Admin Post Road Test - 6120 DC The Goldilocks Effect in Guitar Form I was thinking of just how fortunate I am to live near a music store that is hip to Gretsch guitars and carries a good selection; Rainbow Guitars in Tucson. I know that a lot of forum members don't have the opportunity to play a wide variety of Gretsch guitars so I thought that perhaps I would take some time to try out the 6120 DC that I found there and report back to my forum bro's. The Mystery on the Album Cover As a "tween" I remember seeing a Chet LP with an orange double-cutaway guitar on the cover. There headstock of the guitar bore a gold-plated plaque that said "Chet Atkins Nashville Model". My imagination ran wild about the attributes of this mysterious guitar that was neither a Country Gent or a Tennesean, the only two Gretsch models I knew about up until that time. Like all Gretsch guitars of the '60s this one had a dizzying array of controls that had to have held the secret to Chet's awesome sound. There were so many switches and knobs that it seemed like an expensive piece of studio hardware, not just a plain old electric guitar like my Harmony Rocket. I knew that I had to find one of these but I never actually saw one in person until the rebirth of Gretsch. The Proof is in the Playin' This week's visit to Rainbow wasn't the first time I had actually played a 6120 DC, that had happened at the 2010 NAMM show when I jammed with a GDP member by the handle of Dr. Gretsch. At that time I felt that the DC was a very competent instrument and it felt good in my hands. When I spotted another DC at Rainbow I decided to put it through its paces and asked for a patch cord and to be plugged into the nearest DRRI. Setting the DRRI to my default settings, Volume 3, Treble 6, Bass 4, Reverb 3, I put the pickup and tone switches in the center position and commenced to playing some Chet-flavored material. The first thing I noticed is that when played finger-style and without a thumb pick the definition of the bass-string notes was excellent . . . very excellent. The "boom chuck" sound of Chet's RCA days was easy to achieve on this guitar. There was a true sense of balance between low and high strings and the clarity was perfect without sounding harsh. Of course such sonic character translates well into any sort of Country music and I felt that this was a major strength of the 6120 DC. It also worked well for middle-of-the-road music played by many cover bands. It would sound at home with most of the Rock and Country songs our band plays. I could easily imagine leaving this axe on the both pickups position all night long with very few, if any, exceptions. Another strength that came as a bit of a surprise was the Blues sound I could get simply by digging in a little harder with the pick. When the strings were attacked hard the sound that came out was very funky and a very natural electric Blues sound. The amp and guitar settings had not changed one iota but a sharper attack definitely was perceived differently by the Filtertrons. My next step was to try for a twangier sound, suitable for Surf music. The highs were quite good on the bridge pickup alone without the dreaded ice-pick effect. I would definitely be able to use this as a Surf axe right out of the box. The lows were good but not quite into Duane Eddy territory, at least in my humble opinion. The neck pickup by itself was pleasant and clear. Neither overly warm or harsh, it was simply a slightly darker version of the sound of both pickups together. While I'm usually a fan of the "mud switch" I found that it sounded a bit pinched to my ear on the DC. Substituting lower value tone caps would probably help greatly in making the mud switch more pleasing to the ear. The Unique Timbre of the 6120 DC While the DC is 100%, a true-blue Gretsch it is a bit different from the Gretsch guitars I usually find myself playing. The sound is strongly biased towards the mid-range and not all that pronounced at the upper or lower extremes. I suspect that the 2.25"body depth is at play here. It's almost certainly the reason that the lower strings don't overwhelm when playing fingerstyle and probably the reason that getting a Duane Eddy sound isn't this instrument's strong suit. It's not all that pronounced at extreme highs or extreme lows, but it's a perfect compromise for many tasks. You could say that it's "just right". Acoustic Performance One usually doesn't think of this when looking at a thin-body without sound-holes but I have to say that when I heard someone else play it acoustically from 10 - 15 feet away I was pleasantly surprised by the volume and warmth of the sound. It's definitely loud enough to practice alone acoustically. For Whom Is this Guitar "Just Right"? This guitar would probably not be my first choice as a one and only Gretsch but that is not to say that I would be dissatisfied if it was my only Gretsch. It's a very good all around guitar, very middle of the road IMHO. That having been said I would suggest this guitar as a strong possibility for four kinds of players. Chet Fanatics: If you want a great Chet axe and don't want a Gent this might be the ticket. All-Around Rockers: If your gigs are filled with Classic Rock this is a great one size fits all axe. Country Players: Likewise, this is a very nice Country axe for both older and newer styles. Blooze Players: Sort of a sleeper in this category; lots of mids and great funk. For Whom Is this Guitar "Too Hot or Too Cold"? If you want the strong twangy low note sounds of Duane Eddy or ice-pick-from-Hell highs this guitar is not for you. It'll suffice in these areas but they are not its strengths.