Which vintage 6120 would YOU buy?

Syndrome

Electromatic
Oct 3, 2020
30
DC
I think the trestle bracing was introduced in 1958 together with the Filter’tron pickups. 1959 had the zero fret. 1960 was 1/4 thinner, and 1961 was 1/4 inch thinner than 1961. I guess I just wonder if there is a difference in popularity between the 1960 and 1961.
 

Pemberton

Gretschie
May 4, 2022
310
Pennsylvania, USA
I guess I just wonder if there is a difference in popularity between the 1960 and 1961.
Some Zombie threads are worthy of resurrecting. I believe one reason the ‘60/‘61 6120s with the thinner bodies are a bit less popular is because they are just not the “traditional” fat body (2 3/4”) hollowbody of the ‘59s and earlier. The 6120s were slowly moving further and further away from the original design and therefore not quite as popular. Although I don’t think there is much, if any, difference in sound and playability.

So, yes, I think the 1960 models are “slightly” less popular than the ‘59s and earlier, and the ‘61s are less popular than the 1960.

However, many people prefer the thinner body, just as there are people who prefer the Double Cuts of ‘62 and later.
 
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Syndrome

Electromatic
Oct 3, 2020
30
DC
Interesting! Just opened up a totally different avenue of thought for me. I wonder if the early 6120 1955/6/7 are limited in their sounds and uses (kind of like Rickenbackers), improved usability with the 1958/59, but still limited. I don’t see much difference between the 1959 and 1960, honestly. Bottom line, is the 1961 the one that bridges between the single and double cut 6120, offering the “best of both worlds” both in terms of looks and sounds? Is that a reason to believe the 1961 is a fantastic option for more players to enjoy?

As far as Gretsches go, I have a 1964 Country Gentleman, 1963 and a 1962 Tennesseans, and a 1957 Duo Jet. I love the Americana part of Gretsch guitars, rockabilly, Stray Cats, etc., so I am looking to add a 6120 to the group. Just to share, here’s a picture of my little Gretsch family. All are in really nice condition.

As an aside, I have a modern G6128-1957 Duo Jet, and it plays and sounds very much like my original vintage piece. But it isn’t, and I know it. I like it, but I definitely like the vintage 1957 better. I can’t put my finger on why that is.


P.S. I just noticed the Gibson Explorer in the picture. For anyone curious, that’s a 1976 Limited Edition Explorer, just like the one Edge of U2 uses. Pretty cool guitar, but not a vintage Gretsch.

61C04733-D9FB-412E-A7C1-DC4B396837F2.jpeg
 
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Pemberton

Gretschie
May 4, 2022
310
Pennsylvania, USA
‘55 to ‘57 6120s with DeArmonds and no trestle bracing are just a different beast than the ‘58 to ‘61 with Filter’Trons and trestle bracing. They just sound and feel different. I personally wouldn’t say one is better than the other, just different. Different players have their preferences. One of the biggest differences is the Filter’Trons were designed to eliminate hum and cut down feedback.

If you’re looking for a Filter’Tron 6120, and don’t mind the slightly thinner body, then a ‘61 would be a good choice because that year seems to be slightly more available and a bit less expensive than a ‘59 or a “flamed-grain” ‘60.

I’ve been following the market, and it seems to me that only about 2 or 3 (maybe) decent ‘59 6120s (and somewhat reasonably priced) come up for sale per year. But I see more ‘61s.

Good luck in your search.
 

6187LX

Gretschie
Aug 11, 2022
211
Up Around the Bend
I thought I'd gotten 6120s out of my system. Then I saw Gasmoney's dark orange '57. Dammit.

Ideal 6120 would be a dark orange '56/7 with engraved humpblock markers, the "d" neck from the '56-61 years And a "G" brand. But if and only if it was actually branded; no routing or decals. Duane Eddy B6 only if a vintage breakaway handle was too weird. And while we're wishing for the moon, peace on earth and goodwill to all people.
 
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wildeman

I Bleed Orange
May 10, 2015
16,363
norcal
I thought I'd gotten 6120s out of my system. Then I saw Gasmoney's dark orange '57. Dammit.

Ideal 6120 would be a dark orange '56/7 with engraved hunpblock markers, the "d" neck from the '56-61 years And a "G" brand. But if and only if it was actually branded; no routing or decals. Duane Eddy B6 only if a vintage breakaway handle was too weird. And while we're wishing for the moon, peace on earth and goodwill to all people.
If that don't sound like a Custom Shop order, I'll hairlip the pope ...
 

Maguchi

Gretschie
Aug 11, 2022
175
Lalaland
Hi there,

Well, my quest for a vintage 6120 has narrowed down to four guitars that I can actually buy and afford...these guitars are the following:

a 1956 G-brand model, 100% original, black enamel fixed Bigsby, non-original case
a late 1957 model, transitional, thumbnail inlays, '58 heavy trestle bracing, 100% original, Duane Eddy bigsby, OHSC (grey)
a 1959 model, light trestle bracing, new nut and new zero fret, black enamel Bigsby, original white cowboy case
a 1960 model, heavily flamed top, back and neck, Gretsch bigsby, pickups have been out once so not 100% sure if they are original (but look like it), replaced tuners, original white cowboy case
Well, those are the options, one of them is gonna be mine I guess...my personal preference are filtertrons, but I have no experience with dynasonics so I don't know...I like a good raunchy singlecoil pickup anytime so who knows...best condition of them all is the '57 I guess...

I buy the guitar to play, but I also wanna know which one would be the best investment (I wanna spend my money well)?

Which one would you all choose and why? Thanks in advance!
Real vintage late '50s and early '60s sounds very appealing. However, back in April I went for something I could feel safe about and got a new reissue G6120TG-DS Nashville Players Edition with Dynasonics. It's a sweet sounding smooth playing guitar that seems to sound better each month I have it.

20220703_161327.jpg 20220704_215422.jpg
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,982
Where the action is!
This is an old thread, but I’m looking for a great vintage 50s (likely a 1959 or 1960, just because “they say” these are the “holy grail”) 6120 to buy. I’m wondering, is the 1961 version not sought after?
I would say yes, but I don't think the difference really has much to do with the inherent qualities of the different model years. I think there's always going to be a certain amount of cachet associated with the '50s that weighs in favor of a '59. Then there's the Setzer connection to '59 and '60 6120s that kicks the price up a little bit compared to a '61. But a '61 still has all the features that make those earlier guitars so great but in a slightly more comfortable package. I personally think '61s are the best of the bunch. I've owned several '61s and one '59 and one '60. Not enough to have a definitive opinion on their respective tones, but my limited experience suggests that the thinner body gives the '61 an ever-so-slightly more focused and sharp tone. To my ears and for my playing comfort, '61s were the ultimate FilterTron 6120. And the fact that they can usually be had for a little less money is just gravy.
‘55 to ‘57 6120s with DeArmonds and no trestle bracing are just a different beast than the ‘58 to ‘61 with Filter’Trons and trestle bracing. They just sound and feel different. I personally wouldn’t say one is better than the other, just different.
Agreed. The really don't share much beyond the same model number and color. The former is a hollowbody with single coils and a tone pot. The latter is basically a semi-hollowbody with humbuckers and a tone switch. Pretty different.
 

6187LX

Gretschie
Aug 11, 2022
211
Up Around the Bend
IIRC there were a couple of heavy trestled '58 6120s that came from the factory with Dynasonics.

The '61 6120 had another structural difference from the earlier models: the neck joint was a mortise and tennon, not a dovetail like earlier models. This is what Neil played with the Buffalo Springfield.
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,982
Where the action is!
IIRC there were a couple of heavy trestled '58 6120s that came from the factory with Dynasonics.
Yes. A very rarely seen variant, but they do exist.
a_full_in_case.jpg


The '61 6120 had another structural difference from the earlier models: the neck joint was a mortise and tennon, not a dovetail like earlier models.
That's true, and in my book it's an improvement. A sloppy mortise and tenon joint is less likely to fail than a sloppy dovetail.
 

BCRatRod73

Synchromatic
Silver Member
Sep 1, 2020
842
Mississippi
I think the Rev. Horton Heat 6120 would suit me just fine but for vintage 6120? I’d have to play a few different models to find the one.
 


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