Magazine article Guitar Player

Gretsch G56Z2T-CB Electromatic Center-Block

Magazine article Guitar Player

Gretsch G56Z2T-CB Electromatic Center-Block

Article excerpt

WITH STANDARD MODEL GRETSCH guitars averaging around $4,000, impecunious guitarists have been finding that classic sound in the company's Electromatic line of Korean-made models, which offer much of the Gretsch mojo at more wallet-friendly prices. The CenterBlock offshoot of the series is geared to those who like the Gretsch look, feel, and sound, but need to keep feedback under control at higher volume and gain levels. Hence, these models all feature a solid-spruce block inside the laminated maple body that helps to tame howl while also providing a solid foundation for the bridge.

I tested a black, double cutaway G5622TCB, which comes equipped with three dualcoil Super HiLo 'Trons (the original HiLo 'Trons were single-coil). Played clean, through either a Fender Blues Junior, or a Little Walter SO Watt head driving a 12" Eminence Texas Heat speaker, these pickups put out a chiming sparkle that spoke fluent "Gretsch." They are fairly low output too, sounding best either clean--where they served up their best Beatle-esque chime--or with a significant amount of gain, where the low output and bright voicing kept them from sounding muddy.

The G5622T-CB is easy to get in tune, and a nicely worked nut ensured that it stayed in tune after extensive Bigsby bar workouts. The 24.6" scale length combined with the 12.5" radius and medium-jumbo frets made for effortless string bending, while an excellent setup and fine finish work on the frets allowed speedy runs to fall easily from my fingertips. Despite the center block and Bigsby hardware, the guitar felt no heavier than a typical 335 or Les Paul--a good thing too, as the instrument played so well it was hard to put down.

One benefit of the middle pickup is it allows Stratocaster-style "out-of-phase" tones. This pickup has its own switch and Volume control, and the neck and bridge pickups also have dedicated Volume knobs. …

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