In a Class of Its Own at $299
I bought a 2015 Gretsch G5426 Jet Club (in Silver Sparkle) just a few days ago, sight unseen. Not many shops carry Gretsch, so I had to take a leap of faith. I'm glad I did. As a point of reference, in my opinion this is the Classic Vibe Telecaster of LP style guitars (albeit a Gretsch). The features, construction attributes and overall finish quality put it in a class of its own at under $300.
What sets this apart from ANY guitar in the same price range is the body construction. It's a basswood back with a maple top that is FULLY chambered. Pop the control covers off the back and you'll get a great look at a body that is chambered beyond what you'd expect at this price point. What this does for the sound is offer a brilliantly warm acoustic tone (unplugged and amplified). It's very loud and resonant when played unplugged, which makes it great for late night jamming or writing.
Hardware quality is very good for this price point. Tuners are the same caliber as the Classic Vibe series, which means there's really no need to replace them. The ABR-1 style Adjustomatic bridge is nice. The electronics feature full size 500K pots and a Switchcraft style 3-way toggle for the pickups. There's no need for upgrades here unless you plan on gigging this guitar on a nightly basis for an extended period of time and want the reassurance of extreme long term durability.
Fit and finish is excellent. Superior to the Epiphone LP guitars I've seen and played in-store. Fretwork is very nice, but I took 20 minutes and polished the frets to a glass-like mirror finish during the 1st string change. Nut is also very nicely cut, but I cleaned up the slots a bit with some 2500 grit sandpaper then lubricated them with nut sauce. The guitar stays in perfect tune once the strings are stretched in.
Sound is excellent as well. These "gretsch" humbuckers give the LP fatness with a bit a Fender tone mixed in. A great tone that is unique and fits well with many styles music, from country to hard rock.
I've owned $2000+ Gibsons and Fenders, so this isn't my first rodeo. I bought this when I was downsizing gear for a business venture and needed something to fill the broad Fender to Gibson gap. Surprisingly, this little $299 gem fit the bill perfectly. Highly recommended.