Gretsch Double Anniversary 6117 Shaded Gold Sunburst 1965
Body: Hollow maple
Neck: Maple neck with a medium “C” profile, 1 11/16” wide nut, rosewood fretboard, 12” radius, and thumbnail inlays
Pickups/Hardware: Two Gretsch Filter 'Tron pickups (rated at 3.8kOhms in the neck and 3.4k in the bridge), three-way pickup selector switch, volume and tone controls
Cosmetic Condition: The top is in great condition with only minor dings. The back and sides are also in great condition with some light scratches and buckle rash on the back. The neck is glossy for the most part with a few minor blemishes that don’t do much to affect the playability. The headstock has some rash around the sides from a guitar hanger but otherwise it’s looking good with mostly minor wear around the edges.
Playability: The strings are nice and low, play great, and ring out clearly across the board.
From the article The History of Gretsch Anniversary Models, at guitar.com:
"Upon their arrival in ’58, the Anniversary models were constructed the same as the cornerstone hollowbody models such as the 6120 Chet Atkins. Both had hollow bodies that were 16 inches wide and 2.5 inches deep, made from braced laminated maple, with dual f-holes and rounded cutaways. Likewise, their necks had ebony fingerboards, and they were made to the shorter traditional 24.5-inch Gretsch scale length. The Single Anniversary had one Filter’Tron humbucking pickup in the neck position, a tone switch, and a single volume control on the rounded body ‘horn’.
The Double Anniversary got its name from its two Filter’Tron pickups, and also added a three-way selector switch beside the tone switch on the upper bout, plus an individual volume control for each pickup in addition to the final master volume on the horn. Each was available in a sort of vintage sunburst finish that Gretsch called ‘Shade’, or a stylish ‘Two-Tone’, which had a light ‘Smoke Green’ on the top and contrasting darker green on the back and neck.
Although the model numbers were generally less referred to than that of the eponymous 6120, the Anniversaries had theirs, too: 6124 for the Single in sunburst and 6125 in Two-Tone, 6117 for the Double in Shaded Gold Sunburst and 6118 in Two-Tone Smoke Green
The Single Anniversary’s specifications have made that model, however, far less appealing. Arguably the largest component of “That Great Gretsch Sound” comes from the meaty twang of that Filter’Tron in the bridge position, and the Single Annie simply ain’t got one. There are plenty of them out there, so clearly there was no shortage of players eager to take advantage of the bargain $225 price back in the day. Carry that forward to 2018, and it’s not hard to find a vintage Single for somewhere in the region of half the price of the Double.
Of course, the keen-eyed and player-minded among us immediately see another form of bargain in that: grab an affordable Single Anniversary, add a Filter’Tron in the bridge position and a couple more knobs, and you’ve got a pretty reasonably priced 6120-alike, if it’s a player’s guitar you’re after in the first place.
Not that we whole-heartedly recommend this route: such modification requires careful consideration of the potential devaluation of an original vintage guitar, weighed alongside the expense of having such work done professionally.
In 1960, Gretsch introduced its own in-house single-coil pickup, the Hilo’Tron, to replace the Model 200 (aka Dynasonic) they had previously been buying in from DeArmond. The new pickup looked something like a Filter’Tron with only one row of six adjustable pole pieces showing, protected by what was essentially a Filter’Tron cover with its centre band chopped down. But beneath the top plate lurked just one lightly wound coil, positioned off to one side of the structure, with a magnet attached to it side-on.
The company was obviously quite pleased with the new units, and presented dealers and customers with a brochure entirely dedicated to these components. Referred to as “electronic guitar heads” in Gretsch parlance, the Hilo’Trons were touted as being “Full Hi-Fidelity”, with “Brilliant Highs”, “Mellow Lows”, and an “Extra Lively Response”. What more could you want from a guitar pickup?
That same year, both Anniversary models lost their Filter’Tron humbuckers and trestle bracing, and gained these new Gretsch-made single coil units instead.
In hindsight, it’s hard to see the move as anything other than a downgrading of the model. Filter’Trons are the king of all Gretsch pickups, and players who prefer single-coils generally rave about the DeArmonds of the 50s.
For all that, though, an original Hilo’Tron in good condition, on a guitar that’s set up right and playing well, can still sound extremely good through a quality amplifier. They are bright pickups, though, with a little girth and bite in their original form, sure, but not much punching power.
These were pretty lightly wound pickups, with resistance readings in the upper 2K ohms to lower or mid-3K ohms range, so they don’t have the ability to push a tube amp very hard on their own, but they do retain the clarity and sparkle that were major sonic objectives for Gretsch at the time."