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1959 Gretsch 6119 Chet Atkins Tennessean Western Red w/ PAF FilterTron, Trestle Bracing, Cowboy Case


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Up for sale, a 1959 Gretsch Chet Atkins model 6119 Tennessean in exceptional condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original blonde "cowbody" hardshell case. The original iteration of the 6119 Chet Atkins model was only available from 1958-60, and this guitar is notable for its ebony fingerboard (many were rosewood) as well as its original Pat. Applied For Filter’Tron humbucker in the bridge position. The guitar features a trestle-braced maple body with a slender 16” wide lower bout and 2 1/2” body depth.

Benefitting from a recent professional neck reset and full refret with medium jumbo fretwire, this Gretsch plays exceedingly well and is a road-ready instrument that's received all the care it needs for decades of future trouble-free use.

Lightweight at 6lbs 12oz, this guitar has a naturally full and detailed acoustic tone that translates faithfully via the FilterTron humbucker. The pickup has a bold broadband punch, exquisite clarity, and treble sparkle, and the original Tone switch has been substituted for a knob, offering more range and subtlety. We’ve had this Gretsch professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 11-49 strings and easy-playing action.

The two piece maple neck has a slender C-shaped profile carve at the nut, with just enough roundness in the shoulders and a gentle increase in additional heft further up the fretboard, measuring .800” deep at the 1st fret and .940” at the 9th. The slab ebony fretboard was described by Gretsch in their 1959 catalog as “the fingerboard for the perfectionist” with “classic fidelity.” The fretboard features pearloid thumbnail inlays, professionally refretted with flawless medium jumbo fretwire. This guitar plays cleanly up the 24 1/2” scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod. The fretboard width is 1 11/16” at the zero fret just forwards of the modern carved bone nut. The headstock face is inlaid with the Gretsch logo, and the Waverly tuning machines turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch with notably clean chrome-plating.

The electronics function as intended, with the early Pat. Applied For-embossed FilterTron humbucker wired to a Master Volume knob and a substituted Master Tone pot (in the same location as the three-way Tone switch would otherwise be). Hardware includes a modern chrome-plated brass bar bridge, ensuring a bell-like treble response, sitting atop the original Brazilian rosewood base. The bridge works in concert with the original Bigsby B6 vibrato tailpiece, which has a very smooth response with the original spring, offering ideal arm height off the body for broader, deeper bends than many Bigsbys. The original G pinter knobs round out the hardware. The "sign post" Chet Atkins plexi pickguard is presumably a later addition (a black signpost guard was the norm). The serialized Gretsch label is visible through the F-hole, placing production in 1959.

The Western Red gloss nitro lacquer finish (a color unique to this guitar in 1959) is bright and bold, framed by practically perfect original two-ply binding. Cosmetic wear includes lacquer checking across the body, with very minor buckle wear central to the back, and a few additional minor marks and light finish scratches. The gloss on the neck profile is extremely smooth, with natural palm wear in the first position and extending up the treble-side of the carve for a particularly fast feel.

The original blonde "cowboy" case with tooled leather trim is included. The case has a dark burgundy interior and Gretsch banner on the inside lid, with some moderate wear on the blonde tolex, and a few vintage national park and wildlife stickers on the lid. The original latches are functional, and the metal handle frame is also intact.