Tag Archives: Gretsch 6120

Q&A with Jimmy Johnson

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Best known as the guitarist for the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (also known as the Swampers), Jimmy Johnson has played on numerous classic R&B and pop hits with his trusty Gretsch 6120 guitar during the mid-1960s through the ‘70s.

Just one of Johnson’s many credits is that funky riff heard on Aretha Franklin smash single “Respect.” The Alabama-born axeman also operated as a guitarist, producer, or engineer on projects with the likes of Wilson Pickett, the Rolling Stones and Paul Simon, among countless other luminaries.

While taking a break during sessions at his studio in Sheffield, Ala., Johnson spoke to Gretsch about his guitar, amps and influences.

GRETSCH GUITARS: To see those photos of you in the studio back in the day with your Gretsch 6120, we were anxious to find out as much as possible about your guitar. Obviously not only which recordings that guitar was played on, but also when did you first become aware of the Gretsch brand?

JIMMY JOHNSON: You know some of that is a little foggy. It’s been so long, so many years. But the way I knew about Gretsch was from Chet Atkins. In the South, Chet is like the almighty guitar player. And to my dad, who was also a guitar player, Chet was his favorite guitarist in the whole world. So you know, he ranks up there as mine too. And then when you find out what kind of guitars he played, which also included the Country Gentleman. So I started checking them out at the stores and with folks who had them.

Country music was big in my area. But one thing about it, I never liked country and my dad tried everything in the world to get me to play it in the early years. Country music bored me. It was just, I don’t know, too country. Too whatever it was.

My inspiration came when I heard Chuck Berry play. Chuck provided me with a little song called “Johnny B. Good.” When I heard that tune on our local AM radio, I absolutely had to learn how to do that.

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TracksAuction.com To Auction John Lennon’s Gretsch Guitar

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John Lennon

TracksAuction.com are set to auction John Lennon’s Gretsch 6120 guitar which Lennon gave to his cousin David Birch in 1967.

The Gretsch 6120 is a historically important instrument from the former Beatle’s personal collection, used and photographed during the April 1966 “Paperback Writer” session held at EMI Studio 3 at London’s Abbey Road.

Birch was given the guitar when he visited Lennon in Weybridge in November 1967. Interested in starting up a band, Birch asked his famous cousin if he had any spare guitars.

“I was just cheeky enough to ask John for one of his spare guitars,” recalled Birch.

Lennon then gifted Birch with a Gretsch 6120, serial number 53940, that he’s owned ever since.

Beatles historian and author Mark Lewisohn and Birch discuss the instrument in the video clip below.

Online bidding begins on Nov. 14 at www.TracksAuction.com, concluding with a live auction at Le Meridien Hotel in London on Nov. 23.

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Gretsch 6120 Nashville Guitar Autographed By Sugarland to Be Auctioned on eBay

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A Gretsch 6120 Nashville model guitar autographed by Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush—better known as Atlanta-based country music super-duo Sugarland—will be auctioned on eBay between June 23 through June 30. The proceeds will go to support educational music programs sponsored by AthFest, Athens, Georgia’s long-running music festival.

The guitar was donated to AthFest by The Gretsch Foundation, an organization chartered by Savannah’s Fred and Dinah Gretsch to help promote music and arts education programs.

“When folks who understand the value of music as a way to enrich people’s lives work together, amazing things can be accomplished,” said Fred Gretsch.

The Gretsch Foundation donates Gretsch guitars to programs like AthFestAfterSchool, AthFest InSchool, and Keys For Kids. The guitars are decorated by major artists and/or signed by prominent musicians, and then auctioned off on eBay to raise funds. Over the past two years The Foundation has donated guitars signed by the members of R.E.M., Widespread Panic, and The Drive By Truckers.

Bid now!

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