Updated: January 25, 2020 by Richard Cole
Gretsch is known for producing some of the best guitars in the world. The range of their models may be somewhat limited when compared to other big brands, but his is exactly what makes their guitars so great.
You won’t find your run of the mill metal axes in their offer. No, Gretsch has dedicated their efforts to producing refined guitars for jazz, blues and rock’n’roll. If you look at their catalog, you will see a whole lot of semi hollows, some Les Paul lookalikes, and of course the Bo Diddley series.
With that said, what happens when a company with such a reputation celebrates their anniversary? The answer is magic. Instead of testing unknown waters and designing something new, Gretsch decided to go back to their roots, and reinvent the good old semi hollow design. The result of this effort is the Gretsch G6118.
Today we are going to take a look at just how good this guitar is, and what it has to offer to its users.
If you ask any experienced guitar player who has ever dealt with Gretsch guitars, they will tell you that these instruments have a very unique sound of their own. You can compare it to Taylor’s signature tone, or that of high tier Martin.
There is something about the bracing Gretsch uses on their semi-hollows which gives them a unique timbre. Gretsch G6118 amplifies that uniqueness and adds a whole lot more to the tone of what was a great guitar to begin with.
The shape of the Gretsch G6118 is what they call Anniversary. It looks like a modified Les Paul semi hollow design. The body itself is made of laminated maple and covered with a nice gloss urethane.
The whole body is bound in a nice white binding with lack purfling. Moving on to the neck we find a U shape piece that is also made of maple, and features 22 frets on a rosewood fretboard. The inlays are pearloid thumbnails which sit at the very top of the fret. When it comes to the hardware, this is where some will start to get nervous. This guitar comes with a string through body Bigsby tremolo bridge.
When it comes to the hardware, this is where some will start to get nervous. This guitar comes with a string through body Bigsby tremolo bridge.
The thing is a nightmare to work with in terms of maintenance and string replacement, but you won’t have to worry about the majority of the issues associated with this bridge type if you just leave it alone. The tuners are a set of Schaller locking machines which definitely add a nice touch to the whole package.
Now for the good part. The pickups you get with this guitar are a pair of Filter’Trons. There are three volume knobs on the guitar – one for each pickup and a master volume knob. Additionally, you also have a three position pickup select switch.
So what’s so special about this guitar, you might be wondering. The fact is that the whole package defines what makes Gretsch so great. This guitar is pure class, both in terms of tone and playability.
Aesthetics belong to a category of their own, but they are bound to dominate everything and anything that tries to compare. The pair of Filter’Trons you get with this guitar are pure joy to play. These have been around for long enough that their introduction is anything but necessary.
The tone is incredibly well defined with just the right amount of grit and punch somewhere in the mix. You can do anything from rolled down blues to very jazz. The pickups are so sensitive that any subtle detail you want to add will be heard loud and clear. This is what many people call the Gretsch sound.
Gretsch instruments have always been ironed out to the last possible detail. Just like so many before it, this guitar is a piece of art that produces sound. The finish is immaculate, and playing comfort is better than what you will find on the majority of semi hollow guitars. That is a fact.
We can attribute this increased comfort to a somewhat smaller body than what you usually have to deal with. Either way, it is simply a joy to play.
What we like
When you take a company like Gretsch and give them a legitimate reason to produce a limited series model, you can only expect something that is truly special. That is exactly how you can describe Gretsch G6118.
This guitar is special in so many different ways. It’s not something anyone can play, both due to its price and the fact that you need to have it in your fingers to really make this puppy sing. However that can only be a good thing.
What we don’t like
There is nothing to put in this section. This Gretsch as good or better than any of their other semi hollows.
It is not often that Gretsch G6118 releases limited series guitar, but when they do everyone knows. This is neither the first nor last anniversary model they have produced. It’s actually second in line.
The latest one comes with TV Jones pickups, and a lot more heat under those covers. With that said, all of their guitars which belong to this elite subgroup are on a similar level of excellence. Now for the bad part. Gretsch G6118 is among the most expensive guitars you can buy in a shop.
You need to have deep pockets in order to get one of these and not feel the aftermath.Is that a bad thing? No. Even those who can’t afford it have enough respect for this brand to realize that dropping prices would also mean lower quality guitars. That is something no one wants to see happen to Gretsch. Producing something that is on this kind of level requires tones of work and a lot of investment in materials.
Naturally, the price is going to be high. On the other hand, if you are thinking on getting one of these, you definitely shouldn’t hesitate. Just makes sure to do thorough research on all of the models available and select the one that fits you the best.