Country Gents & Southern Belles

The 6122 Country Gentleman is considered by many to be one of the holy trinity of Gretsch guitars, along with the 6120 and White Falcon. Although it lacks the cowboy cool of a G-branded 6120 or the dazzle of the Falcon, it has an elegance (and some would say playability) the others lack. The fact that George Harrison played one doesn’t hurt, either.

None In late 1960 the body, like many Gretsches, was trimmed down to about 2” thick, but the next major change came in ‘62, when the Gent adopted Gretsch’s new “Electrotone” double cutaway body. The ‘62 and ‘63 models were identical, and it was one of these that Harrison made famous. After ‘63, Gents changed again, gaining a “Country Gentleman” logo on the pickguard, a SuperTron pickup instead of a FilterTron by the neck, and different tuners, among other changes.

The SuperTron was dropped in ‘67, rosewood replaced ebony on the fingerboard sometime in the late ‘60s and Gretsch, under Baldwin control, beginning dropping features to keep costs down.

In 1970 the ebony fingerboard re-appeared, but the Gent was obviously a Baldwin creation by this time, with its oddly shaped pickguard, and in the early ‘70s the model was re-designated 7670.

Atkins owned the rights to the “Country Gentleman” name, and in 1978 he jumped ship to Gibson, taking the name with him. Gretsch renamed it Country Squire and soldiered on briefly, before changing the name again to “Southern Belle”.

The 7670 Southern Belle model makes an interesting side note to the Country Gentleman legend: As Gretsch foundered under Baldwin’s ownership, production was eventually moved to Mexico, where at least one Gent was reportedly made.

By some reports, production moved to Mexico in 1978 or ‘79, but according to others no guitars came out of Mexico until the early 80s, possibly as late as 1984 or ‘85. Either way, Chet Atkins had left Gretsch, so the Gents were offered as the Southern Belle model.

According to Gretsch mainstay Duke Kramer, only about 100 Southern Belle/Country Gents were made, all in Mexico. The guitars that were made are beautiful examples and are at least up to the standard of the Arkansas-made guitars. The business and distribution side had simply become too chaotic for them to be successful.

The 6122 Country Gentleman is considered by many to be one of the holy trinity of Gretsch guitars, along with the 6120 and White Falcon. Although it lacks the cowboy cool of a G-branded 6120 or the dazzle of the Falcon, it has an elegance (and some would say playability) the others lack. The fact that George Harrison played one doesn’t hurt, either.

None In late 1960 the body, like many Gretsches, was trimmed down to about 2” thick, but the next major change came in ‘62, when the Gent adopted Gretsch’s new “Electrotone” double cutaway body. The ‘62 and ‘63 models were identical, and it was one of these that Harrison made famous. After ‘63, Gents changed again, gaining a “Country Gentleman” logo on the pickguard, a SuperTron pickup instead of a FilterTron by the neck, and different tuners, among other changes.

The SuperTron was dropped in ‘67, rosewood replaced ebony on the fingerboard sometime in the late ‘60s and Gretsch, under Baldwin control, beginning dropping features to keep costs down.

In 1970 the ebony fingerboard re-appeared, but the Gent was obviously a Baldwin creation by this time, with its oddly shaped pickguard, and in the early ‘70s the model was re-designated 7670.

Atkins owned the rights to the “Country Gentleman” name, and in 1978 he jumped ship to Gibson, taking the name with him. Gretsch renamed it Country Squire and soldiered on briefly, before changing the name again to “Southern Belle”.

The 7670 Southern Belle model makes an interesting side note to the Country Gentleman legend: As Gretsch foundered under Baldwin’s ownership, production was eventually moved to Mexico, where at least one Gent was reportedly made.

By some reports, production moved to Mexico in 1978 or ‘79, but according to others no guitars came out of Mexico until the early 80s, possibly as late as 1984 or ‘85. Either way, Chet Atkins had left Gretsch, so the Gents were offered as the Southern Belle model.

According to Gretsch mainstay Duke Kramer, only about 100 Southern Belle/Country Gents were made, all in Mexico. The guitars that were made are beautiful examples and are at least up to the standard of the Arkansas-made guitars. The business and distribution side had simply become too chaotic for them to be successful.

The Gretsch-GEAR database includes 21 different models and 242 examples in the Country Gents & Southern Belles family, including Chet Atkins Junior, Country Classic, Country Classic I/Country Gentleman I, Country Classic II, Country Classic II/Country Gentleman, Country Classic Junior, Country Gentleman, Gentleman, Players Edition Country Gentleman, Southern Belle, Vintage Select Edition '59 Country Gentleman, Vintage Select Edition '62 Country Gentleman and Vintage Select Edition '62 Country Gentleman 12-String models.

Guitar models in the Country Gents & Southern Belles group

6122 Country Gentleman
Documented years: 1957 to 2012

The classic 6122 is among Gretsch's best loved models. While it was a Chet Atkins model -- and arguably the one with which Atkins was most involved with the design -- many remember the Country Gentleman best for its use in the hands of George Harrison.

6122-12 Country Gentleman
Documented years: 2006

12-string

6122-12-AM
Documented years: 2006

Like the 6122-12 twelve-string, only in a striking natural amber finish, the 6122-12-AM was offered in two limited runs. The first, in the late 90s, consisted of about 13 guitars. A second run in the 2000s added 22 to the total.

6122-1958 Country Gentleman
Documented years: 2003 to 2012

None

6122-1959 Country Gentleman
Documented years: 2003 to 2015

Paul Yandell was both friend and sideman for Chet Atkins for more than 25 years and is one of the world's leading fingerstyle players in his own right. He recalls how he helped the 6122-1959 come to life as a tribute to his longtime friend: <blockquote> I wanted to reproduce ...

6122-1962 Country Gentleman
Documented years: 1993 to 2012

The 6122-1962 Country Gentleman was a modern-era recreation of the model made famous by George Harrison, right down to the twin mutes. They differ from the 6122-II in that they have a mud switch and the neck joins the body at the 14th fret rather than the 18th. Note that ...

6122-6212 Vintage Select Edition '62 Country Gentleman 12-String
Documented years: None

Introduced in 2016, The Vintage Select '62 Country Gent 12-string features TV Jones Classic pickups, Gretsch Squeezebox capacitors, Electrotone body with simulated f-holes, Adjustamatic bridge, G-cutout tailpiece and a Walnut stain gloss urethane finish.

6122-II Country Classic II/Country Gentleman
Documented years: 1989 to 2012

For some time Gretsch could not use the "Country Gentleman" name. During this period, most Gents were known as Country Classics. The II refers to the double-cutaway model. There was also a 6122-S single-cutaway Country Classic I. In the very early revival years, the 6122-II was simply known as the ...

6122-II-DS Country Gentleman
Documented years: 2008

A one-off "Dynasonic Gent" authorized by Mike Lewis and Joe Carducci of FMIC, and built at Terada in 2008 to the dream specs of GDP member Proteus. Formally presented in July 2009 at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society convention in Nashville by Fred Gretsch "as a token of appreciation" for ...

6122-JR Country Classic Junior
Documented years: 1998 to 2003

None

6122-JR-BK
Documented years: 2003

A pretty uncommon black-finished 6122 Jr.

6122-QT
Documented years: None

The 6122-QT appears to be a limited-run model made strictly for the Japanese market, in which a standard early-90s 6122-I got a very nice quilted wood body, and a more debatable choice of translucent pea-green paint. While they weren't originally offered in the US, over time some have made a ...

6122-S Country Classic I/Country Gentleman I
Documented years: 1989 to 2005

In the 90s the 6122-S Country Classic I represented the single-cutaway version of the classic Country Gentleman model.

6122-SP Country Classic II
Documented years: 2004

Custom Edition with TV Jones pickups and double mute

6122-T Players Edition Country Gentleman
Documented years: None

Introduced in 2016, The Players Edition Country Gent features Gretsch High-Sensitive Filtertron pickups, 2.25" thin body with ML bracing and open f-holes, Gretsch Squeezebox capacitors, no-load tone control, pinned rocking bar bridge, string-thru B6 Bigsby tailpiece, Graphtech Tusq XL nut and a Walnut stain gloss urethane finish.

6122-T-59 Vintage Select Edition '59 Country Gentleman
Documented years: None

Introduced in 2016, the Vintage Select '59 Country Gent features an Electrotone body with simulated F-holes, tiger-flame maple top in lacquer walnut stain finish, one TV Jones Supertron pickup and one TV Jones Supertron Classic Plus pickup, Grover Imperial "butterbean" tuning machines wire-arm B-6 Bigsby and pinned bar bridge. This ...

6122-T-62 Vintage Select Edition '62 Country Gentleman
Documented years: None

Introduced in 2016, the Vintage Select '62 Country Gent features an Electrotone body with simulated F-holes, walnut stain finish, TV Jones Classic pickups, Grover Imperial tuning machines, dual string mutes, B-6 Bigsby and pinned bar bridge.

6122-TSP Country Classic
Documented years: None

A short-run special model circa 2004-2005 that was a more vintage-correct Country Gentleman than the 6122-62. The TSP had string mutes and TV Jones Classic pickups.

61XX Chet Atkins Junior
Documented years: None

The Chet Atkins Junior is an unusual and extremely rare little guitar. So rare, in fact, that we're unable to even confirm the model number. What we do now is that the Junior was made somewhere from 1969 to 1971 (although probably not all those years) and appears to be ...

7176 Southern Belle
Documented years: 1980 to 1983

As Gretsch fell on hard times in the late 70s and Chet Atkins left for Gibson, the venerable Country Gentleman became the Southern Belle. Emasculation jokes aside, it was essentially the same guitar as a Baldwin-era Country Gent. Most were made in Mexico at the Jaurez plant, and were stamped ...

7670-Country Gentleman
Documented years: 1966 to 1980

Baldwin's take on the classic 6122 Country Gentleman was discontinued in '79, when Chet Atkins decided he'd seen enough and left.