Modern Gretsch Guitars

NgmP90GGD - or - Streamlined!

1

I'm a sucker for Gretsch's Candy Apple Red. It's the reason I have my 5420 - and the back of my 5422 is the same color. (The top is white sparse-sparkle snowglobe, the logo is red, and the guitar has exactly ZERO dignity. But under a Christmas tree, it pops. [That's not how I got it.])

So last summer when I espied on the Gretsch site a stealthily pre-introduced Streamliner 2622 doublecut centerblocker with a PAIR of P90s - IN CANDY RED - the crowds in my head went wild.

Before I was a card-carrying Gretsch zombie, and before ever so many other guitar passions, I was wholeheartedly a 335 guy. My 70s 335 was my main ride for more gigs than any other guitar I've had. When I only had two electric guitars, it was by far the flagship.

Later, I fell hard for P90s. Between them and Gretsch, I haven't looked longingly at a guitar with humbuckers for 15 years. So what would be not to love about a 16" Gretsch doublecut, with a centerblock, and a pair of P90s - in CAR? Maybe it doesn't sound like a characteristic Gretsch...but it sure sounds like one of my dream specs.

So, crowds went wild. But this little confection was announced months before it was to ship. I had to calm the crowds. I advised patience and serenity. I visited the Gretsch site periodically to be sure I hadn't dreamed this. (When, I ask you, did Gretsch EVER equip a guitar with TWO P90s?)

Then, after the guitar was stealthily released into the wilds, I stalked Reverb, looking for That Deal. You know how we are. And I found it! Still I had to wait for the right moment.

The right moment came.

2

holy moly where's the pics?

nice little demo video

3

So did I get a 2622TP90 in Candy Apple Red? No, friends and enablers, I did not.

Because before I could do the deed, a wide open google on 2622TP90 turned up a pair of dual-P90 centerblock Streamliners that weren't Candy Apple Red. One was Phantom Gray Metallic; the other was Gunmetal. Oh man, quandary! Sure I'm besotted by candy apple - but how many metallic red guitars does a guy need? And since I noticed Gretsch's gunmetal on several models (whenever it was I noticed it), it's appealed to me. But look! The Phantom Gray (or is it silver?) is also mighty handsome. So subtle, so elegant, so understated.

More to the point, where did these two colors come from? They're not on the Gretsch site. They appear as limited editions on both Guitar Center's and Musicians Friend's sites. The minions say Wha? I can see each site having one of the colors...but both with both colors? The mind boggles.

What Would I Do?

Not eeny-meeny-miney-mo. Not a flip of the coin. I would make a measured and careful decision. Both sites' pics of the guitars made the gunmetal look...well, blue. I know they "blue" gun barrels - but this was kinda Cadillac green-blue, actually. Not the color I associate with "gunmetal," or thought I wanted...but I wouldn't kick it out of bed.

Unless the phantom silver was actually better.

I asked an online sales dog at one of the sites if it was really that blue; he allowed as how it wasn't, and sent me a pic he took that proved it. So, taking advantage of 15% OFF pricing that ended at midnight Christmas, I pulled the trigger (a term I mock, but it fits a theme here, just go with it) sometime Christmas Eve.

In due time (like last Monday), the instrument arrived. I like it.

4

It looks like this (under some lights).

What I hadn't noticed when reading the description is that it's a satin finish. (As is the CAR variant.) I didn't know how I felt about that at first, but it's grown on me. (And I know I can always buff it up to a gloss if I want.)

5

What do I think? How do I like it?

Well, honeymooning and all - but I think I like it a lot. A real lot. Other than the striking color (and, oh look at that, a pair of P90s), what hit me first is the mindbending fit-finish-quality Gretsch is getting from their INDONESIAN builder. I can't find a flaw. It's impeccable throughout.

Also, I'm a big fan of the small unbound f-holes. They're just right on this instrument.

But aside from such considerations, this thing plays all dreamboaty. The neck actually feels like my 335's neck, slim and flattish-backed, supremely comfortable, and ridiculously smooth. Just enough different from other Gretschs to have its own playing identity.

Also, the body, at 1-13/16", is about .25" slimmer than the Electromatic doublecut hollows, making the guitar just that much lighter, and the body-feel and ergonomics are glove-like. It just fits.

6

And the action is ridiculous. I haven't touched it, and it's as low as a rocker could want. The frets (jumbo-ish!) are smooth and polished, and there are no issues, anywhere on the neck. Feels like it's strung with 10s - and while I usually immediately go to 11s, these feel really good. I might stick with them.

Check out the action!

7

How does it sound? I don't know. It sounds great. It's fat and round, certainly not any kind of FilterTronny. While the bridge pickup is smoky, girthy, and alluring, middle position is paradoxically brighter and sparklier than just the bridge, and the neck pickup is juicy jazzy bluesy drenched in drippy goodness.

I don't know if it sounds like a Gretsch - I haven't compared it to my other P90-equipped guitars to see if it has any characteristic difference. But it is unquestionably a centerblock doublecut with P90s, wearing a Gretsch logo. And that's something I enthusiastically embrace.

8

Is there anything not to like?

Probably not - but there are things to feel ambivalent about. Functionally, these tuners look like the most economical closed-back generic groveristic option available. Time will tell if they do the job. I wouldn't even be above changing them out strickly for cosmetic reasons at some point. We'll see.

9

And there are other cosmetic choices I'm still mulling over. The top of the list is the gold hardware. I'm not crazy about it; I would have paired nickel/chrome with the gray-silver-bluish (it's a chameleon under various lights) theme. (The gold arguably looks better on the CAR option.) I don't know if I'm ambivalent enough about it to change it - but I might be.

Next is the tort pickguard. I'm not sure it works with the cool finish - but I don't know what would be better. No pickguard is of course an option, and an inexpensive one - and I often go that route. But maybe this needs something to relieve it. I'm mulling over cream, to match the pickups, and maybe black. (But that might be too...dark.)

Then there's the full-block fret markers. Not crazy about that. I know they're historical for some Gretsch models, I just would have preferred humblocks or neoclassic thumbnails here. But I have those on plenty of other Gretschs, and given the price of this guitar, I'll stick with them.

Finally, the knobs. While the plain domes of the Streamliner knobs seemed wrong at first, I've come to appreciate them - especially the gold ones on my 2620. It's the blackness of these I'm ambivalent about. I wish they were cream. I have a couple other guitars on which I've been able to execute a thorough cream-plastic theme (knobs, pickguard, switch tips, pickup covers), and it always seems an understated but rich and classy look to me. So I'm on the lookout for cream knobs of the same design as these.

None of these are very serious whines, you understand. The guitar is just too giddily good for them to matter much, and they're the kind of mod projects I'm good at.

Well, and there's probably a Tru-Arc in this guitar's future.

10

That is one NICE looking guit. I wouldn't lose the gold, at least not for now. And as for the finish, if the guitar becomes a player, that will take care of itself in just a few months, trust me. Been there, more than once.

Nice find!! I am a trifle jealous.

11

Functionally, the only slight demerit to mention is that the end of the Bigsby handle sits crazy high above the body - 2.5" at its tip! That's easy to rectify with a bend of the handle. Also, I'll swap in a Reverend soft spring to get the Bigs as buttery as possible.

All in all, I'm very pleased. The sheer quality and playability of the Streamliners has been a pleasant surprise; more than that, a revelation. Truthfully, I can't find anything in function, fit, finish, or feel to separate them from Electromatics.

And there seem to be subtle spec differences (surely intentional) which make Streamliners unique from Electros and Pro-lines as well. As an example, the 2620 has a slightly deeper body than the 5420 - and seems to be braced more lightly. It actually feels like a more resonant, lively body - so it sits in its own product space. I'm not a fan of the ... FullTron? BroadTron? (there are now officially too many 'trons to keep track of) ... pickups in the other Streamliners.

But, hey, no problem here. Did I mention it has a pair of P90s?

Point is, I can't imagine liking this guitar any better if it was an Electromatic.

And specwise, it's kinda the Gretsch I might have imagined wanting before I understood the unique voices of Gretsch's own pickups. But I still have a 335 bone to tickle, as well as a bad P90 affliction - and this address both of those in a sleek, stealthy beautiful doublecut with GRETSCH on the headstock. In a way, maybe this is the Gretsch for the guy who has all the other Gretsch flavors and wants something different - but wants to keep it in the family.

Needless to say, highly recommended. (But I'll be happy to be the only kid on the block who has one, so I'm not encouraging you to seek one out and pick it up.)

12

One last thing- the pickguard. I see a dark, but still see-through guard on it, giving a black effect, but not solid black like black paint More like the back window of a famous person's limo. Black-ish? But still transparent.

13

Awesome! My local guitar store has one of these in satin CAR. I tested it thru the tone master deluxe reverb. I loved it. The neck felt incredible, and the pups sounded real good to me.

FYI a 120/ES-2 Tru-arc works great on a 2622T

14

Ooh, good info, Caleb. Now I won't have to look it up.

15

I see a dark, but still see-through guard on it, giving a black effect, but not solid black like black paint More like the back window of a famous person's limo. Black-ish? But still transparent.

Hmm. I thought of just clear, but trans dark is interesting. Smoked, as it were. Maybe with a light pinstriped perimeter border, and of course the Gretsch logo...or maybe "Streamliner" in an elegant mid-century modern script.

The tort looks GREAT on the CAR version, though.

17

I'd go with a smoked pickguard with Gretsch logo, buff the satin out to a semi-gloss, slap a true-arc on that baddie, and then drop a set of these into it https://www.gabojo.com/mr-2...

Congrats on a cool guitar.

OR - Just leave it the way it is and rock out!

18

While I normally don't like opaque colours on guitars - I like to see the grain - I quite like the idea of a semi-matt metallic for some reason. I like that manufacturers have woken up to the fact that not everything has to be shiny.

I agree that gold plated is a strange choice for a metallic grey guitar. Regular or satin chrome would look better IMO. I love the finish on the older Sperzel locking tuners, for example. Satin chrome knobs would look good too. I also agree about the tortie guard - but I'm not sure what to suggest. Maybe cream to match the pickups and binding?

A 335 with P90s is a thing of joy.

19

Man, she's a looker! Bet she plays like Buttah!

If You were to maybe change the knobs and pick guard to cream, it would work. Just an outside opinion. If you remove the guard all together, you'll eventually have a shiny spot under that area. That's how Mt G5191BK has turned out.

Matte finishes will always wear to shiny with guitars....we touch them.

Congrats!

20

Tim, congratulations on your new treasure -- it is stunning!

Agree with you on the pick guard and I second the motion for "smoke black" (with a Gretsch logo).

If you decided to keep the gold hardware AND want to go with a "soft" spring for the Bigsby, here is a place where you can get a gold "squishy" spring (Reverends are available only in silver/chrome I think):

https://bricksbiggsfix.com/...

I've dealt with this guy before -- he is very good.

21

Congrats....that's a real looker. I too have been amazed at the overall quality and playability of the Indonesian made Streamliners. Almost every single one I have ever grabbed off the rack at my local Sam Ash or GC has had low, buzz free action (and you can't say that about too many guitars at either of those places) and really clean workmanship. The guitar really looks like a Gretsch version of a 335/330 (much like the Duo Jet was Gretsch's answer to the Les Paul). I like it....

22

Yep. I don’t know that I’d recommend this as a guy’s first Gretsch.

On the one hand, it would be a good call for one who’s transitioning from Gibson, and wants Gretsch look (and logo) without culture shock. So yes, maybe.

But on the other, with the P90s and traditional semi thinline construction, it doesn’t really exemplify classic Gretsch sonic territory (which to my ear requires Dynas, Trons, or HiLos).

It sure plugs a hole for me though, and is a joy to handle.

23

Congrats. I think Gretsch has a real winner here that will help expand its market.

Somewhat related, I have G2655TG-P90 Limited Edition Riviera Blue Satin model that I won in Nashville in 2018. It comes with a Broad’Tron neck and a P90 bridge pickups. Nice in its own right, but given the price of purchase (nada), I splurged with upgrades. First, Senojnad had tipped me off to the Biggsfix and squishy spring (I highly recommend this). Then I bought a brass Serpentune (you should consider this ) and then asked Curt to replace the pickups with a Supertron neck and TVJ T90 bridge. He was impressed with the results. It was in the barn for people to play in Nashville this past September, but I don’t know who might have done so.

I tell you this because there is a rumor out there that you’re a tinkerer. If true and so inclined, you may want to consider two TVJ T90s in the future. I think some minor surgery was necessary but Curt might remember and could better inform you.

I like the smoke black pick guard suggestions. I was tempted to change the knobs on mine but people pointed out something about them being a nod to early knobs so they will probably stay (and would look good with a smoke black guard). I, too, am ambivalent about the tuners, but they really haven’t been much of an issue and will probably also remain.

Regardless, the guitar is a winner as is! Congrats

24

Congrats Tim!

If it plays anything like the regular 2622's that are in in my local ,then it'll be a fine geet sir!

25

All of which just goes to show that even if you are rocking a guitar from the Gretsch "slum line" (perjorative pun intended in jest), you are STILL better off than with some other "Brand X" budget instrument. Say what you will, modern Streamliners are nice guitars.

Nice acquisition, Tim. I'd gig with that axe in a heartbeat.


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