Buying an electric guitar, part 1 – Make a plan, make a budget

So, you want to buy an electric guitar? Let help you find the guitar that’s ”the right one” for you.

There are a few things you should think through in advance, before setting out to your local guitar shop.

What guitar do I really want/need?

• The way you feel about a guitar’s looks and design can be an important factor in making a buying decision, and the same goes for the guitar your favourite artist plays. There’s nothing ridiculous in choosing an instrument for its looks, as there’s always a psychological component to how you approach a guitar. If you really dig the way an instrument looks, you will want to play it, and play it more often. This goes the other way, too – if you feel your guitar is ugly, playing it won’t be as much fun.

• Nevertheless, the most important criterion for buying your guitar should be the style of music you plan to use it for. Yes, theoretically you can play any guitar in any style – as Ted Nugent proves by playing loud Rock on an all-hollow archtop (a Jazz guitar) – but if you choose the ”right” instrument for a musical style, it will make things much easier.

Here are some examples of musical genres:

++ Modern Metal: As you’re dealing with large amounts of volume and gain, the best choice would be a solidbody guitar, equipped with humbuckers. Some prefer active pickups, while others like traditional passive designs more. Lead guitarists often go for a model equipped with a locking vibrato system, like a Floyd Rose.

LTD AJ-1 – body angle 1

Halla Custom SG – Floyd Rose

As many bands in this genre use lower than standard tunings, you could consider opting for a seven-string model (which offers an additional lower string), or even go full-out for a baritone electric.

++ Jazz: Most Jazz guitarists like to stay in the traditional sonic space offered by all-hollow archtops or semi-solid ES-335-type guitars. The preferred pickup choices are humbuckers and P-90s.


++ Blues: Blues musicians use a wide variety of different guitars, depending on their personal taste. Here the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your chosen instrument, in order to express your feelings without being hindered by your guitar. Locking vibratos and active pickups are very rarely seen in Blues music.

Tokai ES-138 – body beauty

++ Country: Traditional Country guitarists tend to drift towards guitar models with a lot of chime and bite in their tone. Very often this means Fender-style single coils or a Gretsch guitar. Over the past couple of decades there’s been quite a lot of crossover from Rock into Country music, though, which has lead to more variety in the choice of instruments in this genre.

++ Classic Rock: Traditional 1970s Classic Rock is built upon humbucker-equipped solidbody guitars, which offer enough grit and output for this genre. Think Les Paul, SG or Telecaster Deluxe.

ESP USA Eclipse – body beauty

Tokai SG-75 – body angle

++ If this is going to be your first electric guitar: If you’re a beginner, we would suggest choosing a model that won’t confuse you with a large array of pickup- and switching-options. A non-vibrato bridge would also be a welcome feature, as vibrato bridges are generally harder to set up and keep in tune.




Set yourself a budget and stick to it!

• It is important that you set yourself a budget for your guitar shopping. If you have a good idea of your target price range, you will be able to sift through all the different guitars on offer much more quickly, by leaving out any models that are too expensive (or too cheap). This will make choosing your instrument a bit easier.









Review: Gretsch Streamliner G2420T Hollow Body

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – label

Gretsch Guitars’ brand new Streamliner series offers access to the legendary brand name at a very affordable price point.

At the moment, the new range includes three different guitar models:

The G2622 Streamliner Center Block (also available left handed) is a centre block-equipped version of a Sixties double cutaway Country Gentleman, while the G2655 Streamliner Center Block offers you similar looks in a more compact package. The G2420 Streamliner Hollow Body, for its part, is a full-blown, big-bodied archtop guitar in a similar vein to Gretsch’s legendary 6120.

All three guitars are also available as T-versions with a Bigsby Lightning Series vibrato. The Streamliner Series is handmade in Indonesia.


Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – full front from PS LRG

The Gretsch Streamliner G2420T Hollow Body (street price in Finland approx. 560 €) is a very foxy looking guitar, despite its quite affordable pedigree.

The G2420T can be had in see-though red or gold metallic, while the standard model (equipped with a lyre-style tailpiece) comes in brown sunburst only.

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – back beauty

The G2420T’s full-depth body is made from steam-pressed laminated maple. The top is stiffened by Gretsch’s traditional parallel bracing.

The nato (an Asian wood species somewhat similar to mahogany) neck is glued into the body.

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – headstock

There’s plenty of binding on the Streamliner Hollow Body – in addition to the multiple binding on the body the guitar also sports a bound fretboard and even a bound headstock.

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – tuners

This Gretsch comes equipped with a very decent set of sealed tuning machines.

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – fretboard

The vintage-sized frets have been neatly seated. The G2420T features large rectangular position markers made from pearloid.

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – Bigsby B60

Bigsby’s mid-priced Lightning Series vibratos are produced in the Far East to exacting standards. The Bigsby B60 has been specifically designed for use with large-bodied archtops, such as the Gretsch G2420T.

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – Adjustomatic bridge

This Streamliner’s Adjusto-matic bridge may seem to be held in place simply by string pressure, but there’s more to the bridge than meets the eye. The rosewood base is ”secured”, which means reverse pinned. The bridge posts continue all the way through the rosewood base and into two holes in the guitar’s top, which keeps the whole bridge in the correct place.

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – Broad'Tron pickups

The biggest difference between the Streamliner G2420T and similar models in Gretsch’s Electromatic- and Pro-ranges can be found in the new guitar’s pickups:

Depending on the ”era”, or an artists wishes, a Pro Series Model G6120 will either come with a pair of DeArmond single coils, Gretsch’s own Filter’Tron humbuckers or similar TV Jones pickups. Recent Electromatic G5420’s are now equipped with Gretsch’s new Black Top Filter’Trons, which are licensed Far Eastern copies of the original pickups.

All new Streamliners sport a pair of Broad’Tron pickups. Broad’Trons are full-sized humbuckers designed to offer a tone somewhere in-between the twang and bite of Filter’Trons and the lush warmth of PAF-style ’buckers.

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – controls

The controls on the G2420T are pure Gretsch:

Below the f-hole you will find separate volume knobs for each pickup, as well as a joint master tone control. An additional master volume control is placed next to the cutaway.


Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – body beauty 2

Let me start this section by stressing how well-made this budget-Gretsch really is! The review sample wasn’t a ”review instrument”, breathed on by distributors Fender Scandinavia, instead I took the guitar straight off the wall at a local music shop (DLX Music).

The Gretsch G2420T Streamliner Hollow Body is a very cleanly put together archtop electric, and I genuinely couldn’t find anything to criticise (especially when considering the instruments pocket-friendly price). The very nice fretwork on the Streamliner is a definite plus when it comes to this guitar’s comfortable playability.

Officially Gretsch call this neck profile a ”Thin U”, but I would describe it as a very comfy D shape with a slightly flattened back.

The Bigsby B60 is buttery and doesn’t throw the Hollow Body out of tune too much, if used sensibly (a word of advice: if you’re very sensitive when it comes tuning stability, a Bigsby probably isn’t right for you). Because a Bigsby B6/B60 makes do without the additional roller of other Bigsby models, this vibrato is more sensitive and immediate in use (which is a good thing in my view). You get the all the Bigsby shine and shimmer with less ”work”.

Played acoustically, the Streamliner Hollow Body sounds just like the laminated-body archtop it is – open and dry with a strong focus on mid-range frequencies.

I feel that Gretsch’s plan of taking its new Streamliners closer towards the mainstream really seems to hit the mark. The Broad’Trons may not give you the traditional clucky, chicken picking, bright and sparkly sound of a set of Filter’Trons, but there’s still enough presence and treble left in the new pickups’ tone for a gretsch-y sound.

Thanks to the new pickups’ broader tone the Gretsch G2420T also works well for Jazz, apart from the usual Country and Rock (-abilly) genres. This clip starts with the neck pickup:

The Streamliner Hollow Body also sounds great with a light amount of crunch. There’s a nice balance between the low end and the treble in the G2420T’s sound, coupled with the dry delivery so typical of big box archtops.

You should be aware, though, that high gain settings and/or very high volume levels will result in howling feedback sooner or later. This isn’t really a fault, but rather a normal feature of this type of instrument, and the Streamliner Hollow Body isn’t any more ”problematic” than other guitars of this type.

This sound clip, too, has been recorded with Blackstar HT-1R valve combo:

Here’s the demo track off the Youtube video, whose guitar tracks were recorded using Apple Garageband’s own amp plug-ins. The lead guitar uses the bridge pickup, while the rhythm parts have been recorded using both pickups (left channel) and the neck pickup (right channel), respectively:

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – body beauty 1c


Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – beauty shot

In my opinion the Gretsch Streamliner G2420T Hollow Body is one of the best full-size archtops in this price range – possibly even the best! This is a surprisingly well-made instrument that punches far above its ”weight”.

If you’re looking for the ”genuine Gretsch Sound”, warts-and-all, I would point you to the (much pricier) Electromatic Series and its Filter’Tron pickups.

One of the Streamliner Series’ main objectives, though, is to broaden and widen the appeal of these guitars, and take the Gretsch name closer to the mainstream. I feel Gretsch have succeeded very well in this endeavour!


Gretsch Streamliner G2420T Hollow Body

street price 560 €

Contact: Gretsch Guitars

A very warm ”thank you” to the guys at DLX Music Helsinki for supplying the review guitar!


+ value for money

+ workmanship

+ fretwork

+ secured bridge

+ Bigsby works great

+ sound

Testipenkissä: Gretsch Streamliner G2420T Hollow Body

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – label

Gretsch Guitarsin Streamliner-uutuussarja tuo legendaarisen valmistajan kitaroita uuteen, edullisempaan hintaluokkaan.

Tällä hetkellä uuteen sarjaan kuuluvat kolme mallia:

G2622 Streamliner Center Block (saatavilla myös vasenkätisenä) on keskipalkilla varustettu versio 1960-luvun Country Gentleman -kitarasta, ja G2655 Streamliner Center Block on nykyaikainen malli pienemmällä puoliakustisella rungolla. G2420 Streamliner Hollow Body taas on legendaarisen Gretsch 6120:n edullinen painos, ja juuri sellaisen Kitarablogi sai testiin.

Kaikki kolme mallia on saatavilla myös T-versiona Lightning-sarjan Bigsby-vibratolla varustettuina. Streamliner-sarja rakennetaan käsityönä Indonesiassa.


Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – full front from PS LRG

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T Hollow Body -malli (katuhinta noin 560 €) on edullisesta hinnastaan huolimatta todella komea ilmestys.

G2420:n T-versiota saa punaisena tai kultaisena, kun taas lyyra-muotoisella kieltenpitimellä varustettua perusmallia tarjotaan ruskealla liukuvärityksellä.

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – back beauty

G2420T:n täysikokoinen runko valmistetaan kokonaan muotoon prässätystä vaahteravanerista. Kannen alta löytyy – Gretschin tapaan – kaksi pitkittäissuunnassa kulkevaa rimaa.

Nato-puusta veistetty kaula on liitetty runkoon liimaamalla.

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – headstock

Rungon ja otelaudan lisäksi myös Streamliner Hollow Bodyn tyylikäs viritinlapa on reunalistoitettu.

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – tuners

Uutuus-Gretschin virittimet ovat sulavasti toimivaa nykyaikaista sorttia.

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – fretboard

G2420T:n vintage-tyyliset nauhat on asennettu hyvin siististi soittimen palisanteriotelautaan. Isot suorakulmiot helmiäismuovista toimivat otemerkkeinä.

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – Bigsby B60

Bigsbyn laadukkaat Lightning-sarjan vibratot valmistetaan kauko-idässä. Bigsby B60 on tarkoitettu nimenomaan tällaiseen isokoppaiseen orkesterikitaraan kuin Gretsch G2420T:hen.

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – Adjustomatic bridge

Streamlinerin Adjusto-matic-talla näyttää vapaasti seisovalta, mutta se on ylhäältä päin varmistettu luistamista vastaan. Tallan kahdet kierretangot jatkavat tallan ruusupuujalan läpi, ja nämä ”tapit” sitten istuvat niille tarkoitetuissa pienissä rei’issä kannessa.

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – Broad'Tron pickups

Suurin ero Streamliner G2420T:n ja muiden vastaavien mallien Gretschin Electromatic- ja Pro-sarjojen välillä löytyy mikrofonivarustuksesta:

Pro-sarjan G6120-kitaroissa käytetään – aikakauden tai artistin toiveiden mukaisesti – joko DeArmond-yksikelaisia, Gretschin omia Filter’Tron-humbuckereita tai TV Jonesin vastaavia mikkejä. Electromatic G5420 -malleihin asennetaan nykyään Gretschin uudet Black Top Filter’Tronit, jotka ovat kauko-idässä tehtyjä lisenssikopioita firman alkuperäisistä mikrofoneista.

Kaikissa Streamliner-soittimissa taas käytetään Broad’Tron-nimisiä, täysikokoisia humbuckereita. Broad’Troneille luvataan sellaista soundia, joka on perinteisen Filter’Tron-purevuuden ja -twangin ja PAF-tyylisten humbuckerien täyteläisyyden välimaastossa.

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – controls

G2420T:n kytkentä on ehtaa Gretschiä:

F-aukon läheltä löytyy kummallekin mikrofonille oma volyymisäädin, sekä yhteinen master tone, kun taas soololoven vierestä löytyy vielä erillinen master volume.


Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – body beauty 2

Heti aluksi minun täytyy korostaa kuinka korkealla tasolla tämän testikitaran työnjälki on, eikä tässä ole kyse Fender Scandinavian lähettämästä ”tuunatusta testikitarasta”, vaan soitin on poimittu suoraan DLX Musiikin seinältä mukaan testiin!

Gretsch G2420T Streamliner Hollow Body on erittäin siististi rakennettu orkesterikitara, enkä ole löytänyt mitään mikä olisi pistänyt ikävästi silmään. Testikitaran laadukas nauhatyö saa tältä testaajalta vielä erityisen kiitoksen – kitaran soitettavuus on erinomainen, eikä mikään rämise.

Tämän Gretschin kaulaprofiili on mukava D-muoto aavistuksen verran laakealla selkäpuolella.

Bigsby B60 toimii mukavan jouhevasti ja vire säilyy ns. ”järkevässä” käytössä yllättävän hyvin (huom: Bigsby ei oikein sovi kultakorville). Koska B6/B60-vibratolla (samoin kuin lyhyemmällä B3/B30-mallilla) ei ole muiden Bigsby-mallien lisärulla, toimii tämä vibrato (hyvällä tavalla) herkemmin ja suoremmin. Bigsbyn hohtoa saa näin esiin vähemmällä ”työllä”.

Streamliner Hollow Body -mallin akustinen soundi on hyvä tyyppiesimerkki vanerikoppaisesta orkesterikitarasta – avoin, kuiva ja hieman keskialuevoittoinen.

Gretschin suunnitelma viedä Streamliner-mallit niiden Broad’Tron-mikrofonien avulla hieman lähemmäksi valtavirtaa on – ainakin minun omasta mielestäni – onnistunut varsin hyvin. On totta, ettei uusista mikeistä lähde läheskään niin kirkas, pureva ja naksahteleva soundi kuin perinteisistä Filter’Troneista, mutta Broad’Tron-humbuckereissa on kuitenkin onnistuttu säilyttämään riittävästi ylipäätä Gretsch-vivahteiseen soundiin.

Leveämmän perussoundinsa ansiosta Gretschin G2420T sopii Countryn ja varhaisen Rockin ohella myös todella hyvin Jazziin. Esimerkkipätkä alkaa kaulamikrofonista:

Myös kevyellä säröllä Streamliner Hollow Body kuulostaa mielestäni oikein mainiolta. G2420T:n soundissa bassot ja diskantit ovat hyvässä tasapainossa, ja kitara soi orkesterikitaran tavoin mukavan kuivalla äänellä.

Isoimmilla volyymeillä tällaisen kitaran kanssa alkaa tulla vastaan väistämättä feedback-ongelmia, etenkin särösoundeilla. Mutta tämä ei ole vika, vaan täysakustisen orkesterikitaran ominaisuus, eikä Streamliner Hollow Body ole siinä mielessä ”hankalampi” kuin muut.

Myös tämä pätkä on äänitetty Blackstar HT-1R putkikombolla:

Tässä vielä videon ääniraita, jossa kitararaidat on äänitetty Apple Garagebandin vahvistinplugareilla. Soolokitara käyttää tallamikrofonia, kun taas komppiraidat on soitettu sekä molemmilla mikrofoneilla (vasen kanava) että kaulamikrofonilla (oikea kanava):

Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – body beauty 1c


Gretsch Streamliner G2420T – beauty shot

Minun mielestäni Gretsch Streamliner G2420T Hollow Body on yksi parhaimmista orkesterikitaroista tässä hintaluokassa – ehkä jopa se paras. Tämä on yllättävän laadukas soitin, eikä mikään halpakitara.

Jos se ”aito Gretsch-soundi” on hakusessa, Electromatic-sarjan (huomattavasti kalliimpi) G5420T-malli on Filter’Tron-mikrofoniensa ansiosta varmasti se parempi valinta.

Streamliner-sarjan yksi tarkoitus on kuitenkin tarjota sellaisia Gretschejä, joilla on perinteistä laajempi vetovoima ja modernimpi soundi. Ja tässä aikeessa Gretsch on onnistunut erittäin hyvin!


Gretsch Streamliner G2420T Hollow Body

katuhinta noin 560 €

Lisätiedot: Gretsch Guitars

Iso kiitos DLX Musiikki Helsingille testikitaran lainaamisesta!


+ hinta-laatu-suhde

+ viimeistely

+ nauhatyö

+ varmistettu talla

+ Bigsbyn toiminta

+ soundi

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