The Gretsch G2655 Streamliner is an affordable semi hollow guitar from Gretsch. However, has “That Gretsch Sound” been sacrificed to create this budget guitar?
Gretsch G2655 Streamliner – Gretsch Quality at an affordable price tag.
Gretsch is a name which is synonymous with hollow body quality guitars but it does come at a price if you want to own one. However, with the Streamliner range Gretsch have introduced a more affordable instrument. But have they compromised on the Gretshch quality and more importantly on “That Gretsch Sound”.
Let’s face it if you like guitars you will have heard of Gretsch. They have been making quality guitars since 1883 when Friedrich Gretsch first opened his shop in Brooklyn, New York. Since the early days they have been pioneers in guitar design and construction. With a number of truly iconic guitars in their back catalogue and endorsements from some of the world’s greatest guitarists Gretsch have built their reputation around the sound of their guitars. In fact their sound is at the centre of the company ethos and forms their strap line “That Gretsch Sound”. The problem has always been “that Gretsch Sound” comes at a price. But Gretsch have started to address the cost issue by introducing the Streamliner range of lower priced guitars. But what are they like and do you lose some of the Gretsch quality when you buy their budget range.
To discover whether there have been any quality compromises we have road tested the Gretsch G2655 Streamliner.
What do you get with the Gretsch G2655 Streamliner?
There are two versions of the G2655; the Gretsch G2655 Streamliner with a hard tailpiece and the G2655T with a Bigsby tremolo. If you wanted the Bigsby tremolo version it is around £50 more expensive than the hard tailpiece version.
For the purposes of this review we tested the G2655T with the Bigsby tremolo.
First off upon initial inspection this is a beautiful guitar. The build quality is amazing and the black finish with chrome silver hardware looks sensational. So far so good but a guitar is about more than just looks.
The Gretsch G2655 Streamliner is a centre block double cut-away semi-hollow body guitar. It is designed with a smaller body size for those who would like the tone and resonance of a hollow body but like the compact size of a solid body guitar. In terms of size it measures up well with a Gibson Les Paul but is a fraction of the weight. The body of the guitar has a laminated maple top, back and sides anchored to a spruce centre block. The centre block design of the guitar improves the sound performance when the guitar is played at high gain meaning this guitar is equally at home with jazz, blues or rock.
The neck of the guitar is maple with a 22 fret rosewood fingerboard. The profile is a thin U design with a 12” radius and a 24.5” scale length. The double cut-away design allows easy access to the upper frets. This is a lovely neck to play, whether you are playing open chords or soloing on the upper frets.
With the Bigsby B50 Tremolo and Gretsch designed Broad’Tron pickups this is a quality guitar.
In terms of the electronics the Gretsch G2655 Streamliner comes armed with Broad’Tron pickups in the bridge and neck positions. The Gretsch built Broad’Tron pickups are designed to be equally dynamic whether played clean or with distortion. When plugged in to an amp the bridge pickup is bright and punchy with a lot of high end clarity. Whereas the neck pickup is warm and mellow with a lot of resonance in the low end. Crank up the distortion and it is not an understatement to say that this guitar really comes alive! The neck pickup is amazing for power chords. Assume the wide leg stance and rip into your power chords and the Gretsch G2655 Streamliner really growls. Hold the chord and the feedback gently swells to create an awe inspiring wall of sound. The bridge pickup also has a great clarity of sound at high distortion levels which makes it ideal for crystal clear fast soloing.
In terms of the controls there is a 3 way pick-up selector, master volume and tone as well as individual volume controls for each pickup. This is an interesting set of controls because with individual volume controls you can have both pickups selected but adjust the volume on each pickup individually. This creates some interesting tonal effects which is well worth experimenting with.
The hardware on the Gretsch G2655 Streamliner is fairly standard but if you pay a little extra and go for the G2655T you get the Bigsby B50 tremolo unit. For me I would go for the G2655T and get the Bigsby tremolo unit as this just looks amazing on the guitar and is great for gentle pitch dives. I have given this tremolo a bit of action and the tuning remains fairly stable. You are not going to be able to perform manic pitch dives and other such whammy bar antics. However, with the Bigsby you can add that additional expression to your playing that a tremolo unit provides.
You can see the Gretsch G2655 Streamliner in action in the video below.
Ultimately the question we wanted to answer was whether Gretsch could manage to deliver a budget guitar without compromising on “That Gretsch sound”. With the Gretsch G2655 Streamliner we think that our question has been answered. Have they compromised on quality? Hell no. Do you get a guitar with “That Gretsch Sound”? Most definitely yes. If you have always wanted a Gretsch guitar but have been unable to afford the price then the Gretsch G2655 Streamliner is a must have guitar.
You can buy the Gretsch G2655 Streamliner through Gear 4 Music.