“People that get this guitar, it’s really going to make an impact on them because it doesn’t only look awesome, it sounds amazing”: Gretsch’s Chris Rocha signature Broadkaster Jr is a ltd edition stunner

 Chris Rocha Ltd Edition Broadkaster Jr
(Image credit: Gretsch)

The year is 2024 and Gretsch just keeps the signature Broadkasters coming, this time with the launch of the Chris Rocha Broadkaster Jr – a Vintage White stunner that looks high-end, is laced with bling, but ultimately weighs in with a very approachable Electromatic price tag.

Rocha’s Broadkaster Jr follows similar signature guitars for Boygenius and Portugal The Man's John Gourley. All three are easy on the eye. Rocha’s, however, is definitely the most ostentatiously appointed, with obvious appeal for any player who has made coveted a Penguin or a White Falcon. That sort of vibe is in evidence here.

But this is quite a different guitar and very much its own thing. Rocha, an award-winning guitarist/composer who has made his name in the worship music scene, has spec’d up an electric guitar that is very much his, but hasn’t strayed too far from the quintessential Gretsch aesthetic.

“I didn’t want anything crazy,” he says. “I didn’t want to do something [outside] of what Gretsch already does because I love what they already do.”

The “Jr” in the title tells us that this Broadkaster is a smaller-bodied singlecut, with a compact 14“ body of arched laminated maple on the top and bottom, laminated maple on the sides, with the all important centre block of chambered spruce to nix feedback at high volume.

Its neck is fashioned from maple into a Thin U profile and is glued to the body, topped with a 22-fret, 12” radius rosewood fingerboard, inlaid with pearloid Neo-Classic thumbnails. A high-gloss finish gives that Vintage Cream paint job a luxurious shine, and is complemented by gold sparkle binding and gold hardware. 

Speaking of which, the hardware is 100 per cent on-point for a Gretsch at this price, with a Bigsby B70 vibrato offering the wobble, and locking tuners keeping things shipshape in the tuning department.

We’ve got a set of High Sensitive Filter’Tron pickups. Worship music guitar tones can typically smooth off some of that Gretsch twang and snarl with the wash of reverb pedal but whether you’re playing this during a Sunday morning service or with a fuzzbox for rock ’n’ roll on a Friday night, this should cover both bases admirably. 

And with Rocha’s imprimatur it saves us saying that Gretsch is not just for rockabilly – even though Gretsch guitars are definitely for rockabilly if that’s your bag.

What else is noteworthy? Well, as we have come to expect from the current Electromatic series, there is a treble bleed circuit. Each pickup has its own volume control, and there are master volume and master tone dials, too. The nut is GraphTech NuBone.

“I’m really proud of this thing,” says Rocha. “I think that the people that get this guitar, it’s really going to make an impact on them because it doesn’t only look awesome, it sounds amazing.”

Priced £999/$1,299, the Electromatic Chris Rocha Broadkaster Jr is available now. It’s limited edition, so get it while it’s hot. See Gretsch for more details.

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.