The Tennessean debuted in 1958 as, essentially, a one-pickup, stripped-down 6120. While it lacked much of the ornamentation of the 6120, it did have real f-holes, a Bigsby B-6 whammy bar, one FilterTron (in the bridge position) and a vaguely 6120-ish look. A black pickguard with white signpost and red finish set the 6119 apart. Switchgear consisted of one volume knob and one tone switch.
1959 brought a zero fret, in common with other Chet Atkins models, but it was the 1962 models that really changed the 6119. While it remained a single-cutaway, it now had a much thinner (1 7/8) body and painted-on f-holes.
It was now more often than not a darker cherry red or mahogany color, and rosewood replaced ebony on the neck. Two HiLoTron pickups replaced the single FilterTron and the circuitry was all new, too. The pickguard was replaced with the familiar silver type.
In this configuration it became Gretsch’s best seller through the ‘60s, and found some fame through George Harrison, who used one occasionally. Few changes were made, although metal headstock plates began to appear in 1964, and recessed edge aluminum knobs turned up beginning in 1967.
In the early ‘70s the model was redesignated 7655, and regained open f-holes. From the mid ‘70s, Tennys got the full Baldwin treatment, with silver plastic knobs, metal pickup rings, the Burns gearbox truss rod adjusment and the funky squared-off pickguard.
In the ‘90s, Gretsch re-introduced the 6119 as the Tennessee Rose. Two models were offered, both with twin FilterTrons. The base 6119 had a tone knob and tune-o-matic bridge, while the 6119-62 1962 reissue used a bar bridge and tone switch.
In 2002, the 6119-62HT became the first modern Gretsch to be fitted with reissue HiLoTron single-coils.
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- Tennessean introduced.
- Handful of 6113 models produced.
- 6119-62HT Tennessee Rose introduced.
- 6119SP introduced
- First batch of 6116-PTV Power Tenny guitars made.
- Tennessee Rose models revert to Tennessean naming.
- 6119-62HT replaced by 6119-1962 Tennessean.
- Second batch of 6116-PTV Power Tenny guitars made.
- FSR offered.