We check out the latest from the Gretsch Electromatic range at Summer NAMM including some delightful limited edition models...

A brief trip through time…

Gretsch Electromatic lovers owe a debt of gratitude to a rather remarkable man with a rather lowly background. As years go 1883 sounds reasonably unremarkable save for a few events hither and thither. William “Buffalo Bill” Cody opened his first wild west show, President Chester A Arthur and the Governor of New York, Grover Cleveland opened the Brooklyn Bridge, and Thomas Edison unveiled the first overhead electric lighting system – also in New York.

It was also during this year that one German Immigrant new to America and more specifically to Brooklyn, New York (easy to get to what with the new fancy bridge) opened up a factory that would go on to create and shape the bold new sound coming out of both the US and the UK in the 1950’s.

Freddy Gretsch started out the Gretsch dynasty making and selling banjos, drums and tambourines. It would be nearly fifty years until they started to make and sell guitars under the stewardship of Fred Gretsch Snr who took over the company as a teenager after the passing of his father.

The 1950’s heralded a surge in popularity for Gretsch, with their first of a kind colour finishes and “Atomic Age” gizmos they not only captured the imagination of the nuclear kids, but the guitars also looked out of this world.

Gretsch good looks

The Gretsch look has altered little, sparkling colour finishes married to elegantly designed hardware have been a staple for Gretsch guitars. Gretsch guitars not only have the most unique look in rock and roll but they have a sound that has appealed across genres. The new line of 2019 Gretsch guitars is shaping up to be one of the best yet, with exclusive and limited-edition finishes, a variety of Bigsby licensed tremolos and the searing high output Blacktop and Broad’Tron humbuckers. The Gretsch dynasty may just be about to reshape our musical future.

1. Electromatic CB (Centre Block)

Gretsch Electromatic Centre Block with Bigsby

The Gretsch Electromatic Centre Block electric guitar is a big body, big sound, Bigsby fitted tone machine. The central Spruce block is a little piece of Gretsch ingenuity. The semi-hollow, large bodied Gretsch guitars have long been the go-to for Jazz, Rockabilly and alternative sounds where high-gain isn’t necessarily relevant. However, if you try to add the gain required for Rock and Metal you are going to be fighting feedback. The centre block compensates for this resonance. The pickups are mounted directly to the wood helping to balance out the normally high register snappy timbre of the Gretsch. Now you can turn the gain up and get that all important low register growl while still having the regular Gretsch snappy semi-hollow sounds.

The Bigsby tremolo system is the perfect accompaniment to the arch top which is finished in a range of sparkling and modern colours. The Blacktop Broad’Tron pickups are designed with the modern player in mind, adding a level of versatility allowing players to crank the high gain or roll back and play some smooth jazz. With a 12″ radius Laurel fretboard you can expect to be unhindered in you bending and vibrato and playing barre chords will be a breeze.

The Master Volume and treble bleed circuit retain the clarity Gretsch is famed for. Sparkling bright tones, clear and popping tones all stem from the attention to detail within the electronics. One master volume keeps controls to a minimum both aesthetically and technically. The Gretsch Electromatic Centre Block with Bigsby Electric Guitar may be a mouthful, but it is also a wonderful earful of balanced snap and modern grit and the kind of eye candy other guitar brands can only dream of.

Available finishes: Georgia Green (Right-handed & Left-handed), Aspen Green, Dark Cherry Metallic, Imperial Stain, Orange Stain.

2. Electromatic Double Jet FT

Gretsch Electromatic Double Jet FT

The Electromatic Double Jet FT is a hollow body, arch top tour de force. Finished in a range of deeply rich colours the Double Jet is Double the glamour at half the cost. The smaller form Bigsby Tremolo adds a modern touch to a guitar brand with a long and storied history while the thumbnail neo classical pearloid inlays are a unique touch for a feature where subtlety is sometimes lost. The 12″ radius fretboard is hugely playable allowing two whole tone bends, while the neck finish is a silky smooth near frictionless gloss.

The hardware is chosen with not only an almost regal aesthetic but with real and practical approach in mind, where tuning stability and accuracy, adjustable intonation and string height are at the forefront of choice. The Gretsch Electromatic Double Jet FT is classic Gretsch but turbo powered and ready for flight.

Available finishes: Dark Cherry Metallic, Casino Gold, Midnight Sapphire, Tahiti Red.

3. Limited Edition G2622T P90

Gretsch Limited Edition G2622T P90

The Gretsch Limited Edition G2622T P90 Electric Guitar in Candy Apple Red, as finishes go Candy Apple Red is not only a timeless classic but easily one of the most eye-catching colours a guitar can be finished in. Gretsch have taken this notion and added another level of elegance with a subtle sparkle embedded into the paintwork. The Candy Apple Sparkle is perfectly matched by the glorious Bigsby B70 Tremolo in gold. Adding subtle vibrato has never looked better with Bigsby’s chunky flat trem and long tail. The Bigsby is capable of more than just the touch of vibrato but can dive and swoop while still retaining tune.

Sublime Soapbar pickups

The G2622T comes loaded with cream P90 soapbar pickups. Grittier and crisper than their humbucking brethren the P90s are structurally completely different and a whole new range to the tone of the G2622T. This guitar will have a bite that other Gretsch guitars simply can’t attain. Housed in the hollow arch top body the tones will tend towards the higher register ideal for solos and clean or crunchy rhythms. Like it’s Double Jet and Electromatic cousins the G2622T is also fitted with an Indian laurel fingerboard with a 12″ radius making this a real soloist guitar of choice.

The electronics are equally as interesting as the aesthetics. The P90’s are controlled via individual volume control and a master volume and tone control giving you maximum flexibility regarding volume and a global approach regarding tone. This allows for some nice interplay and dynamics between the pickups. The Gretsch Limited Edition G2622T P90 Electric Guitar is comprised of the same components as its more expensive counterparts but with the addition of the P90s giving it a decided edge in the rock and roll stakes. Coming in at cheaper than its brethren really sets this gloriously finished, limited edition Gretsch apart.

4. Limited Edition G5422TG

Gretsch Limited Edition G5422TG

The Gretsch Limited Edition G5422TG Electric Guitar in Midnight Sapphire has a beauty all its own. The deep sparkling blue finish married to the rich looking gold hardware give this instrument a personality unlike any other. The Blacktop Fil’tron pickups provide a solidity to the laminate maple top, back and side. The beautifully carved F-Holes give a retro vibe to the machine. The gold plexi pick guard is both practical and beautiful and really rounds off the attention to detail put into the G5422TG.

The 12″ radius Rosewood fretboard is wonderfully inlayed with Neo Classical pearloid thumbnail inlays. The Rosewood fingerboard provides snappy, crisp tones and compliments the overall aesthetic. The 50s inspired bound headstock maintains the classic vibe of the instrument. The neck is made from mahogany and is both strong and resonant and will provide excellent sustain through the set joint.

The Bigsby B60G provides subtle vibrato or can yield those crashing lows or raucous sonic wiggle. The Bigsby is gold with a black nameplate and string through bridge with six adjustable saddles. The Vintage open gear tuners provide strong, accurate tuning.

There are individual volume controls for each pickup and a master volume for total volume control. There is also a master tone to shape and sculpt your sound just the way you like it. The Gretsch Limited Edition G5422TG Electric Guitar is a work of art, both decoratively and sonically earning distinction from its peers in both fields. This is a guitar that will stay with you, evolve with you and catch the audience eye immediately. Gretsch have a long and proud history of producing majestic guitars that have shaped the sounds we know, and love and this year is no different.

Long may the Gretsch name continue

There has been a Fred Gretsch at the helm of this illustrious company for all but 17 years of their 135-year existence. The Gretsch family are now into their sixth generations of family working for the company and in Fred Gretsch Snr’s own words “… It’s that commitment to innovation and quality, whether on a banjo or a drum, that’s the core strength of the family legacy…. I have to believe that fifty years in the future one of them will be feeling as enthusiastic as I am after my fifty years.” It’s 2019 and Gretsch are continuing to shape and make the music around us with instruments that are both edifying aurally and visually and thankfully will continue to do so.

Get in touch

Head to the Dawsons website to check out our full range of Gretsch Guitars in all their glory. Alternatively, head to your local Dawsons Music Store where our instore specialists will be more than happy to help you out.

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Jump to our What’s New section to check out all the releases from Summer NAMM 2019.

Check out our earlier article on Gretsch’s 2019 models to explore the selection of Gretsch Electromatic Jet & Streamliner Collections further.