Gretsch 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.
In 1961, the body was narrowed from almost three inches thick to about two. This was to be the last year of the classic single-cutaway 6120.
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 6120s used plain plastic HiLoTron covers in 1964. There may have been a shortage of FilterTron covers.
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.
- 6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbody/Nashville
- 6120-6/12 Double Neck Nashville
- 6120-BS Nashville
- 6120-CGP Chet Atkins Stereo
- 6120-DC Nashville
- 6120-DE Duane Eddy
- 6120-DEO Duane Eddy
- 6120-DSV Nashville
- 6120-DSW-R Chet Atkins Relic
- 6120-EC Eddie Cochran
- 6120-EC Eddie Cochran Tribute
- 6120-GA Golden Anniversary
- 6120-JR Nashville Jr
- 6120-JR2 Nashville Jr
- 6120-KS Keith Scott
- 6120-N New Nashville
- 6120-RHH Reverend Horton Heat
- 6120-TMSP Nashville
- 6120-WCST Nashville Western
- 6120-WTV Nashville
- 7660 Nashville
6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbody/Nashville
6120-6/12 Double Neck Nashville
6120-CGP Chet Atkins Stereo
6120-DE Duane Eddy
6120-DEO Duane Eddy
6120-DSW-R Chet Atkins Relic
6120-EC Eddie Cochran
6120-EC Eddie Cochran Tribute
6120-GA Golden Anniversary
6120-JR Nashville Jr
6120-JR2 Nashville Jr
6120-KS Keith Scott
6120-N New Nashville
6120-RHH Reverend Horton Heat
6120-WCST Nashville Western
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- First Chet Atkins models, the 6120 Hollowbody and 6121 Solidbody, are introduced.
- First 6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbody guitars produced.
- As with many Gretsch models, the classic open single-cutaway bodies are replaced by closed, twin-cutaway “Electrotone” bodies.
- Blacktop FilterTrons make their first appearance on a batch or two of 6120s. The factory had run out of FilterTron covers, so they drilled HiLo covers for the extra row of polepeices.
- “Nashville” name begins.
- 6120 replaced by 7660 Nashville.
- 6120 returns with reborn Gretsch company.
- Brian Setzer signature 6120 line begins.
- 6120-60 model introduced.
- 6120-60 model introduced.
- Duane Eddy Signature 6120 introduced.
- Brian Setzer Hot Rods make a surprise debut on the December 21 Tonight Show on NBC. They were supposed to be unveiled a few weeks later at winter NAMM, but Setzer gave a rousing version of Jingle Bells on the show with the new models.
- 6120-KS Keith Scott introduced and available in January at winter NAMM show.
- 6120-DSV introduced.
- 6120WCST appears in catalogs.
- 6120-60 discontinued.
- Nashville name dropped and the 6120 is once again the “Chet Atkins Hollowbody”
- Limited edition 6120-125 released to celebrate Gretsch’s 125th anniversary.
- 6120-KS discontinued.
- Duane Eddy comes back into the Gretsch fold and an all-new Eddy Signature model is unveiled.
- All new 6120DE introduced in April 2011.
- 6120-DS discontinued.
- Limited run — reported to be 20 — of black 6120-DSV-BLK guitars made as 6120 DSV production winds down.
- 6120 EC Eddie Cochran model introduced.
- 6120 EC Eddie Cochran Tribute guitars made.