Magazine article Guitar Player

Gretsch: G6144 Spectra Sonic C Melody Baritone

Magazine article Guitar Player

Gretsch: G6144 Spectra Sonic C Melody Baritone

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

THE GRETSCH SPECTRA SONIC C MELODY Baritone--despite having a longer scale than any guitar in this roundup except the Danelectro--is actually intended to be tuned C to C, a half-step higher than typical baritones. This raised tonality makes the guitar "horn friendly," which is why if you pick up the Spectra Sonic and play shapes that would be in E major on a standard guitar, your licks will come out in the sax-and trumpet-friendly key of concert C. Guitarist-friendly fingerings in horn keys--hip!

If you want that gargantuan "piano wire" sound on the low notes, the Spectra Sonic may be the bari for you. The wound strings on this bound and chambered behemoth move some serious air and produce hugely satisfying timbres that seem to have more in common with the low notes on a Steinway than those on, say, a Duo Jet. With help of the TV Jones alnico pickups, the rich, unplugged acoustic tone of this guitar translates beautifully into the electric realm. Add some Bigsby vibrato, and your tone gets really tough.

Of the seven baritones in this review, though, the Gretsch is actually the least suited for aggressive playing. First of all, any time a guitar's pickup selector is located on the upper bout--a time-honored placement, to be sure--it's pretty much in the way if you do any sort of modern two-hands-on-the-neck playing. Of course, most guitarists don't engage in many fretboard spankings or slap-funk guitar beat-downs, but everyone likes to strum hard or occasionally "snap" a string by pulling it away from the body to hear the satisfying clang it makes against the frets. …

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