A lot can happen in 135 years. This past century has seen socio-political quicksand, gargantuan military devastation and dizzying technological revolution like never before. How the human race as a whole, let alone any of our creative endeavors, has survived is a boggling thought. As a testament to that survival, Gretsch have chosen to celebrate the best way they know how. The Players Edition 135th Anniversary G6118T is as glorious an example of refinement, stoicism and timelessness as you would expect from one of the most revered names in guitar history.
On first glance the G6118T is as fancy as guitars come. Its maple body is resplendent with a regal gold top and deep, metallic cherry sides. Toaster-style FilterTron pickups in the neck and bridge tie the façade together in conjunction with the classic G arrow knobs and chrome hardware. A step up from the average, the Bigsby is the string through B6CP variation, which allows the strings to glide over the pinned rocking bar bridge piece in a much more stable and reliable way than usual. Thumbnail inlays grace the rich ebony fretboard mirroring the art-deco detail of the mother of pearl logo. All this is finished off tastefully by the simple yet elegant square plaque in the centre of the headstock, the King’s Seal of any top tier Gretsch build.
’59-style trestle bracing holds the reins of the voicing here, allowing the twin FilterTrons more elbow room to really bring the thing to life. Many people shy away from Electromatics and Duo Jets under the assumption that they are little more than mid-frequency focused, country twangers. To do so is a gross underestimation of what is on offer, particularly in so well appointed a master build as this. The voicing is present, lively and vibrant to say the least. It can handle as much bluesy grit as you can throw at it just as well as it can clean up for a more swinging chime. This thing absolutely adored the Fender reverb tank I sent it swimming in too, all the harmonics and richness turned to spun gold the more and more I played. I particularly enjoyed the neck profile also; it had the familiar deep ‘U’ shape, but was narrower than other builds in the family, making it a leaner, easier version of the chunk we know and love.
I personally can’t think of an adjective more befitting the Gretsch legacy than the word ‘timeless’. For a company that is fast approaching a century and a half in existence it has deftly managed to remain equal measures classy and relevant in a way that few other builders could hope for. Just about every major shift in music history has seen two F-holes and a Bigsby hit the stage; from the big-box era jazz guitars to classic rock and roll and country all the way up to front-runners of modern guitar music. The G6118T Anniversary model, with its tasteful, black tie finish and blissful, singsong resonance, is a tribute to the beauty that players and humans alike have achieved in spite of all of the tumult of the modern era.
Hits and Misses
Blingy yet tasteful and sensuously playable
It’s not mine… yet