10 Best Gretsch Guitars: Review & Buying Guide

Best Gretsch Guitars Review

If you’re into guitars, you’ve probably seen some of the iconic Gretsch guitars like the Chet Atkins’s Country Gentleman model, or the White Falcon which was often used by Neil Young.

While often synonymous with those large hollow / semi-hollow body guitars we see used in jazz, blues, and country, these days they have dozens of models available to suit any player looking for that classic Gretsch sound.

In this guide, we’ll be reviewing our picks for the best Gretsch Guitars to help you decide which one is the perfect fit for your collection.

About Gretsch Guitars

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Gretsch is American guitar manufacturer that has made a name for themselves with their inconic semi-hollow body guitars since the 1930s.

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The Gretsch brand has been around since 1883 when Friedrich Gretsch started building a variety of instruments including banjos, drums, and tambourines. They really made a name for themselves in the guitar market in the 1950s when they worked with famous country guitarist Chet Atkins and created their now-classic 6120 hollow body model. In the mid 60’s George Harrison of Beatles, fame became known for playing Gretsch guitars, which really made them a household name and boosted their success even further.

All electric guitars before this period were using single-coil pickups which had significant hum issues. Although it is up for some debate, Gretsch engineer Ray Butts may have created the first-ever “humbucker” pickup by stacking two single coils together, eliminating the hum issue that pickups had up to this point.

In 2002 Gretsch began a business partnership with Fender in which Gretsch still holds ownership, but Fender now produces and distributes their guitars. These guitars are usually made out of the Fender plant in Corona California. The deal has been great for the brand, utilizing Fender’s massive global resources to give them a global reach. 

The Best Gretsch Guitars Reviewed:


Gretsch G5622T Electromatic – Overall Best Gretsch Guitar

Starting off with an all-around excellent guitar, we’re taking a look at the G6522T Electromatic. It’s our choice because of its looks, value, and the wide range of killer tones available. 

We start with a laminated maple body, which is bright and resonant. The center block through the center of the body gives you the feel and sound of a hollow body guitar, without all the feedback issues. In addition to the feedback reduction, the tailpiece and bridge are also screwed directly into this center block which will provide you more sustain than you’d expect from a semi-hollow.

The neck on this is also made of maple, housing a laurel fingerboard, and 22 medium-jumbo frets. A thin-U shape, 12” radius, and 24.6” scale length, this neck feels comfortable and sturdy while staying easy to play.

One of our favorite features are the 2 Hot BroadTron pickups Gretsch used here. They’re quite a bit louder and more full than your traditional Gretsch pickup which works great for higher-gain tones, but they clean up really well with the volume control which makes them feel like they can tackle any job. Simple controls including 2 volume knobs and 1 tone knob make it basically impossible to dial in a bad sound.

In the hardware department, we’ve got a Bigsby B70 tailpiece and vibrato for smooth and melodic bends. We also have a set of die-cast tuners and an anchored adjust-o-Matic tailpiece.

The Gretsch G5622T Electromatic is a guitar that can cover many sounds, whether modern or vintage and has a great look and feel. Coming in at just under $800, it’s hard to deny the value here. We’d recommend this guitar for the player who likes the classic Gretsch vibe, but also wants to excel at playing some great high-gain tones.

Pros

  • Stunning looks
  • Excellent pickups
  • Bigsby is very fun to play with

Cons

  • Made in China
  • No case
  • Tuning issues because of Bigsby and lower end tuners

Gretsch G2210 Streamliner Junior – Best Gretsch Guitar for Beginners 

Best for Beginners
Gretsch G2210 Streamliner Junior Jet Club
$299.99
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For somebody starting to learn guitar, we can’t recommend this one enough. Coming in at under $300, it really packs a punch for the price.

With a solid nato body, this guitar is lightweight and resonant which is perfect for smaller or younger folks. The neck is also made of a nato and features a laurel fretboard and a thin-U neck profile. 22 medium-jumbo frets, and a 12” radius, along with a 24.75” scale length were used to make this a guitar that takes very little effort to play. 

Gretsch used a pair of their BroadTron pickups in this, which work really great. They are definitely some of the better stock pickups you can find in guitars these days. The BroadTron pickups are fully capable of warm gritty dirt tones, while equally excelling in crystal clear sounds.  

The G2210 features a compensated wrap-around steel saddle, great for sustain, and a set of die-cast tuners. 

This easy to play, the great-sounding guitar would be a killer starter guitar for any new player, or even just a nice addition to the arsenal for seasoned players. The friendly price tag makes this guitar super easy to recommend.

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Top-notch playability
  • Great pickups

Cons

  • Could use upgraded tuners
  • Made in Indonesia

Gretsch G2627T Streamliner – Best Gretsch Guitar for the Money 

If you’re on the hunt for an affordable guitar with the great Gretsch look and sound that is capable of covering many styles, the G2627T Streamliner might be the one!

Similar to the G5622T that we discussed earlier, we’ve got a double-cut laminated maple semi-hollow body with a solid center block. The big difference between that 5622 and this 2627 is the smaller body style. The 2627 also has a 2-ply black and white binding around the body that really provides an extra vintage look. 

Comfortability is a big focus here, so Gretsch used their thin-U neck profile. The neck is made of nato and has a laurel fingerboard, 12” radius, 22 medium jumbo frets, 24.75 scale length.

Two high-output custom-wound BroadTron pickups give this guitar all the tonal versatility you want, whether you need crystal clear sounds or a high-gain crunch. 

The 2627T also has an anchored Tune-o-Matic and a Bigsby B50 tremolo. The B50 model Bigsby works well, but is one of the more affordable models that they offer. With a proper setup, it should be ready to rock.

For a guitar well under $600, this is a killer guitar. As comfortable as you could imagine, and full of classic Gretsch tone. 

Pros

  • Excellent pickups
  • Very lightweight and comfortable
  • Gorgeous looks

Cons

  • No case
  • No locking tuners

Gretsch G5422TG Electromatic – Best Gretsch Guitar Under $1,000

To get that old-school Gretsch look and sound without breaking the bank, look no further than the G5422TG Electromatic, with the Bigsby of course.

Unlike the other guitars we’ve covered so far, this is actually a true example of a hollow body, meaning there is no center block. The hollow body construction, the tones you’ll experience from this body are soft and clear. It features a 5-ply arched maple body, and a maple neck. The neck profile features their U shape profile, which is a bit on the thicker side for that vintage feel. They went with a rosewood fretboard, 12” radius, 24.6” radius, 22 medium jumbo frets, and an upgraded Graph Tech Tusq nut.

Gretsch went with an adjust-o-matic bridge sitting over a secured rosewood base for increased sustain. And as you’d expect, we’ve got a Bigsby vibrato to round things out, the B60 model for when you need reliable and subtle pitch modulation. Vintage style open-gear tuners provide excellent tuning stability.

In the electronics section they used a set of “Black Top Filter’Tron” pickups. These were based on an old Baldwin-era set of pickups that were uncovered, and reverse engineered to create robust, cutting pickups that are twangy and clear. For controls, 2 volume 1 tone, and a 3 way selector give a simple but effective way to find that right sound for the moment.

At under $1000 this is an excellent choice for someone chasing that classic look and sound that Gretsch has been known for, without putting too much stress on your wallet. Every detail here pays homage to the Gretsch’s of the 60’s, and lends itself towards jazz, blues, and country guitar playing.

Pros

  • Amazing set of pickups
  • Vintage look and feel
  • Good value for under $1000

Cons

  • May have feedback issues because of hollow body design
  • Might lack some versatility
  • No case, not uncommon at guitars of this price

Gretsch G6120T-59 Vintage Select Chet Atkins – Best Gretsch Guitar for Country

If you’re looking for a high-end and period-correct Gretsch like “Mr. Guitar” himself would have used, we’ve got the perfect option for you: the Gretsch G6210T-59 Chet Atkins.

Any fan of country music has likely heard of Chet Atkins. He was an innovator on guitar and helped create the “Nashville Sound” that shaped American country music. He’s one of very few artists to be inducted into both the rock and roll hall of fame as well as the country hall of fame.

Gretsch used a hollow body construction just like Chet would have used, even with period-correct  trestle bracing. The body is made of laminated-maple, and uses a glossy nitrocellulose finish like many vintage guitars would have back in the 50’s and 60’s. Another group tech is the Chet Atkins signature across the pickguard.

The neck is also of maple construction, and features a beautiful ebony fretboard. The coolest thing about this neck is the vintage V neck profile. We’ve also got vintage small frets which are true to the originals. Another great touch is the true bone nut, a nice premium touch.

A set of TV Jones pickups humbuckers recreate that 50’s era Gretsch tone, and feel instantly classic. They are bright and open, fully of twangy and jangly tones that have a high-end bite. Perfect for rockabilly, country, 50’s rock, and blues. 2 volume 1 tone, and a 3 way selector give you several tonal options.

The Bigsby used here is the B6C model, which is correct for the time. Also, instead of the fixed adjust-o-matic bridges we’ve discussed so far, this has a rocking-bar-bridge with ebony base. For tuners they used a set of Grover open gear sta-tite tuners for better tuning stability.

All in all, this is an incredible super high-end Gretsch with all the bells and whistles that you could have asked for 60 years ago, and they still hold up well today. Whether you’re a Chet Atkins fan or not, if you are looking for the ultimate old-school country and western guitar, you’d have a hard time finding anything better than this. It’s got a heavy price tag sitting just over $3000 but it’s a very fine instrument that will satisfy anybody looking for that 50’s era country sound.

Pros

  • Very high end components 
  • Period-correct construction and parts
  • Perfect for that old country sound

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • May be prone to feedback

Gretsch G5420T Electromatic – Best Gretsch Guitar for Blues

Checking out our first singlecut shape in this list, let’s dive into the G5420T Electromatic.

We start with a hollow body 5-ply maple construction with a gloss finish. Along with that we’ve got a maple set neck with a rosewood fretboard. Somewhere in between the chunky U shape necks of old, and the thin-U shape on the more modern models, the G5420T has a standard U which has a medium thickness to it. The other specs on this neck are the 12” radius, 24.6” scale length, 22 medium-jumbo frets and a GraphTech Nu-bone nut. The beautiful binding is another awesome touch here.

For pickups, Gretsch went with the Black Top Filter’Tron humbucker set for a bright and spanky tone. These have a lot of character and really feel similar to those pickups you’d find in the 50’s and 60’s models. A 2 volume and 1 master tone and 3-way selector setup gives you plenty of flexibility. 

As you may have guessed, we also have a Bigsby on here for that smooth pitch modulation we all love when playing a Gretsch. For this model they went with the B60G Bigsby model. At the bridge, Gretsch used the rosewood base under an adjust-o-matic bridge. The tuners used on this G5420T are vintage style open-back tuners.

Between the hollow body design, and the vintage style Black Top Filter’Tron pickups, we love this guitar for blues. With this guitar you can easily go from the jazzy to those big gritty blues bends we all know and love. At under $900 we recommend this guitar for it’s great looks, playability, and tone. For the premium features mentioned above, we feel this is a great value.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Gorgeous looks
  • Easy to play

Cons

  • No case
  • One of more affordable Bigsby models

Gretsch G2655 Streamliner – Best Gretsch Guitar for Jazz

The G2655 Streamliner is a super flexible Gretsch at an affordable price, featuring vintage style construction and modern electronics to get the best of both worlds.

The G2655 has the smaller Streamliner body style, with the solid center block through middle of the body making this a semi-hollow guitar that doesn’t have the same feedback issues other semi-hollow guitars might. Laminated maple body as usual, along with a nato thin-U shaped neck and laurel fingerboard. This is a lightweight and easy to play guitar. 

A set of custom-wound Broad’Tron BT-2S pickups were put in here which are capable of clean or high-gain tones, and don’t really have the twang that most Gretsch pickups have. Because of this we find them really good for jazz or similar progressive styles. There is a bit of a unique control setup here with a master volume, a volume for both pickups, and a master tone. 

This is the first hardtail model we’ve covered in this list. It still uses an adjust-o-matic bridge, it runs to a V-shaped stopbar tailpiece instead of a Bigsby. We like this for added tuning stability and easier string change, not to mention the additional sustain. We’ve also got a set of standard die-cast tuners. 

Due to it’s smaller size we find this to be one of the best playing guitars Gretsch offers these days. The hardtail configuration and custom-wound Broad’Tron pickups lend themselves better to jazz and progressive rock tones than many of the other twangy pickups they offer. At under $450 this is an insane value!

Pros

  • Incredible value for this price
  • Excellent custom-wound pickups
  • Easy to play and very comfortable

Cons

  • Could use upgraded tuners
  • No case included

Gretsch Guitars G5425 Electromatic – Best Gretsch Guitar for Worship

For anyone who loves the vibe of Gretsch guitars but doesn’t want the semi-hollow or hollow body type body, the G5425 Electromatic Jet Club might be the right guitar for you.

The Jet Club series has been a fan favorite for quite some time. Although they look like solid body guitars, they are often chambered or routed heavily for weight relief and also for tonal purposes. This G5425 is no different, featuring an arched maple top and chambered basswood body. We’ve also got a bolt on maple neck with a rosewood fretboard and 22 medium-jumbo frets.

Gretsch’s own Dual-Coil pickups were selected for this model, which are focused on sustain and warm luscious tones. We find these great for worship guitar players who play with lots of delay and reverb, as the resonant body and these pickups are a great match. The controls were made easy here, with 1 volume 1 tone and a 3-way pickup selector.

In hardware we’ve got an anchored adjust-o-matic bridge, and stopbar tailpiece along with a set of vintage open-back tuners 

This guitar comes in under $400 which is very impressive. It has the look and feel of a much pricier guitar, along with a set of great pickups for warm tones with lots of sustain. 

Pros

  • Great sustain
  • Excellent pickups
  • Amazing value at this price

Cons

  • Bolt-on neck
  • No case

Gretsch G6119T Players Edition – Best Gretsch Guitar for Rockabilly

The Gretsch G6119T is a guitar with classic looks that plays like a modern guitar, and has the most unique and distinct sound you could imagine.

The arched maple body features an innovative bracing technique specific for this model, that gives this a sound of it’s own. It’s snappy and open and works really well for hard rock and rockabilly players that need to stand out in a mix. 

They’ve used a really sleek standard U shape maple neck, with a 22 fret rosewood fingerboard and pearloid inlays. 12” fretboard radius and a 24.6” scale length as we’ve come to expect from Gretsch guitars now. 

The pickups are one of the real highlights of this model. The Gretsch G6119T has a big voice, thanks to a pair of High Sensitive Filter’Tron humbuckers. These pickups can handle a wide range and feature clear highs, glassy midrange, robust low end, and balanced harmonics. For controls we’ve got 1 master volume, a volume for each pickup and a master tone as well as a 3-way pickup selector.

We’ve also got one of the more high end Bigsby models on this guitar which is the B6CP string-thru vibrato tailpiece. This model uses great high end components and makes string changing much easier than some of the other models. For the bridge, we’ve got a rocking bar bridge, sitting over a pinned rosewood base, a classic setup for many Gretsch guitars. A set of Gotoh locking tuners are an excellent upgrade here and will help keep you in perfect tune and restring faster.

This guitar has tons of attitude and just screams rockabilly vibes. Coming in at just under $2300 this is a gorgeous,really well-built, high-end, professional grade guitar that is just a pleasure to play and to look at.

Pros

  • Super distinct look and sound
  • Great build quality
  • Locking tuners
  • Hardshell case included

Cons

  • Hefty price tag
  • May have feedback issues

Gretsch G5022CWFE Rancher Falcon – Best Gretsch Acoustic Guitar

Best Acoustic
Gretsch G5022CWFE Rancher Falcon
$599.99
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Now that we’ve covered a bunch of electrics, let’s check out a beautiful acoustic from the Gretsch line, the G5022CWFE Rancher Falcon.This guitar pays homage to the famous and iconic “White Falcon” Gretsch which players like Neil Young have been known for playing. 

As far as tonewoods go, the G5022CWFE comes with a solid spruce top, and laminated maple back and sides for a big tone. Inside the body we’ve got scalloped x-bracing for added response. The unique triangle sound hole is a super unique look that we love, as well as the “Falcon V” shaped headstock.

The neck is made of mahogany and has a rosewood fretboard. One of my favorite little features here is the gold sparkle around the body and neck, such a neat touch. The measurements here are a 25” scale length, 12” radius fretboard, and super comfortable standard-U shape neck. 

The G5022CWFE is an acoustic-electric, and features the Fishman Sonicore under-saddle pickup, Isys + preamp system. For being a bit more on the value side, it really is a great pickup system capable of great tones. The control panel features an onboard tuner, a 3 band EQ and volume, and a phase switch to help combat feedback issues at loud volumes.

Gretsch offers many acoustic guitars in their lineup, but this is our favorite. Between the flashy looks, and the great build quality, and the price tag under $600 we can’t recommend the Gretsch G5022CWFE enough.

How to Choose The Best Gretsch Guitar (Buyer’s Guide)

Body Shape

Most of the guitars we covered today fall into a few distinct categories. We covered full hollow bodies, semi-hollow bodies, and a couple solid-body guitars. 

It’s hard to say any of these are better than others, but they all have benefits and limitations.

Hollow body guitars are known for warm, round, and soft tones. This is why they are still so widely used by jazz and r&b musicians. They resonate a certain way that feels really great to play. The downside of hollow body guitars is that they can suffer from feedback issues at high volumes or when using lots of gain. Another thing is that they often lack sustain due to the construction. 

Semi-hollow body guitars are a bit of a middle ground between fully hollow bodies and solid body guitars. They don’t typically have the feedback issues that fully hollow bodies have, and can handle higher amounts of gain and volume because of that. 

Solid body guitars are the typical construction you see on electric guitars like the Gretsch Pro Jet models, or a Les Paul, or a Stratocaster. While they are capable of covering a lot of ground, it’s very hard to replicate that hollow body sound. 

Build Quality

The build quality for Gretsch guitars is very consistent. They tend to use the same woods across most of their lineup, which is maple bodies and necks, rosewood boards etc.

The higher-end models do seem to focus more on upgraded parts such as nicer Bigsby vibratos, locking tuners, upgraded pickups, etc. If you’re willing to pay a little extra for these upgrades there is a Gretsch model out there to meet your needs.

Another big difference is where they are made. The USA models are their highest quality, while some others are made in Indonesia and even China. The reason they are building certain lines overseas is to keep costs low, so the parts and build quality will vary between these. 

We believe any of the Gretsch’s we mentioned will meet your standards and are well worth the money.

Playability

The biggest factor on these Gretsch guitars as far as what’s going to play the best will depend on the style of music you play. 

There are a couple of different neck profiles that we covered today, mainly the thin-U, and standard-U. The thinner neck is something many players prefer. They will typically allow you to play faster and reach around the neck easier. The standard-U is a little thicker, which may be better for some players with larger hands or those who are used to vintage instruments.

Another big thing to consider is whether you like to use a Bigsby or not. Most of the models we mentioned today offer 2 versions, one with and one without. If you’re a player who likes to use a lot of large bends, you may notice some tuning issues with the Bigsby. While they are synonymous with the Gretsch look and sound, you may want to consider whether you really like playing guitars that have them.

Sound

The famed “great Gretsch sound” is the reason we’re all here. 

Gretsch guitars are known for their unique tones due to their construction and the TV Jones, Broad’Tron, and Filter’Tron pickups that they’ve always used.

If you’re looking for guitars that specialize in warm round tones on the neck pickup, want to cut through a mix on the bridge pickup, there’s a Gretsch guitar for you.

Price

We have discussed guitars from $300 all the way to $3000 in this list. The biggest factor in this cost is typically where they’re made. The Gretsch USA line is quite pricey, but are also the best guitars that they offer.

The import models from Indonesia or China are no slouches though. The QC from these factories are great, and every guitar we mentioned can be well suited for a professional player. 

Recap of the Best Gretsch Guitars

Best Gretsch GuitarsAward
Gretsch G5622T ElectromaticOur Top Pick
Gretsch G2210 Streamliner JuniorBest for Beginners 
Gretsch G2627T StreamlinerBest for the Money
Gretsch G5422TG ElectromaticBest Under $1,000
Gretsch G6120T-59 Vintage SelectBest for Country
Gretsch G5420T ElectromaticBest for Blues
Gretsch G2655 StreamlinerBest for Jazz
Gretsch G5425 ElectromaticBest for Worship
Gretsch G6119T Players EditionBest for Rockabilly
Gretsch G5022CWFE Rancher FalconBest Acoustic

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Gretsch guitars good?

Yes, Gretsch guitars are good. I’d go as far as to say that they are great. They have been a consistent big name in guitars for over 100 years, and they’re only getting better.

The deal they made with Fender in 2002 has helped them consistently distribute, market, and produce their guitars in numbers that weren’t possible before.

Why are Gretsch guitars so expensive?

While there are many different lines available, from the Streamliner to the Vintage select series, they have guitars from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands. Most of the more expensive models are all USA models and that price comes with a lot of very high-quality materials, and craftsmanship that goes into making them. 

Since partnering with Fender, they’ve been able to reduce costs on their import models which has made them much more accessible to the average player. Before this partnership, most Gretsch models were upward of $2000.

Who plays Gretsch guitars?

Gretsch has had some major names become famous for using them. A few great examples include: Chet Atkins, George Harrison, AC/DC’s Malcolm Young, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Rancid’s Tim Armstrong, Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, Gun’s N Roses’ Richard Fortus.

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