The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Gretsch Chet Atkins 6122 Country Gentleman Thinline Archtop Walnut, 1963

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The Gretsch Chet Atkins 6122 Country Gentleman is one of the more recognizable guitars largely because of its February 9, 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in the hands of George Harrison of The Beatles.

While Gretsch was having good success with its revamp of the single-cutaway, full body designs, the Ed Sullivan appearances had a dramatic effect on orders – some estimate up to 20,000 a week. It became necessary to move the Gretsch drum manufacturing line out of the factory to another location.

Here’s the builder on the sales impact on production of the Gretsch Chet Atkins 6122 and other models:

“The effect on Gretsch was truly phenomenal. Even without a formal partnership with the Beatles, the company experienced an exponential growth in sales with the surging British Invasion that actually necessitated major logistical changes at Gretsch headquarters in New York. With guitar orders snowballing at such a phenomenal rate in 1964, the entire Gretsch drums department was moved to another facility several blocks from the Brooklyn factory, and Gretsch wholesale efforts were either halted or transferred to Chicago. As noted in 50 Years of Gretsch Electrics, at the suddenly overwhelmed Brooklyn factory, “all of this was to allow the whole of the seventh floor to be turned over to guitar making.”

Here we’re looking at a Gretsch Chet Atkins 6122 Country Gentleman built during 1963, the same year as Harrison’s. This fine example is in very good condition, and is original except for the addition of a Gibson style, gold plated tune-o-matic bridge in place of the rocking bar bridge. The finish is worn on the neck where it’s been played – the frets are original and have expected wear – but the guitar has been well cared for and the finish is in overall good condition. There is no binding deterioration, and the gold plating shows expected wear.

While there are some visual similarities with the Gibson ES-335 models, the Gretsch Chet Atkins 6122 has a number of important differences. Chet wanted a solid center block to eliminate feedback, but Gretsch was not receptive to this idea and instead created the sealed ElectroTone body and added more substantial bracing, sometimes in a ‘Trestle’ pattern but here as a pair of longitudinal Spruce tone bars. This allows the body to resonate like Gretsch’s traditional hollowbody archtops, but with less feedback and lighter weight. It also gave more space for the extra Gretsch features like the dual, lever controlled flip-up mutes! Like other Gretsch models, the 6122 Country Gentleman uses Maple Laminate for the top, sides and back, Maple for the neck and Ebony for the fingerboard and bridge base. The ‘Neo Classic’ or ‘thumbnail’ Mother of Pearl position markers are distinctively Gretsch.

This Gretsch Chet Atkins 6122 Country Gentleman is sold with its original hard shell case.


Price: $6,500.00 CAD
  • Model: 6122 Country Gentleman
  • Year: 1963
  • Finish Walnut Gloss
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 53310
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Very Good
  • Date Posted: 15/10/2020

  • Consignment Item

  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 8.316lbs 3.78kg
  • Scale Length: 625mm 24.6in
  • Nut Width: 42.28mm 1.664in
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