This SH35 is designed with an arched, flamed maple top, multi-side binding, and a gloss finish available in Cherry Red and Vintage Sunburst.
At the heart of the Semi-Hollow is a lightweight and crisp-toned alder wood body featuring a comfortable modern C-shape hard maple neck, 24.72 inch (628 mm) scale length, imitation rosewood fingerboard, and bold inlays. The smooth lines and aesthetic appeal are coupled with its comfortable feel and smooth playability.
The upscale dual humbuckers provide a broad tonal range to produce crisp and warm blues and jazz tones plus the added capacity to conquer overdrive, distortion, and heavy crunch tones exceptionally well. The chrome hardware is rounded out with a Tune-O-Matic six-saddle vintage steel bridge and sealed, die-cast, and machined tuning heads, which make this an essential part of any gear collection.
The SH35 offers a lightweight body style, maple center block for solid construction, and classic styling that is meant for players and gigging musicians alike. Whether playing precisely in a studio, jamming heavy on stage, or practicing your bedroom riffs, this will be your axe of choice.
The SH35 is available for $389 in right-handed and, as always, offered in a left-handed version for $399. CNZ Audio is a family business that focuses on making solid-performing guitars at great value. The affordable prices and left-handed option back CNZ Audio’s foundational belief that Everyone Should Have Good Gear!
For more information, please visit CNZAudio.com
CNZ Audio SH35 Semi-Hollow Guitar - Cherry Red | CNZ Audio
How does the Players Edition upgrade stack up on the brand’s sleek 6-string “Cadillac”?
Bridge pickup, then middle position, then neck.
All guitar controls at max. Recorded through the boost side of a SoundBrut DrVa MkII, a Ground Control Tsukuyomi mid boost, a SolidGoldFx Electroman MkII, and an Anasounds Element into a Goodsell Valpreaux 21 miked with a Royer R-121 going into an Audient iD44 then into GarageBand with no EQ-ing, compression, or effects.
Matchless style and mojo. Plays, feels, and sounds great.
Expensive. Pickups can feel limited compared to Full’Trons. Some may prefer a tone knob for each pickup.
Gretsch G6636TSL Players Edition Silver Falcon
When you think of iconic electric guitars, three biggies pop to mind—the Strat, the Tele, and the Les Paul. But for many, a hollow or semi-hollow Gretsch isn’t far behind. From Bo Diddley to Gene Vincent, Duane Eddy, Chet Atkins, George Harrison, Neil Young, Brian Setzer, and more, countless legends have donned these inimitable outlines to create some of the coolest music in our lexicon. And within Gretsch’s own hallowed halls, the Silver and White Falcon are perhaps the most elegantly head-turning—with their sparkle binding and victory-winged headstock rendering them the 6-string equivalent of a sleek ’50s Cadillac. The new G6636TSL Silver Falcon gets all this, plus the modernized Players Edition treatment.
Vintage Minus the Hassle
For a brand whose products are so influential and distinctive, guitar building must often feel like a catch-22—how do you honor a legacy while also appealing to players whose needs and reference points aren’t tied to vintage specs and appointments? Gretsch’s Players Edition aims to bridge that gap with features like Bigsby vibratos modded to facilitate no-fuss stringing, Gotoh locking tuners, Grover strap locks, and treble-bleed master volumes. Appointments particular to this model include a 1 3/4"-deep, semi-hollow maple-laminate body with a slightly smaller-than-vintage 16" width at the lower bout. Unlike 25 1/2"-scale vintage-spec Falcons, the G6636TSL mates Gretsch’s shorter 24.6" scale to a 12"-radius ebony fretboard with thumbnail markers and 22 medium-jumbo frets. To offer a measure of feedback control at high volumes, there’s also a chambered-spruce center block.
In terms of our review model’s craftsmanship and setup, I found little to knock: The action is nice and low, the fretwork is very good, though not completely free of roughness at the edges, internal woodwork is neat and clean, and all aesthetic touches are executed with aplomb.
The Edition/Addition Dilemma
Three years ago, I reviewed the G6609TFM Players Edition Broadkaster—a less-flashy instrument with the same scale, body style, woods, and controls as this Silver Falcon. To help me compare the Broadkaster’s then-new Full’Tron pickups to the High Sensitive Filter’Trons that are synonymous with the classic Gretsch sound, the company also sent an otherwise identically equipped G6636T Players Edition Falcon. The more I compared the two, the more surprised I was that I gravitated toward the Broadkaster. Low-output, vintage-spec pickups are the foundational sounds my ears tend to prefer. Yet, time and again, I found myself favoring the Full’Trons’ more powerful and mid-enhanced tones over the traditional Filter’Trons.
The Silver Falcon reviewed here is stocked with the vintage-style “High Sensitive” Filter’Tron pickups rather than the Full’Trons. Then, as now, I enjoy their gritty, mid-scooped tones. But I found myself wishing Gretsch had outfitted this guitar with the Full’Trons, which, to me, are more fitting for the Professional Series/Players Edition appellation.
It’s not so much that it’s a “vintage vs. modern” thing. Gretsch describes Filter’Tron pickups as being a 7 (on a 10-point scale) for “power and sonic size,” and 9 out of 10 for “articulation, clarity, and dynamic range.” Full’Trons, meanwhile, are rated 8 in both categories. Obviously words and numbers are just that, but what I noticed as I tested the Silver Falcon through various amps—from silver-panel Vibrolux Reverb and Vibro Champ combos to a Goodsell Valpreaux 21 and a Jaguar HC50—was that the High Sensitive Filter’Trons are much more, well, sensitive—but in a different way from what one might expect. They are perfectly capable of prototypical Gretsch sounds—tough bridge-pickup bite and snarl, chimey two-pickup jangle, and warm jazz are all there for the taking. But in addition to their slightly nasal sound, are also apt to yield somewhat brittle highs and high mids, particularly under heavy attack. (And this is coming from a guy who loves buzzing-bee fuzz pedals and jagged vintage Fender Jaguar sounds.) Full’Trons, meanwhile, are capable of traditional Filter’Tron tones plus many others that modern players might find more malleable and versatile.
I’ve lusted after a great Gretsch semi-hollow for a long time—in fact, I’m still kicking myself for not buying that Broadkaster (though I have a hunch Santa might right that wrong for me in the next couple weeks). Ever since reviewing it, I’ve been mystified by the lack of public accolades for its stellar Full’Tron pickups, and the fact that they’re not currently available on any other Gretsch models. The Gretsch G6636TSL Silver Falcon could be all the wonderful things it is and more with the added clarity, airiness, and flexibility of those Full’Trons. To be sure, though, it still plays, looks, and sounds damn good.
The featherweight blast from the past boasts smart updates and classic tones.
Well-built with a comfortable neck, surprisingly light weight, and classic tones. Hardshell case.
P-90s might not be the most versatile pickup option.
$1,399 (with hardshell case)
Vox Bobcat V90
The original Vox Bobcats from the mid 1960s are the kind of guitar our the kind of guitar our Wizard of Odd columnist Frank Meyers writes about. They were license-built for Vox in Italy by Eko and Crucianelli—theoretically to compete with Gibson’s ES series (though at $329 they were about the same price as the most affordable double cutaway Gibson ES).
First-generation Bobcats were more prone to feedback and less consistent in quality than much of their Kalamazoo-built competition. They also featured bolt-on rather than set necks, which made the near-Gibson price harder to stomach for some customers. But they were stylish, generated distinct tones, and remain coveted by connoisseurs. Vox’s Korea-made reissues are a different breed in many respects. They feature set-neck construction, a stable Tune-o-matic bridge, trapeze tailpiece, two pickup options, and are highly feedback resistant despite being a featherweight 6.8 pounds.
They’re also handsome critters. My eyeballs were pleased when I opened our test Bobcat V90’s hardshell case. Its glossy black finish with white binding has a classy tuxedo look, which flatters the Bobcat’s 16.37" x 3.23" x 18" framework. White-and-black pinstripe binding around the maple laminate body and the 3-ply pickguard, with a black center layer, add to its charm. The white soapbar P-90s are also are a perfect fit for this particular color scheme. (For the record, the Bobcat is also available in cherry red and sunburst. There’s also a three-pickup version called the S66, with three slimmer, more period-correct single-coils.) The headstock is home to a mid-’60s era pearloid “Vox” overlay, while the block inlays that adorn the 22-medium-fret mahogany neck and Indonesian ebony fretboard are true to the original edition and add to the instrument’s good looks.
When I lifted the Bobcat out of the case, I was shocked by its light weight. I’ve never felt a semi-hollowbody that practically floated. And at a bit under 7 pounds, it’s three very noticeable pounds lighter than my own Gibson ES. Some of the featherweight feel is achieved via a clever weight-relieved spruce center block that reduces mass by slimming of the block aft of the bridge and around the pickup routes.
The Bobcat V90’s other appointments are smart, high-quality additions. While the original had a floating bridge with Jazzmaster-style grooved-barrel saddles and Bigsby-style vibrato, the new Bobcat has a Tune-o-matic with a trapeze tailpiece—making basic string adjustments, like adjusting the action, much simpler. The open-gear Grover tuners are aluminum— another weight-reducing feature that’s also borrowed from the original design—and the nut is a comfortable 1.69" across. Speaking of comfort, the thin, gentle C-profile set neck and 25" scale are very inviting and the deep double-cutaways make every note on the fretboard accessible.
There are no surprises when it comes to the electronics. Output from the P-90s (a pickup option never offered on the original) is controlled via a familiar two-volume/two-tone knob array. Thoughtfully, the pots have just enough resistance to rotate comfortably but ensure you won’t make errant adjustments by whacking a dial with your hand or sleeve in the heat of performance. Just as on the ’60s edition, the knobs are skirted, brushed aluminum.
To Screech or To Preach?
Even before plugging the Bobcat into my Carr Vincent’s brawny mid-boost circuit and taking turns with J. Rockett Archer, RAT, and Big Muff pedals, I was kinda in love with the Vox. The smooth, black-finished neck made cruising the fretboard easy, and the guitar feels equally copacetic with a delicate or heavy picking touch.
The tones are terrific. It preaches in a lovely vintage voice, with a warm and slightly wooly neck pickup that made me think of the 5 Royales’ Lowman Pauling, Jr.—a big influence on Steve Cropper—and other ’50s and ’60s soul/blues guitarists. Combining the bridge and neck pickups produces rich, sweet mids that sound luxuriant and make sustained single notes ring gracefully. The bridge pickup has snap and spank to spare. But the tone controls are responsive, and dialing back the tone pots makes the Bobcat sound more like a pure hollowbody—which is great if jazz or T-Bone Walker is your bag. With amp reverb in the mix, the Bobcat is an absolute time machine and it effortlessly yields tones you’ve heard on countless classic blues, R&B, and early rock records. I even had fun gently pulling up the trapeze to create quivering semitone vibrato. Impressively, it never tugged the resilient and stable Bobcat out of tune.
Given the Bobcat’s weight, I was skeptical about Vox’s claim of feedback resistance. But when it was time to get dirty I was pleasantly surprised with the guitar’s performance. Combined with my overdrive and fuzz pedals and the Carr in its more aggro midrange boost mode, the Bobcat growled rather than squealed. And I only generated feedback when I pushed past the medium gain amp settings that seem most appropriate for this guitar and stood in proximity to the amp. The Vox’s squeal-resistance is even more impressive with fuzz in the mix. The tandem of Big Muff and Bobcat inspired a Nuggets-style fuzz fest, but the Vox’s overall feedback resistance was comparable to my Strat and P-90-equipped Les Paul Special. That said, this guitar really sounds finest with clean or semi-clean amp settings, where it’s deliciously old-school voice and semi-hollow overtones really sing.
If you’re playing three or four sets of music every night that demand a variety of clarion vintage tones, the Vox Bobcat is an excellent, easy-to-play companion that won’t compress your vertebrae with its heft. And as a player who’s experienced that situation with a Les Paul strapped on, I do not take the Bobcat’s combination of light weight and big voice, um, lightly. If you’re looking for a widest-possible variety of sounds or a one-instrument-for-all-occasions 6-string, the V90 version of the Bobcat might not be your kitty, but there’s a lot to like about this beautiful, comfortable, and playable axe in its P-90 guise.
Watch the Demo: