Browse Dave’s Collection
“Welcome to the guitar collection. On the second floor of our store we have on display over 300 guitars and more than 50 amps that I’ve accumulated over the years. The friends and customers that have visited us seem to really appreciate being able to view this, so we thought we would share it with our online friends and fellow guitar enthusiasts as well. Enjoy!”
- Dave Rogers
The items in Dave’s Collection are not available for purchase.
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Sunburst, Serial # 024384.
Taos Turquoise, Serial # -20869.
A very rare to ever see Custom Colors from the 50's. There were very few of these that were done in this color to match the automobile colors that were coming out of Detroit at that time. Check out the Desert Sand base coat!
I bought this one from a PA store in Iowa after my good friend John Riniker passed on it. He was kind enough to swing it my way. Can you believe that this guitar was traded in for a set of horns? This is the guitar that I have owned for the longest time in the collection.
Sunburst, Serial # -17439.
Sunburst, Serial # 13673, Body date of 12/56.
This one was purchased from the son of the original owner. It would be safe to say that this guitar did not see too many smoke filled bars or dance halls over the years. The neck shows very little wear and the lacquer has not yellowed.
Sunburst, Serial # 8154.
Sunburst, Serial # 0756.
Wildwood I Finish, Serial # 214758.
While Fender had pioneered the solid body guitar in the 1950s, the changing trends of the 1960s caused the company to switch gears and try to expand into other areas of the electric guitar market. The British Invasion bands popular at the time were using hollow, and semi-hollow guitars offered by Gibson (ES-330, ES-335), Epiphone(Casino), Gretsch (Country Gentleman), and Rickenbacker(330, and 360). Fender’s double cutaway hollowbody was released in 1966 and was known as the Coronado.
The Coronados were designed by Roger Rossmeisl, who had been hired by Leo Fender a few years earlier to design a flat-top acoustic. Rossmeisl had experience with these types of guitars as he had designed the Rickenbacker Capri line in the 1950s.
The Coronados were produced at Fender’s separate acoustic guitar plant. The line initially consisted of the Coronado I with one pickup, and the Coronado II with two pickups and optional tremolo. The pickups were made by the DeArmond Company.
The guitars were originally offered in Cherry and Sunburst finishes, but by 1967 Wildwood I (Rainbow Green), Wildwood II (Rainbow Blue) and Wildwood III (Rainbow Gold) also became available. These Wildwood finishes were obtained by injecting colorful dyes into beech trees. In 1968 the Antigua finish was also offered.
The Coronado did not prove popular, and was discontinued by 1972.
Lake Placid Blue, Serial # 501108.
Antigua, Serial # 235002.
Dakota Red, Serial # 263366.
Walnut, Serial # 41707.
The Gretsch Country Gentleman debuted in 1958 as the top model of the Chet Atkins line, which now included the economy Tennessean 6119, as well as the Chet Atkins Hollowbody 6120 and Solidbody 6121.
The Country Gentleman’s features were developed because of Chet’s continuing quest to achieve a better amplified guitar sound. These features included better bracing helping sustain, closed f-holes to eliminate feed back, and hum-canceling pickups. Chet also wanted the guitar to have a classier look than the bright orange 6120, so it was stained a dark mahogany color. The single cut-away Country Gentleman remained his favorite Gretsch even after the model changed to a double cut-away in 1962.
This Country Gentleman has all the features typical to 1961: a 17 inch wide body with a slim two inch depth (shrunk from 1958’s 2 and ¾ inches), gold plated U.S. Pat. 2892371 Filtertron pickups, a brushed Aluminum Gretsch “V” cutout Bigsby, closed “f” holes, Gold plated Grover Imperial tuners, zero fret (added in 1959) on an ebony fingerboard with Neo Classic (thumbprint) inlays, a nameplate with serial number on the headstock, and a gold plated bar bridge.
This guitar cost $575 when new in 1961 and came with a dark gray Deluxe Gretsch case. Original single cut-away versions of the 6122 are seen less often than the double cut-away versions made popular by George Harrison and can be very expensive.
Cherry Red, Serial # 34983.
In 1958 the Fred Gretsch Company decided to expand the successful Chet Atkins signature guitar line introduced in 1954, which already included the Chet Atkins Hollowbody 6120 and the Chet Atkins Solidbody 6121. The new models were the high end Country Gentleman and the low end Tennesean.
The Chet Atkins Tennessean was a stripped down version of the 6120. It shared the same body dimensions, but had only one bridge pickup, and had no binding on the fingerboard or headstock. The Tennessean also had a unique red stain finish instead of the orange of the 6120. The pickguard with Chet’s signature in a signpost was black instead of the gold color seen on the 6120.
The features on this example from the collection are common to other 1960 model year Tennesseans. These include: the zero fret, Patent Applied For Filter ‘Tron pickup, “V” cutout Gretsch Bigsby vibrato, and a body depth of about 2 and ½ inches.
These appointments remained (except for a gradually thinning body) until 1962 when Gretsch’s entire line was revamped.
Western Orange, Serial # 40749.
In 1954, the Fred Gretsch Company introduced its own artist endorsed guitar in response to the success of Gibson’s Les Paul Model. The virtuoso country artist Chet Atkins was chosen, and with his input, the model 6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbody was born.
The guitar included features requested by Atkins, such as a 24 and ¾” scale length, metal nut, and Bigsby Vibrato tailpiece, It also initially sported “kitschy” western designs intended to appeal to country music fans. Atkins disliked the extra cosmetic decorations and they were gradually removed as he and the guitar became more popular.
This early 1961 version has the typical characteristics of 6120 models produced for that year. These include: an ebony fingerboard with neoclassic inlays (1958), Filter’Tron Humbucking pickups (1958), zero fret (1959), V-style Gretsch by Bigsby tailpiece (1960), and a bar bridge (1957). By 1961, the body depth had thinned to just 2.25” thick (from 2.75” in ’54, to 2.5” in ’60). Possibly due to the thinner body, the neck joint changed from a dovetail to a mortise and tenon. The reinforcing dowel was moved from the back of the heel to the side located in the cutaway.
Later examples from ’61 would also be equipped with a standby switch before the model changed to a double cutaway in 1962.
Western Orange, Serial # 26522.
The Gretsch Chet Atkins Hollowbody Model 6120 was introduced in 1954. Gretsch designed it with input from Chet Atkins to be his signature model guitar. The features changed over the years as Chet was continually striving to improve his sound, and Gretsch was always looking for new marketing ideas. One of the most significant upgrades to the model was the change from DeArmond single coil pickups to Filtertron humbuckers in 1958. Chet disliked the twangy sound caused by the strong magnetic pull of the DeArmonds, along with the annoying 60-cycle hum. He developed a relationship with amp builder Ray Butts who eventually designed some experimental humbuckers for Chet’s guitar. Chet approved of the sound, and the pickups were produced by Gretsch to be included on all their top end guitars.
This example from the collection is from one of the earliest batches of Filtertron equipped 6120s. The pickups have no “Pat. Applied For” stamped in the metal of the pickup cover as usually seen between 1958 and 1960. The pickguard is left over from those cut to accommodate DeArmonds. The guitar originally had metal nut as was standard at the time on Atkins Models. The previous owner had replaced it with a more conventional nut many years ago.
This Gretsch’s white cowboy case contains an interesting item of historical significance: it’s the previous owner’s original sales receipt. The already second hand 6120 was purchased in 1960 from Layton’s Music store in Oskaloosa Iowa. The guitar was tagged at $340. A trade in of $280 was accepted for a 1956 Fender Stratocaster, leaving a balance after tax of $71.63! At the time a fancy Chet Atkins Hollowbody was considered a much classier instrument than a Sci-Fi slab of wood Strat.
Western Orange, Serial # 25017.
In 1954, the Fred Gretsch Company introduced its own artist signature guitar in response to the success of Gibson’s Les Paul guitar. The virtuoso country artist, Chet Atkins was chosen, and with his input, the model 6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbody was born.
The guitar included features requested by Atkins, such as a 24 and ¾” scale length, metal nut, and Bigsby Vibrato tailpiece, It also initially sported “kitschy” western designs intended to appeal to country music fans. Atkins disliked the extra cosmetic decorations and had them gradually removed as he and the guitar became more popular.
The 1957 6120 pictured has all the traits typical to that year: Horseshoe headstock inlay (replacing steer’s head of ’54 –’56), hump-top block fingerboard markers (replacing the rectangular blocks of ’56), and a “Bar” bridge (replacing the aluminum Bigsby compensated bridge of ’54 –’56).
DeArmond single coil pickups were still used in 1957, although they would be replaced in1958 with the new Filtertron Humbuckers Atkins preferred. These “twangy” DeArmond pickups would help to create the signature sound of rock ‘n roll icon Duane Eddy. Eddy purchased a 6120 very similar to this one in October 1957, and went on to have numerous instrumental hits.
Lake Placid Blue, Serial # 269107.
Cherry, Serial # L29571.
Lake Placid Blue, Prototype.
Sunburst, Serial # 259125.
Candy Apple Red, Serial # L83602.
Fiesta Red, Serial # 49005.
When the Fender Stratocaster was introduced in 1954, one of the main special features was a built in vibrato unit called the “Synchronized Tremolo”. A non-tremolo version was also available at about $30 less. A non-tremolo Strat (nicknamed “hardtail”) had the same string through the body set up as a Telecaster, except it kept a six-way bridge for better intonation.
Custom Color Strats were available almost from the beginning, but a standardized color list didn’t appear until 1961. The Custom Colors resembled the colors offered on automobiles at the time.
The example from the collection shown in this article is a Fiesta Red Hardtail Strat dating from 1960 (George Fullerton mixed up the first batch of Fiesta Red at a paint store in 1957). According to an early ‘60s Fender pricelist, a non-trem Strat cost 259.50. There was a 5% up charge for a Custom Color, so this Strat would have been about $272.47 (still $17 less than a sunburst tremolo version).
This Strat has a beautiful early “slab” fingerboard of Brazilian rosewood. The Kluson tuners on the headstock were replaced at some point with “double line” mid-‘60s Klusons. The undercoat below the Fiesta Red (seen through the scrapes and dings) is the color Desert Sand, which was the color of Duo Sonics and Music Masters. This color was often used as an undercoat for Custom Color guitars in the ‘50s and early ‘60s.
Hardtail Strats are seen less often than the tremolo versions, and are favored by Bluesman Robert Cray, and Rocker Ron Wood.
Tahitian Coral, Serial # 59930.
Nothing conjures up images of a ‘60s Rock n’ Roll beach party like a cool custom colored Fender Strat. Custom colors don’t get much hipper than this example.
This Strat has a penciled neck date of 3-61, and has all the features typical to Strats that year. These include: a “slab” Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with clay dots, a small headstock with “spaghetti” decal including 2 patent numbers, and a greenish Nitrate 3-ply pickguard with a metal shielding plate underneath. The neck profile is very flat and comfortable like most of the early “slab board” necks.
Besides having all the classic characteristics that make early ‘60s Strats appealing to players and collectors, this one has an ultra-rare color. According to an old piece of masking tape attached under the pickguard, the color is Tahitian Coral (a color of the same name was used by Chrysler in the late ‘50s). This non-standard color was not mentioned in any Fender catalogs (The closest official Fender color at the time was Shell Pink listed from 1960-1963). An undercoat of Desert Sand can be seen where the top color has worn off. Proof that this color is factory original can be seen after unscrewing the neck. An area of paint from the body has stuck to the neck leaving a bare spot in the neck pocket that is an exact match to the glob stuck to the neck.
Sunburst, Serial # 60492.
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