There are few sights as drop-dead gorgeous to many guitar players as a Gretsch hollowbody or semi-hollowbody with a tiger-flame top and a gleaming orange stain. But it’s a conflicted image. It screams early rock, and all the pent-up and dangerous frustration of youth gone mad. Then again, it also evokes suits and ties and a family-style evening at the Grand Ole Opry. It’s an image you can associate with the most gentlemanly of country gentleman—Chet Atkins—as well as rockabilly rebels and punk rockers in leather jackets. And, in the case of the Nashville G6620, you get gold hardware that is as eternally classy as Dino Martin, but there’s also a pickguard decorated with a plank and twig that could have been drawn by Jerry Lewis. Classic Gretsch guitars seem to be riddles wrapped in conundrums and then wallpapered with enigmas.
But you want one all the same, and here’s why…
The G6620 Nashville echoes back to a time of discovery and newness and possibilities. And while it sure ain’t the 1950s of Gretsch’s first electric-guitar boom anymore, the modern Nashville offers the ergonomics, tones, and vibe to guide your own quests for new sounds and unique riffs. First off, it’s a lightweight and slim guitar that doesn’t promote fatigue—even during very long gigs, studio sessions, or woodshedding—and every control is positioned for easy manipulation. I love being able to dial in bridge and neck pickup blends with the dedicated Volume knobs, and then control overall level with the Master Volume. I also like doing stutter punctuations by turning the neck-pickup Volume to 0, cranking the bridge-pickup Volume, and then snapping the 3-way selector up and down to get an ack-ack-ack sound while simultaneously using the Master Volume to do volume swells.
The combination of the Filter’Tron pickups and semi-hollow body produces a zingy shimmer with just enough midrange bite to be nasty. It’s a sonic signature that works equally well with a clean amp, an overdriven amp, and all manner of pedals. There’s tons of articulation—though the sound is never overly bright—and the dynamics are marvelous. Things clean up brilliantly when you soften your picking attack and get all gritty and wicked when you dig in. Overall, the Nashville is an excellent staging ground for wherever you wish to go with your sonic character.
Construction is pretty flawless—and it should be, given the Nashville’s price tag. The finish reveals no blemishes or staining mishaps, the frets are nicely polished with smooth ends, the inlays display no filler or other glitches, and the hardware is solid and rattle free. The test model—as with many Gretsches armed with Bigsbys—could have done with a bit more of a setup, as the G string tended to pull consistently sharp or flat. This is a minor thing, and I always bring my hollowbody guitars to a tech for adjustments anyway. I mean, if you’re paying this much money for a guitar, you should want it to be scrupulously tailored to your string gauges, preferred action, and playing style. But even right out of the box, the G6620 felt great performing everything from fast lines to syncopated riffs to complex chords to simpler, “Wild Thing”-like barre chording. Like the sophisticated/brutish dual nature of classic Gretsches, the Nashville can take you everywhere from jazzy melodicism to raining down absolute hellfire.
PRICE $2,799 street
NUT WIDTH 1.6875" Graph Tech Tusq XL
NECK Maple, set
FRETBOARD Ebony, 24.6" scale, 12" radius
FRETS 22 medium jumbo
TUNERS Gotoh Locking
BODY Laminated flame maple with chambered spruce center block
BRIDGE Anchored Adjusto-Matic
PICKUPS Two High Sensitive Filter’Tron
CONTROLS Three Volume (Master, Neck, Bridge), Master Tone, 3-way selector
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario, EXL 110
WEIGHT 7.7 lbs
KUDOS Fun to play. Bounty of tones.
CONCERNS Needed a slight setup.