|So, that's my girlfriend Dani playing
(well, trying to) the Gretsch 6120 she bought me. Yes, she rocks!
I wanted one of these guitars for probably
four years before I got one. I was obsessed with Brian Setzer and
the Stray Cats. I've listened to a lot of other rockabilly as well,
but only Setzer had this incredible sound. It turned out this was
because, even though many of the classic rockers (e.g., Eddie Cochran,
Duane Eddy, Gene Vincent's guitarists, etc.) played Gretsch guitars, they
all had Dynasonic pickups instead of the Filtertrons that showed up later
which Setzer plays almost exclusively.
This model is the 1960 reissue. It
is very much like Brian Setzer's signature model (although it cost considerably
less). Setzer himself owns three 1960 original 6120s. Much
like his, mine has the mix of chrome and gold hardware. However,
the top of his guitar is heavily flamed maple, which looks okay, but really
doesn't have much of a vintage look... something I wanted. My 1960
reissue is much classier looking with a plain wood grain, especially on
the back where it's more visible. Incidentally, the guitar is orange, not
red as it appears to me in this photo above.
Retro Bigsby tremolo - This is
the version before Gretsch started putting their own logo and "V" on them.
Again, Setzer's model has this version as well.
Kluson style open-back tuning machines
- I've thought about upgrading these, but so far I haven't.
Bigsby guitars are notorious about going out of tune, but they aren't too
bad if you don't get crazy with the tremolo. Setzer has locking tuners
on his, but I think they take away from the look.
Rocking Bar Bridge - This was
a short-lived bridge that was designed to move back and forth to facilitate
tremolo movement without the strings going out of tune.
Neo-classic (aka "Thumbnail") Inlays -
These were introduced around or in 1960. Prior to this, Gretsch used
to use either conventional blocks (sometimes with designs in them as with
the Western-themed models) or the "hump-block" inlays.
Classic Pickguard - This one
has the Nashville "sign-post" in addition to the Gretsch logo. I
like it better than the modern version which I think is a bit too plain.
For those not familiar with the electronic
features, I'll lay them out for you:
Master Volume Control - This
is the knob on the lower bout. It controls the output.
Individual Pickup Volume Controls -
These individually control the pickups just like on a Les Paul.
Pickup Selector - A standard
3-way switch, again like on most Gibson guitars. Located on the upper
bout closest to the neck.
Tone Switch - A non-standard
3-way switch that by-passes or selects between two capacitors to create
more jazzy sounds. There's much more about this switch on this
Filter-Tron pickups - These are
incredible. They are solid without an overwhelming output.
They're thick, yet have a strong high-end that will cut through and give
each note good definition.