Gretsch G2627T Streamliner
GRETSCH HAS BEEN peppering the market with a plethora of models in the past few years. The Streamliner series offers a center-block version for players who desire some acoustic attitude but also want to crank the volume and/or distortion level without uncontrollable feedback. To that end, the G2627T (which is available only through Guitar Center and Musician’s Friend)
PRICE $499-$599 street depending on model/color
NUT WIDTH 1.69”
NECK 24.75” Nato U-shape neck fingerboard with 12” radius
FRETBOARD Laurel, 24.75” scale, 12” radius
FRETS 22 medium-jumbo
BODY Maple body with lightweight spruce center block
BRIDGE Adjusto-matic bridge and Bigsby B70 tailpiece
PICKUPS 3 Gretsch Broad’Tron humbuckers
CONTROLS Two 3-way switches; neck, middle, and bridge volumes; master tone.
KUDOS Easy to play. Wide range of sounds. Bang for the buck
CONCERNS Pickups a little dark sounding sports a semihollow maple body with a spruce center block running the length of the body to reinforce the top while preventing nasty howling.
Finished in gloss black with white binding and gold hardware, the test model presented a classy appearance. Cat’s-eye sound holes and a Bigsby tailpiece conspired to add some vintage Gretsch style to this otherwise modern update.
Constructed of sustainable woods, the nato neck provides a sound similar to mahogany, while the laurel fingerboard could be mistaken for attractive rosewood. A thin U-shape neck profile, medium jumbo frets, a 12-inch radius and a solid setup made for superb playability, easy bending and a comfortable action level, with no buzzing or fretting out.
The G2627T is touted as a rock beast, and to that end it comes equipped with three Broad’Tron humbucking pickups, Gretsch’s most powerful. While not lacking top end, the pickups are noticeably boosted in the bass. This could be a plus in high-gain situations, mitigating fizziness, though it might be less ideal for those seeking a twang machine. That said, their extra output meant I could lower them well away from the strings, which simultaneously increased their clarity and moved them (especially the middle one) away from my picking hand. While still not in Filter’Tron territory, I was able to eke out some rich, rootsy, if slightly dark tones through both a Supro Comet and
a Fender Blues Junior. Once distortion entered the picture, courtesy of a Jetter Jetdrive or added amp volume, the Broad’Trons came into their own, easily driving both pedals and amps, and sounding full, but not muddy.
The pickup switching system and controls took some getting used to, but once mastered they offered an extensive variety of tones. One of the three-way toggles handles the neck and bridge in classic fashion: neck, bridge or both. The second three-way controls the middle pickup, one position shutting it off for standard two-pickup operation; a second for combining with neck, bridge or both; and a third to turn it on while shutting off the other two pickups. This last setting proved to be surprisingly useful, whether for slide or paired with mild distortion for some atmospheric ambience.
The knobs offer individual volumes for each pickup, a master tone and a master volume. The G2627T is wired such that turning any pickup all the way off shuts down all sound, even when combined with another pickup. This allows classic stutter effects, but it also means you have to be careful when making fine adjustments to multi-pickup configurations.
For much of its history, Gretsch meant mostly Chet Atkins fingerstyle, Cliff Gallup rockabilly or Duane Eddy twang. These days, the company is bringing the legacy of Neil Young’s slashing solos and the chunky rock rhythms of Billy Duffy and Malcom Young to the fore. Though the G2627T emphasizes the latter, it may still be worth checking out even if you are into the former.