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This monstrous '55 Duo Jet has a top made of beetle kill pine. I have to commend the murderous beetles that killed this tree-they picked quite a resonant piece of pine. Before we talk tone, we have to linger on how special this wood is, because it has quite an interesting story. Beetle kill pine is what we call wood from trees felled by the mountain pine beetle, a species that bores into the tree to lay its eggs, eventually "suffocating" the tree. This turns it into dead standing timber, which is a real ecological problem. Even though beetle kill pine is still structurally sound enough to harvest, it often winds up as kindling for forest fires. That's why it's so cool to see our friends at Gretsch promoting sustainability by using it for guitar tops!
Of course, I stopped caring about sustainability the moment I plugged this guitar because I had bigger things to worry about; namely, how to capture the magic of such an inspiring guitar with words. Overall, it has a sweeter voice with a bit more chime than normal. Its attack is percussive and articulate, and it can really growl if you want it to. It has some nice vintage-style sag that gives way to lots of glorious blooming overtones. The lows woody, the midrange is transparent but present, and the highs are a veritable treasure trove of lush, bell-like ringing overtones. What really makes it magnificent, though, is how sculpted the resonance is. Though everything sounds rich and full, there's no flub to be found anywhere.
Anyone seeking a guitar with a cool story and a sweet, rich, voice will love this glorious Gretsch.
Serial Number: UC19011747
Model Masterbuilt 1955 Duo Jet Relic
Masterbuilder Stephen Stern
Finish Color Natural
Finish Type Relic
Weight 7.50 lbs.
Top Wood Beetle Kill Pine
Body Wood Chambered Mahogany
Neck Wood Mahogany
Neck Shape Standard "C" Neck Shape
Neck Dimensions .880 1st - .960 9th
Fingerboard Indian Rosewood
Inlays Mother-of-Pearl Block
Nut Material Bone
Headstock Script Gretsch Logo
Pickups 2 Duncan DynaSonic
Controls Master Vol, Neck Vol, Bridge Vol, P/U Selector Switch and Tone Control
Bridge Rocking Bar Pinned
Tuners Gotoh Vintage-Style Tuners
Case Hardshell Case