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Last Updated on March 1, 2024 by Teemu Suomala

Displays Tyler Connaghan - guitar player and writer

Author: Tyler Connaghan

Tyler Connaghan is a guitarist, singer, producer, composer & engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Tyler has been playing the guitar since 2007. In between writing for guitar publications, he produces music for film and television. His favorite axe is his custom Pelham Blue Fender Stratocaster.

Expertise: music industry, producing, acoustic & electric guitars, songwriting

Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies, Music Industry

displays Edward Bond and Gibson Guitar

Editor: Edward Bond

Edward has been playing the guitar since 2002. So Edward has over 20 years of experience as a guitarist, has authored 15 guitar books, has written for renowned music blogs, and spent a decade teaching music. He began merging his passion for writing and music in 2020 and has written for big guitar websites such as Guitar Head Publishing and KillerGuitarRigs.com.

Originally from Seattle, Edward moved to Norway in 2021 for a master’s in music. He’s studied at the Jazz Institute Berlin and Conservatorium van Amsterdam, and currently resides in Trondheim. His education includes a European Jazz Master’s, a diploma in Film and Game Scoring from Sofia, and a Bachelor’s in Jazz from University of Oregon.

Edward has played in numerous bands and currently, Edward works on his own project Starship Infinity


image showing our best gretsch acoustic guitar - the G5022CWFE Falcon Rancher

Best Overall – Gretsch G5022CWFE Rancher Falcon Acoustic/Electric

Reviewer: Tyler Connaghan

Sound
Playability
Overall Quality
Value For Money
Versatility

Summary

Pros:
Beautiful Finish: With the white-gold or black-gold finishes and the one-of-a-kind headstock, it’s one of the most uniquely beautiful acoustic guitars.
Solid Action: It plays like an electric guitar right out of the box, perfect for hours of playing without fatigue.
Built-In Electronics: If you’re looking to play live, being able to plug in and take advantage of amplified sound is a huge advantage.

Cons:
Large Size: The jumbo size can feel large in some hands and may be uncomfortable for beginners.

Who is this guitar for?
This is a phenomenal guitar for anyone who wants a high-quality, all-rounder.

4.6

How Gretsch G5022CWFE Falcon Rancher sounds:

Gretsch G5022CWFE Rancher White Falcon Demo

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The Next Best:

Best Premium
Gretsch G5034TFT Rancher Dreadnought
with Bigsby

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros:

  • Comfortable Playability: Plays just like an electric guitar. Super smooth.
  • Gorgeous Look: One of the best-looking acoustic guitars I’ve ever seen.
  • Very Versatile: From the Bigsby vibrato tailpiece to the Fideli’Tron pickup, there are plenty of little goodies to play with.

Cons:

  • Expensive: It might be hard to pull the trigger based on the price alone.

Who is this guitar for?

If you play blues, folk, or country, and you’re looking for an ultra-high-end acoustic guitar, the G5034TFT is one of the best acoustics in the Gretsch lineup.

 

Best For Blues
Gretsch G5021E
Rancher Penguin
Parlor Acoustic/Electric

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros:

  • Vintage Aesthetic: The parlor style has always been super cool. Top it off with the gold binding and high-quality finishes, and you have a gorgeous-looking instrument.
  • Warmth: Of course, the small size suits that warm, bluesy tone well.
  • Fishman Electronics: If you need to plug in, you get high-end Fishman electronics to get the job done.

Cons:

  • Lacking in Projection: With a much smaller body size, you don’t get much volume out of the guitar compared to others in the lineup.

Who is this guitar for?

It’s one of the best blues acoustic guitars for those looking to capture that old-school Delta or slide sound, as well as smaller players who like the idea of having a lighter and more comfortable guitar at their disposal.

Best 12-String
Gretsch G5022CWFE-12
Rancher Falcon
Acoustic/Electric

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros:

  • Unique 12-String Sound: It’s hard to beat the lush, overtone-rich sound of a 12-string guitar, and Gretsch nailed it with this iteration of their classic Rancher Falcon.
  • Distinctive Look: While the white finish may not be for everyone, paired with the gold sparkle binding and Falcon headstock inlay, I can’t deny that it’s a work of art. 
  • Solid Spruce Top: With a built-in tuner and onboard preamp, you get everything you need to play amplified live.

Cons:

  • Niche: The 12-string sound is one-of-a-kind, but it’s certainly not great for use in all styles of music.

Who is this guitar for?

I’d recommend the G5022CWFE-12 Rancher Falcon to anyone looking to add the unique 12-string sound to their arsenal.

Best For BeginnersGretsch G9500
Jim Dandy
24” Flat Top

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros:

  • Super Affordable: As a budget-conscious guitarist or absolute beginner, the Jim Dandy comes at a price that doesn’t hurt.
  • Compact Size: Not only does the small size make it easy to play, but it’s also the perfect travel companion!
  • Vintage Tone: With the faithful 1930s-style build, you get all the best qualities of that vintage tone that many chase after.

Cons:

  • No-Frills Design: You won’t get electronics or a built-in tuner like the other Gretsch guitars on this list, which could be a deal-breaker depending on your needs.

Who is this guitar for?

Whether on a strict budget or just looking to capture that unmistakable vintage Gretsch acoustic guitar sound, the Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top is a solid choice.

Compare the Key Specs

ModelPrice Range ($-$$$$)Body StyleTopBack & SidesNeck MaterialNeck ShapeFretboardNut MaterialNut WidthElectronicsSaddleScale LengthOur Rating
Best Overall – Gretsch G5022CWFE Falcon Rancher$$$Jumbo Single CutawaySolid SpruceLaminated MapleMahoganyStandard U21, Vintage Style frets laurel fingerboard with 12″ radiusSynthetic Bone1.675″Fishman Sonicore and Isys+ PreampSynthetic Bone25″4.6
Best Premium – Gretsch G5034TFT Rancher Dreadnought with Bigsby$$$$DreadnoughtLaminated MapleLaminated Mahogany2-piece MahoganyC16, Vintage frets Laurel fingerboardSynthetic bone1.6875″Fideli’Tron Humbucking PickupsBigsby B70G vibrato tailpiece25″4.4
Best For Blues – Gretsch G5021E Rancher Penguin Parlor Acoustic/Electric$$Rancher Penguin ParlorSolid SpruceLaminated MapleMahoganyStandard U20 frets rosewood fingerboard with 12″ radiusSynthetic Bone1.673″Fishman Presys II pickup/preamp System with TunerSynthetic Bone25″4.4
Best 12-String – Gretsch G5022CWFE-12 Rancher Falcon Acoustic/Electric$$$Jumbo Single CutawaySolid SpruceLaminated MapleMapleStandard U21, Vintage Style frets Laurel fingerboardSynthetic Bone1.875”Fishman Isys+ Preamp with Sonicore Undersaddle PickupSynthetic Bone25″4.5
Best For Beginners – Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy 24” Flat Top$Jim DandyBasswoodBasswoodNatoC18 frets walnut fingerboard with 12″ radiusSynthetic Bone1.6875″NoCompensated24″3.9

Compare The Tonewoods:

Graphic compares acoustic guitar tonewoods

Top: Solid Spruce

Back & Sides: Laminated Maple

Neck: Mahogany

Fretboard: Laurel

The fretboard and neck don’t affect the tone much.

Top: Laminated Maple

Back & Sides: Laminated Mahogany

Neck: 2-piece Mahogany

Fretboard: Laurel

Top: Solid spruce

Back & Sides: Laminated Maple

Neck: Mahogany

Fretboard: Rosewood

Top: Solid Spruce

Back & Sides: Laminated Maple

Neck: Maple

Fretboard: Laurel

Top: Basswood

Back & Sides: Basswood

Neck: Nato

Fretboard: Walnut

For more cool info about tonewoods, check this acoustic guitar tonewoods article.


From blues to rock and roll, Gretsch guitars have defined a unique place in the world of six strings. However, outside the iconic Country Gentleman and White Falcon hollowbodies most people associate with Gretsch, they also make some of the coolest acoustic guitars on the market.

With so little information surrounding Gretsch acoustics out there, I figured I’d take a swing at it, having explored the eccentric Gretsch acoustic guitar lineup for so many years. I will give you my thoughts so you can decide whether or not one of these sophisticated-looking axes is suitable for your playing and recording needs.


Our Reviews of The Top 5

Keep These 3 Key Things In Mind When Choosing a Gretsch:

One of the first things you must consider when buying an acoustic guitar is how much you’re willing to spend. As a beginner, you might not want to throw down several hundred dollars on a guitar that you might not stick to playing.

From six-string parlor guitars to 12-string jumbo cutaways, Gretsch makes a wide range of acoustic guitars. Figuring out your favorite design and body shape is essential.

When it comes to acoustic guitars, tonewoods can significantly impact the overall sound. Make sure you research to find the right wood that matches your music preferences.

How Did We Choose These Guitars?

With such a diverse lineup of acoustic guitars, making a top-five list of Gretsch acoustic guitars was no walk in the park. 

There were a few things I considered above all else when curating this list:

  • Number one, I wanted to consider Gretsch’s timelessness. Gretsch has plenty of timeless features, from Bigsby bridges to Falcon-style headstocks, and if you really want to take hold of that classic Gretsch aesthetic, then you want these features in your guitar.
  • Next, I considered tone. I tried to diversify this list to offer options for all players, from beginners to expert blues finger pickers.

Lastly, I considered my own personal preferences, from style to playability. Though my tastes are subjective, they’re based on years of playing and experience with numerous guitars.


Best Overall – Gretsch G5022CWFE Falcon Rancher

image of Gretsch G5022CWFE Rancher Falcon Jumbo Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar finished in White
Gretsch G5022CWFE Rancher Falcon Jumbo Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar – White

Specs

Body StyleJumbo Single Cutaway
TopSolid Spruce
Back & SidesLaminated Maple
Neck MaterialMahogany
Neck ShapeStandard U
Fretboard21, Vintage Style frets laurel fingerboard with 12″ radius
Nut MaterialSynthetic Bone
Nut Width1.675″
ElectronicsFishman Sonicore and Isys+ Preamp
SaddleSynthetic Bone
Scale-Length25″

There are far too many acoustic guitars that look just like one another these days. If you’re thinking of going left field and getting an eye-popping masterpiece of an acoustic in beautiful black-gold or white-gold, then the G5022CWFE Rancher Falcon should be on your radar

You’ll get that full-bodied jumbo sound, all in classic Gretsch fashion, reminiscent of the hollowbody or semi-acoustic sounds you’re likely used to hearing. Of course, the onboard electronics make this guitar a versatile axe, perfect for amplifying the already killer tone in live situations. 

The body style is a jumbo cutaway, so you’ll have to be okay with the sheer size of it, which may be a bit overwhelming as a beginner. However, in terms of projection, it’s one of the fullest-sounding acoustics in the lineup. Much of this comes from the rich mahogany neck, warm 21-fret laurel fingerboard, and maple sides. 
As the cherry on top, you get deluxe tuners, gold-plated hardware, and a sparkling headstock with the classic winged Gretsch logo. For a guitar that is just over $600, it’s a true work of art.

How this guitar sounds:

Gretsch G5022CWFE Rancher White Falcon Demo

Summary

ProsCons
Beautiful Finish: With the white-gold or black-gold finishes and the one-of-a-kind headstock, it’s one of the most uniquely beautiful acoustic guitars.Large Size: The jumbo size can feel large in some hands and may be uncomfortable for beginners.
Solid Action: It plays like an electric guitar right out of the box, perfect for hours of playing without fatigue. 
Built-In Electronics: If you’re looking to play live, being able to plug in and take advantage of amplified sound is a huge advantage.

What others are saying:

“Absolutely Beautiful sounding guitar the action is like an electric can pick it setup Perfect out of the box I waited to get this thing for a long time finally decided to get it wish I had gotten it sooner think I will get the Gretsch 12 string next.”

  • Mike Francis, Sweetwater customer

Who is this guitar for?

This is a phenomenal guitar for anyone who wants a high-quality, all-rounder.

Who is this guitar NOT for?

I wouldn’t recommend this guitar for absolute beginners, primarily because of the size and price.

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Best Premium – Gretsch G5034TFT Rancher Dreadnought with Bigsby

image showing Gretsch G5034TFT Rancher with Fideli'Tron pickups and Bigsby tremolo finished in Savannah Sunset
Gretsch G5034TFT Rancher with Fideli’Tron pickups – Savannah Sunset

Specs

Body StyleDreadnought
TopLaminated Maple
Back & SidesLaminated Mahogany
Neck Material2-piece Mahogany
Neck ShapeC
Fretboard16, Vintage frets Laurel fingerboard
Nut MaterialSynthetic bone
Nut Width1.6875″
ElectronicsFideli’Tron Humbucking Pickups
SaddleBigsby B70G vibrato tailpiec
Scale-Length25″

You’ve likely never feasted your eyes on a guitar quite like the Gretsch G5034TFT Rancher, as it’s a true one-of-a-kind. This acoustic-electric has a classic dreadnought body style and a spankin’ Fideli’Tron humbucking pickup for a uniquely sweet and sultry tone. 

image showing Fideli'Tron pickups as fitted to the Gretsch G5034TFT Rancher
Fideli’Tron pickups

What’s cool about this particular pickup is that you’ll often only find it on hot rod-style electric guitars. You can get a surprising tonal range from dirty, aggressive tones to sweeter, cleaner tones at lower volumes. I’ve seen a few people record with these and utilize a combo of the pickup direct-in and the soundhole mic’d, which delivers an unreal tone when blended together. 

Beyond that, you get the classic Bigsby B70G vibrato tailpiece, perfect if you want more expressiveness in your playing. 

Of course, it’s hard to ignore the fact that one of the major draws of this guitar is simply the way it looks. It’s a head-turner if there ever was one. You get the same classic vibe from Gretsch electric guitars and the iconic triangle soundhole from the early 50s rancher guitars. 
It’s the most premium guitar in the acoustic range and perfect for anyone who wants top-of-the-line Gretsch acoustic.

How this guitar sounds:

GRETSCH 5034TFT RANCHER WITH BIGSBY REVIEW – IS IT A TOY OR A SERIOUS GUITAR?!!

Summary

ProsCons
Comfortable Playability: Plays just like an electric guitar. Super smooth.Expensive: It might be hard to pull the trigger based on the price alone.
Gorgeous Look: One of the best-looking acoustic guitars I’ve ever seen.
Very Versatile: From the Bigsby vibrato tailpiece to the Fideli’Tron pickup, there are plenty of little goodies to play with.

What others are saying:

“Once you have honed in to its nuances you will have a hard time putting it down. For me, it does everything beyond well. What a rig! You won’t regret owning one. I play this thing with a perpetual cat grin on my face, and you can too. Now go out and buy one of these beauties. Enuf said you know the rollcall.”

  • Ryan Szoletsz, Sweetwater customer

Who is this guitar for?

If you play blues, folk, or country, and you’re looking for an ultra-high-end acoustic guitar, the G5034TFT is one of the best acoustics in the Gretsch lineup.

Who is this guitar NOT for?

I wouldn’t recommend this guitar for beginners, as it’s pretty expensive and has many features you likely wouldn’t find yourself utilizing anyway.

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Best For BluesGretsch G5021E Rancher Penguin Parlor Acoustic/Electric

image showing Gretsch G5021E Rancher Penguin Parlor Acoustic-electric Guitar  finished in Mint Metallic
Gretsch G5021E Rancher Penguin Parlor Acoustic-electric Guitar – Mint Metallic

Specs

Body StyleRancher Penguin Parlor
TopSolid Spruce
Back & SidesLaminated Maple
Neck MaterialMahogany
Neck ShapeStandard U
Fretboard20 frets rosewood fingerboard with 12″ radius
Nut MaterialSynthetic Bone
Nut Width1.673″
ElectronicsFishman Presys II pickup/preamp System with Tuner
SaddleSynthetic Bone
Scale-Length25″

The Rancher Penguin Parlor Acoustic/Electric oozes vintage Gretsch style, and it has a surprisingly resonant sound for a guitar of its small stature. It comes complete with the penguin pickguard and luxurious gold sparkle binding, harkening back to the old-school parlors of the 50s. 

Played without the electronics, you get a warm, intimate sound, perfect for old-school fingerpicking reminiscent of the Delta blues. Of course, if you need to plug in for a live situation or expand your tonal palette when recording, you can take advantage of the high-quality Fishman Presys III pickup/preamp system.

This pickup system modernizes an otherwise vintage guitar and is one of the cleanest and clearest on the market, allowing the natural sound of the spruce top and maple back and sides to shine through.With the look alone, it’s one of my favorite parlors I’ve seen in recent years, and the fact that it sounds fantastic is the icing on the cake. Overall, in my opinion, it’s the best Gretsch acoustic guitar for blues.

How this guitar sounds:

Gretsch Rancher Penguin Parlor Acoustic-Electric Full Review & Demo

Summary

ProsCons
Vintage Aesthetic: The parlor style has always been super cool. Top it off with the gold binding and high-quality finishes, and you have a gorgeous-looking instrument.Lacking in Projection: With a much smaller body size, you don’t get much volume out of the guitar compared to others in the lineup.
Warmth: Of course, the small size suits that warm, bluesy tone well.
Fishman Electronics: If you need to plug in, you get high-end Fishman electronics to get the job done.

What others are saying:

“The guitar looks great, plays well and has a well balanced sound. The electronics are decent for this price category. It’s not as full or loud as a larger guitar but I like it for casual playing & recording at home. I chose the black model but the other color options are nice.”

  • Stephen Potter, Sweetwater customer

Who is this guitar for?

It’s one of the best blues acoustic guitars for those looking to capture that old-school Delta or slide sound, as well as smaller players who like the idea of having a lighter and more comfortable guitar at their disposal.

Who is this guitar NOT for?

With a super niche sound and build, it’s not the most versatile on the market. Anyone seeking out an all-rounder might look elsewhere.

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Best 12-StringGretsch G5022CWFE-12 Rancher Falcon Acoustic/Electric

image showing Gretsch G5022CWFE-12 Rancher Falcon Jumbo finished in White
Gretsch G5022CWFE-12 Rancher Falcon Jumbo – White

Specs

Body StyleJumbo Cutaway
TopSolid Spruce
Back & SidesLaminated Maple
Neck MaterialMaple
Neck ShapeStandard U
Fretboard21, Vintage Style frets Laurel fingerboard
Nut MaterialSynthetic Bone
Nut Width1.875”
ElectronicsFishman Isys+ Preamp with Sonicore Undersaddle Pickup
SaddleSynthetic Bone
Scale-Length25″

If there’s one thing every guitarist should have in their arsenal, it’s a 12-string. You get a lush, chorus-like effect with doubled strings, perfect for layering in recordings or getting a fuller-bodied sound when playing live. 

It’s nearly impossible to replicate the harmonic overtones generated by a 12-string with any other instrument, and if you want to obtain that sound with all the classic stylings of Gretsch, look no further than the G5022CWFE-12 Rancher Falcon.

This acoustic/electric guitar delivers all of the outstanding qualities you’d expect from a classic Rancher, all with the lavish sound of 12 strings. You’ll find sparkling gilded appointments up and down the neck and body and onboard Fishman electronics to amplify in live setups. 

The body is a standard jumbo cutaway, finished in a glossy white. I honestly wish they had other colors to choose from here, as white has always felt a bit flashy for my taste. But, with that said, look at how wild that headstock looks. It’s a work of art, no doubt.

image showing the Headstock of a Gretsch G5022CWFE-12 Rancher Falcon Jumbo
Headstock of a Gretsch G5022CWFE-12 Rancher Falcon Jumbo

How this guitar sounds:

Gretsch 12-string Rancher Falcon demo

Summary

ProsCons
Unique 12-String Sound: It’s hard to beat the lush, overtone-rich sound of a 12-string guitar, and Gretsch nailed it with this iteration of their classic Rancher Falcon.Niche: The 12-string sound is one-of-a-kind, but it’s certainly not great for use in all styles of music.
Distinctive Look: While the white finish may not be for everyone, paired with the gold sparkle binding and Falcon headstock inlay, I can’t deny that it’s a work of art.
Solid Spruce Top: With a built-in tuner and onboard preamp, you get everything you need to play amplified live.

What others are saying:

“As always this company went beyond my expectations. This guitar is the epitome of my collection. Superb tone and projection, not to mention it was in tune straight out of the box!!!”

  • Michael Platek, Sweetwater customer

Who is this guitar for?

I’d recommend the G5022CWFE-12 Rancher Falcon to anyone looking to add the unique 12-string sound to their arsenal.

Who is this guitar NOT for?

With a niche tone, I would not recommend this to beginners looking to get their first guitar or intermediate/expert players looking for a versatile instrument.

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Best For BeginnersGretsch G9500 Jim Dandy 24” Flat Top

image showing Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top finished in Frontier Stain
Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top – Frontier Stain

Specs

Body StyleJim Dandy
TopBasswood
Back & SidesBasswood
Neck MaterialNato
Neck ShapeC
Fretboard18 frets walnut fingerboard with 12″ radius
Nut MaterialSynthetic Bone
Nut Width1.6875″
ElectronicsNo
SaddleCompensated
Scale-Length24″

As a beginner player, your best bet is to look for a cheap, comfortable guitar. That way, you can develop your chops without a huge financial commitment while still enjoying the sound of something that inspires you.

Enter the Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy 24” Flat Top, the top Gretsch acoustic for beginners. This Gretsch ¾ acoustic guitar is reminiscent of the Gretsch Rex parlors that were popular in the 1930s and 40s and has all the characteristics of a killer acoustic guitar. 

With a comfortable C-shape nato neck, a walnut fingerboard that plays like butter, and a compensated synthetic bone saddle that will keep your guitar intonated along the length of a neck, you have everything you need for an enjoyable playing experience, especially if you’re in the market for a guitar suited for small hands.

Wrap that all up in a package under $200; to me, the Gretsch Jim Dandy is a steal.

How this guitar sounds:

Gretsch Roots Collection G9500 Jim Dandy Acoustics | Gretsch Presents | Gretsch Guitars

Summary

ProsCons
Super Affordable: As a budget-conscious guitarist or absolute beginner, the Jim Dandy comes at a price that doesn’t hurt.No-Frills Design: You won’t get electronics or a built-in tuner like the other Gretsch guitars on this list, which could be a deal-breaker depending on your needs.
Compact Size: Not only does the small size make it easy to play, but it’s also the perfect travel companion!
Vintage Tone: With the faithful 1930s-style build, you get all the best qualities of that vintage tone that many chase after.

What others are saying:

“Small guitar, BIG sound! Plenty loud on its own, but easy to install a soundhole pickup in ! (I use it to write at home, as well as to take to open mic ). The fit and finish are impeccable. The aesthetic of this thing is unreal! So “vintage cool” it hurts! The playability , straight out of the box, was perfect.”

  • Eric, Sweetwater customer

Who is this guitar for?

Whether on a strict budget or just looking to capture that unmistakable vintage Gretsch acoustic guitar sound, the Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top is a solid choice.

Who is this guitar NOT for?

I wouldn’t recommend this cheap Gretsch acoustic guitar to anyone looking for a tonally versatile instrument.

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Verdict

When it comes to overall versatility, price, and tone, I’d recommend the Gretsch G5022CWFE Rancher Falcon Acoustic/Electric. It has all the classic stylings of a Gretsch acoustic with modern electronics, giving you everything you need for a well-rounded playing experience.


Runner-Ups That Just Missed The Top 5


Gretsch Acoustic Guitars: About The Brand and Brief History

In 1883, a young German immigrant New Yorker named Friedrich Gretsch founded a music shop in Brooklyn, where he sold drums and tambourines. After Friedrich passed away and his son Fred took over the business, the company began manufacturing guitars. 

Some of the first models were flat tops aimed at Western country artists and acoustic archtops for jazz musicians. The company also developed Rex guitars, which were said to be assembled by the Harmony and Kay manufacturers and sold by Gretsch in the company catalogs. These guitars would become the foundation for the popular parlor-style acoustics. 

image showing Friedrich Gretsch
Friedrich Gretsch (courtesy of Gretsch Guitars)

By the 1950s, the now-famous Rancher-style guitar came about, instantly grabbing the attention of guitarists in the country scene thanks to its highly distinctive triangular sound hole. 

After a buyout from Baldwin Piano in the 60s, which sent the Gretsch brand down a dark path, to a second buyout from Fred Gretsch, Friedrich’s great-grandson, who handed the manufacturing and distribution to Fender in 2002, the brand has come a long way in the past half-century.

To this day, Gretsch offers much of what was seen back then, though updated with better construction methods and integrated electronics.


Buyer’s Guide

While our acoustic guitar buying guide provides an overarching spread of what to look for when buying an acoustic guitar, our Gretsch guitar review guide will take you through everything you need to know when looking specifically for a Gretsch model.

The Gretsch Acoustic Guitar Range Explained

With many renowned acoustic guitar models in the Gretsch lineup, the best way to find the right one is to start by breaking down the different models in the range:

  • Gretsch Rancher Series – By far the best-known Gretsch acoustic line, the Rancher series has the iconic triangular soundhole and a cool Western look. If you’re in the market for a full-sounding acoustic that looks and plays like a dream, look no further.
  • Gretsch Roots Series – Gretsch has played a major role in American music history, and this lineup of vintage and parlor-style acoustics showcases the vibe of early blues and folk music.
  • Gretsch Acoustic Electric Guitar line – Not all Gretsch acoustic guitars have built-in preamps and electronics, but those that do offer a uniqueness all their own.

How to Choose The Right Gretsch Acoustic Guitar For You?

Gretsch Acoustic Body Sizes, Shapes, and Styles

The first thing you’ll probably notice when you look at the Gretsch lineup is the wide range of body styles. Let’s take a look at the most popular types and why you might consider each.

  • Jumbo: These guitars are the largest and loudest in the lineup, perfect for anyone who likes a projected sound. 
  • Dreadnought: Just a step down from Jumbo, we have the nicely balanced dreadnought. It’s a classic acoustic guitar shape that’s great for all playing styles.
  • Parlor: I absolutely love parlor acoustics, as they have an intimate, vintage characteristic that gives you that old roots sound.

It’s also worth noting that Gretsch has a few top-notch resonator guitars in their lineup, though I feel those are in a category all their own.

Gretsch Tonewoods

There are so many wood types that Gretsch uses for its acoustic guitar lineup that it would take an entire article to write about them all. If you’re interested in learning how tonewood impacts the sound of an acoustic, you can check out our in-depth acoustic guitar tonewoods article. 

Otherwise, here are some of the most popular types of wood you can expect to find in the Gretsch range:

Spruce
Displays a spruce tonewood

Not only is Spruce one of the most popular tonewoods in acoustic guitars, but it’s also one of the most tonally versatile. For Gretsch guitars, we see a lot of Sitka spruce.

Mahogany
displays mahogany wood and reveals how it can affect the sound of electric guitar

On the backs and sides of many Gretsch acoustics, you’ll find Mahogany. It’s got a vibrant, woody tone that’s great for vintage styles of music.

Cedar
Displays a cedar tonewood

Though it’s not as popular in newer Gretsch acoustic guitars, many older models have cedar, one of the warmest and mellowest tonewoods around, perfect for fingerstyle playing.

It’s also worth noting that some acoustic guitars use solid wood tops, while others use laminate tops. You can check out our laminate vs. solid wood acoustic guitar article to better understand why you might choose one over the other.

Gretsch Neck Profiles

The neck of a guitar can significantly impact its playability, and some people swear by particular necks for certain playing styles. Let’s check out some of the most popular neck profiles:

  • C-Shape: Whether you go for the standard C profile or the slim C profile, you’ll get a far more streamlined playing experience. I’d recommend the slim C profile for a guitarist with small hands.
  • U-Shape: U-shape neck profiles feel a bit like baseball bats to me. They’re thick, chunky, and full, great for heavier rhythm playing.
  • V-Shape: There are a few Gretsch acoustics with V-shaped profiles out there, which come from vintage models. Whether or not a V-neck is suitable for you depends on preference, so I’d recommend testing one out to get a feel for it.

Gretsch Electronics

The electronics found in Gretsch acoustic guitars span far and wide, from Fideli’Tron pickups to Fishman electronics.

However, no matter what, if you decide to go the acoustic-electric route, you won’t have to worry about sub-par electronics. Fishman makes some of the industry’s top pickup systems and preamps, many of which come with built-in tuners. On the other hand, the Fideli’Tron or Deltoluxe Soundhole Gretsch pickups offer more stylized tones.

Check out the different types of acoustic guitar pickups in our recent guide!

Pricing

Unless you have an unlimited budget, you must consider how much you can justifiably spend on an acoustic guitar. Luckily, there aren’t many new Gretsch acoustics that are outrageously expensive. The most expensive one on this list is just under $1,000.

If you’re an experienced player or a long-time professional musician, spending more than a few hundred dollars on a guitar might not sound unusual. However, if you’re starting out, you might want to keep your budget tight in the slight case that playing doesn’t become an integral part of your life.

How to Test

Of course, you’ll never know if an acoustic guitar works for you until you test it out. The question is, how do we properly test out an acoustic guitar? Are there certain things to look or listen for? 

First, you want to assess your initial reaction when you pick a guitar up. How does it feel in your hands? Is it comfortable to play? Does it inspire you?

You can always adjust the action and shave down the nut to make adjustments, but general feel is crucial. 

Then, play some chords and riffs and listen for the natural tone. Is it bright or warm? How’s the sustain? Does it project well? 

Lastly, if there are electronics onboard, plug it in and test it out to see what it sounds like when run through an amplifier.


FAQs

Are Gretsch Acoustic Guitars Good?

With high build quality and some of the most interesting-looking aesthetics on the market, I’d say Gretsch acoustic guitars are some of the coolest guitars out there. 

Where are Gretsch Acoustic Guitars Made?

While some high-end Gretsch guitars are manufactured in the United States, most low- and mid-range models are made in China and Indonesia.

Are Gretsch Acoustic Guitars Good for Beginners?

I’d highly recommend the Jim Dandy Gretsch acoustics to beginners who want a Gretsch guitar.

What Famous Guitarists Use Gretsch Acoustics?

Some of the most famous musicians that have wielded Gretsch acoustic guitars include:

  • Paul Simon
  • John Lennon
  • Bono
  • Billy Duffy
  • Nels Cline

Did The Beatles Use Gretsch?

The Beatles were well-known for their use of Gretsch guitars throughout their career. George Harrison famously played a Country Gentleman and Duo Jet, while Lennon and McCartney had Rancher acoustics.

Are Gretsch Acoustic Guitars Cheap or Expensive?

The Gretsch acoustic guitar price range runs from just over $100 to around $1,000. On the low end, we have the Jim Dandy, which is a great acoustic guitar for the money.

What Strings Come On Gretsch Acoustic Guitars?

Most Gretsch acoustic guitars come with .010-gauge nickel-plated strings, though it depends on the particular model.

Gretsch vs. Gibson: Which is Better?

Gretsch and Gibson are incredibly well-respected acoustic guitar brands, each with unique tonal characteristics and body styles. The choice between the two is entirely preferential.

Which is Better: Gretsch or Epiphone?

While both guitar brands are excellent in their own right, Gretsch guitars typically come out on top, as Epiphone is more of a budget-friendly guitar brand that takes from Gibson. However, both of them have some of the best acoustic guitars under $500 you could find.


Conclusion

There you have it, our Gretsch acoustic guitar reviews and buying guide!

While I’ve been a major fan of Taylor and Martin acoustic guitars for quite some time, there’s nothing like playing a Gretsch acoustic. It takes you back in time, blending the sounds and aesthetics of the past with the construction and build quality of the present. 

Gretsch acoustic guitars have a style all their own, and if you’re looking for something inspiring to play, look no further! 

Check out our best Gretsch guitars article for some of our favorite electrics!

Tyler Connaghan

Tyler Connaghan is a guitarist, singer, producer, composer & engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Tyler has been playing the guitar since 2007. In between writing for guitar publications, he produces music for film and television. His favorite axe is his custom Pelham Blue Fender Stratocaster. You can connect with Tyler on LinkedIn or just email him.
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