Gretsch for Jazz

Discussion in 'Streamliner Gretsch Forum' started by bassman20, Feb 11, 2019.

Which jazz guitarist that used Gretsch is better?

  1. Sal Salvador

  2. Rune Gustaffsen

  3. Other

  1. bassman20

    bassman20 Newbie

    Nov 30, 2018
    I am primarily a jazz guitarist that also plays a tiny bit of blues. I was wondering: there's so much stigma on the internet about Gretschs for jazz, but I want to know if it is actually based on the sound, or if it is just the appearance. Furthermore, if I am going to buy a Streamliner as a jazz box, I am leaning toward the Streamliner g2420t-p90 Limited Edition with Bigsby. Is that a good choice?

    Thanks in advance
    benjwri likes this.
  2. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    I would say get the best guitar you can afford reasonably and if it speaks to you when you play it and try it out then it is the right choice. If you played the G2420t-p90 and loved it then I would say yes it is the right choice, if it is only because of the price but it didn't really do anything for you then I would save a bit and find one you love. I think you can get good Jazz out of any Gretsch. From a Penguin on down. I'm partial to this video and that guitar could just as easily do rock.

    I think it could get the job done but is better at crunch. I would look to the pups as well as the guitar especially if you are looking for a Jazz box. But that is just one opinion out of many and I am sure someone else probably thinks just the opposite of me. But like I said I would be looking for a more filtertron pup and less of the Broadtron.

    I just put Thomastik Jazz wings on mine. Strings can make all the difference in the world.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
    benjwri likes this.
  3. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    I don’t know that there’s a stigma, these days. Bucky Pizzarelli played a Gretsch, so did Freddie Green. I love the sound of a Supertron as a Jazz pickup.
  4. NSM245

    NSM245 Synchromatic

    May 7, 2011
    In a career of well over 40 years as a professional musician, which has involved playing literally thousands of jazz gigs, I've owned and used 11 different guitars; 6 of these were Gretsches. I still have two of them now - a Double Anniversary with Hilotrons and a G5122 with TV Jones Classics. In addition, I've played Gretsches with HS Filtertrons, with Dynasonics and with Supertrons and managed to get a good jazz sound from them all without great difficulty. It is a fact that some jazzers dislike Bigsbys and some of the "bling" that is undeniably part of the Gretsch image but Bigsbys can be removed and there are plenty of Gretches which are not orange or shiny or covered with gadgets. As regards tone and playability though, and quality of construction - Gretsch is, and always has been, my first choice of guitar for playing jazz.

    I can't advise you about Streamliners though, I'm sorry to say - I've never played one - but if I were to acquire one, the first thing I'd do would be to replace the Bigsby with a standard G tailpiece; neither of the two Gretches I still own have retained their Bigsbys, I literally only ever felt the need for one on one tune, on one note, and the improvement in intonation and the reduction in weight more than made up for losing that one note; I managed to find an acceptable way to play that tune anyway using string bending instead of the Bigsby. However - I have no hesitation in saying to you that pretty much any Gretsch is capable of getting a decent tone for jazz, so find one you're comfortable with, and go for it.

    In my experience, the "bad reputation" of Gretsches among jazzers was never very strong and by now, has practically disappeared completely; jazzers in general are pretty pragmatic about their gear, and if something has the sound, they're happy with it. Currently, the most influential of the younger generation of jazz guitarists is Julian Lage - an astonishingly creative player, who currently performs mainly with his own trio; Lage's most recent work has been done on a Gretsch - a Duo Jet, with Dynas and no Bigsby; hopefully, this will raise the profile of the brand in jazz, and remove any lingering doubts that an ever-decreasing number of jazzers have. I wonder if there will be a Gretsch Julian Lage model along some time? Lage is 'the' name among jazzers at the moment, especially younger jazzers and his name currently carries a lot of weight - it would be worth looking into for them.

    Wozob, new6659, j.s.c and 1 other person like this.
  5. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    They make a 2420 sans Bigsby that is considerably cheaper.
    benjwri likes this.
  6. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    I used to own a vintage Gretsch Clipper and it was an impressive jazzbox (as a friend of mine demonstrated me).
    new6659, j.s.c and NSM245 like this.
  7. j.s.c

    j.s.c Country Gent

    Aug 19, 2008
    Woow ! This guy is first sooo GOOD, second he's provocative enough to play jazz with a '50 tele or now... a '50 Duo Jet !!! Woow this is what I would call a provocation to the gods of twang !

    Btw, he has the great jazz sound which was not what we would expected for this 1957-58 duojet ! Surprise surprise !

    Julian Lage Trio Love Hurts.jpg
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
    benjwri, Bertotti and new6659 like this.
  8. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    It's not the instrument that really matters, it's the musician.
    benjwri, Andrew Griffin, Merc and 5 others like this.
  9. Scott Fraser

    Scott Fraser Country Gent

    Jan 14, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Lenny Breau & Ted Greene played jazz on Telecasters. Don't concern yourself with what anybody else thinks, just play the music you love on the guitar which allows you to play it most expressively. Gretsches aren't country guitars, or rockabilly guitars, or anything else genre specific. They're just wonderful instruments which allow guitarists to make the music which flows through them.
    Lindo, Merc, NSM245 and 3 others like this.
  10. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Gretschified

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    Mike Stern has played a jazz Tele for many years, Ed Biegert too.
    Alberta_Slim and new6659 like this.
  11. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    yeah no stigma I'm aware of.
    I played a Jet 6131 in a Trad jazz band for 3 yrs and only got compliments from other Jazz guys, most of whom used Gibson ES-335s and Ibanez hollow bodies.

    Filtertrons are better for Jazz than humbuckers imo :)
    Bertotti likes this.
  12. dlew919

    dlew919 Synchromatic

    Jul 18, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    I’m surprised no one has mentioned Chet Atkins.

    Scotty Anderson also played a Tele. So play what guitar works for you. If it’s your sound, ignore those who claim you’re wrong. They are.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    new6659 likes this.
  13. O Riley

    O Riley Gretschie

    I'll play jazzish stuff on my Falcon anywhere anytime.
    Purist's can do what ever they want.
    If you play well, you sound great.
    Two things I need to work on.
    dlew919 and new6659 like this.
  14. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    Glad you mentioned that. I always thought that Chet had a strong streak of Jazz in his playing, but for some reason, it’s rarely acknowledged as such. I’ve played Jazz guitar for a long time, but I am proud to think of Chet as a role model.
    Agreed. Who cares about the purists?
    benjwri, Andrew Griffin and dlew919 like this.
  15. blueruins

    blueruins Country Gent

    May 28, 2013
    Savannah, GA
    Lage is swinging that black Jet on his current album and tour. Pretty high visibility gig for sure.
    Julian is such a creative force and musical he could surely make a rake sound amazing.
    I hate to say that I preferred his tone with the tele though.
  16. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Gretschified

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    This is the ultimate jazz box.

    hotpepper01, mschafft and Bertotti like this.
  17. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    The Gretsch equivalent of an L-5.
    drmilktruck and dlew919 like this.
  18. Tele295

    Tele295 Country Gent

    Jun 4, 2008
    Ventura, CA
    Wes. He used a Danelectro 6SB too

    benjwri, Henry and new6659 like this.
  19. Merc

    Merc Country Gent

    May 6, 2017
    Well I honestly don’t know much jazz. I dig some and respect it though. But I’m a bit clueless about the stigma.

    I imagine Gretsch can do it as well as any guitar would in the right hands.
    benjwri, NSM245 and new6659 like this.
  20. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    It's not the instrument, it's the musician.
    benjwri, Merc and dlew919 like this.
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