I would encourage anyone to check out a Gretsch and open up some very new and satisfying tonal explorations.
Gretsch guitars, once almost extinct due to the influece of solidbody guitars and Marshall amps, have come back in a major way under Fender’s guidance. These Japanese-made guitars feature fine craftsmanship and American-wound reproductions of the famous Gretsch FilterTron pickups.
I spent a week with the Tennessee and tested it through a variety of amps, including a Fender Bassman and a Vox AC30. The tones this guitar produced were clean and twangy with just a hint of humbucker “beef” – overall a smooth, rich alternative to the P90-type pickups typically found on “rockabilly” guitars. No, the FilterTrons won’t do PRS/Triple Rectifer sounds, but that’s not what they was designed for!
It’s too bad that these have been labeled as “niche” guitars, though, because they are extremely flexible. I’m a Setzer fan, so I spent quite a lot of time copping his licks, but I was also able to get some nice, echo’d U2-type sounds as well as some overdriven power chords a la AC/DC.
A common complaint that many players who grew up on solidbodies have is that hollowbodies can feel flimsy and fragile. The Gretsch has an extremely solid, durable feel -the neck feels solid, fast, and elegant, and the body will definitely hold up to professional use. With solidbodies still dominating the guitar market, I would encourage anyone to check out a Gretsch and open up some very new and satisfying tonal explorations.