I’m not sure a Gretsch Guitar was ever designed to be so cool, or indeed to be played in the manner and style of so many of today’s influential guitarists – The early association with the late great Chet Atkins, has always ensured that it has been a popular guitar for the virtuoso, solo guitar player, with roots in country + jazz – Yet ever since Duane Eddy, Cliff Gallup and Eddie Cochran utilised one in the early days of rock ‘n’ roll, they have always been accepted as a ‘must have’ super cool guitar – By the time the British pop music invasion arrived in the early/mid 60’s a Gretsch Guitar would often be found in the hands of The Beatles, The Stones and The Animals – Years later and we have seen a diverse style of musical genre come and go, yet a Gretsch Guitar can often be found in the hands of the following influential artists :- KT Tunstall, Bono, Billy Duffy, Malcolm Young, Brian Setzer, Lou Reed, Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Jack White, Joe Strummer, The Monkees, Robert Smith – Pete Townshend utilised a Gretsch for a lot of Who’s Next and Quadrophenia albums – At times you can find a Gretsch Guitar in the hands of John Squire, Bruce Springsteen, Roddy Frame, Dave Gilmour, Billy Gibbons, Keith Scott, Jan Ackerman, Elvis, Mark Knopfler and Jeff Beck – I’m sure many more influential players could be added to such a list – The original days of the USA Gretsch Guitar Company have come and gone, but today the legacy continues courtesy of the Made in Japan tag, so let me update you with a host of info regarding this Gretsch 6122S Country Classic 1 that possesses a 1989 serial number
1967 and The Gretsch family sold out to the Baldwin Piano Company – Mismanagement, a couple of factory fires and a changing market place did not help the Baldwin Company, to the point that the Gretsch line struggled to establish sufficient sales – Once we hit 1981 and Baldwin ceased manufacturing any more Gretsch Guitars – Fred Gretsch appeared on the scene in 1985 to purchase back the brand name from the Baldwin Company – However, Fred Gretsch now owned the name and relevant intellectual property rights, yet he had no factory, no staff and no luthiers – So the option was to try and re-establish such facilities in the USA, or follow Duke Kramer’s advise and turn to Japan – Before we arrived at the end of the 1980’s and ‘Made in Japan’ production commenced in the Terarda factory – In 2002 the Gretsch family reached an agreement with FMIC (Fender Musical Instrument Company), whereby Fender controlled marketing, production, distribution and promotion, whilst the Gretsch family retained ownership of the brand – The serial number on this 6122S clearly indicates a 1989 date of birth, hence an early reissue from the Terarda facility
In no particular order I have listed a host of info + details regarding this Gretsch 6122S Country Classic 1 :-
- Classic walnut finish
- Very clean example, especially taking into account it is now around 30 years old – Close examination will reveal a small nick to the top surface of the gloss finish around the tone control and a slight graze on the rear of the headstock – Otherwise it is a clean example that reveals very little in the way of wear ‘n’ tear – Even the gold plated hardware reveals little in the way of wear and/or tarnish – Frets are clean and show no wear
- Re-strung and set-up with a new set of 10-52 gauge strings and a sensible slick action
- Includes original plush lined case
- You’ll find a Gretsch Country Classic 1 plaque + Gretsch inlay on the headstock facia
- Usual quirky Gretsch details include :- Thumb fingerboard inlays, G logo on the machine heads + the knurled control knobs – Knurled strap buttons – Gold plexi scratchplate + model/brand logo
- Filter Tron pick-ups
- 3 way switch
- Master volume pot (upper cutaway) master tone pot + volume neck + volume bridge
- Adjustable tune-o-matic bridge on a rosewood base
- B6 Bigsby
- Ebony fingerboard
- Medium depth C neck profile – measures .825″ around the top nut end with a slight taper to .840″ around the 12th fret
Tonal character :- I’m not sure how much I need to talk about how a Gretsch Guitar sounds – Surely the aforementioned artists say it all – From clean country and smooth jazz – To jangly pop – Swing, Rock ‘n’ Roll or Jump ‘n’ Jive to raunchy pop that touches on punk, the Country Classic can find a place – No shortage of character if you wish to stick with a clean amp setting – But I find that just a touch of gain on the amp adds a bit more flavour to the tone, with a nice hint of growl and grunt – Those early rock ‘n’ roll recordings where undertaken on small valve amps – So even if the amp was clean, it naturally just entered the land of overdriven to add some more character – Of course add more gain as required – Setzer does and Billy Duffy will add even more – A Gretsch doesn’t really have a reference point like a 335, Tele or Strat – Yet it has a big open voice with excellent articulation – The neck pick-up is smooth and lush – But the bridge pick-up is tight and can rip it up as required
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Every guitar in stock at Guitars4You has been personally selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention paid to the set-up and playing performance – Every sale, phone call, mail order transaction or e-mail is handled my me – Mark Hopkin, the owner, Managing Director, cleaner and coffee maker (Jo, my wife helps with the coffee) – A journey, now in excess of 40 years, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars – This reflects in every aspect of our business.
I have no desire to run an Amazon style 'click to buy' guitar shop, that lacks any soul or passion, or indeed to fill a showroom with a selection of dirty, shop soiled or dusty guitars that are in need of a set-up.
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