Gretsch Electromatic G5222
There's something about Gretsch. It's the sense of class. It's the whiff of elitism. It's the hum of quality. It's the fact that most guitar shop assistants won't even let you touch one without looking you up and down.
Since this US firm began trading in 1883, the reputation of classic models like the Duo Jet, White Falcon and Country Gentleman has been shouted from the roof tops - and that's probably why its amps have never enjoyed the same fanfare. Can the new Electromatic turn that around?
The G5222 is a genuine valve amp in the grand tradition, meaning no trimmings, no switchable channels and hardly any buttons. Compensation's found in the form of the sweet-assed tube tone delivered through one six-inch Special Design speaker.
The overall impression is of a boutique connoisseur's amp - until you spot the £159 price tag and realise you can afford it.
Everyone loves Gretsch, but the G5222's minimalism is the divider. As we say, the control panel is practically bare, with the absence of a distortion dial meaning you'll have to crank the volume all the way up for filth, and the lack of EQ and FX meaning cheap guitars will have nothing to hide behind.
However, the raw tone is sweet beyond belief, and when you twin it with a quality electric, those characterful blues riffs will blow you away. So, yes, the G5222 is a bit of an indulgence. But at £159, we think you can afford to treat yourselves.
Sweet-ass tone at a knockout price.
The stripped format raises practical issues.
Gretsch kudos without the price tag.
GRETSCH Valve Guitar Amplifier
One 6", 4 ohm Special Design driver with ceramic magnet
High-gain and low-gain inputs, Single volume control & External speaker output