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1956 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbody
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Serial #: 20817
Body size at lower bout: 15 1/2". Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut Width: 1 10 1/6" Body depth: 2 3/4" Neck depth: .78/.88, 1st /10th frets.
Materials: Solid maple neck; solid rosewood fingerboard with block pearloid inlays; arched maple laminate top, back and sides; two ply body and f-hole binding; original plated brass nut.
Hardware: Original hardware includes twin DeArmond Dynasonic pickups, Bigsby B-6 aluminum tailpiece and bridge, Waverly open back tuners; gold Lucite pickguard with Atkins logo; independent "G Arrow" volume knobs for each pickup; master volume and tone knobs; three way pickup selector switch.
Notes: In late 1954, Gretsch introduced the guitar that would become its most iconic creation: the Chet Atkins Hollow Body. Designed in collaboration with Nashville's most famous instrumentalist, the 6120 drew upon Chet's long recording and performing experience to create an exceptionally versatile, highly playable electric instrument. The fully hollow body, slimmer in depth than conventional archtops, lends a more comfortable feel. A handily placed master volume control facilitates dynamic control during play. Later renamed the Nashville Model, the 6120 became one of the first production guitars to be factory equipped with a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece as standard equipment.
And style? From its G logo cattle brand on top, to the fence rail pickguard graphic, the Chet Atkins Gretsch cowboy'd up big time right down to the tooled leather piping on the case. This fine example from 1956 represents the short lived second version of the model. Still equipped with the original Dynasonic pickups, Waverly tuners, and arrow control knobs of the debut year, this guitar also has the block fingerboard inlays, horseshoe peghead, swivel-arm Bigsby, and larger truss rod cover, all new for 1956.
This fine example has been maintained in great shape, without cracks, pick, or thumb wear in its original Western Orange finish. The neck has a particularly comfy slim D profile, and the original DeArmond single coil pickups are clear and detailed, with classic bite and twang. The back has a bit of older buckle wear, and the neck shows newer finish, along with some spot touchup on top near the switch, with one of the Waverly tuners replaced with a vintage original.
At just 6lb 8oz, the guitar is notably light in weight, and well balanced on the lap or the strap. The pots, cap and wiring harness are all original, as is the plush lined hardshell case, which still retains its leather tooling, though the covering is long departed. With a wonderfully versatile voice, the instrument can cover the gamut from bebop to rockabilly, with smooth, low action over a fresh high precision setup, on fine pro fretwork.
From Eddie Cochran and Duane Eddy to George Harrison and Brian Setzer, several generations of guitar heroes have fallen for the guitar that put the 'Western' back into 'Country and Western'. An exceptional player from Gretsch's classic era: one only, call now.
Setup: Trussrod tension and neck relief adjusted; bridge height adjusted; bridge compensation strobe tuned; bridge wheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished. Electronics tested, pickups balanced. This instrument is strung with light gauge nickel strings (.011). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 4/64" to 5/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.
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