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1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean

Gretsch hollow body electric model 6119

1965 Gretsch Chet At
kins Tennessean
Model: 1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean 6119
Pickups: Two single-coil Hi-Lo 'Tron
Scale: 24 1/2"
Body: Laminate body (hollow). 20 7/8" long, 15 3/4" wide, 1 15/16" thick.
Neck: Two-piece maple, with rosewood fretboard. Width at nut 1 11/16"
Hardware: Nickel plated
Weight: 3.22 kg

The Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean debuted in 1958, and was in production until 1980, but the middle 1960s were very much the peak years in terms of demand for this guitar. In fact the model was the best selling Gretsch of the 1960s. This example hails from 1965, and is a fairly typical example of a mid 60s Tennessean. Despite it's looks, it is in the Dark Cherry Red finish described in literature of the time. It is, of course, very, very faded: an effect of sunlight on the original nitrocellulose finish. A look at the images below show some hints of the original color, most obviously below the pickups . The US list price for this instrument (June 1965) was $350. Have a look at how the Tennessean was described on page 2 of the 1965 Gretsch catalog.

1965 Gretsch 6119 Tennessean body detail
1965 Gretsch 6119 Tennessean bridge and Bigsby tailpiece detail

The Tennessean hollow body was maple, notionally 16" wide (though this example is closer to 15 3/4"), and with simulated 'bound' F-holes. Earlier examples had no binding; these were standard from 1962. The controls are as follows. Top bout: pickup selector switch, tone switch; Lower bout: master volume; below bridge: separate neck and bridge pickup volumes, and standby switch. As the least expensive guitar in the Chet Atkins range, it was not fitted with the mute of the 6120 Hollow Body or 6122 Country Gentleman.

1965 Gretsch Tennessean 6119 control details
Control details. The two knurled controls are the volume controls for the neck pickup (top) and bridge pickup (bottom). The three-way toggle is the standby switch. The central position stops cuts all output from the guitar; up and down allow the guitar to be played.
1965 Gretsch Tennessean 6119 guitar body / switch detail
The upper switch is the pickup selector, allowing either the neck or bridge pickup, alone; or in the central position, both pickups together. The second switch is the Gretsch tone filter. Gretsch tended to avoid the rotary tone controls favored by Gibson and Fender. In the central position, the pickups are unfiltered: the natural sound of the guitar is output. In either up or down positions, the guitar is subject to different levels of treble cut.
Bigsby tailpiece on 1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean 6119
The nickel-plated Gretsch Bigsby was a standard feature of the Tennessean.
1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean 6119 neck pickup and fretboard
The earliest Tennesseans were produced with an ebony fretboard, but by the early 1960s these were typically rosewood. Not the thumbnail fingerboard markers, or as Gretsch describes them 'Neo classic' inlays. The Gretsch 'G' logo on the neck pickup has largely worn away.
1965 Gretsch Tennessean Chet Atkins heel detail
1965 Gretsch Tennessean Chet Atkins reverse body detail

Gretsch Tennessean Chet Atkins

Gretsch guitars, unfortunately, seem to suffer (and more so than other brands), with binding disintegration. It typically crumbles and falls away as can be seen here. It is rather rare, in fact, to find older vintage Gretsch guitars with complete undamaged binding. The Tennessean was bound in single ply cream on the front and neck, including heel cap, though with a subtle single ply black binding on the back body edge. Note the black dot on the reverse of the guitar's heel. This covers a wood cap, which in turn covers a screw going down into the neck. Although the guitar has a set (glued in) neck, Gretsch tended to add a screw holding it all together. Whether this was to keep the neck in place during gluing, or to add additional strength to the joint throughout the guitar's life is unclear. In this instance this screw is located on the body reverse, but they may also be situated on the neck itself, travelling diagonally into the body.

The Tennessean does not have the padded back of the other Chet Atkins hollow body models.

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean side view
This view of the Tennessean shows the volume controls, standby switch and output jack. Note the single-ply white binding on the top edge of this guitar.
1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean
The two pickups fitted to the Tennessean were both Hi-Lo 'Tron pick ups. These were single coil units, that certainly contribute to the 'twang' associated with this model.
1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean
1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean

With covers removed, the simplicity of these pickups are obvious. But note the original Dark Cherry Red finish on the body below the pickup. There has been some significant fading to this guitar!

1965 Gretsch Tennessean serial number
The serial number is stamped onto the top edge of the guitar's headstock. Prior to 1966, Gretsch serial numbers had no date embedded in them, and were simply issued sequentially. This five digit number, beginning 8, helps date this instrument firmly to 1965. Read more about Gretsch serial numbers here.
1965 Gretsch Tennessean side body detail
The knurled control knob on the lower bout is the master volume. Note the screw holes in the body by the neck pickup, and in the body edge itself. This guitar is, unfortunately, missing it's silver scratchplate.
1965 Gretsch Tennessean Chet Atkins headstock detail
The headstock is inlaid with the Gretsch logo. Note two ply truss rod cover. This guitar has a great playable neck, width at nut 1 11/16".
1965 Gretsch Tennessean Chet Atkins reverse headstock detail
You can clearly see the two piece construction of the neck, on the headstock reverse. Like the body, the neck is made from maple.
1965 Gretsch Tennessean Chet Atkins in original hard shell case

In it's original case.

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1979 Gretsch 7655 Chet Atkins Tennessean Cherry Red w / ohsc

1979 Gretsch 7655 Chet Atkins Tennessean Cherry Red w / ohsc

San Diego, California, 921**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


1979 Gretsch 7655 Chet Atkins Tennessean Cherry Red
This Guitar Is Located At IVG Burbank
In Excellent Condition (Please See Photos)
Maple Neck And Body With Rosewood Fingerboard
Original Hi-Lo Tron Pickups
With Original Hardshell Case
... more
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1966 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean 6119 Guitar

1966 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean 6119 Guitar

Hermosa Beach, California, 902**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


1966 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean 6119 Guitar.... more
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Ferndale, Michigan, 482**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Out of a very large vintage guitar estate we have been selling from for over 3 years now, we have a very fine 1961 Gretsch Tennessean in a walnut finish. The guitar is amazing clean for a 63 year old instrument. The guitar is fully original except for the tuners which were changed to some nice solid Grovers. You could install a set of original tuners and there would be no extra screw holes showing
The guitar shows hardly any finish wear with some light hard to see surface blemishes and a... more
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1960 Gretsch 6119 Chet Atkins Tennessean, 6120 Conversion w /  PAF FilterTrons

1960 Gretsch 6119 Chet Atkins Tennessean, 6120 Conversion w / PAF FilterTrons

Seattle, Washington, 981**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Up for sale, a 1960 Gretsch Chet Atkins model 6119 Tennessean in exceptional condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case. The original iteration of the 6119 Chet Atkins model was only available from 1958-60, and this particular example has been converted to 6120 specifications, complete with a second genuine vintage Pat. Applied For Filter??Tron humbucker in the neck position. The guitar features a trestle-braced maple body with a 16?? wide lower bout and 2 ... more
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Vintage 1966 Gretsch 6119 Chet Atkins Tennessean Walnut Stain With OHSC

Vintage 1966 Gretsch 6119 Chet Atkins Tennessean Walnut Stain With OHSC

Santa Monica, California, 904**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


[contenteditable]{ pointer-events: none; }Here at Truetone, we get to see an amazing array of vintage guitars, and as big Gretsch fans, we all fell in love with this 6119 Chet Atkins Tennessean.  Any vintage Gretsch from this area is awesome, but this one especially stands out.  
Made in Brooklyn during the heyday of Gretsch's U S. production, it's likely that the original owner of this guitar got it because of the Beatles - after all, this is the model that George Harrison played in the ... more
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1967 Gretsch Tennessean 6119 Vintage Hollowbody Dark Cherry w /  HiLoTron, Case

1967 Gretsch Tennessean 6119 Vintage Hollowbody Dark Cherry w / HiLoTron, Case

Seattle, Washington, 981**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Up for sale, a 1967 Gretsch Tennessean model 6119 in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case and 100% original save for a new heel cap. Likely best known for its regular use by George Harrison throughout the Beatles' career, the Tennessean features a thinline all maple body with simulated F-holes, a Dark Cherry Walnut Stain nitro lacquer finish, and a pair of Hilo'Tron pickups
Hilo'Trons are essentially a single coil version of the Filter'Tron, known for their ... more
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Gretsch 6119 Chet Atkins Tennessean Vintage 1964 OHSC GREAT Condition Tennessee

Gretsch 6119 Chet Atkins Tennessean Vintage 1964 OHSC GREAT Condition Tennessee

Los Angeles, California, 900**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


This is a beautiful Gretsch Tennessean from 1964 I believe and NOT a reissue. Everything looks to be original including the case. This guitar plays like butter and has that sweet jangly tone of a vintage gretsch and that nasty rock-a-billy kick. She screams with the best. The neck is on the thicker side (but not chunky) and just feels like home in your hands. The fretboard is a beautiful rosewood and I can only guess this, that it feels soft and silky like that rare rosewood from brazil they... more
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1966 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean 6119 Guitar

1966 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean 6119 Guitar

Springville, New York, 141**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Great condition with some small dings and scratches consistent with a 58 year old guitar. Plays and sounds awesome. The frets are still good and the action is pretty low. The binding is stable and not crumbling. The pick guard is not original and the top half of the bridge has been replaced. The originals are long gone. The original case is included and smells a little funky but is in pretty good condition. Please email questions.
... more
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GRETSCH Chet Atkins Tennessean vintage de 1968

GRETSCH Chet Atkins Tennessean vintage de 1968

Carsac Aillac, 24***, FRANCE


GRETSCH Chet Atkins Tennessean vintage de 1968
Bon état de condition originale, les micros simple bobinage Hilo Tron originaux délivrent ce "Great Gretsch Sound " !!les frettes ont encore de la réserve ne nécessitent pas de planification, le truss-rod est fonctionnel;
Tous les détails sont visibles sur les photos:-usure du vernis sur la partie centrale du manche-faïençage du binding au niveau du talon, -fissure du pick-guard au niveau de la vis de fixation
L'étui d'origine ... more
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1965 Hofner President

1965 Hofner PresidentThe President was produced by Hofner in Bubenreuth, Germany, specifically for Selmer, who distributed the brand in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other commonwealth nations. The President was a hollow body electric acoustic, available as a full body or thinline, and with blonde or brunette finish. It was a great playing guitar that sold fairly well in the second half of the 1950s, throughout the 1960s, and into the very early 1970s. The example shown here is a full-body depth guitar in blonde - and as a 1965 guitar, one of the last to feature the rounded Venetian cutaway. From late 1965 until 1972, the President sported a sharp Florentine cut. Naturally, such an electric acoustic suggests jazz and blues, but many of the original British Hofner President players were part of the rock 'n roll, skiffle and beat scenes of the late 50s and early 60s.

1963 1964 Fender catalog

Fender 1963 catalogue"The Choice of Professional and Student Musicians Everywhere" This eight page catalogue was included as an insert in the 1963 annual "school music" issue of Downbeat magazine (September 1963). As well as keyboards and pedal steels, this catalog contains seven guitars, three basses and ten amplifiers - from student guitars such as the Musicmaster and Duotone to professional models like the new Jaguar.