Gretsch celebrates the legacy of George Harrison with the G6128T-GH George Harrison SIGNATURE Duo Jet guitar, modeled on the instrument that the legendary guitarist often referred to as his “first real decent guitar.”
Features include distinctive appointments and modifications found on Harrison’s original 1957 Gretsch Duo Jet, which he purchased secondhand in the very early 1960s. These include a lightweight mid-’50s-style chambered body, all-BLACK color scheme (arched maple top, mahogany back and sides, and back of the one-piece mahogany neck), Bigsby® B3C tailpiece with a black Phillips head tremolo arm pivot bolt, and an offset strap button on lower bout. Other features include three-ply body binding (white-black-white), single-ply white neck and headstock binding, 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with 12” radius and hump-block pearloid inlays, two single-coil DynaSonic™ pickups, vintage-style “rocking bar” bridge with rosewood base, silver plexi pickguard, chrome-plated Grover® V98CM Sta-Tite™ tuners, Gretsch “G” arrow control knobs, chrome-plated hardware, Harrison’s signature on the truss rod cover and a premium tweed case.
One unique hardware feature on this George Harrison Dup Jet relative to other current-production Duo Jets—is that the bridge is a “rocking” bar style with a pinned rosewood base. The big, solid hunk of metal adds extra sustain, but does sacrifice the ability to individually intonate strings.
Like the Custom Shop Harrison Tribute guitar, this signature model is equipped with Seymour Duncan-designed pickups built to the original specs of late-’50s DeArmond DynaSonic single-coils. As with other DynaSonic-outfitted Duo Jets, it has a 3-way pickup selector on the upper bass-side bout, a Master Volume on the treble-side cutaway, Volume controls for each pickup, and a Master Tone knob.
The premium tweed case is really very nice and a step above what you might expect. Very classy.
- Body Material: Mahogany Back with 3-Ply Maple Top
- Body Shape: Jet™
- Body Back: Semi-Hollow Chambered Mahogany
- Body Sides: Semi-Hollow Chambered Mahogany
- Body Top: Arched Laminated Maple
- Body Finish: Gloss Urethane
- Body Depth: 2″ (50.8 mm)
- Body Length: 18.12″ (460 mm)
- Body Width Lower Bout: 13.37″ (339 mm)
- Number of Frets: 22
- Position Inlays: Hump-Block
- Fingerboard Radius: 12″ (305 mm)
- Head Stock Binding: 1-Ply White
- Fretboard: Rosewood
- Neck Material: 1-Piece Mahogany
- Neck Finish: Gloss Urethane
- Nut Width: 1.6875″ (42.8 mm)
- Scale Length: 24.6″ (625 mm)
- Headstock: Jet™ Style
- Neck Binding: 1-Ply White
- Truss Rod Nut: 5/16″ (7.9375 mm)
- Bridge Pickup: DynaSonic™ Single-Coil
- Neck Pickup: DynaSonic™ Single-Coil
- Pickup Switching: 3-Position Toggle: Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge and Neck Pickups, Position 3. Neck Pickup
- Controls: Volume 1. (Neck Pickup), Volume 2. (Bridge Pickup), Master Volume, Master Tone
- Hardware Finish: Chrome-Plated
- Bridge: Ebony-Based “Rocking” Bar
- Bridge Cover: Bigsby® B3C Vibrato Tailpiece with Gretsch® Logo
- Tuning Machines: Grover® Sta-Tite™ Die-Cast
- String Nut: Bone
- Switch Tips: Chrome
- Strings: D’Addario® XL110 Regular Light, NPS (.010-.046 Gauges)
- Unique Features: Mid-’50s body chamber style, all BLACK color scheme (body top, back and sides & back of neck), B3C Bigby tailpiece with black “phillips-head” trem arm pivot bolt, off-set mounted strap carrage bolt on butt of body.
- Pickguard: Silver Plexi Pickguard with Gretsch® Logo
- Included Accessories: G6276 Premium Tweed Case
- Control Knobs: G-Arrow
Adding this one to my Beatle Guitar Collection.
This Duo Jet is like new and hardly played as it was purchased from another collector. George Harrison’s Black Gretsch Duo Jet has a lot of history. Built in 1957 at the Gretsch factory in Brooklyn and shipped to Manny’s Music in Manhattan about 6 1/2 miles away. Purchased by a seamen from Liverpool and then sold to a Beatle secondhand.
Ivan Haywood, a merchant seaman that traveled between Liverpool and New York purchased the Gretsch at Manny’s Music on West 48th Street, near Times Square in NYC. Same store where the Red Fender Stratocaster was purchased made famous by Hank Marvin. Both ended up in Great Britain. Gee, I miss Manny’s!
This was during a time when there was a US embargo so there very few American guitars in England. The lads in Liverpool had an advantage over the Londoners. They could buy merchandise easier from the merchant sailors that brought back stuff from America (if they could come up with the money, that is).
In the summer of 1961, having saved some money up, George was out to find a replacement for his Futurama guitar (a poor Strat copy). Finding an affordable American guitar in the early 1960’s was a pretty hard proposition. After seeing an ad in the Liverpool Echo, George purchased the Gretsch Duo Jet used from 25 year old Ivan Haywood. George called it his “first American and real decent guitar.” Haywood seeing 17 year old Harrison’s enthusiasm and appreciation for the instrument took an IOU for part of the asking price because George did not have enough money. So serial number 21179 became Harrison’s pride and joy. Especially that it was so difficult to acquire.
George later painted it “all black” maybe to match John Lennon’s Rickenbacker 325. Possibly Harrison and Lennon used the same can of spray paint. Originally it was only black on the front. The back and neck of Harrison’s original guitar were refinished sometime after the guitar was purchased from the original owner Ivan Hayward—who had bought it new in 1957 at Manny’s for $210. It is thought that it was Hayward that had the Bigsby vibrato installed sometime in 1959 or ’60, based on the Phillips screws used to attach it. Likely the rocking bar bridge was added then as well. Ivan Haywood said he had the the Bigsby and Rocking Bridge put on at Manny’s the year after he bought it. Interestingly he still has the original bridge and “G” cut out tailpiece that was removed.
Many of the early Beatles songs were recorded with this guitar like “Please Please Me,” to “P.S. I Love You,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Chains,” “A Taste of Honey,” “Anna (Go To Him),” “Boys,” “There’s A Place,” “Please Mr. Postman” and “Twist and Shout.” George was only about 19 when most of these were recorded. The original Gretsch is an iconic guitar. Used at the Cavern Club, the Casbah shows Hamburg tours, and throughout Britain until around late spring ’63.
George Harrison in later years after getting another Gretsch, gave the guitar to his mate Klaus Voorman. Klaus, changed one pickup and hung on to it for about 20 years before giving it back to Harrison. Sometime in late ’85 or ’86 George sent the Duo Jet to guitar tech Alan Rogan, who gave it to luthier Roger Giffin to get back to its original form.
George put the restored Duo Jet to use on Cloud Nine in 1987 and it was featured on the album cover. George had a great love for this instrument it seems. The Harrison estate managed by Dhani Harrison (George’s son) has the guitar today.
Video Review Gretsch G6128 T-GH George Harrison Signature Duo Jet
The Story of the Gretsch George Harrison Duo Jet Guitar
In George’s own words
George Harrison Custom Shop Duo Jet Guitar. Not the same as the more affordable Gretsch G6128T-GH George Harrison SIGNATURE Duo Jet guitar. Great story and history in these videos.
The Beatles – Some Other Guy (Live At The Cavern Club) – Earliest Beatles Footage with George Harrison Playing The Gretsch Duo Jet