Gretsch Electromatic Center Block guitars deliver the classic Gretsch look and sound at a much more affordable price.
The guitar we’ll be covering in this in-depth Gretsch G5622T Review is an Electromatic center block double-cutaway guitar. And features a laminated maple body with a chambered spruce center block that provides resonance, high gain, while remaining lightweight. They’re designed to be played at a high volume without the feedback associated with hollow-body guitars.
A legendary company…
Gretsch is one of the oldest musical instrument companies in the United States. It was founded in 1883 to manufacture banjos, tambourines, and drums, and in 1916, their first Synchromatic acoustic guitars.
The company began serious production of electric guitars in 1955, introducing several solid and hollow-body models, including the original Electromatic. Today, this model is handmade for Gretsch in China.
So, let’s take a closer look at the latest incarnation of this classic instrument and find out if it has a place in your guitar collection…
Gretsch Electromatic guitars use a “center block” design, whereby a chambered spruce block runs down the entire center of the otherwise hollow body. This block enhances sustain and minimizes feedback, while the open-air cavities on either side increase resonance.
Center block guitars are ideal when you’re going for the classic Gretsch hollow-body sound but want to play loud. However, the center block makes this a heavier guitar than a true hollow body, but not unreasonably so, weighing in close to ten pounds (4.5 kg).
The G5622T features an arched top with a relatively shallow body depth of 1.75 inches (44.45 mm). The top, back, and sides are made of laminated maple. On the top on either side of the bridge, two large f-holes help to increase resonance.
The lower f-hole is partially blocked by the plastic pickguard, which is white or gold, depending on the body color, and is imprinted with the Gretsch and Electromagnetic logos.
Choice of classic colors…
It is available in several organic vintage finishes, including Orange Stain, Imperial Stain, Georgia Green, Aspen Green, and Dark Cherry Metallic. All feature aged white binding with multi-ply purfling on the body, neck, and f-hole.
A great pickup…
Gretsch is well-known for making guitar pickups that are underwound. In other words, there are fewer turns of wire around the magnets, producing a weaker magnetic field. Underwound pickups produce a lower output but have a unique tonal character.
Currently, Gretsch produces five pickup models. From the lowest to the highest output, they are the HiLo’Tron, Dynasonic, Filter’Tron, Full’Tron, and the Broad’Tron.
Based on Baldwin-era Filter’Tron pickups…
The G5622T is equipped with two “Black Top” Broad’Tron humbucking pickups, the hottest model that Gretsch offers. According to the company, they’re “based on a select vintage set of Baldwin-era Filter’Tron pickups, which provide a knockout punch and phenomenal twang.”
These higher output pickups help reduce feedback, while also producing a fuller, more balanced tone than the slightly brighter HiLo’Tron pickup. Made with ceramic rather than Alnico magnets, both coils have individual, adjustable pole pieces. They’re mounted with wide silver bezels.
Adjust to perfection…
A three-position pickup selector switch is mounted on the upper body above the neck pickup. Below the neck pickup is the master volume control. Unlike their premium Player Series guitars, the Electromatic does not include a treble bleed capacitor.
Around the lower f-hole, individual volume controls for the neck and bridge pickups make it easy to balance them, plus there is a master tone control.
How does it play?
The G5662T has a set neck with a sculpted body joint that makes playing the highest frets quite comfortable. Crafted from maple, it has a gloss finish and aged white binding. A “thin U” neck shape and a relatively short scale length of 24.6 inches (625 mm) favors fast playing.
The fingerboard is crafted from Indian laurel and has a 12-inch radius. This wood is about the same weight and color, and 10 percent softer than traditional Brazilian rosewood, which is now a highly-protected species.
The 22 medium jumbo frets include Pearloid Neo-Classic thumbnail position inlays along the upper side, so the fingerboard is smooth. The guitar comes from the factory strung with Fender NPS (nickel-plated steel) regular gauge (.010” – .046”) strings.
The G5622T uses an anchored Gretsch Adjusto-Matic bridge. This nickel-plated design has thumbscrews to easily and accurately adjust the overall height on either side, and individually adjustable saddles to ensure perfect intonation.
Because the bridge is anchored, you don’t have to worry about setting it up properly every time you change strings, as you would with a floating bridge. When used with a Bigsby vibrato, the bridge rocks slightly as the strings move, reducing friction and increasing tuning stability.
It’s not a Gretsch without a Bigsby…
Of course, this guitar includes the iconic Bigsby B70 vibrato tailpiece for smooth pitch-bending without loss of tuning. At the other end of the strings is a Graph Tech NuBone artificial bone nut. As hard as real bone, it effectively transmits string vibration to the neck and body, increasing sustain.
The nut grooves can be polished more smoothly than real bone or softer plastic, so the strings won’t stick as they slide back and forth when using the Bigsby.
You can tune a guitar, but you can’t Tuna fish…
According to Gretsch, the tuning machines are “die-cast sealed.” They’re unmarked, so one assumes they’re made in China, possibly by a company that makes tuners for many well-known brands. In any case, the quality is certainly high enough for accurate, stable tuning, though upgrading them to locking tuners is always an option.
Nickel-plated tone and volume control knobs feature Gretsch’s well-known G-Arrow design. The strap buttons are knurled, and also nickel plated.
The G5622T does not include a case. A hard shell case (G6298) can be ordered separately.
Hopefully, your Electromatic will provide years, even decades of pleasure, requiring only periodic routine maintenance. But should anything go wrong, Gretsch warrants its instruments to be free from material and workmanship defects for as long as the original purchaser owns it.
Electronic parts, including pickups, switches, jacks and controls, tuning machines, and other hardware, pickguards, plated surfaces, and cases are protected for one year.
How Does it Sound?
In a nutshell, it sounds like a Gretsch! Its unique combination of Broad’Tron pickups with individual volume controls lets you tweak and balance the tone to your liking.
The pickups have enough midrange response to be warm but never brittle, but with plenty of high end to cut through a mix. And the hollow cavities on either side of the center block add a special resonance that subtly colors the overall timbre.
Gretsch G5622T Review Pros and Cons
- Sounds like a Gretsch, but has its own personality.
- Looks like a Gretsch – enough said!
- Superb pickups.
- Nice and very playable neck.
- Good value for the money.
- Although a double-cut, it’s not the best option for lead work up the neck.
If so, check out our reviews of the Best Hallow Semi Hollow Guitars you can buy.
However, if you’re also interested in some of the other great semi-hollow guitar builders, check out our reviews of the Epiphone Limited Edition ES 335 Pro, the Ibanez AM93AYS Artcore Expressionist, our Oscar Schmidt OE30CH review, the Ibanez AS73 Artcore Semi Hollow, and the Ibanez AG75BS.
Gretsch G5622T Review – Final Thoughts
The G5622T Electromatic delivers the traditional Gretsch look, feel and sound made famous by so many rock and country greats, but without breaking your budget.[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5wPFuHnB4k[/embed]
As with any new guitar, especially from overseas, it’s always a good idea to take it to your trusted guitar tech to make sure it’s set up correctly, and that the nut is properly filed and the frets cleanly dressed. These are beautiful instruments, easily worth their cost.