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1990 Gretsch 6120 Archtop Electric Guitar

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The Gretsch 6120 is one of the historically key archtop electric guitars. This fine example dates to the start of the Gretsch resurgence in the early 1990s. The Gretsch company dates to 1883, and was purchased by the Baldwin Piano company in 1967. Unfortunately, aspects of Baldwin’s expansion bankrupted the company in 1983.

In 1985, Gretsch was finally sold back to Fred Gretsch, a nephew of Fred Gretsch Jr. who had sold the company to Baldwin. However, all that was available was the name and the Gretsch drum business. There were no archived plans for Gretsch guitars, and the only equipment was for building drums. To start over, Gretsch began borrowing and documenting existing guitars, essentially copying their own instruments! New Gretsch guitars started appearing around 1989. In 2003, Gretsch entered into a marketing and distribution agreement with Fender, and this has worked very well for Gretsch quality.

The first of the new Gretsch guitars, including this one, were built under contract by Terada in Japan. Terada is known for high quality construction, and these models are very well made though some details are not completely historically accurate. For example, the section of the neck underneath the fingerboard extension on the body does not follow the same curved shape as vintage models. Over the years, Gretsch has gotten closer and closer to reproducing the iconic 1950s and 1960s models, and in many cases the new guitars are easily as good as the originals. Production of the professional grade or Pro Line models is now done at the Terada or Dyna Gakki plants in Japan, or for special builds, at the Fender Custom Shop at the Fender plant in Corona, California.

This Gretsch 6120 was built during July 1990 at the Terada plant, and is one of the first of the new era Gretsch guitars. This dating is based on the serial number- the first two digits denote the year, the third are the month. This guitar is in very good condition in every way. There is very little wear, the most noticeable being a bit of dust on the gold pickup covers. A bit of time with a polishing cloth would make this guitar look very nearly new. The 1990 Gretsch 6120 version features the classic 6120 body shape and dimensions, using longitudinal bracing and sound post support and with bound, large F-holes. The maple neck has a bound ebony fingerboard with mother of pearl block position markers, and a large head with a flame maple overlay and the classic Gretsch and horse-shoe logos in mother of pearl. For hardware, this version uses a pair of Filter ‘Tron pickups with pickup selector, master volume, individual volume, and master tone controls. A vintage style V-cut gold plated Bigsby ins installed, and an adjustable roller bridge is used. Tuning machines are Gretsch branded and possibly by Gotoh. Of course, it has a classic Gretsch Orange finish, which has settled some but is in great condition.

This fine guitar plays very well and sounds great. It has lots of sustain and separation. It’s fairly heavy at 4kg, or 8.8 lbs. The original hard shell case is included.

  • Model: 6120
  • Year: 1990
  • Class: Used
  • Serial Number: 907120-464, dates to July 1990 at the Terada plant in Japan.
  • Country of Origin: Japan
  • Condition: Very Good
  • Date Posted: 03/04/2017

  • Price: cdn$2600
  • Consignment Item

  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 8.8lbs

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