Gretsch is an American company that manufactures guitars, basses and drums. The company was founded in 1883 in Brooklyn, New York by Friedrich Gretsch, a 27-year-old German immigrant, shortly after his arrival to the United States. Friedrich Gretsch manufactured banjos, tambourines, and drums until his death in 1895. In 1916, his son, Fred Gretsch Sr. moved operations to a larger facility where Gretsch went on to become one of the most prominent manufacturers of American musical instruments.
By the mid-1950s the company introduced several models, including the 6120 “Nashville,” and the Duo Jet chambered “solid body”, which was played by Bo Diddley. Two other models were introduced – the Country Club, and the White Falcon.
During this time, Chet Atkins became an endorser of Gretsch and they sold guitars with Atkins’ name on the pickguard, most notably the 6120 Chet Atkins model, one of which was purchased in 1957 by a young Duane Eddy.The worldwide success of Eddy’s “twangy” instrumental records, television appearances, and extensive touring helped expose the Gretsch guitar to the teenage rock-and-roll market. George Harrison, years later, would refer to this model as “the Eddie Cochran/Duane Eddy guitar.”Other “Chet Atkins” models were the Country Gentleman (named after an Atkins instrumental hit) and the Tennessean, a lower-cost version of the Country Gentleman.