“Packed full of high-end features to deliver a hugely versatile, head-turning instrument”: Gordon Smith unveils the Grandé, its new flagship small-bodied electric

Gordon Smith Grandé
(Image credit: Gordon Smith Guitars)

Gordon Smith Guitars has a new flagship electric guitar in the lineup. The Grandé is a versatile six-string, and looks every inch an instrument for players who want an original but retro design, classy but not overdressed, and above all lightweight.

It is often the bane of many a guitar player’s existence – the heavy set electric that requires the thickest padded guitar strap you can find. But the Grandé, the name a little ironic given the headline item in Elliot Heggie’s design, is all about the weight, with Gordon Smith promising that each of these obeche-bodied electrics will weigh in under the 7lb mark.

It has a double-cutaway body shape that Gordon Smith says “owes more than a nod” to its Gemini model – a model you might have seen Jakko Jakszyk of King Crimson play – but to be perfectly honest, with these new metallic finishes and the asymmetric upper and lower horns, the Grandé does not look like a refresh of an existing design.

The lightweight build can be attributed to the tonewood choice. Obeche has a reputation for being high-strength and lightweight, and is a popular choice for dinghy and hydroplane construction. But it’s also a matter of the cut, with contouring on the top and bottom of the guitar helping to keep the bulk down.

Gordon Smith has opted for a more conventional material for the neck, with a single piece of mahogany carved into a slim profile, and topped with a 12” radius fingerboard comprised of AAA ebony. The scale length of 24.625” is in keeping with the Grandé’s compact proportions. These features all sound quite player-friendly.

They will certainly work for the gigging musician with a varied set. We have a dual humbucker pickup configuration, with hand-wired Partingtone ‘buckers at the neck and bridge positions, and, crucially, a coil-split function. The drive, however, remains straightforward, with a three-way pickup selector mounted on the shoulder, and control knobs for volume and tone. 

Gordon Smith has used CTS pots and Switchcraft components in the wiring loom. Other appointments that we typically find on high-end electric guitars include the stainless steel frets on the Sovereign and Twilight finished models, and Evo Gold fretwire on the Juniper and Merlot. Why the difference? Well, it’s so the frets match the hardware. The details matter.

Speaking of which, the body is bound top and bottom, as is the fingerboard and headstock. We like those pearloid fingerboard inlays, too. One brand signature flourish is the brass nut. The hardware is quality on these; Gotoh 510 series with 21:1 ratio tuners.

Adjustments to the truss rod can be made via a spoke-wheel positioned at the summit of the fingerboard (since we’re up that neck of the woods we should note here that the Grandé is a 22-fret guitar).

All told, the Grandé is a lot of guitar for the list price of £1999, and that includes a hard-shell guitar case. Those small-flake metallic finishes look very nice. The Grandé Launch Edition is available to order from 2 April, shipping May. For more details, head over to Gordon Smith Guitars.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.