|Body And Neck:|
We always jump at the chance to review a Gretsch guitar, whether it’s an affordable parlor model or – in the case of today’s review – a 12-string acoustic guitar. With an extravagant design, based on the original Falcon electric, the Rancher Falcon G5022CWFE-12 offers 12-string players a real showpiece. But is it all looks and no substance? Let’s find out.
Even for a Gretsch guitar, the Rancher Falcon has a lot going on in the aesthetics department! With a jumbo body shape, this acoustic features a pristine glossy white finish, which is enhanced with elegant gold sparkle binding around the entire body, including the distinctive triangular soundhole. Appointments such as the painted Flacon-style headstock and gold pickguard – with the Gretch Falcon graphic – just add to the overall appeal.
Underneath all the bling, this guitar is well-made with quality tonewoods, including a solid spruce top with laminated maple back and sides. For a large guitar, it’s comfortable to hold and play, with the generous cutaway offering great access to the upper frets.
With a 25” scale length, the neck is made from solid maple, with a glossy finish on the rear and a standard rosewood fretboard. This is home to 21 vintage-style frets, marked with offset pearloid neoclassical thumbnail inlays and bordered with the same glitzy gold binding as the body. Of course, such a flashy design won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but we love it and are awarding full marks in this department.
As touched upon in the intro, this Rancher Falcon is an electro-acoustic, with quality Fishman electronics. These come in the shape of a Sonicore under-saddle pickup along with an Isys+ preamp, offering a simple range of EQ controls for onboard sound shaping. This includes volume, bass, middle and treble, as well as built-in the digital tuner.
Tuning with the sealed machine-heads is a pleasure as they are accurate and smooth to use. Of course, there is no surprise to find out that these are gold-plated! The bridge, meanwhile, is pretty standard, made from solid rosewood with a synthetic bone saddle holding all 12 strings in place.
For a jumbo body, the Rancher Falcon isn’t as loud as you may expect, with the cutaway probably playing some part. It has a high volume ceiling, which will appeal to heavy strummers, but the projection just isn’t as bold or bassy as some of its peers. However, there’s no problems in terms of volume when plugging in, as the Fishman system does a great job of replicating a relatively natural tone, with the onboard controls providing some versatility. The tone itself is very well-balanced – full and rich, bright and articulate, and just so satisfying to strum!
Ultimately, Gretsch has succeeded in delivering something special with this 12-string Rancher Falcon. Truth be told, the guitar is worth the money for the looks alone, but Gretsch has made something that will be an asset to strummers and jumbo enthusiasts everywhere. It sounds pretty good, plays very well and feels a lot more high-end in design than its midrange price tag would suggest.