Gretsch Nashville 6120/Chet Atkins

The Gretsch 6120 was first introduced in 1954 and was originally quite different from the one I have. The first guitar had a thick cello style, hollow body with cutout ‘f’ holes and a single cutaway. Duane Eddy* was a great exponent of Gretsch and credited the model with his very distinctive (not to everyone’s taste) sound. Chet Atkins, who endorsed the model with his signature, was by the early sixties, unhappy with the original model and in ’62 the Nashville 6120 Chet Atkins was introduced. The new model was some three inches narrower than the earlier one, featuring a double cutaway and painted on ‘f’ holes. DeArmond  pickups were replaced by Gretsch’s own FilterTrons.

The model retained the aluminium Bigsby tremolo arm. The back of the guitar was equipped with a pull off anti scratch pad. An unusual feature is a muffler switch to deaden the strings. The new 6120 retained the rather striking orange hue.


The example I own has led an active life, reputedly owned, at one time, by Tony Britain the musician and songwriter. It’s a wonderful instrument with a great action. My only criticism is it’s heavy weight.


* Duane Eddy’s Shazam was the first tune I leaned to play.

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