6120 models

The Gretsch 6120 was an instant classic from the day it was introduced. To many players, it is the definitive Gretsch guitar.

At its 1955 introduction, the 6120 cost $385 and sported a wagon­load of western decorations: cow’s heads and cactus etchings in the block markers, a big G brand on the top and more. It was the first in the “Chet Atkins” line of signature Gretsch guitars.

In ‘58, the half-­moon or “neo­classic” markers common to most Gretsches were introduced. The DeArmond pickups were discontinued in favor of Gretsch’s own “FilterTron” humbuckers. Chet Atkins is reported to have said the magnets on the DeArmond’s were too strong, “sucked the tone right out of the guitar”, and Duane Eddy was the only person he knew who got a good tone out of them.

The fake f-­hole, thinline, double cutaway Electrotone body guitar of ‘62 was a completely different beast than previous 6120s. The price was up to $495, which bought you the all-new body, complete with a padded back, which conveniently hid the big access hole in the back. The signpost disappeared after ‘62, but a standby switch and muffler appeared, so if a guitarist got bored without anything to look at, he could always twiddle his knobs.

Some confusion exists over the difference between a Nashville and Chet Atkins 6120. In a nutshell, there isn’t much. The Nashville name was arbitrarily stuck on the 6120, beginning in 1966. There’s no difference between the guitars. It’s just a name, but it came in handy when Atkins pulled his endorsement.

Like most Gretsches, 6120s began changing dramatically after the Baldwin Piano and Organ company took over Gretsch in ‘67. By ‘70 the 6120 was wearing the squared-off pickguard common to the Baldwin era. In 1972, the model designation was changed to 7660.

In the modern era the 6120 was one of the first guitars to be revived, and the 6120 line quickly expanded to include a wide range of new models and variations. The Brian Setzer signature collection, in particular, was a very popular revamp of the classic 6120 formula, and it significantly raised Gretsch’s profile during the rebuilding years of the 90s.

In 2008, Gretsch regained the rights to use the Chet Atkins name, so the Nashville name was dropped and most 6120s were once again known as the Chet Atkins Hollowbody.

The Gretsch-GEAR database includes 40 different models and 402 examples in the 6120 models family, including Chet Atkins Hollowbody/Nashville, Chet Atkins Relic, Chet Atkins Stereo, Double Neck Nashville, Duane Eddy, Eddie Cochran, Eddie Cochran Tribute, Golden Anniversary, Keith Scott, Nashville, Nashville Jr, Nashville Western, New Nashville and Reverend Horton Heat models.

Guitar models in the 6120 models group

6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbody/Nashville
Documented years: 1955 to 2009

The 6120 is the classic, iconic big orange Gretsch. From 1955-1966 it was the 6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbody, then it picked up the "Nashville" name. In 72, Baldwin changed the model number to 7660, but that was a relatively short-lived aberration. When Gretsch came back from the dead in 1989, ...

6120-125
Documented years: 2008

In 2008, all Gretsch guitars got a "125th Anniversary" badge, but there were only two special anniversary models. The first was the relatively well-known Jaguar Tan 125 Anniversary. The other was something very special, and quite rare: The 6120-125. This limited-edition, Custom Shop 6120 was hand-built by Master Builder Stephen ...

6120-1955
Documented years: 1996

A short-lived, low-production "Custom Shop" model from the late '90s that actually bears little resemblance to a 1955 6120 other than the DynaSonic pickups. Due to their outrageous price and incorrect specs, they sold very poorly. They were, however, pretty nice guitars in their own right. Just don't buy one ...

6120-1959
Documented years: 2006 to 2012

A nice reissue of the 1959-1960 Gretsch 6120, particularly notable for its period-correct trestle bracing. A lacquer-finished, TV Jones-equipped LTV version was also available.

6120-1959LTV
Documented years: 2006 to 2014

Lacquer-finished, with TV Jones pickups

6120-6/12 Double Neck Nashville
Documented years: 2006

Sometimes described as a 6120-612, the 6120-6/12 was just the ticket for the person who really wanted a 6120 AND a 12-string all at once. Of course, it was pretty huge, and since both Gretsch double-necks and Gretsch 12-strings have never been big sellers, you can guess how many 6120-6/12s ...

6120-60
Documented years: 1993 to 2006

While the 6120-60 wasn't a dead-match for the '59 or '60 6120, it was widely considered to be among the best of the 6120 line in the pre-Fender era. It was available from approximately 1993-2005.

6120-AM
Documented years: 2004 to 2013

Amber finish

6120-BK
Documented years: 2001

A black-finished modern variation on the 6120.

6120-BS Nashville
Documented years: 1991 to 2013

The 6120-BS followed the standard 6120 formula, but featured an unusual and striking blue sunburst finish. Originally introduced in the late 90s, it followed the standard 6120 Fender-era changes through the 2000s.

6120-CGP Chet Atkins Stereo
Documented years: 2007 to 2009

Limited release

6120-CST
Documented years: 2012

Custom shop 6120s generally carry the CST model number.

6120-DC Nashville
Documented years: 1978 to 2012

Modern-era reissue of the 60s Electrotone-body double cutaway 6120.

6120-DE Duane Eddy
Documented years: 1997 to 2014

In the pre-Fender era, the 6120DE was the Ebony Burst finished version of the Duane Eddy signature model, along with the more common orange 6120DEO. Of course, the model was discontinued when Eddy wandered astray into Gibsonland for a few years, and '57 6120 fans contented themselves with the 6120DSV. ...

6120-DEO Duane Eddy
Documented years: 1997 to 1997

The 1990s Duane Eddy signature model, in orange. Note that the new Duane Eddy signature model released in 2011 took the 6120-DE model designation.

6120-DS
Documented years: 1964 to 2005

Introduced in 2003, the short-lived G6120-DS was the same guitar as G6120-DSW but without the G brand and western engravings on block fretboard markers, and it cost $100 less. So you saved a few bucks and got a '55-56 style 6120 without the country trimmings. The DS was supplanted by ...

6120-DSV Nashville
Documented years: 2003 to 2008

The 6120 DSV Nashville was never sold as a reissue, but nevertheless it was a pretty solid recreation of the 1957 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins. It can be easily spotted by its combination humped-block markers, Dynasonics and a lack of western trim. The particular shade of orange used was dubbed ...

6120-DSV-BLK
Documented years: 2010 to 2011

This is the G6120 DSV swan song, and the black sheep in this family of Gretsch guitars. A very small number were produced in black as the line was discontinued in 2011 to make room for the new Duane Eddy model 6120.

6120-DSW
Documented years: 2003 to 2014

Dynasonics, western trim.

6120-DSW-R Chet Atkins Relic
Documented years: 2004

Custom shop model.

6120-EC Eddie Cochran
Documented years: 2011 to 2013

After years of kinda-sorta Eddie Cochran models like the 6120-W-57, Gretsch gave us the real thing in 2011: the 6120-EC Eddie Cochran signature. Closely based on Cochran's actual 6120, the EC features a special open bracing design and -- of course -- a P-90 pickup in the neck position, sitting ...

6120-EC Eddie Cochran Tribute
Documented years: 2011

Not to be confused with the standard 6120-EC, the Tribute was a 2011 limited edition US Custom Shop tribute to Cochran. Only 50 were made.

6120-ECLH Eddie Cochran
Documented years: 2011

Left-handed version of the G6120EC

6120-FTW
Documented years: 2004

A short run of unusual 6120s: The FTW stood for FilterTron Western, so they were sort of a DSW with Filtertrons. And trestle bracing. It may have been neither fish nor fowl, but it worked.

6120-GA Golden Anniversary
Documented years: 2003 to 2006

Released in 2004, the 6120-GA celebrated 50 years of the classic Gretsch 6120. The gold-finished GA came with all-gold hardware and TV Jones Classic pickups.

6120-JR Nashville Jr
Documented years: 2002 to 2007

This shrunk-down 14" Nashville featured a three-piece rock maple neck, ebony fingerboard, neo-classical inlays, oversized F-holes, dual high sensitive Filtertrons, and a maple laminate body. Note that the pre-Fender 6120JR was a single pickup model sold alongside the two-pickup 6120JR2. Some time in 2003 or 2004 the single-pickup version was ...

6120-JR2 Nashville Jr
Documented years: 1999 to 2004

Pre-Fender, the two-pickup version of the Nashville Jr was designated 6120JR2. Post-Fender the single-pickup version was dropped and the JR2 was given the 6120JR designation, until it was dropped in 2004.

6120-KS Keith Scott
Documented years: 1999 to 2004

Keith Scott -- Bryan Adams' guitar player -- had a signature 6120 that featured a gold top and contrasting dark mahogany sides and back. The 24 1/2 " scale neck had an ebony fingerboard with humped block markers. Hardware was gold-plated, with Dynasonics, a Space Control bridge and a Bigsby. ...

6120-N New Nashville
Documented years: 2000 to 2003

People remember the florentine cutaway, but the 2001-2002 6120-N hid the real secrets inside the thinline body, where a solid block of wood made it one of only a handful of Gretsch semi-hollowbody models. Coupled with stock Alnico FilterTrons, it was ready to roar.

6120-RHH Reverend Horton Heat
Documented years: 2005 to 2014

The Reverend Horton Heat signature model differed in a number of subtle ways from other 6120s, such as having a reversed pickup selector and mud switch. It also came standard with TV Jones Classic pickups, nickel-plated hardware and a soundpost rather than trestle bracing.

6120-S
Documented years: 1996

File this one away under rarely-seen curiosities. Apparently, in the mid 90s Gretsch was still firming up the whole "jr" concept. So, the 6120S is a lot like the 90s single-pickup 6120-Jr. They had a rosewood fretboard, single volume and tone controls on the lower bout, bound f-holes plain (not ...

6120-SLTV
Documented years: 2004 to 2005

The short-lived, limited Edition 6120-SLTV offered a solid maple front and back rather than the laminated maple found on most 6120s.

6120-TM
Documented years: 1992 to 2013

Tiger maple.

6120-TM-LSB
Documented years: 2005

A little-seen circa-2005 6120 that came in a Tiger Maple sunburst. And lacquer.

6120-TMSP Nashville
Documented years: 2003

Tiger Maple

6120-W
Documented years: 1989 to 2006

The western variant of the modern 6120, the 6120-W was available from roughly 1989 to 2003, when it was replaced by the much more vintage-correct 6120-DSW.

6120-W-1957
Documented years: 2000 to 2012

Loosely described as the "Eddie Cochran" model before Gretsch could call it an Eddie Cochran model, the 6120-W-1957 was clearly aimed at Cochran fans with a P-90 in the neck position. It was replaced by the 6120-EC

6120-WCST Nashville Western
Documented years: 2006

A circa-2004 Custom shop take on the early, western-style 6120.

6120-WTV Nashville
Documented years: 2003 to 2006

With TV Jones pickups

7660 Nashville
Documented years: 1973 to 1978

The 70s version of the venerable 6120.