Premier Guitar’s John Bohlinger sat down recently with Lloyd Nicely of Gruhn Guitars to demo a vintage Gretsch 1957 6120 for an “Axes & Artifacts” segment.
In the video, Nicely explains the unique features that Gretsch built for Chet Atkins based on what they believed the musician would desire in an instrument. (Later, Gretsch would work directly with Atkins to design a guitar to his exact specifications, which led to the introduction of the G6122 model.)
The ’57 G120 features the “Cadillac” of bound bodies and is equipped with a three-way toggle, two DeArmond Dynasonic pickups and a black enamel Bigsby tailpiece. As pointed out in the clip, during the ‘50s-era the Bigsby was a luxury piece that cost a whopping $75 back in the day. To put that in perspective, the entire guitar could be purchased for roughly $295, so the Bigsby alone cost nearly one-third of the guitar!
Lloyd also describes the key features that peg this guitar as a product of 1957, which include hump top inlays and Brazilian rosewood. Also, this model pre-dates the zero fret feature that Atkins introduced in ’59 to bring more sustain to the guitar.
Watch the video below to learn all about this gorgeous guitar, and hear it ring while played through a 1961 Fender Bassman.