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This article was originally published in issue #52
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All in all, it gives the bass a distinct outline to really stand out under show lights. The whole instrument just begs to be looked at. Thankfully it sounds good too.
A stylish looker
Lots of great tones on tap
Hollow body means lightweight
Only available in Orange!
Guitar Interactive star rating: Four starsWith Its single-cutaway hollow and bound body designed for maximum bass tone and balance, Gretsch‘s G5440LSB looks like the ultimate bass guitar. Dan Veall puts it to the test.
I think it’s fair to say that there are certain guitars that are true icons. The Strat, The Tele, The Les Paul, The Flying V, I could go on, but there’s one in the pack that for me at least, I feel deserves mention, The Gretsch White Falcon, a beautiful piece of guitar engineering. I’ve never owned one nor have I had a chance to play one; it’s unchartered territory! No doubt exciting when I walked into the studio to find this beauty waiting for me!
The Gretsch Electromatic ‘G5440LSB’: It’s Orange! How many basses have we reviewed here in Guitar Interactive that are unabashedly washed in such a glorious translucent finish? Not to mention a finish that doesn’t look at all out of place, considering it’s not on the usual colour swatches of many other mainstream brands. Doesn't it look great?
Underneath the trans’ finish is an instrument pretty much entirely made from Maple. The arched top and arched back are made from 5 ply Maple as are the sides. The neck is indeed the same, of course not ply though! Edge binding makes its way around the perimeter of the G5440LS including along the Rosewood fretboard. Yet more contrasting elements in the form of those ‘hump block’ neck markers breaking up the span of dark wood. Even up on the headstock where the binding takes a break, the black face features white writing for the company name and model; there’s even a slice of 3 ply pickguard material for the truss rod cover.
All in all, it gives the bass a distinct outline to really stand out under show lights. The whole instrument just begs to be looked at. Thankfully it sounds good too. A pair of Filter’Tron pickups with shiny chrome covers echo the gleaming metal hardware across the top, which I like. - I often look at basses with chrome (or nickel or gold) hardware and often feel a bit like ‘black blocks for pickups’ almost break up the look a bit. They seem out of place sometimes.
Electronics, well it’s all passive here, and in my video, you’ll hear a small selection of tasteful sound examples. There’s a volume control for each pickup and a master tone control for rounding off the top end. On the upper horn of the bass, a three-way selector switch for quick access to either pickup sounds in isolation or a blend of both in the middle position (depending on your volume settings of course). On the lower horn, a less common place for us bassists, a master volume control! I get confused with just one, three though? ha ha!!
Finishing off the look, the hollow-bodied bass has a couple of curved ‘F holes’ on either half of the body face, again, edge bound and they really stand out - and a two-piece bridge system with lots more chrome work.
Finally, a pair of ‘screw on’ strap buttons. A simple but clever form of strap locks.
The verdict? Well actually, I can’t help liking this bass, even though it is far removed from what would be its stablemates. A few P’s, a custom 7 string and a pair of fan-fretters from Canada. There seemed to be something familiar about the feel of the bass though. Maybe it felt a bit like my 70’s P? What I am saying is, don’t dismiss it because it doesn’t fit the ‘big 3’. It is a bass of character in its own right and should be played.