GRETSCH | CHET ATKINS SOLID BODY

Gretsch Chet Atkins 6121 Solid Body

Country guitarist Chet Atkins was a huge star in the 1950s country music scene. He was known for modifying his instruments, which lead Gretsch to develop a series of guitars built to his specifications. The first, the Chet Atkins Hollow Body, or model 6120 appeared in 1954, with the Chet Atkins Solid Body 6121 following in 1955. Over the next few years the range expanded further, with two more hollow body models added (Country Gentleman and Tennessean).

1959 Gretsch Solid Body 6121 Image Heritage auctions

The Solid Body was, in many ways, an upgraded version of the Gretsch Duo Jet, and likewise was produced as direct competition for Gibson's Les Paul. It had several similarities, both in terms of design and construction, but also differences, most notably in terms of electronics and controls. Like the Les Paul, the 6121 had a mahogany body and neck, with a maple top and rosewood fretboard. One significant difference was the chambered body of the 6121, reducing the guitars weight. It also had it's own country-themed ornamentation, including cactus, steer head and horseshoe motifs; both on the leather body edge, and on headstock and neck inlays. At launch, the 6121 Solid Body was priced at $385; actually the same price as the 6120 Hollow Body.

This is how the model was described in the 1955 Gretsch catalog:

Compact 13 1/2" body and neck of selected brown mahogany, hand polished finish. The slim 'Miracle Neck' joining at the 16th fret and the deep cutaway help you get those highs in brilliant fashion. Western style decorations including carved saddle leather body binding and shoulder strap. For ultra-fine time projection and sustaining power, this is your guitar

Like the majority of Gretsch guitar models at this time, there was significant variation in appointments, even over the relatively short production period. Differing inlays, Branded Gretsch G and body style. So much so, in fact, that it is hard to settle on a 'typical' example.

All Chet Atkins models were successful in the 1950s, but the hollow body models were more successful than the solid. The 6121 was deleted as early as 1963, whilst the other models remained in the Gretsch line into the 1980s.

Other notable users of the 6121, excluding Chet himself include Steve Marriott of the Small Faces / Humble Pie, who had a repainted white example.

Gretsch Chet Atkins Solid Body advertising

Electric guitar advertisements originally published from 1955 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies. Check out other vintage Gretsch advertisements

Gretsch Chet Atkins Solid Body 6121 - Your Favorites Play Gretsch

Gretsch Chet Atkins Solid Body 6121 - Your Favorites Play Gretsch (1955)
Gretsch advertisement from late 1955, featuring three Gretsch endorsing Country artists: Chet Atkins, with his then brand new Chet Atkins 6121 solid body; "Thumbs" Carlille with another solid body,...
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Gretsch Chet Atkins Solid Body 6121 - "My Favorite Star is Gretsch" says Chet Atkins

Gretsch Chet Atkins Solid Body 6121 - "My Favorite Star is Gretsch" says Chet Atkins (1956)
At least three different variations of this advertisement were printed in 1956 and 1957, all with the same title and image, but different accompanying text. In it, Chet Atkins plays the second mode...
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Gretsch Chet Atkins 6121 Solid Body for sale

Gretsch 6121 Chet Atkins Solidbody 1959 Orange

REDONDO BEACH, CALIFORNIA, 90277, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$8600

This is a Vintage, All-Original 1959 Gretsch 6121 Chet Atkins Solid body Electric Guitar ​It sports an elegant orange finish.  They don't make guitars like this anymore. This '59 has the classic Gretsch horse shoe inlay on the headstock. The ebony fingerboard is adorned with thumbnail inlays. The base of the adjustable bridge is also made of Ebony. The fading gold hardware compliments the unique Gretsch finish This guitar has one master volume below the pickguard as wellas individual volume ... more

Gretsch G6121-1955 Chet Atkins mint new

FISHKILL, NEW YORK, 12524, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

$3400

ONLY 75 MADE GUITAR WAS NEVER PLAYED SO IT NEEDS TO BE LISTED AS MINT BUT IT IS REALLY NEW With the western look of the original Chet Atkins models of the mid-1950s, the Gretsch G6121-1955 Chet Atkins Solid Body features an arched laminated maple top with G brand, chambered mahogany body with western leather trim, one-piece mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard with aged wide-block pearloid inlays (western motif: cactus, fences and steer heads), aged binding (body, fingerboard, headstock), ... more

Gretsch G6121-1955 Chet Atkins Solid Body Bigsby Leather TriM Tangerine (764)

WHITBY, ONTARIO, L1N2K4, CANADA

£2853

- WE SHIP FREE - WE WILL BEAT ANY COMPETITORS PRICE - ITS WORTH THE TOLL FREE CALL YOU HAVE OPTIONS- WE OFFER LAYAWAYS over 60 days or more for ANY CUSTOMER! 20% or less down right away! 40% in 30 Days & 40% in 60 Days! Item ships once paid in full. ALL SOLD THROUGH EBAY! NEW PROMOTION FINANCING GONE MAD! 12 Months equal payment financing! Contact us to find out more Canada Customers - 36 MONTHS EQUAL FINANCING WITH NO INTEREST OR FEES! TAKE THE PRICE DIVIDE IT BY 36, THAT IS ALL YOU PAY A ... more

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These Gibson strings are made to the original 1950s specifications - pure nickel with a great tone - the perfect choice for vintage Gibson (and other) guitars


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