Gretsch 6120 book

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Re: Gretsch 6120 book

Postby guitarchuck » Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:45 am

Norm,
I just went and found my "Chet Atkins' Workshop" album. The guitar leaning there looks very black to me, You can't see any woodgrain. It looks like a painted black finish. The tuners are debateable, the photo isn't quite sharp enough, but they look like the open back small button tuners to me. The headstock is the old style large headstock like the one on the black gold sparkle f-hole guitar. I think it probably is that guitar. Just what I think, might not be so.
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Re: Gretsch 6120 book

Postby thenorm » Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:46 am

That's good enough for me, Chuck. I hadn't seen that album in over twenty years and you know how memory doesn't always hit on all four cylinders
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Re: Gretsch 6120 book

Postby bill raymond » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:48 pm

But, back to the 2 black sealed top guitars, the one on the back cover of the 6120 book and the "Dark Eyes" instrument with the gold sparkle f-holes: Did anyone notice the shape of the f-holes on the guitar on the book's back cover? They don't look to me to be at all like the 6120s from the '50s--the lower "scroll" of the f-hole is smaller and not turned up as the typical Gretsch 6120 holes; look more like the f-holes from the '60s or the 6122.
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Re: Gretsch 6120 book

Postby guitarchuck » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:16 am

Did anyone notice the shape of the f-holes on the guitar on the book's back cover? They don't look to me to be at all like the 6120s from the '50s--the lower "scroll" of the f-hole is smaller and not turned up as the typical Gretsch 6120 holes; look more like the f-holes from the '60s or the 6122.


Bill,
I think you're on to something there! Now that makes me think that guitar, (the 2-tone finish sealed top 6120 on the back cover of the Gretsch 6120 book) was the last of the 3 prototype sealed top 6120's before the 6122 Country Gentleman came out. As we all know, Chet didn't care for the large f-holes on the 6120's.

So it seems the order the guitars were built:
1: "Red" sealed top 6120
2: Black sealed top 6120 gold sparkle f-holes
3: Black 2-tone finish 6120 with light colored smaller f-holes
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Re: Gretsch 6120 book

Postby thenorm » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:00 am

Definitely examples of evolution
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Re: Gretsch 6120 book

Postby bill raymond » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:15 am

Chuck, that's what I was thinking. I know Chet had remarked in several interviews that he didn't like the Gretsch f-holes, and the two-tone guitar looks almost like a very early progenitor of the 6122, Too bad all we have is the black and white photos--I wonder what colors it really was; any dark opaque color could look black on B&W film, depending on lighting. Kind of reminds me of those two-tone finishes that Gretsch did in the '50s, I guess it was on the Country Clubs: Cadillac green and a light mint color.
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Re: Gretsch 6120 book

Postby guitarchuck » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:40 am

Too bad all we have is the black and white photos--I wonder what colors it really was; any dark opaque color could look black on B&W film, depending on lighting


Bill, you're right, I've been calling the top on that 2-tone finish guitar black. It very well could be any dark color, possibly the same color as a 6122 Country Gentleman. We will probably never know unless that guitar turns up someday.
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Re: Gretsch 6120 book

Postby thenorm » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:41 pm

I was looking through some source material I have stashed away and came across this bit of business that refers to teh "Dark Eyes" guitar. According to this (and by observation of the vid) the Ray Butt's modification hadn't happened yet when the movie was made.

__________________

" Gretsch made several custom 6120's especially for Atkins, but this 1956 model may be the most unusual variation Gretsch ever produced. It's most significant differences from the production model are it's black finish and simulated f-holes, which are actually gold-sparkle inlays. The simulated f-hole design appeared one year latter on the 6122 Country Gentleman.
In 1959, the guitar was modified by Ray Butts, who placed several pickups on the upper region of the fingerboard beneath the fifth and sixth strings. According to Atkins, "I wanted to isolate the fifth and sixth string so we could run it through an octave divider and have the note come out an octave lower."
Someone else succeeded with this idea before Chet, so he lost interest in the endeavor and put the guitar aside. About a year later, Atkins gave the guitar to Bill Porter, an Engineer at RCA studios in Nashville, Tennessee, when Porter expressed interest in learning to play the guitar. Porter explains: "I asked Chet what brand and model I should purchase, and he volunteered to assist me by donating this guitar." Porter owned the guitar until the early '90s, when he sold it to a Louisville music dealer.”

________________

And as we now know the guitar ended up at the Smithstonian
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