With the advent of Ray Butts’ Filter’Tron humbucking pickup, Atkins was able to get a more desirable sonic response for his newest signature model.Secondly, Atkins was a big believer in the benefits of a sealed top.Also, there are no simulated sound-hole inserts, making the body appear strangely barren.The scale length is 25.5″ while most subsequent examples are 24.5″.
An explanation for these non-traditional features might be found with a guitar that has been widely accepted as the prototype Country Gent; that guitar (serial number 23396) is finished in the same two-tone treatment and also possesses a paper label under its pickguard with the word “Special” hand-written in the blank typically used for model identification.
So it was that the inaugural batch of Country Gentleman model 6122 was produced in the fall of 1957, intended for the ’58 sales year.
This initial group of 50 consisted of serial numbers 26400-26449, and was one of only two batches made with the ’58 model-year feature package, making them infrequently encountered guitars.
Recently, an early example was discovered – the earliest, in fact – which reflects the radical direction Atkins took with the Country Gent and the bold departure from his original namesake model.
First and foremost on Atkins’ complaint list for the 6120 Hollowbody was the pickup technology.