As cool as it is rare, the Gretsch 6117 Catseye got its name from the “Cat eyed” shape sound holes instead of the traditional F-holes. Common to Rickenbacker, catseye holes were only seen in acoustic Gretsch models.
The Stones, the Beatles, the Who, Hendrix… You name it. Everyone has been influenced by the simple yet feverish rhythms of Bo Diddley. “The Originator”, as they called him, defined the genre and is unmistakably considered a cornerstone of blues rock. He was also famous for having female guitarists in his band.
His two main instruments were the cigar-box shaped Grestch Twang Machine and the Gretsch Jupiter Thunderbird. Both were designed by Diddley himself, respectively in 1958 and 1959. Yes, Bo Diddley was a man, and a remarkable one.
Cramps lead guitarist and femme fatale Poison Ivy recently lost her husband and band mate Lux Interior, but her love affair with Gretsch is still alive and kicking. Her favorite instrument is a 1958 Grestch 6120, used on countless occasions. Pictured is a Gretsch 6120W, the western variant of the 6120, that she has been playing during the nineties.
This sumptuous Gretsch started its long lasting life as the “Electro II cutaway” and was offered in Sunburst (6192) and Natural (6193). It was then renamed “Country Club” in 1954 and a Cadillac Green option was added (6196). DeArmond pickups were replaced by Filtertron in 1958. Let’s forgive whoever installed the non-original bigsby on this 1956 model, it looks splendid.
At the other end of the “Gretsch Country” spectrum: the Gretsch Country Roc (1974-78). With its smaller body size, the Country roc was a call to rock guitarists, who departed from the brand in the 70s.