NAMM 2024: “Uncompromising Gretsch power and fidelity in stunning style”: Electromatic series expanded with fresh finishes and ltd edition Pristine models

Gretsch Electromatic 2024 releases
(Image credit: Gretsch)

NAMM 2024: We’re almost halfway through the second decade of the 21st century, self-driving cars are literally a thing, and yet here comes Gretsch putting together a bunch of new electric guitars for its Electromatic series as though it was still the 1950s or ‘60s, and isn’t that a reassuring phenomenon.

It’s proof that there are still some constants we can rely upon in this topsy-turvy world, and this new batch of Electromatics are truly exquisite. We’ve got fresh Two-Tone finish options for the hollow-bodied G5420T, which now comes in Anniversary Green and Vintage White/London Grey. 

The G5622T Center Block Double-Cut has had a makeover, too, with Cadillac Green looking good against that gold pickguard, and Midnight Sapphire always one of the classiest finishes to come out of the Gretsch paint room. Both come with Bigsby vibratos.

But the belles of the ball have to be the new Electromatic Pristine models, which present two limited edition takes on the Bigsby-equipped single-cut Jet and double-cut Center Block models. With metallic finishes, gold hardware and cream inserts on the pickups, they are as chic as it comes at on a guitar retailing for under 750 bucks.

Let's take a look at them in a minute. First the Electromatic refresh. What have we got here? Well, these should be very familiar, and that’s part of the appeal of Gretsch. 

Somehow it it has found a way to apply some imaginative specs to its lineup without losing that heritage appeal, which of course is most readily received in rockabilly circles but much more than that – they make great rock guitars, blues guitars or jazz guitars if you’re chord vocabulary will stretch that far.

Most players’ budgets should stretch as far as these, certainly for the player looking to get their first serious guitar. The G5420T retails at £899 / $799, which is not cheap but certainly approachable, sensible, and the aesthetics and tones on these tend to be convincingly high-end. 

It has a single-cut laminated maple body, and is fully hollow, so all we have to nix the feedback here is the trestle block bracing, which in our experience works well but if you tread heavily on the dirt pedals and have a lot of volume, the Center Block family might be more your speed.

Kitted out with a pair of FT-5E Filter’Tron pickups, however, it is no shrinking violet. As Gretsch puts it: “this hollow build’s voice explodes with a huge full-bodied punch, classic chime and enhanced presence, clarity and note definition.” Sold. And it wears those new colours well.

Now for the G5422T, the Center Block Double-Cut with Bigsby. This, too, has a maple body but there’s a block of spruce both giving the model its name and taming feedback. 

It’s not such a solid piece of ballast that the guitar loses its lightweight feel or any of that open-air resonance you get from a semi-hollow, but it comes in handy in rock situations, when you are pushing the signal from the Black Top Broad’Tron pickups through a driven guitar amp

These, as it goes, “deliver chiming highs with dynamic and articulate tone for enhanced sonic punch”. The G5422T is priced £799 / $799, and if its Bigsby gives you the heebie-jeebies then read on – it is also available with a V-stoptail, finish options comprising Olive Metallic and Claret Burst, the Olive Metallic giving us some Chris Cornell vibes.

Now to the Electromatic Pristine models. Here we have a single-cut Jet with a Bigsby B50, gold hardware, finishes including White Gold, and two takes on metallic blue, Mako and Petrol. And there’s a Center Block Double-Cut with Bigsby that’s available in Dark Cherry Metallic, White Gold and Petrol. 

The Electromatic Pristine Jet has a chambered mahogany body with a maple top, a thin U profile mahogany neck, that’s glued to the body. There are a pair of FT-5E Filter’Trons, with the aforementioned cream inserts. Controlling these is a treble-bleed circuit with master tone and individual volume pots, and a three-way pickup selector – a format that is fairly standard for the Electromatic range. It is priced at £649 / $749.

Meanwhile, the Electromatic Pristine Center Block Double-Cut has a semi-hollow mahogany body with a chambered spruce centre block. It has a pair of P-90E single-coils with cream inserts, and its Bigsby is a B70. It shares the same control setup as the above, and the rest of the spec highlights are common to this series, with the same mahogany neck as the Jet. It is priced £849 / $899.

All of these models have a 12” radius Indian Laurel fingboards with Neo-Classic thumb-nail inlays, and a 24.6” scale length. And they will be shipping from March 2024. 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.