1964 Gretsch Tennessean

This is a vintage 1964 Gretsch Chet Atkins “Tennessean” 6119 electric hollowbody guitar. This particular example, serial number 80579, is in very excellent, 100% all original (aside from the replacement bridge saddle bar) condition and includes the original hard shell case! Sharing identical features as the ’62/’63 version made famous by George Harrison of The Beatles, this incredibly attractive guitar remains one of Gretsch’s most under-rated and highest-valued vintage models.

This ’64 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean 6119 features: bound maple top, maple back and sides, the original rich and unfaded Walnut finish, 2-piece mahogany neck, bound rosewood fingerboard with thumbnail inlays, headstock veneer, (2) HiLo’Tron pickups, zero fret, Gibson Pat. No. Tune-O-Matic instead of the bar bridge, Gretsch Bigsby tailpiece, chrome G-Arrow knobs, painted white-border F-holes, and the original hard shell case (which has been painted black).

This excellent example weighs just over 7 pounds (7 lbs. 1 oz.), and is highly well-preserved. Generally, this model tends to fade unevenly, and is notorious for binding rot. This 6119, however, is incredibly intact in that respect, with no evidence of binding disintegration nor evidence of finish lightening. There is light weather-checking over the entirety of the guitar, but there is not much evidence of serious playing wear. There is no significant buckle wear on the back of the body, no playing wear on the back of the neck, and no other evidence of consistent use.

Since The Beatles didn’t gain storied success until sometime after 1965, the majority of the Tennesseans shipped were produced between ’66-’67 to fill the demand for those who wanted the guitar George Harrison was seen playing in ’65 and ’66. Harrison’s was a ’62, and those produced between ’62 and ’64 are essentially identical, however, those that came afterward (post-’64) didn’t conform to the same refined standards and seemed to have lacked the same quality control. The subtle differences are quite noticeable, and the golden years for most Beatles’ model Gretsches are most certainly between ’62-’64. In my opinion, this example is literally twice as good as the same model produced in 1966.

This vintage original is far superior to both the generic made in Japan reissues and the expensive Fender-made Custom Shop Gretsch guitars made today. This guitar’s action/playability, neck angle, neck profile are all fantastic. Recently professionally setup with .010-.42 gauge strings, this particular Tennessean is amazingly alive with character and full of inspiration. This is one of those special guitars that prompts continuous creative playing and is conducive to effortless and smooth control. The HiLo-Tron pickups sound fantastic and easily deliver the dynamic and lively tone that originally attracted Harrison and many others to this model over 50 years ago.

While this example is by no means considered to be in mint condition, it is in very excellent shape, and cleaner than most. Lacking binding crystallization, void of pickguard cracks, absent from irregular fading, etc., this is a great guitar in fantastic condition.