1959The G6120 Nashville 1959 is a new model from Gretsch and harks back to the classic era where rock and roll was born and a generation of guitarists wanted to mimic the likes of Eddie Cochran to Gene Vincent and Elvis. The 6120 is a Nashville style guitar and Gretsch have gone back to the archives to produce a faithfully retro version of one of their classics. When you first set eyes on the G6120 you can’t help admire it – Gretsch have a real knack of getting the aesthetics of a guitar spot on and the G6120 follows in this tradition looking stunning from the off – from the aged binding to the Orange “stained” urethane finish to the glimmer of the hardware – this one looks almost too perfect to pick up.
With a gentle single cutaway design the Nashville is a hollowbody guitar that harks back to when times were simpler – Gretsch have made painstaking attempts to ensure that this release looks authentic from the horseshoe headstock logo to the fingerboard inlays. For Gretsch it’s a bit of a fine balance – their guitars traditionally look fairly retro – so for a retro Gretsch we’re not quite sure what to look for but here it’s the subtle things that Gretsch have done that bring back memories of the 50’s – for example the aged binding – these changes are not in your face – subtle – and that emphasizes the quality on show here.

The body is laminated maple – with tradition “f” holes – the Body measures in at 16” X 2.75” the neck is a two piece maple affair (24.6” scale) with an ebony fingerboard (featuring lovingly authentic thumbnail inlays). Gretsch have opted for their traditional rocking bar bridge on a rosewood platform together with Grover V98G Sta-Tite™ Machine Heads.

The original Nashville 6120 was first introduced in 1954 and is often cited as the classic Gretsch. Initially these guitars featured DeArmond pickups but these were discontinued in the late ‘50’s in favor of Gretsches own Filtertron pickups – with Chet Atkins stating difficulty in getting great tone from the DeArmond on this model – the 6120 1959 picks up this change and features the now classic Gretsch ‘humbucker’ in the Filtertron.

The layout is nothing new – the two classic high sensitive FilterTron pickups (LTV Jones pickups are available on the aptly named 6120-1959LTV model) the Gretsch #2 control arrangement featuring – a three way pickup selector switch, a tone selector switch – which takes a little getting used to for those who are used to a roll on/off tone knob. This switch has three positions one that emphasizes bass – the second neutral position and the third that offers a high frequency roll off.

Finishing the setup is the classic Bigsby BC6 Vibrato Tailpeice – for me these things always look the business – there’s something about a Gretsch with a Bigsby – it just provides that archytipal rock and roll look – visceral and beautiful at the same time – by now if you know anything about Bigsby tremolos’ you’ll know that they’re not for dive bombing fanatics – if your looking for a gentle wobble then they’re for you – just don’t expect too much.

As for the sound – well Nashville’s are renowned for producing authentic rock and roll – the Filtertron pickups, Gretsch’s humbuckers, produce a distinctive nasal tone – bright and responsive – but perhaps similar to Rickenbacker’s, have a tone that’s uniquely Gretsch – flick the tone and pickup selector switches to their middle position and you have a full thick sound – the neck position produces some nice jazzy tones whilst the bridge pickup is bright and lively

Versatile? Well we think so – the 1959 can be taken from rock and roll through to Jazz without too much a problem – add a little drive and your into light rock territory – it’s arguable that adding to much fizz takes away the instrument’s character and let’s face the Nashville’s were not built for metal – this is a guitar that demands a little respect for it’s heritage – treat it the right way and it’ll deliver classic authentic tones with just the right amount of bite.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the market for the 6120 1959 Nashville would be quite niche – sure it’s not as versatile as a Strat and those looking to reproduce the sound of modern day guitar hero’s may struggle and at around $3,500 this is not a cheap instrument – but that would be missing the point – Over the years Gretsch have been renowned for producing quality Electric guitars that produce a distinctive tone unlike no other – given that and some classic styling and retro touches – if you want that sound then it’s an easy choice – the only question is whether you opt for the 6120-1959LTV which has the bonus of being fitted with TV Jones classic pickups which are offer a little more output.

Tagged with:

Filed under: Guitar Gear

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!