From the outset of this review, I should make it known that I am above all else a hollow body guy. Even as a fat, gothic teenager I knew that eventually at least one of my guitars would be as empty inside as I was convinced I was. Now, some 20 years later, I’m addicted to the infernal things. There is something about the wild, James-Dean-on-a-motorcycle, maverick pride that they invoke that speaks to me as a player; strange given that there are few things that are further from my fingers than rockabilly pastiche. Even as far back as the 30’s, before rock‘n’roll was stolen from African Americans and proliferated globally by Brylcreem-ed hip-wigglers, the art deco Gretsch logo was synonymous with a style and grace that so few manage to pull off without looking like a certain Nickelodeon cartoon. Few things make me, and any number of sympathetic riffsters, happier these days than to quake in the presence of the likes of the Electromatic G5622T.
While the company as a whole has come a long way since its jazz and blues heyday, they have done well to allow only the choicest cuts of modernity to enter their hallowed designs. Fender has maintained the brand for decades now and has upheld the standard set by its forebears without relegating the designs to history. One of the most notable improvements they have allowed in is the spruce centre block that provides stability across much of the range. The biggest problem facing the modern hollow body and acoustic player alike is the omnipresent threat of standing wave feedback. Although born of some pretty brutalist thinking, that humble yet solid lump of timber does an incredible job of not only avoiding the dreaded woof at high volume but leaves intact the delicacy and vitality that keeps you coming back. The almost infinite sustain that results from essentially turning the guitar into a neck-through design is the cherry on the Electromatic cake.
Enough gushing, I should probably tell you about what it’s like to play. The assumption with a lot of hollow bodies is that they are softer than their solid siblings. The idea that you could cave in the front end of your axe if you fell does little to dispel this rumor but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The pickups in this particular piece are hotter than your mother’s cooking; Alnico 5s lurk behind the chrome casing of the Patented Super HiLoTron single coils giving you all the simultaneous chime and width of a Les Paul without quite so much muscle-bound beef. Married to the centre block as they are, they chew up high output amps like my 4x10 with enough headroom to go head to head with as many pedals as you can muster. Having said thats, the rub is that they are incredibly sensitive players. If you’re in the mood for squeezing every ounce of pain from your fingers until you have nothing left, the G5622T is there to listen and ready to mood-swing right along with you when you decide you’re At The Drive-In angry.
It can be an intimidating thing strapping on a guitar that has this much personality but ultimately the reward far outweighs anything you’d get from staying within your comfort zone. The voicing is crisp yet discerning, the neck is smooth as silk and the ride is one you’ll never forget.
Hits and Misses
Centre block stability
Attitude in spades
I don’t own one… yet