Price paid: £ 400
Purchased from: Dawsons Music
Features — 7
Low score for how it looks, but the way the hardware performs is saddening. The tone knobs are very tacky in how they are fitted, my master volume knob is close to starting to fall off. The tuning pegs are very small and with a high ratio, so tuning precisely takes some getting used to. The pickup switch keeps loosening itself as well. There are no fret markings after the 17th fret which is disappointing but the guitar was very nice for its price range. No included accessories except for the receipt. Pickup config is 2 Filtertrons; Bridge, Bridge and Neck, Neck.
Sound — 10
Clean or distorted, the sound is epic. The pickups output is quite high, so when you switch to a clean tone the noise will blow your ears out! It's awesome. You can do some pretty good pinch harmonics, and clean or distorted touch harmonics sound great. It has better sustain than my Gibson SG Special Faded, which is surprising as that's what the SG's pride themselves upon. But my SG couldn't hold 3 seconds on the 22nd on high E, where as the Gretsch will outrun it for miles. It can get a decent twangy clean sound, but not like a Fender Stratocaster can.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action arrived fine, the finish is very pretty. Full white body with cream binding, chrome hardware and pearloid pickguard, rosewood fretboard and hump-block inlays. There's no denying it is beautiful. However, beauty comes with a price. The tremolo is great, for light tremolo, go to far and the tuning is gone all around. Not a flaw, it's not designed for it.
Major string slipping mainly on the loathed G string. The pickup switch is rather sloppy, not solid and as I mentioned, the tone and volume knobs are loose. Note definition on all frets is great, you won't skip any frets due to fret wire misplacement, its perfect. Great strap locks. If it weren't for the hardware letting it down, it'd get a 10. High score because of the amazing finish and looks.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar could handle live playing, but I wouldn't knock it about. The hardware let's this guitar down but It's still very playable. The knobs are getting wobbly as the time goes on, and I'll have to give them a glueing in. Pickup selector is constantly unscrewing itself but I use the bridge pickup 90% of the time. The strap locks are great, very very solid. I would use it on a gig without a backup in it's current condition, few years down the line, I would probably use a backup. Finish seems like it won't fade away, I've knocked it a few times and have been COMPLETELY unable to find the scratches on it which is mind boggling. Can't even see any dents on the input plate. It's like it's made out of solid diamond and been painted over.
Overall Impression — 8
I play grunge, classic rock, metal. It is a great match. It has a very serious versatility to it's sound, its fairly high output but very clean. Been playing for around 8 years, my other guitar is a Gibson SG Faded and the gretsch is a clear favourite due to the SG's sustain and sound dying. I would have asked about the hardware's quality before buying. If it was stolen or lost I would buy it again without even questioning myself. I love it. The way I can go from clean, smooth sounds with light chord tremelo is great for jazzy, blues and things like that, and it sounds great distorted and can pull off great harmonics. I hate the tuning knobs, and the nut slippage. My favourite feature is the whole guitar all around. Compared it to a Gretsch Double Jet, it just didn't sound as full as this one. It was a clear winner and I took it home with me. I wish it had bigger machine heads and a locking or rolling nut.