The original Anniversary, released in 1958 as a celebration of Gretsch's 75 years in business, was a mainstay of the Gretsch lineup. So it was only fitting that 2003 found Fender Musical Instruments Corp. — being in control of Gretsch’s manufacturing and distribution since the previous year — deciding to celebrate the company’s 120th anniversary with a new Anniversary model. The guitar that came out of the Terada factory that year was one of the first new models made under FMIC control. It had the traditional features of an anniversary: a 16-inch laminated maple body, unbound f-holes with squared points, a three-piece unbound maple neck, a 24.6" scale with ebony fretboard and 21 frets, and an unbound headstock with black plastic overlay and the traditional Anniversary chrome metal plate, adorned with a diamond engraving and the text "Anniversary 1883 - 2003". According to Mike Lewis at FMIC, the earliest 6118-120 guitars were made with a five-ply maple laminate which was considerably thinner than the five-ply laminate pre-FMIC guitars used. Some time around June or July 2003, they switched to a three-ply laminate. Some other features were quite uncommon at the time. The body was one of the first to have the correct vintage outline (compared to the pre-FMIC ones), the wood laminate was thinner and bracing was by classic parallel braces running under the top with a soundpost between the top and back. Unlike previous Anniversary models, the 120 was obviously aimed at the higher end of the Gretch line-up. From its retro-Gretsch Bamboo Yellow/Copper Mist color scheme to its features, the 120 was special. Some of the features setting it apart from lesser Anniversaries were a stock B6 Bigsby, TV Jones' Classic Filtertron pickups (made by hand and only to be found on Brian Setzer’s signature model until then) rocking bar bridge, Grover Sta Tite open back tuning machines and aged binding. All in all it made for a very desirable guitar in an unusual color, which seems to be loved by its owners. When asked for how long this anniversary would last, Lewis replied that it was indeed a limited edition, but they just haven’t decided yet how limited it would be! The 120th Anniversary was finally phased out in 2008 to make way for the 125th Anniversary.
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6118-T-120 Anniversary Specs
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- Anniversary models
- The Fender years: 2003-present
- First registered year
- Last registered year