Review: Gretsch Players Edition Jet BT G6228 and Jet FT G6128T

If you’re looking for something different in a dual-humbucker guitar, these Players Edition Gretsches are definitely worth checking out.
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These modernized versions of the original Jet models Gretsch offered in the late ’50s — which were designed to give Gibson’s Les Paul a run for the money in an alternative, semi-hollow body design — are fine looking guitars with a high-end vibe that befits their price. They feature a chambered mahogany body, a laminated arched maple top and a glued-in mahogany neck with a 24.6-inch-scale rosewood fretboard. The BT is fitted with new Tim Shaw–designed Broad’Tron BT65 humbuckers, while the FT has High Sensitivity Filter’Trons. The control sets on both include independent volume knobs, master tone and volume controls, and a three-way pickup selector.

The guitars on review also differ in hardware. The green BT (also available in black or red) is fitted with an Adjusto-Matic bridge and anchored V stoptail, while the black FT model swings an Adjusto-Matic bridge and a Bigsby B7CP vibrato. The gloss urethane finishes are flawless, and the inlay and binding work are excellent. I dig the BT’s gold pickguard and matching gold bezels on the pickups. The FT has a similar scheme in silver, as well as thumbprint inlays on the fretboard instead of the rectangular mother-of-pear inlays found on the BT.

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The necks have a comfy shape, and with their polished frets and spot-on factory setups they play very well, although for some reason the BT seemed just a bit easier on the fingers than the FT. Perhaps the FT’s Bigsby affects string tension just enough to make a difference, but otherwise, it stayed in tune, even when pushing the bar down as far as it would go, thanks partly to a precisely worked nut and the locking Gotoh tuners. The acoustic sound of these guitars carries good sustain and resonance, and that always bodes well for an instrument’s performance when it’s amped up.

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The BT benefits from the new, Tim Shaw–designed Broad’Tron BT65 humbuckers with Alnico V magnets, which resemble classic Filter’Trons (a humbucking pickup designed by Ray Butts in 1957) but have more output and extended low-end response. Although listed on the company’s website as a bit lower on the definition scale compared to a Filter’Tron, I found them to have plenty of clarity, even with the volume turned down, with an output level that’s about on par with a PAF-style humbucker.

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Tested with a Fender Deluxe Reverb with hand-wired circuitry by George Alessandro, the Players Edition guitars sounded great for rock, blues or country, and could also deliver a cool, jazzy neck-pickup sound with the tone control rolled down bit. In general — and allowing for some differences between the FT’s High Sensitive Filter’Trons, which sounded perhaps a bit less twangy than the BT’s Broad’Trons — the rear-pickup tones on these guitars is fat and crisp with excellent presence, and the dual-pickup position sounded cool for clean or dirty rhythm playing, or whenever a smoother lead tone was needed. Depending on stylistic preferences, I could see where a mix of both pickup types might be a cool option on these guitars, but suffice to say it’s worth trying both models to see which sounds best for the kind of playing you do.

Classic beauties that harken to one of the most exciting periods in electric-guitar history, these new Jets pack a ton of ’50s chic, sound great and are inspiring to play. If you’re looking for something different in a dual-humbucker guitar, these Players Edition Gretsches are definitely worth checking out.

SPECIFICATIONS

Players Edition Jet BT G6228

CONTACT gretschguitars.com
PRICE $2,199 street, hard case included

NUT WIDTH 1.68"
NECK Mahogany, U shape
FRETBOARD Rosewood, 24.6" scale, 12" radius
FRETS 22
TUNERS Gotoh locking nickel-plated
BODY Chambered mahogany (1.85" deep) with arched laminated-maple top
BRIDGE Anchored Adjusto-Matic with anchored V stoptail, nickel plated
PICKUPS Gretsch Broad’Tron BT65 humbuckers
CONTROLS Two volume, no-load master tone, master volume with treble-bleed circuit, 3-way switch
FACTORY STRINGS Fender NPS .010–.046
WEIGHT 7.36 lbs
BUILT Japan

KUDOS Sweet look. Excellent tone and playability
CONCERNS None

Players Edition Jet FT G6128T

CONTACT gretschguitars.com
PRICE $2,299 street, hard case included

NUT WIDTH 1.68"
NECK Mahogany, U shape
FRETBOARD Rosewood, 24.6" scale, 12" radius
FRETS 22
TUNERS Gotoh locking nickel-plated
BODY Chambered mahogany (1.85" deep) with arched laminated-maple top
BRIDGE Anchored Adjusto-Matic with Bigsby B7CP string-through vibrato tailpiece
PICKUPS Gretsch High Sensitive Filter’Trons
CONTROLS Two volume, no-load master tone, master volume with treble-bleed circuit, 3-way switch
FACTORY STRINGS Fender NPS.010–.046
WEIGHT 7.64 lbs
BUILT Japan

KUDOS A hip guitar that plays well and sounds like nothing else with two humbuckers
CONCERNS None

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