Established in the early 1880s in New York City by German immigrant Friedrich Gretsch, the Gretsch Musical Instrument Company initially specialized in import banjos and other stringed instruments. With the rise in popularity of the electric guitar, Gretsch developed and released its iconic 6120 "Nashville" hollow body electric guitar, which became instantly popular with country and rock artists alike. Gretsch still produces variants of the original 6120 design.
Factory String Sets
The 6120 features a hollow body design, which is responsible for much of the guitar's desirable warm tone and large sound. Like a traditional acoustic guitar, heavier strings gauges provide increased string tension and louder acoustic vibrations. Grestch supplies heavy 11 gauge string sets with their 6120 guitars from the factory to take advantage of the guitar's natural resonance and sustain.
Gretsch Electromatic Strings
Grestch has supplied the electric guitar market with their "Electromatic" nickel wound steel strings in the past. These Gretsch strings were factory supplied with 6120 guitars for years, offering the Grestch sound right out of the box. These string sets included .011, .014, .018, .028, .038, and .049 inch strings. One additional .011 and .014 strings were also included in each set.
Vintage 6120 Models
The 6120 model is closely linked with great artists such as Eddie Cochran and Chet Atkins. The most coveted year for vintage 6120 models for many guitar players and collectors are those made in 1959. Gretsch had just unveiled a new trestle bracing system for the guitar's sound-board, or top, allowing the body to provide more sustain and punch than before. This bracing system has been revived in the G6120SSU Brian Setzer Nashville signature artists guitar.
Modern 6120 Variants
Gretsch currently produces multiple signature artist tribute versions of their 6120 model. To honer those who made the guitar famous, Grestch offers the G6120EC Eddie Cochran Hollow Body, G6120SSU / G6120SSUGR Brian Setzer Nashville, G6120TV Brian Setzer Hot Rod w/ TV Jones Pickups, G6120 Chet Atkins Hollow Body Flame, G6120DSW Chet Atkins Hollow Body, G6120-CGP Chet Atkins Stereo Guitar- Limited Production, G6120 Chet Atkins Hollow Body, G6120-1959LTV Chet Atkins Hollow Body, and the G6120DC Chet Atkins Double Cutaway Hollow Body.
Larry Rivers has contributed his recording and audio production expertise to Nashville and Los Angeles alt-weeklies as well as industry magazines since 2008. He is a music recording expert, holding a Bachelor of Science in audio production and bringing over 12 years of album production and live sound engineering to his how-to articles.