In their very nature and primarily due to a smaller body, parlor guitars tend to deliver a more middles-driven sound packed with punch and twang. And while a series of exceptional travel guitars that cover all sonic frequencies can be singled out on today’s market, the reason why we placed the Gretsch G9500 among top models is the fact that it hones the twangy vibe and takes it to the next level.
Featuring a different set of components than many of its peers, this guitar has pleasantly surprised us with its mixture of sound quality and affordable pricing. Let’s dig in!
Body & Neck
This six-string features an all-agathis body with a n X-bracing, and a smooth white rosette. It sports a matte sunburst finish going from dark brown to black, along with a white Gretsch pick-guard to contrast the darkness.
Further on up the road, we are facing a “C” shaped neck made from nato, as well as a standard rosewood fingerboard with 18 frets and large white dot inlays. On top of it all, the guitar sports a classy headstock with a set of six tuners distributed in two groups of three.
Overall, these are not standard components and tonewood options, but they work very well not just in making the guitar affordable, but also locking in a distinctive sound.
As for the neck, nato is not exactly a highly-acclaimed type of wood, but the company’s craftsmanship was solid enough to make the piece playable and even contribute to the twangy vibe we’ll discuss in more detail in the Sound segment.
Despite being on the low end of the pricing sphere, the guitar packs a very solid set of open-back tuning machines that keep the strings in top shape at all times and in various conditions. The rosewood bridge also grips the strings firmly and locks in a tolerable level of fret noise. With just a single setup from a professional, this baby will shine through in no time. Overall, solid stuff, its gets the job done and sets more than a fair price.
Oh the twang, oh the groove! The first thing that deserves to be mentioned here is that Gretsch comes with a very rich reputation and tradition to maintain, and this puppy does a stellar job in emulating some of the company’s classic models from way back in the ’30s.
Some say that this guitar just screams Mississippi and Delta blues and to a decent extent we agree. The twang is there, and it was undeniably a crucial ingredient in development of those styles, but there still much more to this six-string than that. The percussive vibe can fit a variety of styles, and the level of clarity is just through the roof when compared to those older models. Overall, a pleasant surprise, but for fans of the punchy vibe only.
Thus, in a nutshell, this is a refreshing instrument. We haven’t stressed it, but the under $200 price tag is a genuine bargain and a great deal for player of any style and skill level. Apart from that, the sound is different, cool and smooth. If you need a travel guitar for fun or for more serious studio/live work, check this fella out, it just might be your perfect fit.