Chet's black 6120: great article in "Guitar Aficionado"

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Chet's black 6120: great article in "Guitar Aficionado"

Postby John C. » Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:19 pm

Very well-done piece on Chet's "Dark Eyes" guitar in the Sept/Oct issue of "Guitar Aficionado" magazine. Their site only contains a portion of the article, but there are quite a few "exclusive" photos that are not shown in the magazine. Here's the link:

http://www.guitaraficionado.com/photo-g ... -1956.html

Pretty sure most Barnes & Noble stores carry the magazine; my local Guitar Center does, too.

Thanks,

John C.
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Re: Chet's black 6120: great article in "Guitar Aficionado"

Postby Norm » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:56 pm

Nice to know that one of the commenters rated Chet a "close second" to Hendrix. How very kind of him to include Chet with Hendrix even if it was only second place.

I was going to respond to that but thought better of it. I would have been viewed as wrong in his eyes.
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

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Re: Chet's black 6120: great article in "Guitar Aficionado"

Postby guitarchuck » Sat Aug 24, 2013 2:52 pm

1gretschatkinsa.jpg
This photo taken of Chet Atkins backstage at the Grand Ole Opry shows what is likely the black 6120 in a very early incarnation. Note the short Gretsch pickguard, the Ray Butts-designed Filter’tron humbucking prototype pickups, the unfinished (or possibly white) sides, and the “bent wire” Bigsby arm. The white simulated f-holes appear to be glued-on templates, featuring a slimmed-down design that Atkins traced from his D’Angelico. Several features like the horseshoe headstock horseshoe, block fingerboard inlays, and early bar bridge are identical to those seen in later photos of the black 6120.
2gretschatkinsb.jpg
Although the previous photo is dated September, 1956, the date is likely an error as this photo of Atkins with the black 6120 with later modifications taken with the Louvin Brothers is dated August 18, 1956. Note the swing-away, flat handle Bigsby arm, black finished sides, longer Gretsch Chet Atkins “signpost” pickguard, and the toggle switch mounted where the bridge pickup volume control used to be. The f-holes are now standard large Gretsch-style simulated f-holes made of gold sparkle Nitron.


I believe the dates are correct on the photos. Chet was wanting to get away from the cowboy "Western" items on his guitars, so the pickguard without the sign-post would be a later guitar. He also didn't like the big gaudy f-holes, so it makes sense that the Sept 1956 photo with the smaller f-holes and plain Gretsch pickguard is a later model guitar than the solid black Dark Eyes guitar. It's also my belief that the 3 guitars starting with the orange guitar that had the solid top, then the Dark Eyes guitar, and then the black top light sides guitar, were all prototypes that eventually lead to the Country Gentleman. Each had changes that evolved into what Chet was really looking for in a guitar.
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Re: Chet's black 6120: great article in "Guitar Aficionado"

Postby Norm » Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:27 pm

I agree with Chuck pretty much, that those guitars photographed are run-ups to what became the CG.

Chet did like the 'red top' solid top. It was a great sounding guitar and Chet knew it. He pretty much used it exclusively until they started working toward the Gentleman. Gretsch wanted him to use something that wasn't so prohibitively expensive to make so a series of color experiments were made that eventually became the Country Gentleman. I believe it's official release date is 1958 but some claim to have 1957 versions.

The one with the light sides will always be a puzzle though. The suggestion that it was just an unfinished version makes sense although it could have been an experimental color they tried out. Sadly, the people who might know are gone now and records were sketchy back then.
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

Audio samples: http://www.youtube.com/user/acountrygent/videos
That should do it.
Norm
 
Posts: 1320
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:36 pm
Location: redwood city ca


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