The Big Review: Gretsch G5622T-140 Electromatic 140th Anniversary Double-Cut

A happy, and surprising, anniversary edition

Gretsch G5622T-140 Electromatic 140th Double Platinum Center Block with Bigsby

Gretsch G5622T-140 Electromatic 140th Double Platinum Center Block with Bigsby. Image: Adam Gasson

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Review Overview

Our rating


Our verdict

Despite being sonically not what you’d expect from a classic Gretsch (especially given its Anniversary finery), this is a seriously fun rock ’n’ roll guitar that still offers a little of that trademark Gretsch bite.

The Gretsch company celebrates its 140th anniversary this year, and while admittedly, the first few decades were spent making banjos, drums and tambourines, it can’t be denied that Gretsch guitars have had a seismic impact on popular culture in the hands of The Beatles, Neil Young, Chet Atkins, John Frusciante, Jack White and many more.

In order to mark this auspicious quadridecacentennial Gretsch has added three commemorative guitars to its popular Chinese Electromatic range – a Hollow Body, Jet and a Double-Cut with a chambered centre block. It is the latter model that has spent the past couple of days raising hell in our studio.

Gretsch Electromatic Double-Cut head
Gretsch Electromatic Double-Cut head. Image: Adam Gasson

Gretsch anniversary electric guitars are nothing new of course, and they are typically characterised by a contrasting colour scheme for the top and body of the guitar. In this case we have a Stone Platinum over Pearl Platinum finish – essentially a metallic silvery blue over the sort of pearlescent white usually reserved for hand soap. It’s a strong look that is accented with ivoroid bindings, black and white purfling, thumbnail fretboard inlays and chrome hardware. A metal plate with a commemorative design adorns the front of the headstock and this same design is repeated on the reverse with an abalone style inlay.

A pair of Black Top Broad’Tron humbuckers take pride of place – adorned as they are with some rather lairy pearl sparkle plastic. The effect manages to be both elegant and tremendously unsubtle – a delicate balance that has long been the Gretsch company’s calling card and it certainly works on this instrument.

At the tail end there lurks a licensed Bigsby B-70 vibrato to give your chord work an evocative wobble – coupled with an anchored Adjusto-Matic bridge. It will be interesting to see how stable this is – this kind of saddle has a habit of snagging the wound strings with heavy use.

Bigsby B-70
Bigsby B-70. Image: Adam Gasson

The electronics come in the form of master volume and master tone knobs with additional individual volume knobs for each pickup. It can seem a little convoluted if this is your first Gretsch and many players have raised their eyebrows over what drain two consecutive volume knobs might have on the signal path. However, Gretsch has been doing this thing for decades and it works for what it is designed to achieve.

Gretsch Double-Cut models such as the G6122 Country Gentleman and G7594 White Falcon often have a more immediately feral feel to them than the company’s sophisticated hollow bodies – this is evidenced by their use by some of rock’s wilder characters such as Johnny Thunders and latterly Richard Fortus who enjoys a pair of signature Double-Cut Gretsch Falcons for all occasions. The 5622-T-140 shares this characteristic – as soon as we strap it on there is a sensation of pent-up mayhem waiting to be unleashed. It’s as if some dark rock spectre whispers “play powerchords” in our ears. And we will – but not just yet.

In Use

Black Top Broad’Tron humbuckers on Gretsch Electromatic Double-Cut
Black Top Broad’Tron humbuckers on Gretsch Electromatic Double-Cut. Image: Adam Gasson

Keeping things polite for the time being we plug into a gently simmering valve combo with a dollop of reverb and the neck pickup engaged. The result is a girthy jazz/blues sound that stays warm and expressive throughout. There is a clear attack to every note, which can be emphasised by the use of a heavier pick should you wish. It’s great for Ernest Ranglin-style lead and chord work and there is impressive sustain on hand too.

The in-between sound is pleasingly hollow and phasey – a joy for psychedelic strumming with a little delay added. Slap on a thumb pick and you’re close to Chet Atkins territory. A Strat it is not, but nor is it trying to be. The main thrill here is exploring sounds using the individual volume controls to blend between the pickups – we find several sweet spots along the way.

The bridge voice is pokey and nasal, ideal for spaghetti western or even surf work. That said, we can tell already that it is straining on the leash a touch and this is confirmed when we dial up the gain for a pleasingly heathen grunt.

Centre-block semi-acoustic guitars can be wonderful things – allowing the player to push the volume and gain to levels that would make a fully hollow body howl off into the distance like a feedback missile. In the name of science we turn our valve combo all the way up and backhand the sizzling pre-amp with an open E powerchord. It’s glorious, raucous and punk as hell. We explore further, enjoying the nuances in response as we move through The White Stripes, Wolfmother, Black Sabbath and Stiff Little Fingers riffs via a collection of Jan Ray, Zendrive and Hot Cake pedals. Joyful stuff.

Gretsch Electromatic Double-Cut f-hole
Gretsch Electromatic Double-Cut f-hole. Image: Adam Gasson

What feedback we do get is of the more musical harmonic variety and can be manipulated with the Bigsby to form sensuously undulating sonic waves. Add delay and/or tremolo for a very good time indeed. Oasis? The Verve? Some hitherto undiscovered subspecies of math-rock? Covered my friend, and in style. Oh and that Bigbsy stayed rock solid throughout – a very pleasant surprise.

Piling on effects in search of shoegaze splendour yields mixed results, the bridge pickup loves it all day long but the neck will get mushy quickly once the fuzz and delay pedal are added. Of course, by turning the neck volume all the way down you can trigger all manner of cool stuttering kill switch attacks with the selector switch.

We are very taken with this Gretsch Electromatic Double-Cut despite the sonic palette on offer being some distance from what we might expect from that company’s usual output. We feel that this is a very good thing. This is a convincing rock and roll guitar that works well anywhere you’d wear an Epiphone Sheraton or Riviera, even a Gibson ES-335 – but still offers a little of that Gretsch raspy goodness that you rarely encounter anywhere else. Happy anniversary and many more to come!

Gretsch logo on pickguard
Gretsch logo on pickguard. Image: Adam Gasson

Key Features

  • PRICE £769/$899
  • DESCRIPTION Six-string semi-hollow electric guitar, made in China
  • BUILD Laminated maple body with chambered spruce centre block, Thin U carve maple neck with laurel fingerboard, set neck construction, Aged White plastic binding, Graph Tech NuBone nut, pearled thumbnail inlays, 12” fingerboard radius
  • HARDWARE Adjusto-Matic Bridge, Bigsby B70 licensed vibrato, diecast sealed tuners, G-arrow knobs
  • ELECTRICS Black Top Broad’Tron humbuckers, 3 position toggle switch, Master Volume, Master Tone knobs and individual volume knobs for each pickup
  • SCALE LENGTH 24.6”/625mm
  • NECK WIDTH 42.86mm at nut, 53.5mm at 12th fret
  • NECK DEPTH 20mm at first fret, 23mm at 12th fret
  • STRING SPACING 35.5mm at nut, 53mm at bridge
  • WEIGHT 3.6kg/7.9lb
  • FINISHES 2-Tone Stone Platinum over Pearl Platinum finish
  • CONTACT Gretsch Guitars

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