When you are a heritage guitar brand celebrating the big one-four-O, there is no sense in doing things by halves. This is an occasion to go big and, clearly, Gretsch got the memo, announcing an epic Spring 2023 release.
There is something for everyone here but it is a release in which the exquisite 140th Double Platinum Anniversary Collection pulls focus with the lustrous splendour of Two-Tone Platinum finishes, and the welcome inclusion of some Electromatic options so that those of us with real-world budgets may join the party.
The 140th Double Platinum Anniversary Collection is Gretsch all dressed up and doing the town, Gretsch in glad rags, but there is an abundance of aesthetically pleasing retro electric guitar design to get excited about here.
Those who crave some luxury might cast their attention to the new Quilted Maple Electromatics – the G5655T-QM is a Center Block Jr. Single-Cut with curly, opulent maple veneers on the front and the back, and a Bigsby as standard.
Those who would like some off-menu tones on a classic Gretsch format might be tempted to go for the G5210-P90 Electromatic Jet Two 90. These come fitted with a pair of P-90E pickups, and the choice of Bigsby or wraparound hardtail bridges, and the finish options are very nice indeed.
Finally, the ever-popular entry level Streamliner series is expanded with the Rally models, a trio of Center Block Double-Cuts with Bigsby vibratos and a choice of three really neat finishes.
At £649 / $699, the Streamliner Rally might not necessarily be considered a cheap electric guitar but they certainly look promising as far as value is concerned, and look every inch a sound candidate for a player’s ‘first serious guitar’.
Let’s take a closer look at the new models, and there’s only one place to start, those 140th Anniversary models, and in the spirit of aspirational high-end electric guitar shopping – window or otherwise – let’s start with the brand’s highest-flying bird, the Falcon.
The G6136T-140 LTD 140th Double Platinum Falcon has a very cool Two-Tone Pure Platinum over Stone Platinum finish, a Bigsby, a top of solid Adirondack red spruce and maple back and sides. Buttressing all this for maximum resonance is Gretsch’s ML bracing pattern.
A pair of FT-67 Filter’Tron pickups will translate that classy build into That Great Gretsch Sound.
Other features to note include the 12” fingerboard radius, the pearl hump block inlays, 22 medium jumbo frets, the anniversary plaque on the headstock, and the locking Grover Imperials – and surely when you get it up close there is also the small matter of that Japanese top-quality finish to marvel over.
The G6136T-140 LTD 140th Double Platinum Falcon is priced £3,949 / $3,999.
Moving to Gretsch’s most-famous flightless bird, the Penguin. If ever there was one single-cut retro electric you’d want to pick up, you would want to pick up the Penguin.
This comes finished in Two-Tone Stone Platinum over Pure Platinum, which really is a great choice for a celebratory finish – upscale, but not a million miles away from the hot-rod automobile culture that has informed Gretsch design from time to time.
Again, we’ve got FT-67 Filter’Trons, the commemorative plaque, a Bigsby, an Adjusto-Matic bridge with pinned ebony base and a String-Thru B3CP tailpiece. The MOP Neo-Classic thumbnail inlays show off a bit more of the 12” radius ebony fingerboard. It has solid Adirondack red spruce on top of a chambered mahogany body. This premium Penguin is priced £3,399 / $3,499.
Next up we’ve got the G6118T-140 LTD 140th Double Platinum Anniversary and we’re seeing a pattern here.
Dressed in Two-Tone Pure Platinum over Stone Platinum finish, and the chrome hardware used across the series, we again have solid Adirondack spruce on the top, maple back and sides, and ML bracing.
The 22-fret ebony fingerboard’s dimensions are similar, the FT-67 Filter’Tron are the electromagnetic weapons of choice, and there is a Bigsby. Here we have Gotoh’s sealed locking tuners.
As with the others in this high-end collection, there are rolled fingerboard edges, treble bleed circuits, jewelled G-Arrow controls, and a hardshell guitar case to keep that finish unspoiled. The asking price is £2,599 / $2,799.
And not for some 140th Anniversary Double Platinum that doesn’t require the possession of a Platinum Amex, the G5622T-140 Electromatic Center Block with Bigsby, and the G5230T-140 Electromatic Jet with Bigsby.
The G5622T-140 will set you back £849 / $899, while the Jet is £649 / $699, and that looks like a pretty good deal for these Chinese-made electrics.
The G5622T-140 is a double-cut semi with a trestle block bracing to nix feedback. The Jet is a chambered mahogany solidbody with a maple top. Both feature FT-5E Filter'Tron pickups, a 24.6” scale, open-gear tuners, and a C shape maple necks that are glued to the body and topped with an 12” Indian laurel fingerboard.
Okay, we might have scaled down from ebony to laurel, as per the other Electromatic models, but the attention to detail remains impressive, right down to the pearloid covers on the pickups. The 140th Double Platinum Anniversary models are available to preorder now and will ship in May.
Let's go easy on the budget and check out the Streamliner Rally series. As mentioned above, these mid-priced electrics are a great entry point to the brand, and here present the G2604T semi-hollow electrics in three sweet finishes. Pictured up top is the Bamboo Yellow and Copper Metallic model. Pictured above are the Stain Green and Two-Tone Oxblood and Walnut Stain.
All are equipped with a Bigsby B70 vibrato, Super Hilo’Tron pickups, and have 16” arched maple bodies featuring an all-important chambered mahogany center block so it won't squeal when you crank the guitar amp up loud. The racing stripe on the pickguard and truss rod cover is a nod to the series name, and it is thematically apt; this is a Gretsch you would be happy to take off-road to explore all kinds of musical avenues.
And now to a series of Jets that look like early candidates for this year’s most rock ’n’ roll guitar, with a pair of newly designed P-90E single-coil pickups promising all kinds of high-volume high-jinks.
The G5210-P90 and G5210T-P90 offer a simple fuss-free wraparound tailpiece or a Bigsby B50 should you need some whammy bar in your life. All have Thin “U” profile mahogany necks that are glued-in to the chambered mahogany bodies. The tops are maple, and feature a host of superlative finish options.
The G5210T-P90 with Bigsby comes in Petrol, Vintage White, Amethyst, and Mako. The G5210-P90 comes in Broadway Jade, Fairlane Blue, Cadillac Green and Single Barrel Burst. The most difficult thing about this guitar is choosing the finish; scroll through them in the gallery above.
Price-wise, you’re looking at a wallet-friendly £/$599 for the wraparound model, £649/$699 for the Bigsby. These ship in March.
We’ll finish up with a touch of quilted maple luxury, as Gretsch gives the Electromatic Center Block Jr a makeover with curly veneers. Heck, it’s a smaller-bodied semi, so why not get the good stuff out?
These all come fitted with a pair of Black Top Broad’Tron pickups, treble bleed circuits, and 12” radius Indian laurel fingerboards as per house style of today’s laudable Electromatic line. And the stains on these are quite something, from the single-malt honey of the Speyside model and luxuriant Sweet Tea, to Hudson Sky and the high-end emerald vibe of Mariana. Gold pickguards add to the high-roller vibe.
These are priced £949 / $999 and are available from March.
For more details and pics, head over to Gretsch.