1960 Gretsch 6131 Jet Firebird, Red

By Gretsch

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Very cool players Gretsch Jet Firebird from 1960. Original finish throughout and with no breaks but with a few changes to keep the price a little more wallet friendly. A great playing Gretsch that was a working guitar in the Studio and on Stage it unusually features Gold Hardware throughout.

The 6131 Jet Firebird was introduced in 1955 as part of the Jet Family of guitars that included the 6128 Duo Jet and the 6129 SilverJet with the 6130 designation reserved for the Western themed Roundup model. The original Duo Jet was introduced in 1953 as a reaction the the new Gibson solid body Les Paul and the success of the Fender Telecaster. Constructed around a 13.25” wide chambered Mahogany body with a Maple top it may look on first glance to mimic the Solid body construction of the Les Paul but in fact shares more similarities to the construction of the larger hollowbody Gretsch instruments in a more compact package. Like the rest of the range the Jet family of instruments would evolve throughout the 50’s before being redesigned in the early 60’s with a new symmetrical Double Cutaway body.

The guitar we have here is one of the final incarnations of the single-cutaway 6131 with slightly larger body, Thumbprint (neoclassic) inlays, Filter'tron pickups with two switches on upper bass bout and two knobs on lower treble bout, an Ebony fingerboard and Zero Fret. The guitar is in nice players condition over all, The original finish looks great showing plenty of vibey, hard earned wear with the back and the neck showing plenty of play through and buckle rash. There is no serial number (Gretsch solid body guitars from this era had the Serial number on an easily lost printed Label attached to the back of the back plate) but we can date the guitar approximately on spec and thanks to the potentiometer source codes. The Hardware is Gold Plated throughout and a mixture of original and reproduction parts leading us to believe that someone has previously gone to the great effort to change the hardware over. The Standard hardware for the Jet Firebird was Nickel plate until 1962 but there are some custom order guitars with gold hardware out there, especially the rare Cadillac Green Duo Jets, The pickups are a set of the wonderful sounding TV Jones Filtertrons otherwise the electronics are all appears correct with a 1960 pot code partially visible. The delicate pickup surrounds are showing some damage but are still fitted okay. The Bigsby looks to be an original 60’s example made under licence in the UK. The standard pickguard on the 6131 was black so again the Gold pickguard appears to be another old part adapted to fit the Red and Gold Scheme of this guitar, the bracket is from a larger guitar and there is an additional, original mounting hole concealed beneath the pickguard.

Despite the changes this is a great sounding and playing old Gretsch, the frets have been replaced and the roller bridge has been taped down. Weighing in at an impressive 7.9lbs or 3.6kg.  Strung with 10’s it has all the classic, quintessential Gretsch tones with a great feeling neck and an unsurprisingly loud acoustic voice. A great sounding, versatile guitar that has fast become a shop favourite with a unique spec and appearance. There really is nothing quite like a vintage Gretsch. The guitar comes with a protective non-original case.
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