Gretsch Guitars

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.

39 different models and 664 examples are in the Gretsch-GEAR database, 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.
6120-1959
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
Lacquer-finished, with TV Jones pickups
6120-1955
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
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 ...
6120-60
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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 ...
6120-AM
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
Amber finish
6120-BK
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
A black-finished modern variation on the 6120.
6120-DSW
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
Dynasonics, western trim.
6120-TM
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
Tiger maple.
6120-W-1957
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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 ...
6120-DS
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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 ...
6120-W
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
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-FTW
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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 ...
6120-SLTV
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
The short-lived, limited Edition 6120-SLTV offered a solid maple front and back rather than the laminated maple found on most 6120s.
6120-DSV-BLK
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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 ...
6120-TM-LSB
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
A little-seen circa-2005 6120 that came in a Tiger Maple sunburst. And lacquer.
6120-125
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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. ...
6120-CST
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
Custom shop 6120s generally carry the CST model number.
6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbody/Nashville
  • The golden years: 1954-1967
  • The Baldwin years: 1968-1987
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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 ...
6120-DSW-R Chet Atkins Relic
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
Custom shop model.
6120-CGP Chet Atkins Stereo
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
Limited release
6120-6/12 Double Neck Nashville
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
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 ...
6120-DE Duane Eddy
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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 ...
6120-DEO Duane Eddy
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
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-EC Eddie Cochran
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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-ECLH Eddie Cochran
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
Left-handed version of the G6120EC
6120-EC Eddie Cochran Tribute
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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-GA Golden Anniversary
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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-KS Keith Scott
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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 " ...
6120-BS Nashville
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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 ...
6120-DC Nashville
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
Modern-era reissue of the 60s Electrotone-body double cutaway 6120.
6120-DSV Nashville
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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 ...
6120-TMSP Nashville
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
Tiger Maple
6120-WTV Nashville
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
With TV Jones pickups
6120-JR Nashville Jr
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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 ...
6120-JR2 Nashville Jr
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
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 ...
6120-WCST Nashville Western
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
A circa-2004 Custom shop take on the early, western-style 6120.
6120-N New Nashville
  • The rebirth years: 1988-2002
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 ...
6120-RHH Reverend Horton Heat
  • The Fender years: 2003-present
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 ...
7660 Nashville
  • The Baldwin years: 1968-1987
The 70s version of the venerable 6120.