Does the Electromatic line need a 17” big block?


The Carlo Robelli 1955 "Black Emu" (beaten half to death in a couple of recent threads) has proven to be a completely successful 17" full-deep conventional "Gretsch-like" archtop with Filter'Trons.

It begs the question why isn't there a comparable 17" Gretsch in the Electromatic line?

I know the Electro line is geared toward new Gretsch buyers, players on a budget (by comparison to the pro line), and even toward more-rock/less-billy, perhaps younger players. And maybe that demographic has little inherent interest in wide-open 17" full-on hollow archies.

At least when considered in those terms. But very few players/buyers with even a remote interest in Gretsch are NOT aware of - and wouldn't love - a Falcon. They may not know the classic Falcon is a 17" guitar - but they know it's a big honkin' fancy Gretsch.

So maybe there is a latent market for a big-block Electromatic.

Yes, we have the Tim Armstrong. Great guitar - but it doesn't meet everyone where we live. The problem is not that it's the sig model for a punk player who may be from a later (or earlier) generation than ourselves. It's more that it's flat black (not everyone's cuppa), and that it's based on a Baldwin-era Club - shape, pickups, hardware and all. That spec is enough to put many off.

But the fact that it's still in the line after 5 (?) years means a lot of guys who bought it for its Tim Armstrongness have now been introduced to 17" guitars (and supports the position that the market would be receptive to more biggies).

I wonder what interest the market would show in a straightforward, 17" x 2.75", shiny-finish vintage-shaped Electromatic. The blacktops with standard Filter'Tron rings now standard on the 5400 series would be fine (they're easily upgraded to TVs if desired). Color choice would be wide-open. (White, black, Caddy green, natural, and burst would be obvious options, but who wouldn't love CAR? Or other custom colors?)

I don't know if such an offering should go so far as to have a forkéd headstock; I really think not. No need to make a "low-end" Falcon (and a conventional headstock accommodates 17"-lovers who are not Falcon-besotted). But to suggest such a 17" Electro was born in the bloodline of the Falcon (and the Country Club, for those who identify with that lineage) wouldn't sully the pro-line Falcon. And it would provide the market a more affordable big-body Gretsch.

You know: Seventeen inches, and every inch a Gretsch.

I think it could be a thing.


So it's not a Country Club, it's more of a Poker Club. Bring your own beer and chips.


I'm good with that notion.

You know. They've got the body (with the Armstrong). Just gotta change the headstock shape, fret markers, paint job, and hardware. (Must have Bigsby model.)


Good idea. Player on a budget as compared to a pro line identifies a valid market just as, for example, the Electromatic 12 string or any other Electromatic does. Be it a gateway or something that intelligently meets a need, it is a good idea.

The Tim Armstrong model is cool in its own right but probably wouldn’t meet the wants of the general public for the reasons stated. Also, isn’t the scale a little shorter? The standard 25.5 or even 24.6 scale would imo fare better.

It’s a market waiting to happen. Also, my vote would be for the standard headstock plus Bigsby, etc. mentioned. An intro Falcon may be a bit much.


The standard 25.5 or even 24.6 scale would imo fare better.

To offer both would be cool - though that consideration is a bit subtle for many first- (or second- or third-) timers. It's definitely important to more experienced players - many of whom, as you say, would be buying it as another ride in the fleet, on a budget, and not necessarily as a be-all end-all dream guitar.

While we were that far down in the weeds, it would be cool to have both 1-5/8 and 1-3/4 nut widths. Many are quite sensitive to that spec.

But that would be WAY too much to ask.

Just a non-TA 17 x 2.75 Electro with vintagey Gretsch vibe. (Or maybe 2 x 2.5?) I like deeper, but there's an argument for a little shallower.


I found out putting ones hands on a 17 inch thin case was no easy task! Could have ordered one in but my preference tends to be "instant satisfaction" (my personal design flaw) As luck would have it I found a used Epiphone case. The Dixon is a TIGHT fit!


Although 2.5 width may be a bit more comfortable for some, if we are replicating a Club here, go big. My vote is for 2.75. I say this from personal experience of comparing my Country Club with my 5125. Whether plugged in or played acoustically, the Club wins as it should with all things considered. The 5125 is a 16 inch, 2.75 deep body. I don’t know which would have the greater impact - the 16 vs 17 or 2.5 vs 2.75 and would therefore go all the way with 17 and 2.75 to get as close to the Club as possible.


Maybe a 17" Electrotone Body?

That would be a fitting "King of the Electromatics"


JD - many people would argue that you have Gretsch’s best kept secret with your 6122-1958. You may be on to something here.


Well, I've been playing a fat bodied 17" guitar for over twenty years now, so I'm not going to say no.

Something very fifties (as opposed to sixties) styled would be very cool, a 17" version of the current natural finish singlecut Streamliner, with two single coil pickups. The Electro line does need single coils - enough filtertrons and dumbuckers already. Fifties style Country Club, affordable version. Yay!


White Fauxcon...like they did with the acoustics.


The Electro line does need single coils

I like that idea. The first go-round of Electromatic hollowbodies included the 512x series with the DeArmond 2Ks. While they may have been a little anemic in a 16" box, they could be more muscular in a 17. Or come up with an updated, slightly hotter version of them. As long as the pickup form factor would accommodate easy upgrade to some version of Dynas...

And interesting you mention the Streamliner. I have the 2620, and it seems a little more open and resonant than the 5420 - possibly because its body is actually nearly 1/4" deeper. Just short of 3" - and that's right at the edge. It caught me by surprise. Really a pretty sweet build; I agree, not a bad starting point for a 17" version.


Also, yes to the Electrotone idea. But alongside the Clubby, not instead of.


Definitely need a model with real single coils in the Electromatic line. Maybe upgrade all production Pro Series Gretsches that come w/ Dyna's to TVJ T'Armonds (some have them already) and put out an Electromatic (or two) that have the stock Gretsch Dyna's from the Pro models. Even the old DeArmond 2K's that were really P-90's in DeArmond clothing from the old defunct Guild/DeArmond line sounded pretty darn good to my ears.


I tried to get the synchro club made as an electromatic. Joe said it wouldn’t be cost effective to do a 17in guitar in Korea as they arnt set up for it and would need to make new forms


I tried to get the synchro club made as an electromatic. Joe said it wouldn’t be cost effective to do a 17in guitar in Korea as they arnt set up for it and would need to make new forms

– paul pigat

I thought the Tim Armstrong model was made in Korea.


I thought the Tim Armstrong model was made in Korea.

– BuddyHollywood

I do believe u are correct but that’s a Baldwin style guitar with a different body shape. The synchro club is pretty different granted. Probably just too much of a pain to make all the tooling for that instrument


This is a GREAT idea!!

My vote would by for a 2.75" body. I would think the Tim Armstrong body shape would work well, especially if we assume the target market here would not be too concerned about "correct" vintage specs.

Another "YES" vote for the electrotone body. Pickup choice? I'd love to see models offered with options to choose single coil or filtertron types, but I'm sure that would be something in the range of administrative "cost" or nightmare. My guess would be that this new model would have a wider appeal with filtertrons.


Now we just have to get some people younger than 50 to sign this petition...


One thing for sure, the Electrotone body has proved itself well with single coils (HiLos) and buckers (Filtertrons).


Now we just have to get some people younger than 50 to sign this petition...

– Proteus

Hey, I'm "only" 48!!!


I’d sell stuff to buy a Paul Pigat Synchro Club Electromatic, as long as it has tort binding like Paul’s.


Now we just have to get some people younger than 50 to sign this petition...

– Proteus

That leaves me out..... "younger than 50" is not something I've experienced recently.....


About once a year I think of something I wish Gretsch would build, and try to stimulate interest in it here to make it happen. It hasn't worked yet, but still - the more of us on the bandwagon, the better. (Last year it was the special order Deep Ocean Turquoise Electro 12-string. They knew I'd buy another color anyway.)

I just figure that if those who move the levers at Gretsch and could shake this thing loose saw actual younger people getting fired up by a 17" Electro, it might look like a better idea to them.

Alas, I don't think we elder country gentlemen are currently a growing demographic for Gretsch. They've kinda got us already. (But I bet plenty of us would save nickels out of our Social Security checks for such a thing.)


Ponders Proteus regarding the Tim Armstrong Sig model:

But the fact that it's still in the line after 5 (?) years

It's in its 10 year of production. Proof of concept proven! If a Baldwin-bodied 17" Electromatic can carry on for a decade (and counting), just imagine how well a body shape that people actually like would do in the market.


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