Vintage Gretsch Guitars

What’s your favourite 6120 year & why?

1

I'd like to know your favourite 6120 year and why? Here's mine, a 57. It was an affordable and extremely playable vintage 6120. Ive had a 55 and a 56 6120 but they didn't play as good as they looked. This was half the money and plays twice as good as it looks. Whilst the western 55/56 features are the dream 6120s these 57s all seem to consistently play well and there's no fixed arm hinderence either.

2

I favor the 1960 model year 6120. It benefits from the refinement over the years, including the same light trestle bracing and Filtertron pickups as the lauded '59. It has a slightly shallower body, but still not a "thinline". Brian Setzer has owned 5 or 6 vintage '60 specimens, so there must be something to it! Pete Townshend did some notable things with his '60 6120 as well. Aesthetically it scratches my itch for classic Gretsch features such as the neoclassic markers and the V-style Bigsby. And... 1960 is when Gretsch produced a couple batches of flamed-top specimens which really turn my crank!

3

Those flame tops are awesome looking. I agree about the trestle bracing Too. That's a fine looking 6120. Must be a delight to own that Ed. Nice one

4

1955...because I wanted one from when I was 10 or 11 years old (mid 1970s) and had a huge poster of Eddie Cochran on my bedroom wall. I had no idea what that big orange guitar was, just knew that one day I would get one.

I love everything about this guitar...the G brand, the cow and cactus inlays, the fixed handle Bigsby. It's got it all.

5

Without a doubt the coolest guitar ever

6

I favor the 1960 model year 6120. It benefits from the refinement over the years, including the same light trestle bracing and Filtertron pickups as the lauded '59. It has a slightly shallower body, but still not a "thinline". Brian Setzer has owned 5 or 6 vintage '60 specimens, so there must be something to it! Pete Townshend did some notable things with his '60 6120 as well. Aesthetically it scratches my itch for classic Gretsch features such as the neoclassic markers and the V-style Bigsby. And... 1960 is when Gretsch produced a couple batches of flamed-top specimens which really turn my crank!

– kc_eddie_b

Ed, by "notable things" I presume you mean 'smashed one on stage'?

7

Don't think he ever smashed a Gretsch up!

8

Ed, by "notable things" I presume you mean 'smashed one on stage'?

– Doppler

Ha! Actually I referring to the performances on Quadraphenia and Who's Next.

9

Don't think he ever smashed a Gretsch up!

– gretschcrush

Oh yes he did... just watch the closing credits of The Kids Are Alright and you'll witness the carnage for yourself!

11

For FilterTrons I'd say '61. I prefer the thinner body and anecdotally based on my experience, I feel like they tend to have a bit more bite and are less woody sounding.

For DeArmonds, it would have to be '55 full western.

12

On a side note NitroG..We're on the same bill for new years!

13

Thanks to a heads up post from kc_eddie last spring, I own an early '59 model (by serial number) that has a '58s heavy trestle bracing... I like that configuration a lot, as I feel it brings a huge sound and a lot of sustain with little to no feedback. Just a great-sounding guitar, great dynamics, very full and rich with plenty of snarl when needed. And while I'm a big fan of Dynasonics, I suppose I rank Filtertrons a notch above.

I think I am with Ed on the 1960 models. I don't own one, but I've played one a few now at volume (thanks JB). I love the lighter weight, and the punchier, focused sound that the 2.5" body depth offers. And who can argue with the amazing flame tops?

14

The 55 6120 is my fav Gretsch never mind fav 6120,i really dig the western inlays and the big ole G brand,oh and they sound cool!

I don't own one and probably never will,i haven't bought a vintage guitar in 16 years,i have played 2 56's and one of those was just class,but it was minty mint.

Back in 1999 i was lucky enough to get a 1957 6120, 8 numbers away from Duane's.

15

I prefer my '57/58 rare bird. Dearmonds, half moon thumbprint and trestle bracing...She's the only 6120 I own, but I've played some '56, and some "normal" '57 and' 58. Strong 50's sound and the feeling of a classic electric guitar. That's why I love her....

16

Oh yes he did... just watch the closing credits of The Kids Are Alright and you'll witness the carnage for yourself!

– kc_eddie_b

Indeed he did. What an unfair match. But have you seen Pete trying to smash a telecaster? Hopeless!

That skinny mod just couldn't make it.

17

I like Roar's 57/58 . I love dynas and the feel of the neoclassic plain fretboard. And with the trestle would be a good stage guitar

also love the 55 and 56 with the bloc inlays.

Personally i think flamed tops on the 60's 6120s looks too blingy . They remind me of PRS etc or the peavy guitars that steve Cropper plays now

18

I have had the good fortune (the upside of 6120 OCD) of owning and playing every year single cut 6120 since I started with my first one in 1989.

My favorites are My 55' and my 59'

The 55' is simply the best 6120 ever. Its from the Eddie Cochran batch (#16948). The factory really had it going on then. Those early batches of 55's are gems. The gold fixed arm and the Dearmonds are my go to sound for quite a while now.

My 59' (which is actually a 60 but 2.75"--its from the Setzer batch #33002) is an equally amazing guitar. Completely different than the 55' but just as exciting to play. Its very much a rock guitar and less of a honky tonk queen.

I had a 56' for a few years. Very nice guitar but was a bit different than the 55' in respect to the neck and relief. A beauty but no love connection.

I've had five 57's over the past 20 years. Tried to like every one but never made a love connection. Typically I found the pickups a bit weaker and much further from the strings on all of the ones I owned. The neck angles at the heel were much steeper. I know I'll find a good one one day. Probably need one a few serial numbers away from Duane's

Had an early 58' for about a year--what a boat anchor LOL. Pre-pafs, heavy bracing, metal nut--really early one and heavy.. Had a nice neck but the pickups did not growl. The top seemed thicker as I remember. Traded it to Matt verta ray (Plays in Heavy trash with John Spencer) for some $ and studio time at his new studio (then) back in 93'.

I have a few 59's. From the 299XX batch up through the 330XX batch. They are all brilliant guitars. I've sold a few as well. I love how evolved they are and still a little honky tonky with the big 2.75" body. Probably the most versatile 6120 around for my ears. All of mine are using gibson TOM bridges.

Had several 60's My last one was the one flamey Ed now owns. The 60' 6120 is very refined guitar. There is a definite tonal difference with the 2.5" body from the previous version. I've noticed over the years there are quite a few 60's around. There were popular for a reason.

Had two 61's over the years. Both were nice guitars but for my ears and aspirations they were not rowdy enough of a guitar. I would liken them closer to a single cut gent. Again a very evolved guitar but almost too much of a "grown up" type of guitar for me. I sold one to Billy Mumy back in 92'.

And as many of you know I own the very first 6120 ever made. Produced in summer of 54'. (ed wrote a beautiful article on it several years ago for VG mag). Serial #13767 and predates Chets (#13770)

Its an exceptionally fine 6120 and very different than my 55' in many ways. The neck, the vibrancy of the top, the twang itself has a voice all its own.

I gig with all of my vintage guitars whenever I do gig. The 54' has been out more in the past 3 years than it has in the past 30 !!

The 55' however sees the most action these days. I love taking them out to breathe in a good bar gig playing two sets of rockabilly.

As Roy Buchanan once told me "Keep pickin and keep prayin"

Happy new years

Fred

19

On a side note NitroG..We're on the same bill for new years!

– Toxophilite

Really looking forward to the New Year's show. We're down the block a little at Judge Begbie's but I'm hoping we can pop by between sets to catch some of The Colorifics show at The Heritage.

20

Great read GasMoney. Have admired your collection and playing in your videos

21

1955, Dynasonics and they look like they ram raided Nudie Conns western outfitters. Nothing brightens up a stage like a 55 6120

22

I love the '61. I loved the guitar on the cover of "Christmas With Chet Atkins" and wanted a Filter'Tron, Neo Classic style 6120. I finally got one from Gruhn in Nashville and it's a wonderful sounding and fast playing guitar.

24

This early 58 is nice too. Still got some 57 features.


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