The Gretsch Monkees signature guitar was a bad idea, well executed. Gretsch had sold a truckload of Tennesseeans and Country Gentlemen in '64 and '65 thanks to George Harrison's high-visibility use of them, but had never managed to secure an official endorsement from Harrison.
So when the Monkees hit the scene some Gretsch board members saw an opportunity. Cooler heads pointed out that the Monkees did not actually play their instruments and carried little cachet with most working musicians, but the model was given the go-ahead anyway.
Introduced in mid-1966, the 6123l was fitted with two SuperTron pickups, it had real f-holes, and special features like a unique pickguard and truss rod cover sporting the Monkees logo, and a fretboard with thumbnail markers top and bottom.
Sales were abysmal. The Monkees young fan base never rushed out to buy the Pre-Fab Four's preferred musical prop, no matter how fine an instrument it may have been. The people who did buy tended to quietly fit a "normal" pickguard and truss rod cover. While the Monkees eventually grew into an actual recording group, their success did not carry over to their signature Gretsch. The 6123 was quietly dropped in 1968, when a virtually-identical (but devoid of Monkee business) Streamliner was introduced.
The 6123 was the only official Monkees guitar, although Mike Nesmith was often seen with a 6075 or 6076 12-string, and Peter Tork lugged around a 6073 bass. At least one bass built off the 6123 Monkees model was also made for Tork, but it was never offered as a production model.
Nine examples are in the Gretsch-GEAR database.
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