Gretsch Model 6119 Chet Atkins Tennessean Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1964)

Gretsch  Model 6119 Chet Atkins Tennessean Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1964)

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Item # 7318
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Gretsch Model 6119 Chet Atkins Tennessean Model Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1964), made in Brooklyn, NY, dark mahogany finish, laminated maple body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, original grey hard shell case.

This is a nice example of a "Beatle-era" Model 6119 Tennessean with the closed "Electrotone" body, one of Gretsch's most popular and classic 1960s models. Although the least expensive instrument in the Chet Atkins signature line, by the standards of the day the Tennessean was still a relatively upscale guitar. Like all Atkins models it is fitted with a "Gretsch by Bigsby" vibrato, one of Chet's requirements. The 6119 used two single-coil Hi-lo'tron pickups in place of the double-coil Filter'Tron units used on the higher-end Country Gentleman. Still, this model cost the not inconsiderable sum of $350.00 in 1962, the year it replaced the earlier full hollow body, single-pickup 6119.

This example features stenciled-on "f-holes" with a white border that was added to them within a year or so, as the earliest all-black version was pretty inconspicuous. Earlier Tennesseans like this one lack the engraved headstock plaque added in late 1964 which carried the model name. The 6119 remained the only traditional single-cutaway guitar in the Atkins line, both the Country Gentleman and 6120 having become double-cutaways at the time. This 6119 carries Dutch-made VanGent tuners, seen only in this period; it seems there was a tuning peg supply shortage in 1964-5, as these appear on several American makers' guitars right at that time.

This particular guitar has an excellent neck angle (often a sore point of this model) and is a comparatively rare instrument, as the production of all Gretsch guitars and particularly the Tennessean went way up in the Beatle-saturated world of 1964-67. Many 1960s artists made extensive use of this popular model, including George Harrison, who acquired a Tennessean virtually identical to this one in late 1963 and used it most notably in the film "HELP!" and the Beatles '65 world tours.

David Crosby of The Byrds played a very similar guitar in 1965-6; Gerry Marsden (Gerry and the Pacemakers) toured and recorded extensively in 1963-4 with an early Tennessean as well. The Animals' Hilton Valentine recorded all the band's early material including "House of the Rising Sun" with this exact style Gretsch. The sound is brighter than many other Gretsch models, due to the combination of single-coil pickups and thin body but with plenty of depth when required. A classic 1960s Gretsch with a peerless "Beat Group" pedigree!
Overall length is 42 1/2 in. (108 cm.), 15 1/2 in. (39.4 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 2 in. (5.1 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 1/2 in. (622 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

This guitar remains in nicely original condition overall, showing only some light general wear and a very well done older refret. The fingerboard shows some fill-ins to level the board in a few positions, not very conspicuous but visible on close inspection. The nut was replaced as well; all the hardware on the guitar is original with only the bridge top and the rear corner of the treble pickup cover showing any significant plating wear. Overall a nice and fine-playing "Beat Group" era Gretsch, complete with the original HSC. Excellent - Condition.