G6122 versions

Philtertronic

Gretschie
Feb 26, 2014
332
scotland
Been trying to get my head around how Gretsch/FMIC set the production of these in motion.

Back around 2011 I decided I wanted a G6122. I looked around and chose one, then went and talked to my connection at a guitar shop and they duly ordered one in. When it arrived, it was different to the model I thought I'd ordered. It had a zero-fret, Grover Rotomatics, closed F-holes, and the 15th fret neck join. When I mentioned the model I expected - no zero-fret, Imperial tuners, open F-holes, 18th fret neck join, the shop guys were as perplexed as I. A bit of rooting around was done and it transpired what I wanted was a G6122-II, though there was also another G6122 with Rotos, F-holes, 18th fret join and only a pup selector switch. That one was, I think, a pre-FMIC model. So, there were at least three versions of the the G6122 doing the rounds back then.

Two G6122-IIs left me until last year, when I re-acquired one. But in that search, all these variations turned up, including the G6122-1959, which really should have been the first version of the reissue, yeh? And could my G6122 - 18th fret join, Imps, open Fs - be considered a transitional model between the then contemporary G6122 mentioned above (zero-fret, 15th fret, closed Fs) and the G6122-59?

Someone help me with the timeline of these reissues for it's been bothering me for some time now.

G6122 Pre-FMIC G6122-II Pre-FMIC.jpg
Terada G6122-II G6122-II.jpg
Terada G6122-59 G6122-59.png
Original G6122 1959 Original G6122 1959.jpg
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,859
Tucson
The G6122 you have pictured are all double cutaway, and therefore modeled after 1962 or later designs. A little history.

The Country Club was the Gretsch 17” arch top of the mid ‘50s. It was basically Gretsch’ entry into the market space of the Gibson L-5. At that time, the Chet Atkins Signature model was the 6120. In 1958, the Country Gent was produced, with basically the same body dimensions as a Country Club. The next year, the Country Gent was thinned to 2.25” and had trestle bracing. This was the guitar that Chet used for many of his recordings and was the perfect instrument for the classic Chet sound.

In 1962, the Country Gent was redesigned as a double cutaway, with waffle-board as an anti feedback method, replacing the trestle bracing. These guitars had a darker sound and were a change in direction from the single cutaway Gents. It also had some Jimmy Webster influence, such as mutes. These guitars were heavily featured on Chet Atkins album covers and this was also the Country Gent that George Harrison played. For a player coming into the guitar world in the mid ‘60s, this ‘62 Gent was the face of Gretsch.

So, Gretsch ceased to exist in the ‘80s and came back to life only after exceptional effort on the part of Fred Gretsch III. The guitars produced in the pre-FMIC era were not completely true to vintage specs and there were any number of changes along the way.

Then Gretsch partnered with FMIC and took advantage of Fender’s expertise in faithfully replicating vintage models. Starting from that point in time, Gretsch specifications gelled and some truly spectacular guitars were produced. If you bought a G6122-1962, it was very close to vintage specs.

As I said earlier, the ‘62 Gent was a darker sounding guitar with a layer of waffle board that reduced resonance. The G-6122 II was a modification of the ‘62 Gent with open F holes and bracing changes. Many players found this more to their liking than the ‘62 reissue. Speaking only for myself, I found the ‘62 spec guitars a bit heavy and a bit dark sounding.

I have a G6122-1959 and love the sound and the feel of that model. But my tastes are geared towards the Chet Atkins sound, and this is not everyone’s cup of tea. I will state that my G6122-1959 is a versatile instrument with the ability to get a very bright Country sound (almost Tele bright), to a great Rock/Blues sound and even a very decent Jazz sound. For my needs, this is an excellent choice and I recommend it highly, but everyone has their own needs and their own tastes.

G6122-1959​

upload_2022-1-13_9-40-46.jpeg
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,859
Tucson
So, I'm way out on the lineage of this guitar. Thanks for the clarity.
Glad to help where I can. In the ‘60s, the Country agent was the Gretsch. In many ways it eclipsed the White Falcon in that era, most likely because of Chet and George Harrison. The mental image of a double cutaway Gent was everywhere, circa 50-60 years ago.

I had thought about buying a Country Gent, and I had the opportunity to attend the NAMM show, in Anaheim, CA, where I was able to sample any Gretsch I wanted to. I played a G6122-1959 and was hooked. About that time, there was a Chet Atkins display at the Country Music Hall of Fame and to commemorate that event, Gretsch made a limited run of G6122-1959s in orange. I ended up getting the last one to leave the warehouse and have had it for roughly 10 years now. It’s perfect for the Chet Atkins sound.
 

Philtertronic

Gretschie
Feb 26, 2014
332
scotland
Your '59 looks like a G6120 to me.

What I have is indeed the G6122-II but in the post I mislabelled the G6122-1962 as the '59! Along with getting the '62 wrong as well! Learning curve!

I liked the previous two G6122s that I had, plus the current one. I found them light and responsive. Sadly, I didn't play the closed F-hole 15th fret join model enough to get an appraisal of it as it wasn't the guitar I ordered.

I've played a couple of single Annies, and also a Baldwin White Falcon, which I hated.
 
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Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,859
Tucson
It’s a single cutaway, like a 6120, but it’s a 17” body, 2.25” deep. If you saw it side-by-side with a 6120 the difference would be obvious, but at first glance they look quite similar to one another. Being orange, however, it does look like the bulky, older brother of a 6120. The Hall of Fame edition is, to the best of my knowledge, the only single cutaway G6122 to ever be made in orange. It took a while to get used to the color, but now I like it.
 


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