Modern Gretsch Guitars

Streamliner on Andy Martin’s list of 5 cool guitars under-500.00.


And what do we think of the rest of the choices? I wouldn't necessarily choose the Tele with the neckbucker, but it's hard to argue with that little herd.

Maybe a little heavy on bucker boxes. Is there no under-500.00 P90 value? And wouldn't we want to see some Strat or offset in the batch?


I was surprised how good the Epiphone 339 Pro sounded with the coils split.


The G2655TG P90 Streamliner comes close to the $500 mark and may satisfy P-90 itch.


I wouldn't necessarily choose the Tele with the neckbucker

Funny, different strokes and all. The Tele with the phony wide range humbucker is the only one of those 5 that interest me at all.


I thought the Gretsch sounded best, to my ears. Maybe I'm just so used to Gretsch tones, they stick out for me.


Have to be honest... When I originally saw the title to this thread, my first thought was, "I ain't payin' $500 for 5 stinkin' picks!"

Then I realized what it actually said. Oh, the trouble mild dyslexia can get you into...


OK, I was aware of the potential for confusion. I've changed the headline.


I'm probably two years behind, but in this year's NAMM reporting it struck me that people like "Andy", youtube-demonstrators, vloggers, bloggers, "online-guitarists" have become at least as popular and perhaps even more influential when it comes to these things than actual live musicians. That's all. Carry on.


Andy is easily my favorite demo guy. None of the incessant "blues" noodling or metal wanking. Over the years I have seen him play things as varied as Tubeway Army and Fugazi along with classic rock and country.

His supro tremolo pedal demo playing "7 & 7 is" by Love cemented him as the best to me.


Walter, they are actual musicians. Many are in bands. The internet has just become its own domain of fame and notoriety. You could think of it as like being "big in Japan."


Walter, they are actual musicians. Many are in bands. The internet has just become its own domain of fame and notoriety. You could think of it as like being "big in Japan."

– Proteus

Oh, the best of them are musicians, absolutely! Some of those (very popular!) youtube "shows" have absolute non-musicians, or very low level ones demoing the gear, and in those cases that's a lot of the attraction I think, "a regular guy like me" kind of thing.

It's been a phenomenon for a while, as I fully realize, but this is the first year where in the NAMM reporting, it's almost impossible to escape. Social media posts and other, "we had a visit from youtubeguy X, wild!" or "Johnny pedaldemoguy came by the booth today!!".


Andy is one of my favorites; I go to him to ferret out and document middle-of-the-road but musically intelligent applications for the gear being demo'ed.

He's not a technical showoff, per se (though he has all the technique he needs to do what he does, and then some). It's impressive that rather than relying on clichés, his demo bits are nearly always little self-contained compositions. Clearly he skews toward a classic/mainstream rock idiom, and relies on a pretty wide range of techniques appropriate to that "genre." But his demo tunes are almost always cogent, musically interesting original vignettes. (Though he's a helluva a cover player when he goes there.)

And he's good at finding and demonstrating the most practical uses of the gear in question - or, if there's no practical use, he's good at showing the one or two wacky superpower(s) of the device. (Though it's pretty clear he doesn't find any personal use for such gear.)

To balance his approach, I'll go to Dennis Kayzer or Pete Thorn for more chops and flash (but equal musicality).

For getting strung out in pedal land and exploring the experimental and ambient sides of things, there's Knobs (who can make something as prosaic as a dirt pedal sound strange - and, at the other extreme, find something musical and/or interesting in the godawfullest aggregation of bizarre and wacky circuits) and...

A Bunch of Pedals. ABoP has a similar presentation to Knobs (who has been extremely influential in the style and composition of pedal demos, raising the bar for production insanely high), but is not quite so much a noise texturalist, and generally demonstrates the kind of uses I would find for the pedals.

I find Stefan Fast of The Pedal Zone similar to A Bunch of Pedals in approach - though he shows himself onscreen (unlike the invisible Knobs and ABoP). A very likable character, fine demos, and high musicality.

Something all these guys have in common is a refreshingly positive approach to everything they do. If there's stuff they don't like, they keep it to themselves. There's no snark and no negativity. I feel better after I watch them: not only do I understand stuff better, but I feel like I've been respected by guys who had nothing to prove and only wanted to share both their music and their gear adventures. I'd like to be more like them, and less of a crotchety old bastid with a rigid hierarchy of musical and technical judgments, constantly complaining about these kids today, mocking them, and bitching at them to get off my lawn.

I've run across an "old guy" (meaning about my age) who specifically focuses on "ambient" use of pedals, some spacey name - Chords of Orion, I think. He's OK, but a little plodding - explaining things in minute detail. And his being so focused on what he identifies as ambient usage gives me the impression he's pleading for ambientry as a separate genre - and feeling as ambivalent as I sometimes do about wearing that label when it's so mocked, denigrated, and sneered at by players who "don't believe in pedals." Like he's half-ashamed, and putting himself "out there" as an "ambient guy" is a defiant attempt to maintain both self-esteem and credibility for the style.

The younger guys - all the others I've mentioned - just do what they do, with no excuses, defenses, or labels. They don't seem to get the dichotomy between authentic rootsin' and making whatever the hell noises they want with their gear. I've decided to be more like them when I grow down.

Then there are the buddy shows, which are as much talk shows as demos. Chappers and The Captain can be entertaining, but I do tire of Chapman's shredding, and they can go on overlong for no more information than they're imparting.

The KINGS of going on too long are Dan and Mick of That Pedal Show (which often goes on an hour or more). Very slow-moving for the info being presented. But I like Dan's enthusiasm and positivity and Mick's open-mindedness and eager interest in everything they cover. Aside from the deep and wide journeys they conduct in PedalLand, both are also monster players dripping with musicality. There might be a bit much shredding - but it's never brain-dead or stupid, and it seems to come more from their joy of playing and hearing the rigs than from any intention to impress or intimidate.

ALL these guys, in one way or another, are entertainers. What's more, they're musicians and guitarists with whom I feel considerable commonality. They're interested in the stuff I'm interested in, they like the same stuff. I feel like I know them in ways I don't feel like I know "celebrity" guitarists.

That surely explains why both players and manufacturers trust them as gatekeepers, and why they have status in the guitar-gear community. It’s one thing to know that Famous Picker has Special Pedal on his pedalboard - that’s one data point. It’s another to have a guy who’s proven his chops, his ears, and his integrity to me dozens of times give me a 20-minute detailed tour of a device.


I like R. J. Ronquillo's demos. Greg Koch as well.


Tubeway Army, holy jumpin' up and down Martha.

I have a 2016 Streamliner that does sound like there was a P90 somewhere in the woodpile, it will drive tubes like a bandit leaving town. Of the remaining axes I like the Dano.

Anything but a $400 shovel...can ya dig my older brother bought.


RJ makes everything sound so good he's made me buy a couple of guitars - which turned out to be nothing special.

HE's the special. I think of him more as simply a great player than as an effective demo guy. Love his playing and his always-perfect tone. I'd love to play in a band with him (though I'd be superfluous).

Greg is simply a monster player, overflowing with ideas and geysering like a force of nature. Always entertaining - but his tone is sometimes terrible for the instrument at hand, and I rarely learn anything sonically useful about the gear from him.


I liked them all. We are in a nice bang-for-buck time.


I like Ola Englund's channel, just for fun, I'm not in the market for what he is demoing. But he is a professional recording and gigging guitarist, currently in 'Feared' and 'The Haunted' (I know not everyone's genre not even mine).

Launched his own brand of guitars, has his own signature Randall amp.

And here's the harsh truth of today:


I noticed that all the guitars were being played through a Fender Deluxe Reverb; nearly double the $500 threshold for the guitars. Reminds me of the bromide that a so-so guitar played through a great amp will sound better than a great guitar played through a so-so amp.

Register Sign in to join the conversation