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Gretsch G9221 Bobtail Steel – Is It Good? [REVIEW]

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Today, we’re diving deep into the world of resonator guitars with a close look at the Gretsch G9221 Bobtail Steel Round-Neck. Is it worth your hard-earned cash? Let’s find out.

I will try to be as unbiased as possible, but let’s be real for a minute – I just LOVE guitars made by this brand and I never had any issues with their gear.

So let’s have a close look on what this steel beauty has to offer.

About Gretsch G9221

man playing on Gretsch g9221 bobtail steel resonator guitar

This guitar is a part of the Gretsch Roots Collection, a line that pays homage to the early days of blues and folk. And what’s more, this model stands out with its steel body and the distinctive sound of the Gretsch Ampli-Sonic Spider Resonator Cone. It’s a guitar that promises a blend of vintage vibe and modern playability.

Here’s a really good sound demo – check it out below.

Specifications

I’m sure that you want to know more details about this model, so here’s a little table with all the specs.

specifications of Gretsch g9221 bobtail steel resonator guitar
SpecificationDetails
CollectionGretsch Roots Collection
Resonator ConeGretsch Ampli-Sonic Spider
Body MaterialSteel
NeckMahogany (Toona Sinensis)
FretboardKatalox
Neck ProfileMedium V
Nut Width44.45 mm
Scale Length635 mm
Frets19
BridgeSpider
Pickup SystemFishman Nashville
DesignNickel-plated poinsettia cover plate
Headstock1930’s Gretsch with aged pearloid
FinishSteel

Body & Neck

Right off the bat, the steel body of the Gretsch G9221 makes a statement. In my years of testing guitars for Guitar Tester and Best Guitars Now, I’ve found that the material of the body plays a pivotal role in sound quality.

The steel body here gives a distinctively bright and clear tone, which is a hallmark of quality resonators.

The mahogany neck is a familiar comfort, offering a warm tonal balance that complements the steel’s brightness. This neck, combined with the Katalox fretboard, brings a level of playability that’s a dream for both beginners and seasoned players.

The medium V neck profile stands out as well – it’s ergonomically pleasing, making those long slide sessions or chord progressions feel effortless.

Here’s an another sound demo.

Electronics

The electronics of the G9221 center around the Fishman Nashville pickup system. In my experience, this system is a top choice among resonator guitars for a good reason. It captures the essence of the resonator’s metallic twang while preserving the warmth – a blend that’s challenging to achieve but done superbly here.

This system’s versatility has impressed me in various settings, from intimate acoustic gigs to larger, amplified venues. It’s responsive, dynamic, and maintains the guitar’s character, something I always look for during reviews on guitartester.com.

Build Quality & Factory Setup

Through my years of reviewing guitars, I’ve learned that build quality can make or break an instrument’s reputation. The Gretsch G9221 exemplifies superb build quality. Its construction is not just about visual appeal; it directly influences the sound.

The steel body is meticulously crafted, contributing significantly to the guitar’s tonal character. As for the factory setup, it’s commendable how Gretsch maintains a high standard. The action was set just right – not too high, not too low – which is crucial for a resonator guitar, especially for those of us who dabble in both fingerstyle and slide techniques.

Who Should Get This Guitar?

steel guitar on guitar stand

The Gretsch G9221 isn’t just any guitar; it’s a specific tool for specific musicians. Here’s who I believe would benefit the most from the G9221:

  • Blues Enthusiasts: This guitar screams blues. Its resonator cone provides that classic, soulful tone that blues musicians crave. If your playlist is filled with the likes of Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, this guitar will help you channel that delta blues spirit.
  • Slide Guitar Players: The medium V neck profile and overall setup of this resonator guitar make it a dream for slide guitar. Whether you’re just starting out with slide or you’ve been playing it for years, the responsiveness and tone of this guitar will elevate your playing.
  • Resonator Seekers: If you’re a guitarist looking to expand your sound palette with a resonator, this is a FANTASTIC choice. Its distinct sound is markedly different from your typical acoustic or electric, making it perfect for those looking to explore new sonic territories.
  • Recording Artists: In the studio, this guitar shines. The Fishman Nashville pickup captures its unique tonal qualities beautifully, making it a great choice for recording artists looking to add a different flavor to their tracks.
  • Live Performers: Its robust build and excellent amplification capabilities make the G9221 a reliable companion for live performances. Whether you’re playing small coffee shops or larger venues, this guitar will stand out both visually and sonically.
  • Guitar Collectors: For those who appreciate the craftsmanship and history of guitars, this model is a worthy addition to any collection. Its blend of vintage design and modern playability makes it a standout piece.
  • Folk Musicians: Folk music and resonator guitars go hand in hand. This axes warm, vibrant tones complement folk music’s storytelling nature perfectly.

In summary, the Gretsch G9221 is a versatile instrument that appeals to a wide range of players.

What I Don’t Like About It

Honestly, it’s hard to find faults in the G9221, but if I had to nitpick:

  • Weight: The steel body can be a bit heavy, especially during long gigs.
  • Limited Versatility: It’s more specialized, so it might not be the go-to for every genre.

Also bear in mind that resonator guitars typically have thick strings, so you may experience some pain in your fingers after playing for long periods of time.

But there’s a solution – proper maintenace of guitar calluses.

What Do Guitarists Think About This Guitar?

User reviews and community feedback on that guitar from Thomann’s website indicate a generally positive reception.

You can read more reviews on site ot Thomann, but here’s a summary of a few of them:

  • leo dobro (15.06.2018): They found the guitar to have a significant weight but impressive in terms of look and sound. The guitar was described as loud and beautifully crafted, with an authentic sound that changes character with the playing style.
  • KS Player (17.10.2022): This reviewer appreciated the guitar’s sound, both unplugged and amplified. They noted its versatility, good playability, and high-quality craftsmanship. The beauty of the headstock and the well-made neck were also highlighted.
  • gramofan (09.03.2020): Commented on the guitar’s weight and end-heavy balance. They were impressed with the volume and sound quality, mentioning that it requires a firm strumming hand to get the best sound.

So as you can see, it seems that the hype is real. I’m not the only one who believes that this gutiar is awesome.

My Experience With Gretsch Guitars

man playing on gretsch electric guitar

As a seasoned guitarist and reviewer, I’ve had the pleasure of playing various Gretsch models, including the Gretsch Jim Dandy and the Gretsch G2622T. Both of these guitars left a lasting impression on me.

If you’re interested in discovering new guitars, check out my YouTube channel full of gear reviews 🙂

The Jim Dandy, with its compact size and punchy sound, was a joy for casual strumming and travel-friendly jams. On the other hand, this resonator guitar impressed me with its versatile sound and slick playability, making it a great choice for a range of styles from rock to jazz.

gretsch jim dandy

Playing these models reinforced my appreciation for Gretsch’s ability to create guitars with distinct personalities. Each guitar, whether it’s the Jim Dandy, the G2622T, or the G9221, showcases Gretsch’s commitment to quality and their knack for crafting instruments that are not just tools, but sources of inspiration.

So summing up – I’m pretty sure that Gretsch doesn’t manufacture bad guitars. Their quality is always on point. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing on their semi-hollow, acoustic or resonator guitar – there’s a high chance that their gear won’t let you down. At least that’s my point of view!

Apart from Gretsch axes, I can also recommend Squier guitars (here’s my guide about the SIX best Squiers).

Final Thoughts

man playing on Gretsch g9221 bobtail steel resonator guitar

For those considering adding the G9221 to their collection, expect a guitar that offers more than just music; expect a piece of history, a work of art, and a new voice in your musical journey.

I can confidently say that this model stands out with its own unique charm. Its steel body, Ampli-Sonic resonator cone, and Fishman Nashville pickup come together to create a sound that is not just heard, but felt – rich in depth and character, perfect for blues, folk, and beyond.

What do you guys think about that model? Feel free to leave a comment under this article 🙂 It’d be awesome to hear your thoughts about it.