Video: Gretsch 6120 prototype dark eyes

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Video: Gretsch 6120 prototype dark eyes

Postby Josh Woods » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:27 am

Found this video a minute ago. Dont know if it has already been talked about or viewed already but here it is if you havent seen it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4S6TMEJX8CU
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Re: Video: Gretsch 6120 prototype dark eyes

Postby Norm » Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:36 pm

I went to check the gretschpages to see what they had to say about this and someone posted this very interesting video.
Much more discussion of the guitar itself. Joe is good folk but he wasn't giving much info about the guitar and some of his statements about Chet's history was a bit off.

Anyway.... this is a good clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHCrpXuJ ... e=youtu.be

I disagree with one part of this. Tom Doyle claims the black guitar was made before the red carved top instrument but I disagree. The black guitar was made after the carved top and seems to be an experiment as to the feasibility (or usefulness) of a thicker laminated top. Gretsch could not make a marketable carved top instrument.

Paul Yandell said he only saw Chet use the black guitar once on GOO. The rest of the time in that period it was the carved top.
...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.
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Re: Video: Gretsch 6120 prototype dark eyes

Postby guitarchuck » Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:24 pm

First, I would like to thank Josh for posting the link to this new video.

I am somewhat surprised that Gretsch has decided to re-issue the "Dark Eyes" guitar. Sure, it's a very interesting and somewhat "mysterious" guitar, but: 1. I see it as only a stepping stone to the pathway to the Country Gentleman. 2. The guitar was used in a very limited manner in comparison to other guitars in Chet's career. 3. I may be wrong, but I don't see a big market for this guitar.
I think if Gretsch wants to make a guitar that would catch the attention of Chet fans, they would re-issue Chet's 1959 Country Gentleman in fine detail. That would include getting the color correct, using wood with a similar type wood grain, including the Electra phaser circuit, etc.

I thought I would reprint a edited post that I did on the timeline of the sealed top prototype 6120 guitars:

Here's some time line info that I've discovered:
Purina Show 1955:
1: On the song "Side By Side": The Orange or Red sealed top guitar has 2 DeArmond pickups and Chet's fixed Chet Atkins style arm Bigsby and the 1955 style steerhead neck with western inlays.

2: On the song "The Poor People of Paris (Jean's Song): The Orange or Red sealed top guitar has 1 DeArmond neck pickup & 1 Ray Butts prototype bridge Filtertron pickup, Chet's Kaufman vibrola and the 1955 style steerhead neck with western inlays.

3: The Orange or Red sealed top guitar appears in a July 1956 photo at the Grand Ole Opry (page 82 of the Gretsch 6120 book) with Chet's fixed Chet Atkins style arm Bigsby and the 1955 style steerhead neck with western inlays. The master volume has been replaced with a switch at that point. I can't tell from the photo what the pickups are.

4: The Today show April 4, 1957 photos show the Orange or Red sealed top guitar in it's stereo configuration, the replacement 56/57 style neck with the horseshoe & plain block markers, and the
fixed Chet Atkins style arm Bigsby.

5: The dark topped, light sided sealed top guitar is pictured with Chet back stage at the Grand Ole Opry in September 1956. It has a Ray Butts prototype neck pickup visible, plain Gretsch pickguard, swivel Chet Atkins armed Bigsby & a 1956 horseshoe, plain block neck. The f-holes appear to be solid white. (page 90 & the back cover of the Gretsch 6120 book).

6: The Black sealed top gold sparkled f-hole guitar is featured on the "Dark Eyes" video. It has the prototype Ray Butts Filtertron pickups, and a 1956 horseshoe, plain block neck. It has the same switch & knob configuration as the Red/Orange guitar. It is also featured on the "Mr. Atkins, If You Please" cover with 2 output jacks. (pg. 80 of Chet Atkins, Me and My Guitars book). It's also featured in a photo of Chet with the Louvin Brothers dated 8/18/56.

I think all 3 of these guitars lead up to, and were the prototypes for the Country Gentleman. Chet was looking for a better sounding pickup (the Ray Butts Filtertrons), more sustain (the sealed top), do away with the western apointments (we see them going away on these guitars), and a darker colored guitar (he didn't care for the orange at the time we're told).
I do think the Red/Orange guitar was built first in 1955, then the other 2 in 1956. Then the Country Gentleman came out in late 1957.
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