Gretsch G6131T Players Edition Jet FT review

A modern makeover…

  • £2,049
  • $2,780

MusicRadar Verdict

Yes, it’s been tweaked to streamline its performance but tonally at least, the G6131T FT is a good old-fashioned Duo Jet.


  • +

    A cool concept fully realised, a prime example of how to update a classic without obliterating what makes the original so loved.


  • -

    We miss some of the vintage appointments, especially the cute Gretsch strap buttons.

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The term ‘player grade’ can confuse novice guitar geeks. “Surely, all guitars are designed to be played?” they cry. 

However, ‘player grade’ is a marketing term vintage dealers use to describe a guitar that’s been dragged kicking and screaming through the past few decades yet still shows signs of life. 

It might be an old Gibson SG Junior with a repaired neck break or a set of non- original Grover tuners. Maybe you’ve seen a 70s Fender Strat some callous ne’er do well chiselled out for humbuckers back in the day thanks to Eddie Van Halen. It’s a guitar that’s fallen foul of shifts in fashion and really shouldn’t fetch the same money as an unmolested example. 

This new Gretsch Players Edition G6131T FT Jet promises all the fateful mods we hope to see in player grade vintage guitars (bigger frets, great tuners, upgraded hardware) without the senseless brutality. Nose through the spec sheets and among the locking tuners and modern-style strap locks, you’ll see that this guitar is a classic single-cutaway, chambered mahogany and laminate maple-topped Duo Jet. 

That should be all we need to say, yet already there’s an interesting tweak to bring to your attention. Any true Gretsch nut will tell you that original 50s and 60s Jets have highly resonant 51mm (2 inch) deep bodies; as a result, the recent spec-correct Vintage Select reissue Jets also plumb those depths. The remaining Professional Series Jets ship with a depth of 44.45mm (1.75 inches) and that’s been the case for almost 30 years. 

However, our G6131T FT, and the rest of the Players Edition range, is 47mm (1.85 inches) deep. You’d think that, considering that the idea is to cut these Jets for better handling, building them thinner would make more sense. Adding depth to the body can compromise access to the upper frets. 

It’s not immediately obvious but Gretsch has made the additional, albeit slight, body depth work by setting each guitar’s mahogany neck deeper into its body. Upper fret access is actually easier on this Players Edition Jet than any of the other Professional Series examples. The neck mod isn’t the only Players Edition family trait set to leave the purists in distress. 

The red-topped G6131T FT is clearly a hot-rodded 50s-style Jet Firebird

Look closer and you’ll notice that this guitar features an anchored Adjusto-Matic bridge. Now, the whole ‘which Gretsch bridge design sucks the least’ thing isn’t just a bone of contention, it’s the whole bloody skeleton. Just about every Gretsch shipped from the US and Japanese factories over the past 60 odd years has had a floating bridge held in place by the tension of the strings. Some guitars had the ridiculously over- engineered ’51 to ’58 Melita (aka Synchro-Sonic) bridge, others brandished the equally-maligned 60s Space Control effort. 

The consensus among the Jet cognoscenti is that the infinitely more primitive ’58 bar bridge, favoured by George Harrison, was the pick of the litter. The thing is, no matter which bridge you end up with, they can all be dislodged by a barrage of over- exuberant rhythm chops. To counter this some players, including Gretsch patron saint and Stray Cat Brian Setzer, have their floating bridges pinned down to prevent slippage. The Adjusto-Matic bridge fitted to these Jets dispenses with the floating format altogether. Instead, the bridge spans two height-adjustable posts set directly into each guitar’s top, just like another famous single cutaway 50s survivor. 

The red-topped G6131T FT is clearly a hot-rodded 50s-style Jet Firebird. It has the same model number after all, not to mention the Filter’Tron humbuckers and neo-classical ‘thumbnail’ inlaid Rosewood fingerboard that marked the arrival of the ’58 ‘Bird. The T in any Gretsch catalogue designation means you get a tremolo. Closer inspection reveals that the Bigsby True Vibrato you get here is the modified B7CP String-Thru version, which is a damn sight quicker to restring than the old school stuff. 


The ‘FT’ attached to the G6131T’s model designation refers to its classic Filter’Tron pups. While playing, the G6131T behaved exactly as expected. It nails Beatlemania, Small Faces and Highway To Hell, and has enough air in its chambers to pull off a respectable Stray Cat Strut. We like that the wiring loom and its flame maple compadre has been kept simple: two volume, a No-Load tone, master volume and three-way pickup selector. As much as we love the retro vibe of the classic Gretsch three-way tone switch we don’t miss it here. 

In all the best ways, this guitar is easier to handle than our own regular Professional Series Jet Firebird. In fact, the upper frets are closer to hand, and there’s a discernible increase in sustain both acoustically and amped, likely thanks to the anchored bridge. Dropping the neck height has definitely made these guitars feel more approachable. Figure in the classic Jet ‘U’ profile neck - a pleasantly plump C - along with the 305mm (12-inch) fingerboard radius and the exceptionally well-dressed frets and these are the best playing Jets yet. 

Yes, it’s been tweaked to streamline its performance but tonally at least, the G6131T FT is a good old-fashioned Duo Jet. 

As ever with the Professional Series, playability, tone, build quality, even value for money are so consistently excellent that we could have cut and pasted this sentence from any of our previous reviews. We also love that Gretsch has lifted some features from its more affordable ranges. The V stop tailpiece from the Streamliner and Electromatic stuff looks right at home on the G6228FM BT, and both Players Edition guitars reap the benefits of the anchored tune-o-matic-style bridge that has been present on those mid-price Gretsches for a good few years now. 

Unless you’re one of those people that think music died when Elvis was drafted into the US Army, this primped, modded and player-centric Jet should suit you right down to the ground.