By Chris M. Junior
On one hand, Eddie Cochran and Nick Reynolds were complete opposites.
Cochran, of course, was the rock ’n’ roller behind “Summertime Blues” and “C’mon Everybody.” And around the same time that Cochran was riding high on the Billboard Hot 100 with those songs, Reynolds was a member of The Kingston Trio, the folk group best known for “Tom Dooley.”
But Cochran and Reynolds did have common ground: the guitar. And this year, they both were honored with namesake instruments by two of America’s top guitar makers.
The Cochran guitar from Gretsch, officially known as the G6120EC Eddie Cochran Tribute, is a limited-edition model (a mere 50 were made) that retails for a cool $12,000. Built by Gretsch master luthier Stephen Stern and his team, the G6120EC is a replication of Cochran’s modified Gretsch G6120, which is currently at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame And Museum in Cleveland. (Cochran’s G6120, which he purchased brand-new in 1955 at age 16 and later modified with a warmer-sounding “dog ear” neck pickup, was in the trunk when he died in a car crash on April 17, 1960, in Chippenham, England.)
“We’re very honored to be able to re-create this instrument,” Stern said. “It’s going to carry on Eddie’s legacy.”
The 22-fret, single-cutaway G6120EC guitar comes in vintage Western maple stain and features two single-coil Seymour Duncan pickups (a “Dog Ear” for the neck and a DynaSonic for the bridge). A three-position toggle switch allows players to select only the bridge pickup, just the neck pickup or both pickups. Each pickup has its own volume knob; the guitar also has a master volume knob and a master tone knob.
Sure, 12 grand is a lot of money to spend on a guitar, but Gretsch’s G6120EC does come with some cool extras. They include a reproduction of Cochran’s personalized leather guitar strap, Cochran promotional photos, a reproduction of a Cochran-Gene Vincent tour poster that was found in Cochran’s guitar case following his 1960 British tour and a copy of the DVD “The Making of the G6120EC Eddie Cochran Tribute Model Gretsch Custom Shop Guitar.”
For a list of authorized Gretsch dealers, visit www.gretschguitars.com.
As for Reynolds, he previously was honored by C.F. Martin & Co. in 1997 as part of the company’s Kingston Trio limited-edition set. The set included a tenor guitar, which is what Reynolds played in the group, so naturally, the new Martin 0-18T Nick Reynolds Commemorative Custom Artist Edition model (list price: $3,899) also is a tenor guitar.
Featuring four strings, a small body and a narrow neck, tenor guitars first appeared in the late 1920s, and, according to the official Martin guitar site, they were meant to enable banjo players at that time to make the transition to guitar.
The idea for the Martin 0-18T Reynolds guitar goes back to 2000, according to historian Bill Bush, a longtime friend of the Kingston Trio who served as a consultant on the Reynolds guitar. Initially shelved due to a lack of tenor guitar necks, the Martin/Reynolds project was back on in 2008, Bush said, adding that Reynolds was thrilled to hear the news.
Reynolds died Oct. 1, 2008, prior to seeing a prototype; years before his death, though, he had made a specific request.
“One thing that he wanted to make sure this guitar had was Grover Rotomatic tuners,” Bush said.
In addition to those chrome tuners, other features of the Reynolds guitar include a fingerboard and bridge made from ebony.
The 20-fret Martin 0-18T Reynolds model was introduced in June at the summer National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show in Nashville, Tenn. According to Chris Thomas, who handles artist relations for Martin, orders for 28 Reynolds guitars had been booked by Aug. 20, and the company is expecting many more in the months to come.
The Martin 0-18T Reynolds tenor guitar comes with a case and can be ordered through authorized C.F. Martin dealers. Please visit www.martinguitar.com
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