Where Are Gretsch Guitars Made? Are They Good?

Gretsch is one of the biggest names in the world of guitars, and many professional players have been using these models. The company is known for semi-hollow and hollow guitars, and the quality is exceptional. 

But at the same time, there are models that are a bit cheaper compared to the standard Gretsch guitars, which raises a question. Where are Gretsch guitars made? The guitars are made in the United States, Japan, Korea, China, and Indonesia. The Professional Collection is made in Japan, The Electromatic hollow-body guitars are made in Korea, solid-body instruments from the same collection are made in China, the Steamliner is made in Korea, and handmade custom guitars are made in the U.S. 

The location of your model will be based on the series. But to better understand the difference between models and locations, you will need to know what series are there and how it will affect the quality. 

Gretsch Guitars

Gretsch was founded in 1883, which makes it one of the oldest companies making guitars. Originally, it was based in Brooklyn, New York, and the company was focused on repairing instruments, but also selling tambourines, banjos, and drums. 

Friedrich Gretsch founded the company, and he was the main person until his death in 1895. After that, his son and his wife continued the business, but it wasn’t until 1928 that the first guitar was introduced. 

Keep in mind that when the first guitar was introduced, Gretsch already had thousands of other instruments available. After World War II, the Gretsch company started focusing on guitars even more. And by the mid-fifties, they already had a couple of incredible models. 

And iconic players such as Chet Atkins and George Harrison made the brand even more popular. While the company had its ups and downs, Gretsch remained one of the biggest names in the industry, especially among blues and jazz players. 

Gretsch is still a family-owned company, and the president is Fred W. Gretsch. 

Where Are Gretsch Guitars Made?

Since Gretsch has a long history, there have been a lot of changes throughout the years. And to understand the price difference, it is essential to check out where these guitars are made. There are four main collections Gretsch offers today, at least when it comes to electric guitars. 

The Professional Collection is made in Japan, which is also one of the best series the company offers. The Electromatic Collection is made in Korea and China based on the type, and the Streamliner Collection comes from Indonesia. Finally, the Custom Shop models are made in the U.S. 

What is interesting is that the Electromatic Collection lists two countries, and the only difference is in the type of guitar. Hollow-body and semi-hollow models are made in South Korea, while solid-body models from this collection are made in China. 

Gretsch also offers acoustic guitars as well, and these are mostly made in Indonesia, but you can find models made in Japan as well. Needless to say, if you find a vintage model of Gretsch, there is a high chance it won’t follow this pattern. 

If you find a Gretsch guitar made in the fifties, there is a high chance it was made in the U.S. But these models tend to be quite expensive. And if you decide to buy a new guitar, it will be made in one of these five locations. 

Does It Matter Where Gretsch Guitars Are Made?

Now, you might be wondering whether the location will play a role in the quality. Does it even matter where the guitar is made? And the short answer is yes. These factories tend to be quite different when it comes to production and materials used. 

This is also why some models tend to be quite cheap compared to others. The factory in China won’t use premium materials as you’d expect from a US-made guitar. And custom shop models are designed with specific ideas in mind. 

You can expect to get the best possible model when you encounter a guitar made in the United States. Generally speaking, the location where the guitar is made will determine the price range, and you will have an easier time finding a model that suits your needs. 

In the majority of cases, the higher price means better material and a better overall design. While budget options might still be good, they aren’t in the same league as guitars made in the United States. 

How Good Are Gretsch Guitars?

If you are interested in hollow-body or semi-hollow guitars, Gretsch models are among the best ones you can find today. And what is great about these guitars is that they can be so versatile. You can use them for nearly any music genre. 

At the same time, the existence of different factories across the world means that you will be able to find a model in almost any price range. And even if you plan on buying a Gretsch guitar made in Korea, it is still a good option.

You won’t need to spend a fortune on it, and you will still get one of the best semi-hollow guitars in this price range. And as you go up the price range, you will reach professional instruments used by many iconic players. 

Key Elements Of Gretsch Guitars

When it comes to the key elements, there are a few things that make Gretsch stand out from the crowd. 


Gretsch guitars have a large headstock with three tuning machines on each side. While the font and letter style might differ from model to model, it follows the same general idea. And since the majority of instruments designed by Gretsch are semi-hollow guitars, it seems natural that it has this type of headstock.

There is also a decoration along the letters, but the type will depend on the series you pick. 


When it comes to bodies, Gretsch offers a variety of different options. But the company is most recognizable for its hollow-body and semi-hollow instruments. It is also common to find chambered guitars, which makes them even lighter. 

Of course, one of the most famous chambered guitars is the one used by Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top, which has a chambered body, chambered neck, and even chambered headstock. 


Gretsch offers a variety of pickups both single coil and humbuckers, that are responsible for the unique sound, as well as the unique wiring Gretsch uses. And all pickups are designed by Gretsch. It is not often that you will find a Gretsch guitar that has pickups designed by some other brand. 

Popular models are Gretsch Filter’Tron, Full’Tron, Dynasonic, and many others. 


It is more than obvious that Gretsch offers vintage-style guitars and models that are inspired by instruments from the fifties. As a result, you will be able to find different, but still fitting bridges on these models. 

These include synchro-bridges, adjusto-matic bridges, and even models with Bigsby. But you won’t find modern types such as tremolo or Floyd Rose. 


Semi-hollow and hollow-body guitars are often made of maple, and Gretsch models are no different. However, you can still find other options such as mahogany. The quality of maple is exceptional, and these models look amazing. 

Especially if you go for a high-end model. The quality is something Gretsch has been offering for decades. 

Finishes And Designs

One of many reasons for the popularity of Gretsch is the unique designs and finishes these guitars offer. You won’t be able to find anything similar elsewhere. Gretsch is known for eye-catching hardware, unique shapes, and distinctive looks.

And these allowed the company to build its own name and style. It is not a copy of anything. There are models like Jupiter Thunderbird that are a perfect example of how unique these guitars can be. 

What is interesting is that many people see Gretsch today as a company that offers vintage-style guitars. But back in the fifties, Gretsch was considered modern. It was the only company that included flashy colors and unusual designs. 

Gretsch Guitars Models

As mentioned earlier, there are a couple of series of Gretsch guitars you can find. Of course, editions and models changed and improved with time, but there are still a few collections worth mentioning. 


The Professional Collection of Gretsch includes high-end models. Here, you will find iconic guitars such as White Falcon and the Duo Jet, and they are all made in Japan. You can find hollow-body guitars, semi-hollow, and solid-body models.

With hollow body instruments, there is no center block going through the middle of the body, and the craftsmanship is incredible. But even the solid-body models such as the Duo Jet are still well made and have excellent sound.  

The Professional Collection also includes the Artist Series or signature models, as well as limited edition guitars. 


The next collection is the Electromatic Collection, and there are two main categories you can find here – the Player Edition and the Vintage Select. The Player Edition offers modernized versions of well-known guitars, while the Vintage Select is a true reissue of previous models. 

Hollow-body and semi-hollow models from the Electromatic Collection are made in South Korea, while solid-body instruments are made in China. This means that all Jet guitars from the Electromatic Collection come from China. 


The Streamliner Collection is designed to compete on the budget market, and these are the most affordable Gretsch guitars you can find today. All models from this series or collection are made in Indonesia. 

When it comes to the design, you can find a variety of models and instruments inspired by previous series. And yet, the collection manages to keep its own identity without looking like a budget version of the Electromatic collection. 

All things considered, it is still worth checking out if you are interested in finding a cheaper guitar. 


Gretsch also offers a collection of acoustic guitars, and they are separated into two categories. You can find the Roots Collection and the Acoustic Collection. Roots is reserved for ukuleles and resonator guitars, while the Acoustic focuses on full-size instruments. 

As for the location, it can vary based on the model you pick. Gretsch does an incredible job of keeping the main idea and spirit of the company while exploring different price ranges and styles. 

Custom Shop

As with almost every other brand, the Custom Shop series is the most expensive one you can find. And Gretsch is no different. And while this is not a separate Collection, it is still worth mentioning because it is the only series made in the U.S. 

The Custom Shop models come in small series, and it is not rare to see a one-off version released. And the numbers are quite limited. Fewer than a hundred guitars are made each year since the focus is on quality and unique designs. 

All models are handmade in California, and the price can be quite high. 

The Price Of Gretsch Guitars

When it comes to prices, Gretsch covers a wide range. Which is why it is best to focus on each of the collections individually. The Professional Collection is the most expensive one, and these guitars can be between $3,000 and $4,000. 

Of course, you can find even more expensive guitars from the Professional Collection, but the price is usually not lower than $2,500. The next price range is for the Electromatic Collection, and these models are between $600 and $1,000. 

Some signature models can be around $1,500, but it is not as common. Finally, the Streamliner Collection is the most affordable, and the instruments are between $400 and $700. As for the acoustic guitars, they can be quite affordable and the prices start at $200. 

The more expensive models are around $600, which is still quite impressive. When it comes to Custom Shop guitars, prices can be quite high. It is not rare to find a model that is over $7,000. But it all comes down to a specific model. 

Generally speaking, prices can be similar to the Professional Collection, but there are models that will cost you $10,000 or more. Unfortunately, there are still no Gretsch guitars at the bottom of the budget range, and you won’t be able to find a model under $400 or $350. 

Who Uses Gretsch Guitars?

Over the years, many players have used Gretsch guitars. While the brand started making guitars for jazz players, others soon followed. And these instruments can be highly versatile. Among the most popular names are: 

Some of these players also have their own custom models, and they are quite popular. One of the most notable ones is Billy-Bo Jupiter which is based on the iconic Jupiter Thunderbird played by Bo Diddley. 

Some of these players focused mainly on Gretsch models, while others explored different brands. However, it is worth mentioning players like John Frusciante and his famous White Falcon used for songs such as Californication and Otherside. 

Does Gretsch Make Other Products Besides Guitars?

Over the years, Gretsch offered numerous different products. You could have found lap steel guitars, banjos, mandolins, amplifiers, and so much more. And while today the primary focus is on guitars, you can still find other instruments. 

These include drum kits, ukuleles, basses, and both acoustic and electric guitars. And if you are someone who loves playing the ukulele, you should know that Gretsch offers incredible and unique models such as the resonator ukulele. 

Resonator ukuleles and resonator guitars are a part of the Roots Collection, and they can be a nice addition to your collection. But other than guitars, basses, and ukuleles, Gretsch is quite a popular brand when it comes to drums. 

You can also find a variety of models and even a custom shop based in South Carolina. And if you are not familiar with Gretsch drum kits, you should know that Gretsch is the reason Fender Telecaster has that name. Originally, Tele was distributed as Fender Broadcaster, but Fender had to change the name because of the Gretsch Broadkaster drum kit. 


Gretsch was founded over 140 years ago, and it is one of the biggest names in the music industry. The company offers incredible guitars, and it covers a wide price range based on the series you pick. 

There are three main collections of Gretsch guitars and they are the Professional Collection (made in Japan), the Electromatic Collection (made in Korea and China), and the Streamliner Collection (made in Indonesia). 

Gretsch also offers custom shop models made in the U.S., and it is currently the only series made there. Needless to say, the guitars made in the U.S. are the most expensive, followed by those made in Japan, Korea, China, and Indonesia.

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I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

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