Jimmy Atkins with Jerry Reed's 6120 guitar

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Re: Jimmy Atkins with Jerry Reed's 6120 guitar

Postby smokymtguitar09 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:33 am

I found another photo of a 1959 6120, that helped bring fame and fortune to Brian Setzer. The first photo in his gallery is an early one soon after he bought his used 1959 guitar while a teenager for $100. It confirms many of the features discussed here with the exception that the guitar does not have a zero fret. This was before Setzer added the black cat stick-on, skull & crossbones on headstock, dice knobs, girlie stick-on, removed one of the switches, and other things.

The link to his photo gallery shows the guitar as original and his mods as they evolved. When the original 6120 became trashed Steve Miller gave him another with slightly different features, and now Gretsch has reissued his signature model with all the modifications. Brian Setzer probably now has a stable of 6120's.

http://www.briansetzer.com/gallery
Ronnie Evans
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Re: Jimmy Atkins with Jerry Reed's 6120 guitar

Postby jay » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:16 am

"Brian Setzer probably now has a stable of 6120's."

Ronnie, when I saw Brian and the Cats play two years ago, he played with the one Steve gave him for the whole show. He had another sitting in a trash can on stage, but never touched it. When he plays with the BSO, he uses the stable of other fancier gretsch guitars that he owns.

http://briansetzer.com/guitar-gallery

A p[retty talented picker in his own right.
jay kantor
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Re: Jimmy Atkins with Jerry Reed's 6120 guitar

Postby thenorm » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:07 am

"...It confirms many of the features discussed here with the exception that the guitar does not have a zero fret..."

That guitar in the first picture you indicate does indeed have a zero fret. At least it so appears so to me.
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Re: Jimmy Atkins with Jerry Reed's 6120 guitar

Postby Ray Bohlken » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:21 am

In his book, "Gretsch 6120 - The History of a Legendary Guitar", Edward Ball has a section on Brian Setzer's guitars and the modifications he made to them. He mentions that one of the alterations is to the zero fret, but doesn't say what it is and on page 165, he mentions that he had to replace the headstock on a 2nd guitar that Steve Miller gave him resulting in the removal of the zero fret. Incidently, this is a great book with many photos of all variations of the 6120 and gets into the changes made through the year down to the batch that the change probably occured in. My wife got me this for Christmas and I keep looking through the book at the photos. If I win a lottery, I'll probably try to get a vintage 6120 or two. It would have to be a big win, though....we'd need a new house with enough room to store the ones I want. :D
Ray
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Re: Jimmy Atkins with Jerry Reed's 6120 guitar

Postby smokymtguitar09 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:03 am

Norm,
You are correct... in the first photo the zero fret is there, yet in other photos of that period, especially the video of the Stray Cats "Rock this Town", there is no zero fret...makes me wonder if it is the same guitar or was it modified early on? Ray refers to the zero fret modification from his 6120 book.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoaazVGPtuQ
Ronnie Evans
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Re: Jimmy Atkins with Jerry Reed's 6120 guitar

Postby thenorm » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:21 am

The guitar in the video has the black Bigsby so it very well could have no zero fret.


Here's the thing....

When we talk about the "59" as being the final form of the design, being vee cut Bigsby and zero fret applied to all of the Chet guitars, that final form did not occur and go into effect January first, 1959. There were obviously some transitional instruments using parts (fingerboards and Bigsby's) left from 1958.
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Re: Jimmy Atkins with Jerry Reed's 6120 guitar

Postby smokymtguitar09 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:04 pm

Norm,
I follow your thinking. I agree and cast my vote now for the 6120.

This thread has come from Jimmy Atkins to the Stray Cats, so I guess I need to move over at let others contribute. It's been an education and I appreciate all the information, especially hearing from Billy Leys about his father's 6120.

Thanks to all.
Ronnie Evans
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Re: Jimmy Atkins with Jerry Reed's 6120 guitar

Postby thenorm » Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:12 pm

Fascinating guitars.

I don't think any other line of signature guitars have ever attracted that much analysis except possibly the Les Paul.

It's fun playing detective.
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