Modern Gretsch Guitars

Roots edition guitars

1

Hello, I recently bought a G9521 Roots Collection Triple 000, And i’m Loving it, great tone and playability, not to mention looks. Anyone else out there enjoying one as well? I am a lot more enthusiastic than talented, at 74 y/o, I’m realistic about what I can and can’t do, since I haven,t been playing all that long.

2

I just purchased one of these (the Style 3 G9531 Double-0 size acoustic) this week, but I haven't taken delivery of it yet. They are fine guitars for what they are. They sound immeasurably better, in my opinion, than any other acoustic guitar that Gretsch has made during the FMIC years, with the possible exception (now that I think about it) of the 6022-C Rancher. It sounds different than that latter guitar, but perhaps as good. I will know more once I have it in my hands for some weeks.

Some suggested at the time that these guitars were introduced that they were simply a fancier looking version of the Americana Series cowboy guitars or the Jim Dandy. Nothing could be further than the truth. They were designed from the ground up by FMIC's Donnie Wade to be a good acoustic guitar at an affordable price. I interviewed Donnie in 2017 and here is what I had to report from that interview:

He comes from Texas. He wears a cowboy hat. He is a straight shooter who doesn’t mince words and doesn’t B.S. you. He was raised to say “Yes, sir” whenever responding in the affirmative. He builds guitars. Meet Donnie Wade.

Donnie Wade works for FMIC and was given the task of designing an entirely new series of acoustic guitars that would be great instruments, yet at an affordable price. No adaptations of an existing model; rather, a new line conceived from the ground up. As Donnie told me, Jason Barnes and Dave Gonzalez charged him with the task of building a guitar that remained true to the historic role that the acoustic guitar played in the Gretsch line; that is to say, build a guitar that properly represents that historic past, that has a vintage vibe to it, but still is capable of being sold at a price that a broader cross-section of consumers might be able to afford.

Some of the basic precepts that helped guide Donnie as he thought through the style of guitar to build included that Gretsch acoustics always tended to be played by fingerstyle players, so having guitars that lent themselves to that style of play was an important factor. While always attractive, Gretsch acoustics had never been decorated with mother of pearl binding and lots of bling (sort of the opposite of the hollowbody’s history, right?). So, something more refined was in order.

Because fingerstyle playing was an important style of play, Donnie wanted the fretboard to be wide enough to accommodate that kind of play, which required a 1.75" fretboard width at the nut. Yet, he wanted to have the string spacing at the bridge more closely resemble the spacing found on a 14-fret guitar, which is a little bit closer together. In creating a voice for these instruments, he wanted it to not be boomy; rather, he wanted good note separation with a woody, crisp tone. He wanted the neck profile to be a slim, modern style neck.

Because Gretsch was never particularly successful with dreadnaught models, he felt that other body styles had to be the body shape eventually chosen. He eventually chose three sizes: The O size, the OO size, and the OOO size. For binding, Donnie opted against having mother-of-pearl binding because that had never been a significant part of how Gretsch dressed up its acoustic guitars (kind of the opposite from the hollowbody guitars, right?). Instead, he chose to rim the top of the guitar with wood marquetry purfling. The marquetry consists of approximately 1800 separate pieces of wood all hand glued into place.

Donnie believes that any inlays on a guitar need to compliment, rather than dominate, its overall appearance. He suggested one famous iconic model guitar and pointed out how the extensive use of mother-of-pearl on that model was all that one sees when looking at the guitar. Therefore, he wanted understated fretboard inlays. However, he believed that the inlays looked much better on the No. 2 size guitar than on the other two sizes; again, wanting to strike the right aesthetic balance.

In terms of construction, in order to assure a stronger union between the neck and body, with less likelihood that there would be any wiggle of the neck in the body, each of the three models of the guitar has a dovetail neck joint rather than a mortise and tenon neck joint. Not unlike the pre-war Gibsons, these guitars each have a 16° headstock pitch which creates more pressure on the nut, thus yielding increased clarity of each of the strings. The nut and saddle of each model are made from genuine bone with the saddle being compensated.

Each of the bodies has mahogany back and sides with Sitka spruce tops. The X-style bracing is what he called “knife edge braces” which are light braces. This has produced guitars which are remarkably light in weight. The location of the bracing was determined by trying to achieve balance, projection, and scale length. Each guitar has a maple bridge plate which increases the guitar’s top end, yet avoids a brittle sound. The guitars have a 24 7/8" scale length. The guitars feature a “drop-in saddle” which allows the use of an under saddle pickup, if that is your choosing. The guitars, however, do not have any on-board electronics.

Hopefully that little bit of background on the design of the guitar will increase your enjoyment as you play it.

3

The roots edition guitars are great. I have a Reso and a uke.

4

Good to see you posting, Uncle Grumpy.

So that you know, these guitars are much different than the other Roots Collection instruments. They were built in Indonesia as are some other Roots instruments, but were designed (as described in Post #2 above) by Donnie Wade as something entirely different. A very good guitar for an affordable price.

Put G9531 or G9521 into the search box on YouTube and listen to the rave reviews that these guitars get and listen to the recordings of the guitars.

5

Thanks for the additional info. I have a nephew who’s a professional songwriter, and he says he cannot believe how affordable these guitars are. He’s blown away by the quality, for very few dollars.

6

I likes mine plenty good, I do.

7

I’ve been looking to try one out for a year now and can’t find one locally, so I ordered one last night from Guitar Center, now that they might become extinct. I have 45 days to see if I will keep it.

I mistakenly ordered the one with the pickup, the G9531E. I thought about changing my order but, at worst, if the pickup is not to my liking, I can return it and buy a G9531.

Edit: Backordered. Never mind.

Edit the second: I called and switched to the non E one, which they have in stock.

8

I nearly bought one but ended up pulling the trigger on an Alvarez instead. Nevertheless, I was mighty impressed with it, and if I were in the market for another smallish acoustic it'd be at the top of my list.

9

Karolyn won the 00 in Nashville last year. What a great little acoustic. I can't find them on Gretschguitars.com anymore. Did they stop making them? If so, what a shame.

10

Dave, RicBob hints here on his post 235 ...

So, whut happ’ned? A major interruption in the supply chain occurred; so major, in fact, that it may be quite a while, if ever, before these guitars come back around again. So, if you have been holding off on getting one of these as I had been doing, you will be hard pressed to find one. I happened to find one (there were three) at Sweetwater, but MF is out. Truly a shame as these guitars held such promise.

11

I bought the OO Grand Concert. Had it setup by my guitar goto, which was the best thing I did. Impeccable. Fell in love so i bought a Rancher jr case. Last in line is a rotten egg. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

12

I hope that, someday, Gretsch will offer acoustics made from all solid woods.

13

I hope that, someday, Gretsch will offer acoustics made from all solid woods.

– Lacking Talent

It won't happen during your lifetime. Gretsch's specialty is building hollow body electrics and chambered solid bodies. Acoustic guitars are merely a sideline. When they build an acoustic, they are building a good guitar for an affordable price. It is not within their mission statement to build a top-of-the-line extraordinary acoustic guitar. So, they are happy to use laminated sides and back so as to keep the guitar affordable.

14

Dave, RicBob hints here on his post 235 ...

So, whut happ’ned? A major interruption in the supply chain occurred; so major, in fact, that it may be quite a while, if ever, before these guitars come back around again. So, if you have been holding off on getting one of these as I had been doing, you will be hard pressed to find one. I happened to find one (there were three) at Sweetwater, but MF is out. Truly a shame as these guitars held such promise.

– Bob Howard

Thanks, bob. I didn't catch that.

15

For recording, I really, really like both the OOO for “traditional” sounding acoustic tracks where you don’t want so much “boom”. And for the Nashville strung stuff, the O reminds me so much of a Nashville studio guy I worked with a lot back in the day named Butch Davis. He used an old Martin parlor guitar strung up that way in the early ‘80’s. His was my first encounter with that concept. (Monster player too. Wonder whatever came of him.) The Style O is killer for that application IMO.

16

Hmmm... I found a Style 2 today. Even got it for a little off.

Okay, done now. No more.

17

Street Sounds web site looks like they have at least one each of the styles 1 & 3.

18

Yep, but Rocky sold his only Style 2 last weekend.

19

My Style 3 is on the truck out for delivery. My favorite phrase.

20

My Style 3 is on the truck out for delivery. My favorite phrase.

– Bob Howard

Mine as well, Bob.

22

Amazon has 13 of the style 2.

23

It came! Sounds good so far. Louder than expected...in a good way. It wants me to play songs about cowboys. I think it will take a slight amount of setup to play the way I want.

24

Talk me down. I don't need one of these. I'm well covered on acoustics. I only have a fear of missing out. I don't need it.

25

Can’t help ya, bro. I’m loving this thing.


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