Museum: Electric Guitars

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1955 Gretsch 6121 Roundup

Serial # 16538. Pots dated 45th week of 1954. The Gretsch 6121 Chet Atkins Solidbody and 6130 Round Up were both introduced in 1954, and featured many similar cowboy motif elements. The 6130 Round Up was built with a Pine top, non-trem tailpiece, Melita bridge, Steerhead pickguard, and bone nut. The 6121 Chet Atkins Solidbody featured a maple top, fixed-arm Bibsby vibrato tailpiece, compensated aluminum bridge, Chet Atkins signpost pickguard, and aluminum nut. This particular guitar is a little bit of both.

You'll find this very guitar pictured on page 126 of Jay Scott's 1992 book, The Guitars of the Fred Gretsch Company (Centerstream Publishing). The photos show the instrument's distinctive top markings and armwear, but also show the guitar with a 6121 Chet Atkins Solidbody pickguard. The 6130 pickguard may be original equipment, but might not -- we can't tell you for certain. It is an original '55 Gretsch pickguard, in any case. The guitar's wiring, pickups, solder joints, and switches are all completely original, the Melita bridge is the right part and appears original to the guitar, and the nut is more than likely a replacement. The instrument has a professionally repaired headstock break with finish touch-up. The work is very cleanly done, but not invisible.

All told, this 6121 is a super-cool guitar that plays and sounds up to snuff. Set up is excellent, neck angle is fine; DeArmond Dynasonic pickups sound boldly clear and strong. Neck feel is to-die-for. 24.5" scale, 1-11/16" nut. Original Waverly tuners, studded leather edge binding, arrow knobs, belt-buckle tailpiece, switch tip, and strap buttons.

With original tweed hardshell case

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