Recently, I saw a baby blue Gretsch archtop for sale in a Facebook post by my local guitar shop Fab Music Store. As I had already given up once on the idea of buying an archtop, I thought I should at least try a Gretsch. So off to Fab Music I went.
At the risk of repeating myself, despite being prepared for a purchase, it didn’t work out that way. The Gretsch was nice, but it wasn’t amazing. So I thought, while I was in the shop for the first time in months, I might as well try a few more guitars, shouldn’t I?
I was disappointed that the Hofner Verythin CT which I’d tried during my last visit had been sold. I wasn’t looking for a semi-hollow body then either, but I had taken a shine to it anyway. This time, I decided to try a few ‘335-alikes’. And, very soon, I had taken a shine to an Epiphone Sheraton II VS.
I’d never really seen the point of these sort of guitars. They look nice, sure, but what’s the point of body cavities and f-holes if they don’t project much sound? I didn’t worry too much about this at first, because it was really nice to play. Plugged in, it sounded rich and smooth, without being overly bassy or dull. And the sustain was remarkable.
A look at the specifications, and it’s rather un-remarkable. Made in China, it’s a fairly standard maple and mahogany build with a 22-fret Gibson scale and PAF-style Alnico pickups. It’s finished nicely though, despite the gaudy gold hardware, and the 12″ radius slim set neck is a delight. It’s a big guitar, weighing in at 4.0kg (8.8lb). So maybe size does matter.
I tried a few more guitars, one of which I really liked [more on this another time], but I finally came back to the Epiphone, and the Gretsch went back on the wall. I took the Sheraton home with me.
It needed a bit of work on the nut, neck relief adjustment, and a tidy up of the routing and a minor setup. Now it’s my go-to guitar for a rich mature treacly sound.