Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop Overview and Best Prices

Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop Review
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  • From Gretsch's 2016 Electromatic series
  • Made in China
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Arched Laminated Spruce top
  • Laminated Maple body
  • Maple neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: (/)
  • Middle pickup: (/)
  • Neck pickup: Gretsch Mini Humbucking (Humbucker/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • Chromatic bridge
  • Standard U Set neck
  • 20 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Die-Cast tuners
  • See all specs and compare >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 68
Sound 70
Build quality 58
Value for money 70
Overall Score 65
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop
  • Expensive Wood
  • Synthetic Bone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $400, which means that the Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop costs around 113% more than the competition. It might be due to it having additional features, but know that you can find cheaper similar alternatives. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in China.

User Feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

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Videos

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Playability

The Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop meets 3 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not recommended for complete beginners. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Comfortable neck
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop's construction favors people with relatively big hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop's 25.5" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop Scale Length Comparison
Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the same scale length used in Stratocaster guitars, and it's one of the main reasons they have such a bright sound. It's considered a long scale when compared to most non-baritone guitars.

Since the distance between bridge and nut is relatively long, you'll need to give the strings more tension to get them in tune. This higher tension will allow for a couple of things. First, you can get a lower action (get the strings closer to the fretboard) because the strings won't 'wiggle' too much when pluck and won't cause fret buzz. This can allow you to use lower tunings without increasing your string gauge, and it will make it easier to press down the strings fast.

However, the frets will also have a wider separation between each other, which can make it harder to play, especially if you got small hands. The higher tension will also make the strings feel stiffer, so bending will require more strength.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop Neck Profile
Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

The Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop's neck thickness is approximately 0.83'' (21.1mm) at the first fret, and 0.97'' (24.6mm) at the twelfth.

These measurements were taken either from the official Gretsch website, or, in case this information wasn't provided, by researching multiple online marketplaces and forums where owners of this model have posted their measurements.

It has a U type neck. This shape usually has more 'shoulders' than a C neck. It's great for guitarists who love the feel of a vintage neck. Most of them are thick, which makes it better for people with big hands. However, some of them can be thin like a C neck but with more mass to the sides for a better grip.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop has a 12" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop's fretboard radius compared to others

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

25.5'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12.6'' Fretboard Radius
24.6'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.6'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
25'' Scale Length
U Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
15.748'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop Nut Width
Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop Nut Width

The Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop has a nut width of 42.9mm (1.688''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

The Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop has 20 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop Fret Size Comparison
Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop's frets are Medium Jumbo size. These sit somewhere between a Jumbo and a Medium fret. They're not quite as tall as a full Jumbo, so you'll still feel the fretboard, but you won't feel it as much as with medium frets. This is a good size if you want to make it easy to press the strings but would also like a little bit of ''feedback'' to know when to stop pressing so the notes don't go out of pitch.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 75
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 60
Playability 68

Tone

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple Body, Neck
Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood Fretboard

Maple Body and Neck: This is one of the most popular types of wood used in all kinds of guitars. It's heavy, strong and compact, which makes it great for necks. However, it's also used for fretboards, bodies and tops due to its light color, resistance and beautiful patterns. When it comes to tone, it highlights the mid and high frequencies.

Rosewood Fretboard: Since the ban of Brazillian Rosewood, this has become a rare and expensive wood. It's not usually used for guitar bodies because of this, and also because it's heavy. Instead, it's used mainly for fretboards. Sometimes it's also used for necks because it's an extremely hard wood (even harder than maple). Its tonality tends to favor warm tones.

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Gretsch. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

The Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop's configuration is XXH. It's a rare pickup configuration for very specific genres. You only get a pickup at the neck for soloing. It's often found in acoustic-electric guitars to give you more power for soloing.

More with the same pickups

20 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Gretsch Mini Humbucking Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Bigsby Tremolo Bridge
Gretsch Mini Humbucking Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Gretsch Mini Humbucking Neck Pickup

Versatility

Naturally, the Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop doesn't come with a pickup selector because it's a single-pickup guitar. These instruments have less versatility, but they're good for practicing. Besides being cheaper, limiting yourself to a single-pickup guitar can help you improve by learning to control the tone with your technique and playing style. Things like playing further away from the bridge for a warmer tone, or plucking the strings fast for a snappy sound can help you become a better player.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

Diagram

Unfortunately, we didn't find information about the switching diagram for this guitar.

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Hollowbody guitar with XXH configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Jazz or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 90
Sustain 75
Versatility 44
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 70

Build Quality

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop is made in China. So you can expect lower build quality when compared to others made in Korea, Japan or the United States. Guitars made in this country are meant for mass production, which translates into less attention to detail and quality control. This doesn't mean the product is made poorly at all. Chinese products have a bad reputation since long ago, but they've definitely improved a lot the last few years.

Bridge

Chromatic: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

More with the same type of bridge:

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop has a Synthetic Bone nut. One of the best nuts you can have is a Bone nut thanks to their rich tonality and resistance. The problem is that they're a natural material, so different bone nuts will have inconsistent tonal properties. In other words, one bone nut might not sound as well as the other even when they're made from the same piece. Synthetic bone helps with this by giving you a high-quality, consistent nut that resembles the tone produced by bone.

More with the same nut material:

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Set neck joint. This type of neck joint consists of using different pieces of wood for the neck and the body of the guitar. Both pieces are then glued together. This is more expensive to make than a bolt-on neck, but it's cheaper than a neck-through guitar. Some people believe that this gives more sustain than a bolt-on neck due to both pieces having a 'better connection' than with bolts. Still, it's something difficult to prove.

However, this type of neck joint does have the disadvantage of not allowing you to easily swap the neck for another. This makes this type of neck joint less mod-friendly.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 60
Features 55
Quality Control 60
Build Quality 58

All Specs

Gretsch G100BKCE Synchromatic Archtop
General
Brand: Gretsch
Year: 2016
Configuration: XXH
Strings: 6
Made in: China
Series: Electromatic
Colors: Black, Natural
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Top: Arched Laminated Spruce
Type: Hollowbody
Body Material: Laminated Maple
Bridge: Chromatic
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Die-Cast
Fretboard: Rosewood
Neck Material: Maple
Decoration: Pearloid Big Block
Scale Size: 25.5"
Shape: Standard U
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.83'' (21.1mm) - 12th Fret: 0.97'' (24.6mm)
Frets: 20 Medium Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Synthetic Bone
Nut Width: 42.9mm (1.688'')
Electronics
Switch: 0 Way
Knobs: Dome
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: ( / )
Neck Pickup: Gretsch Mini Humbucking (Humbucker / Passive)