Modern Gretsch Guitars

New 2021 Gretsch models

2

I really dig the Rat Rod model and the new Penguins, the most.

3

New models announced on the Gretsch website!

'89 reissue jets anyone?

What do you think?

– Mike2000

I think Gretsch couldn't reach an agreement with Chris Cornell's estate...

4

Those are super cool! Saw those on Gretsch website. Then I scrolled down one row and started drooling over the "'62 Rosewood Tenny". Not a huge fan of gold hardware but that is a lovely guitar!

So what would be the difference in a Vintage Select '89 compared to a '59?

6

I think Gretsch couldn't reach an agreement with Chris Cornell's estate...

– Bluecap

We are like-minded in this respect...

7

How can an '89 model Jet have 'period correct' chambering? They weren't chambered in '89, this is something FMIC reintroduced.

There're some butt-ugly guitars listed there, anyone else think Gretsch has lost its way a bit?

8

All-rosewood body: top, back, and sides! That strikes me as something new under the Gretsch sun for sure. I don’t know if there’s historical precedent - or if anyone else makes such a thing - but I’m interested for sure. Thinnish hollow, closed top...sign me up. Beautiful!

I was whining just a week or so ago for a centerblock junior doublecut. I was hoping for Electromatic, but there they are in Streamliner drag, which might be just as better. Assuming usual superb Indonesian Streamliner build quality, and given the price...what’s not to love. New pickups too...staple-looking Fideli-Sonic Pkinda90s. I’m not crazy about the surrounds, but OK interesting!

Some cool new colors scattered about. Forgeglow, Brownstone, Speyside. We’ll have to wait for pictures from someone else, because Gretsch’s website pics are notoriously uninspiring, but if they look good online, they’re bound to look better in person.

Glad to see Dark Cherry Metallic spreading through the offerings.

There’s also a reassuring balance of traditional Gretsch builds and “modern” low neck set/stud-mounted bridge models. Something(s) for everyone. Nice lineup of new product, I’d say.

9

Oh, I just ignored the ‘89. It must be intended to hit someone where they live, but it’s a whatever for me,

10

I love the new Copper Falcon. I also really like the Players Edition Dyna Duo Jet, the specs on the Michael Guy Chislett Falcon, the G5410T Tri-Five Hollow Body, the Rat Rod, the Gretsch sound hole pickup on the Gin Ricky Acoustic and I'm really curious about the Fideli-Sonic 90 pickup. I wonder how one of those would sound in the neck position of an Epiphone Casino?

The 89 VS Duo Jet is an interesting idea. I wonder if it will sell? I also thought of Chris Cornell.

These all seem to have Joe Carducci in their DNA somehow to me.

11

The rosewood Tenny does look very cool. The rest seem like the same watered-down Gibson-alikes that Gretsch has been trending towards for a few years now. First D'angelico, now Gretsch, does the world really need more 335 copies?

12

Yep, the Falcon is right handsome.

Offhand, though, I didn’t see any differences in the spec of the VS Jet DS from last year. Couple new colors maybe?

The Tri-5 does nothing for me; the connection with ‘55-‘57 Chevies is skin-deep at best, and none of the tu-tones are very special.

But in general I’m completely fed up with those cars anyway from their wild popularity and malignant over-representation in the collector car hobby in the US. Ttheir insanely exorbitant over-restoration and over-value make it tough to compete at car shows with any other cars of the era, including marques which were more expensive, rarer, and distinguished at the time. Tri-5 Chevy obsession skews and distorts our take on the cars of that decade - in pop culture it’s like no other cars were even made. Gretsch didn’t need to perpetuate that cliche - especially in such a meek way (see guitars actually shaped and trimmed like ‘57 Bel Air fins).

I realize that’s a jaundiced perspective coming from personal experience and a likely minority view - and has little to do with guitars. Also, I came from a devoted Chevy family, we had a ‘55 Chevy wagon till 1963 when it was wrecked (so hey, how’s that for intimate Tri-5 experience?), and I agree that, taken on its own terms, the ‘57 Bel Air is a perfectly gorgeous car, and a triumph of period design. For years, a Chevy dealer color chart, with paint chips and examples, hung in our garage, showing all the tu-tone and tri-tone combos available. So maybe I’ve just been over-exposed.

Old man rant. Carry on.

13

The Chevy connection is particularly unaccountable considering Gretsch's apparently ravenous need to appeal to a younger generation, to whom a 55 Chevy might as well be a 75 Chevy.

14

The rest seem like the same watered-down Gibson-alikes that Gretsch has been trending towards for a few years now.

I feared that would be the only direction Gretsch might go, but of the electrics on those 4 pages, 15 are of traditional Gretsch construction, with bridges on bases and the higher neck set to go with it - more than I expected. That does leave 29 of the stud-mounties, which is more than they need for my purposes.

But also: not all of the guitars in that group are really new, and various models get multiple listings either for both Bigsby and non-Bigs versions, and even in some cases for color variations. I’m gonna hafta use a finer-toothed comb to really get a handle on what’s truly new, and what the balance of builds is.

But on first glance, it looks better than I feared.

15

The Chevy connection is particularly unaccountable considering Gretsch's apparently ravenous attempt to appeal to a younger generation, to whom a 55 Chevy might as well be a 75 Chevy.

Yes, there’s that too. I think it’s just a strained follow-on to the “Rat Rod” concept. But I think Rat Rods are likely to play better than Tri-5, as the Rat Rod identity (though certainly not the automotive genre it refers to) is considerably more contemporary - not to mention “rebellious,” always a safe image for electric guitars. The Tri-5s, I think, will have to sink or swim based on the color choices. Which don’t seem especially compelling...

16

Yeah I counted 15 with floating bridges, which seems as good a line in the sand as any.

Of those 15, 10 are pro-line models.

Of the 10, 4 seem to be new specs: Rosewood Tenny, Koa Penguin, and the two signature Falcons (including one with the odd combination of a solid spruce top and trestle bracing). The rest are either new colors, additional Setzer guitars, or '89 RI Jets (I haven't decided yet whether these can be considered new specs or not).

Of the 48 "new" guitars here, only 3 have the mud switch. That's the real tragedy.

On the other hand, the Player's Edition Dyna Jet is interesting to me, as it leans towards the modern with the fixed bridge and neck set, while maintaining a distinctly "Great Gretsch Sound". I'd like to see more like this and fewer "Broadtrons". Too bad they ruined it with the B7.

It is an admittedly tough position to be in, trying to come up with something new for the Gretsch line while maintaining a Gretsch identity. I'm sure the Gibson specs are easy to sell to non-Gretsch people, but I worry they don't give a very Gretschy playing experience.

17

I'm already trying to figure out how to come up with $3 grand for the Copper Falcon.

18

Nothing there for me,thankfully. I do like the Rosewood Tenny,although can't see the nod to the past ,well,other than George played a Tenny and a Rosewood Tele....

19

I'm sure the Gibson specs are easy to sell to non-Gretsch people, but I worry they don't give a very Gretschy playing experience.

That's part of it; the greater part to me is not getting the whole Gretsch sound.

I've/we've given a lot of thought to the ingredients in that recipe, universally honing in on the pickups - and, I've always thought, the body build details: solid, chambered solid, thin hollow, full hollow, Electrotone closed hollow, along with variations of bracing from parallel tone bars with bridge block to ML semi-trestle to full trestle to Masao's waffles. (I intentionally left centerblock out of that list, as it's not native to Gretsch tradition. But obviously it's now a huge part of the available continuum.)

When the vast majority of Gretschs had a high neck set and base-mounted bridges (floating or otherwise), it was too easy to overlook that part of the recipe. With the latter-day profusion of the Gibsonny build, I've had more chances to compare. And still, I've thought my quest for perfection was along the hollow-to-solid continuum, where I've recently been evaluating centerblock vs braced hollow thinline.

But I think maybe I've been barking up an adjacent tree, and a good part of the Gretsch magic for me results from a base-mounted bridge and a longer rather than shorter harp between the bridge and tailpiece. I think communicating the vibration of the string to the top along the expanse of a bridge base makes for a more complex, harmonically rich tone by comparison to direct-injecting it through two metal studs into a block. And I think liveliness behind the bridge lends still more harmonic complexity (even if some guys, some of the time, don't want all those enharmonic overtones and choose to damp them somehow).

It's been hard to test for this, because it's difficult to find two guitars with otherwise identical specs, one of which has a floating base-mounted bridge and the other stud-mounted. (In the Gretsch line, I think only some of the year-of-introduction centerblockers - thinline Falcon and Panther - combined centerblock with a base-mounted bridge.)

I'm on the verge of concluding that the base-mount bridge and the harp may be more crucial to what I think of as the Great Gretsch Sound - that juicy jangling bloom - than body build or neck set. (I think the neck set is only incidental to the bridge.) So, for instance, while I recognize Gretsch tone from my Gretsch centerblockers...I keep wanting that extra harmonic something, all the lovely swirl, that I seem always to get from a bridge-on-base with more ample harp (and a relatively more shallow break over the bridge, to keep the harp loose enough to contribute).

It's like the pickups get me part of the way there - but not quite home.

20

I do like the Rosewood Tenny, although can't see the nod to the past

Yep, there's no strict homage to anything Gretsch once made (that I know of) - but it's my favorite kind of retroriented design: something that could have been done then, completely honoring Gretsch build practice of the day, but with a new variation.

I think it's an OK, I'll get one moment.

21

That is an awfully compelling argument Proteus. As you know, I've spent much time thinking about the body construction/depth/bracing configuration (and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on same), but I have not considered the audible effects of the neck set/bridge mount. And how compelling that you'd narrow the difference down to bridge construction.

The closest comparison I have available is between my 6120 and my Casino, which of course have very little in common, construction-wise. Still the Casino came with a trapeze tailpiece (which I have replaced with a B3), so it has always had some of that harmonic openness afforded by the harp. As you say, I think comparing a Gretsch Panther vs Broadkaster would be a worthwhile exercise. Is there a similar comparison that can be made with two fully hollow models?

22

We’ll have to wait for pictures from someone else, because Gretsch’s website pics are notoriously uninspiring, but if they look good online, they’re bound to look better in person. - Proteus

I wish they'd give me a shot at it. Photography is another hobby of mine for the last 35 years. You're absolutely right, the photos could be much better! I get that they're trying to make everything uniform on the site, but they really need better lighting.

23

I think communicating the vibration of the string to the top along the expanse of a bridge base makes for a more complex, harmonically rich tone by comparison to direct-injecting it through two metal studs into a block. And I think liveliness behind the bridge lends still more harmonic complexity - Proteus

Yep, this is exactly why I'd buy a Gretsch rather than a Les Paul or a PRS. Because I'd be after THAT!

24

At least they had enough sense not to load the '89-vintage Jets with those old '89-era ceramic Filtertrons!

25

Once again, the P-90 Streamliners are really the only ones of interest to me . . . Maybe slightly the Rosewood Tenny.


Register Sign in to join the conversation