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.14 different models and 220 examples are in the Gretsch-GEAR database, including Black Rose, Power Tenny, Shanghai Rose, Tennesee Rose, Tennessean, Tennessee Rose, Tennessee Special and Tennesseean models.
- The 6113 is little-known footnote in Tennesseean history, with more than slightly hazy origins... As the 6119 Tennessean was transitioning from the early, single-pickup version to the Electrotone-bodied ...
- 6116-PTV Power Tenny
- Around 2006 Gretsch made a limited run of about 100 "Power Tennys", which were actually a bit more like a 6120 than a Tennessean. The bodies were finished ...
- 6119-FSR Black Rose
- An extremely limited edition (reportedly 16 units) all-black Tennessee Rose commissioned and sold by Street Sounds music in 2011.
- 6119-STV Power Tenny
- Like the 6119PTV, only with a single TV Jones pickup.
- 6119-1962FCG Shanghai Rose
- An extremely limited edition guitar made for Shanghai Guitars. Only about 10 were made, and they featured a metallic Cadillac Green finish, 2 HS Filtertrons, Electrotone body, a ...
- 6119-62HT Tennesee Rose
- Introduced in 2002, the 6119-62HT Tennessee Rose was the first modern Gretsch with HiloTron pickups. and was aimed squarely at George Harrison fans. Marketing materials introducing the model ...
- 6119 Tennessean
- Throughout the vintage era, the 6119 was *the* Tennessean. In the modern era, it has been known as the "Tennessee Rose," and has a 25.5" scale -- unusual ...
- 6119-1962 Tennessee Rose
- A reissue of the classic George Harrison era Tennessean.
- 6119-1959 Tennessee Rose
- The 6119-1959 took over where the 6119-STV left off, recreating the late-50s Tennessean style, only with TV Jones PowerTron pickups.
- 6119-1962FT Tennessee Rose
- The modern-era 6119-1962 reissue, with FilterTrons.
- 6119 Tennessee Rose
- The modern-era 6119. Interestingly, the standard modern-era Tennessee Rose came with a 25.5" scale..
- 6119-SP Tennessee Special
- Reminiscent of the earliest 6119 models of the late 1950's, the G6119SP featured a 2.5" deep laminated maple body, dual high sensitive Filtertron™ pickups with alnico magnets, a ...
- 6119-1962HT Tennesseean
- A modern-day reissue of the 1962 "Harrison" Tennessean with HiLoTron pickups, rocking bar bridge, Bigsby B6 V-cutout vibrato and simulated f-holes.
- 7655 Tennessean
- The Baldwin-era version of the classic 6119 Tennessean.