all Gretsches under the serial number I think.

Like I mentioned, your case is typical 1960s and the badge was normal on everyone of these save for the earliest ones (at least an early grey case I had didn't have the badge).

38

Another thing, the gold plate bar bridge on yours was another thing that the 70s-izer would have had to hunt down (also something the Country Gentleman came with that the 6120 did not), which suggests maybe that the instrument had a gold Bigsby and bar bridge from the factory from the outset.

Here is my brother's Nashville which is just a couple of months away from yours and you can see the standard model and appointments of the time. You can also see how the bridge pickup was normally flush against the notch in the pickguard, which is why I think the bridge pickup on your guitar was moved closer to the bridge.

By the way for all the "bad" your guitar has gone through, you should feel damn lucky that the binding looks perfect. Almost invariably the binding on mid 80s Gretshes rots, especially 1967. On my brother's Nashville in the photo the binding has been entirely replaced.

39

Thanks again for the time spent in this evaluation. I do see the relationship between the lower pickup and the pick guard now, and how this relates to the apparent original bridge position. I'll pull the pins on the headstock plate when I feel brave with the property tool, and understand the dates and times that would likely reveal the horseshoe. 1966 and 1967 were no doubt interesting and challenging years for Gretsch, as they certainly were for rock, country, folk and other intersections of music at the time. Glad I lived through that as a youngster, but clearly recognized that 'rock' as I knew it died in 1976. ( I had moved on to Mahavishnu by then.) That is not to suggest that great music has not followed over the decades, but disco and pop seemed to overwhelm the authenticity in the mid-70's. Country then died with the likes of Garth Brooks, but I could go on. I now need to learn how to play this instrument with the respect it deserves. Many thanks again for your extensive time and attention to this time capsule of an instrument.

40

Thanks again for the time spent in this evaluation. I do see the relationship between the lower pickup and the pick guard now, and how this relates to the apparent original bridge position. I'll pull the pins on the headstock plate when I feel brave with the property tool, and understand the dates and times that would likely reveal the horseshoe. 1966 and 1967 were no doubt interesting and challenging years for Gretsch, as they certainly were for rock, country, folk and other intersections of music at the time. Glad I lived through that as a youngster, but clearly recognized that 'rock' as I knew it died in 1976. ( I had moved on to Mahavishnu by then.) That is not to suggest that great music has not followed over the decades, but disco and pop seemed to overwhelm the authenticity in the mid-70's. Country then died with the likes of Garth Brooks, but I could go on. I now need to learn how to play this instrument with the respect it deserves. Many thanks again for your extensive time and attention to this time capsule of an instrument.

41

I'll pull the pins on the headstock plate when I feel brave with the proper tool

They pop out quite easily. It won't result in bent pins gaping holes or anything like that. I wouldn't suggest doing it if that were the case. And only if you want. You now know what this guitar is--it's funny how this site has become: The posts that tell you yours is a Japanese guitar get upvoted but I effectively told you everything that is correct from the outset.

I love mid 60s 6120s and Country Gents. I am in the minority but these 60s ones I find more consistently better than the classics from the 50s.

Enjoy yours--if you are really bothered by the F holes (which doesn't sound to be the case) you can always have them filled by someone like Curt and refinished, although opaque finish would be recommended to cover the patch work. I tend to agree somewhat about music ending, although for me it was a decade later when the Clash broke up! There are excellent bands at all times but there is no consumer culture for such bands that's why I draw the line in 1985, which is about when rap started.

Take care.

42

Your additional pictures confirm that your guitar is NOT a Matsumoku copy as I first thought. I believe Knavel has correctly identified it as a modded doublecut Nashville.

43

I'll pull the pins on the headstock plate when I feel brave with the proper tool

They pop out quite easily. It won't result in bent pins gaping holes or anything like that. I wouldn't suggest doing it if that were the case. And only if you want. You now know what this guitar is--it's funny how this site has become: The posts that tell you yours is a Japanese guitar get upvoted but I effectively told you everything that is correct from the outset.

I love mid 60s 6120s and Country Gents. I am in the minority but these 60s ones I find more consistently better than the classics from the 50s.

Enjoy yours--if you are really bothered by the F holes (which doesn't sound to be the case) you can always have them filled by someone like Curt and refinished, although opaque finish would be recommended to cover the patch work. I tend to agree somewhat about music ending, although for me it was a decade later when the Clash broke up! There are excellent bands at all times but there is no consumer culture for such bands that's why I draw the line in 1985, which is about when rap started.

Take care.

– knavel

Thanks again. I will pull the pins and will send a picture of the result. I wouldn't think of altering the F-holes. They are one of the reasons I value this as a piece of sculpture as much as a musical instrument. They also support a narrative of time and place, where and whenever it was. As mentioned, the guitar has a history and a story. I don't know if I mentioned that I bought it in San Francisco, in about 1979, for $200. The former owner, a friend, was moving back to Florida following a workplace related tragedy. He was just done with the West Coast and probably needed the funds to get out of town. By the way, I saw the Clash in SF in 1979 in a largely unknown concert venue and on a largely underground concert date. Word of mouth and a cheap poster got us there. (see attached) We lined up in front of the former People's Temple and went to the hall next door. The Zeros opened the show. As mentioned, rock had died a few years earlier when Stevie Nicks was proclaimed the 'queen of rock' -ugh-; Disco had taken over - it was getting worse; but then SF produced the Dead Kennedys and things began to come apart, musically speaking. (The town itself had become unbraided the year before with multiple tragedies - murders, Jim Jones, etc.) Bands played at the Deaf Club (an actual club for the deaf that allowed bands to use the place for gigs - the residents could not hear!); Mabuhay Gardens, etc. A grand evolution of West Coast Punk. more later.

44

okay, i'm off topic, but here is the concert poster for the Clash (un-mentioned, except for 'The greatest....'

45

Your additional pictures confirm that your guitar is NOT a Matsumoku copy as I first thought. I believe Knavel has correctly identified it as a modded doublecut Nashville.

– Parabar

Thank you. Modded, indeed.


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