Huge thanks to the whole Gretsch/Fender team for lending me this stunning semi-hollow!
Overview & Final Score: 8.3
The Gretsch Electromatic Series gives players classic Gretsch sounds and shapes in a more affordable, imported design. The G5622T may just be the best of the whole Electromatic group, with its center block design, Bigsby tremolo system, and this eye catching Walnut Stain finish with gold pickguard. These G5622T models also feature two Hilo’Tron humbuckers that can really chime and sing. The controls may seem daunting with knobs all over the place, but are actually quite simple. The 3-way selector sits right at the top of the near body wing, while a master volume sits across the way from it, on the far body wing. Above the f hole are dedicated volumes for each pickup, with a master tone knob on the other side of the f hole.
For a fraction of the price of an American-made Gretsch, their G5622T model gets pretty darn close that classic Country Gentlemen sound. While the Hilo’Tron pickups don’t maintain all the clarity that classic Filter’Tron models do, they have that same chime and Gretsch sound. They sound the best when plugged into a cranked tube amp, providing a ton of breakup and sizzle that is somewhere between a Telecaster and a Les Paul.
Plugged into the Harmony 8418 I just reviewed, I got the most authentic ’50s and ’60s guitar tones I ever have. All three pickup configurations provided plenty of output, more than expected, making fuzzed out lead riffs and punk power chords fill my whole house with sound. The neck pickup has far less clarity than other Filter’Tron style pickups I’ve played and sounded best when played with a slide. The middle and bridge positions had more clarity and jangle, letting me dial in everything from Beatles to Rancid with ease.
One of the most fun things about this guitar is the Bigsby, even if it makes changing strings a complete hassle. Bigsby’s are back in the mainstream suddenly, with tons of players putting them on old pawnshop guitars or new signature models. It really gives the guitar some added dimension, especially when you drench the guitar in reverb. You can go from surf to rockabilly to new wave so fast, I loved how many styles I could play with this plugged into my Vox AC15.
Overall, the G5622T’s tuning stability is a bit compromised by the Bigsby, with it quickly slipping if you push the tremolo bar too far. If you ignore the vibrato bar all together, you’ll find a much more reliable guitar waiting for you. The neck feels about right for the price, maybe a bit better than expected. The 24.6″ scale length felt really comfortable, even though I’ve never really played a lot of Gretsch products before. The 22 medium jumbo frets had no sharp edges, and the neck was straight, stable, and fast. Some of the higher frets may look hard to reach, but still felt pretty easy to get to, especially with a slide.
Finish & Construction: 9.0
Gretsch’s Walnut Stain on the G5622T is killer, and the other finish options (Black, Georgia Green, and Vintage Orange) are probably equally as impressive. I can’t find any flaws on the finish or construction, even if the hardware isn’t the top shelf stuff you’d find on slightly more expensive models. It’s pretty close to perfect, with only a few overall issues throughout the whole guitar. Durability wise, the guitar seems well built and solidly put together, even if I’m always a bit skeptical of semi-hollow or hollow guitars. The tuning stability, looks, and almost noiseless pickups make it a reliable live option.
This guitar is no doubt a phenomenal six string, I really have loved playing it. Part of me still thinks it’s priced about $100 too much. With so many awesome sub-$500 on the market today, I feel like you are paying just to have “Gretsch” on the headstock. Plus, Bigsby’s are so ridiculously up-charged, that I’d rather have the guitar without one if it saves me some money. Apparently, there are only left handed models available of that version too?? It’s not a rip off and it’s a fantastic guitar, but my final thoughts are that I would only pay $700+ for this if I absolutely wanted this Gretsch guitar above all other Electromatics. I’m sad to see it go, and I went back and forth over trying to find a way to keep this thing because at the end of the day, it just feels and sounds killer!
Good For: Rockabilly, New Wave, Classic Rock