“A ramblin’ companion for everything from bluesy porch pickin’ to speakeasy swingin’”: Are Gretsch’s new Jim Dandy models 2024’s budget acoustics to beat?

Gretsch jim Dandy 2024
(Image credit: Gretsch)

Gretsch has added six new acoustic guitars to its affordable, nostalgically crafted Jim Dandy range. With standard models and Deltoluxe editions, which include a pickup for plugging into amps and pedalboards, the range remains affordable while honouring the brand's storied heritage.

All six guitars feature “period-correct details”, which include a vintage-style G graphic pickguard, pinstripe purfling three-on-a-plate open-gear tuning machines and oversized dot inlays. It’s available in Rex Burst and Frontier Stain finishes, with the guitar supposedly suitable for “everything from bluesy porch pickin’ to speakeasy swingin’” with a “nostalgic personality destined for any barn burner or jamboree.” Sign us up.

First up is the Jim Dandy Parlor ($189), which offers a walnut fretboard and white pickguard. It has a “petite and portable” body, ideal for travelling strummers, and a 24” scale length. Reliability and durability combine with its X-braced body, crafted with select and lightweight laminate tonewoods. Its C-shaped neck, meanwhile, presents comfortable playability “for hours of old-timey inspiration.”

The Parlor also gets a Deltoluxe version with a nearly $100 price jump. So, what do you get for your money? The petite and portable body and 24” scale length remain, which Gretsch has us believe makes the guitar “punch above its weight with a distinct tonal clarity and a throaty midrange for which parlor guitars are so beloved.”

The X-braced body and C-shaped neck also remain, but it’s joined by the onboard Gretsch Deltolue magnetic soundhole pickup to provide a versatile electrified acoustic tone through amplifiers. That’s the only differentiator, apart from its coloring, with the Parlor Deltoluxe only available with a black top finish.

The Concert model also gets a standard model ($189) and a Deltoluxe ($279) edition. Inspired by Gretsch’s historic Rex line, which were available via mail-order catalogs between the 1930s and 50’s, they look to “embody the charm and spirit of those early Gretsch flat top guitars”.

Bigger than the Parlors, they offer a 24 3/4” scale length, alongside that much talked about X-braced body and C-shaped neck and walnut fretboards.

The versatile instruments are said to deliver a vintage woody tone, with the standard coming with a white pickguard and the Deltoluxe, which again features Gretsch’s magnetic soundhole pickup, with a tortoiseshell pickguard. The Delotluxe is available in black top.

The sextet of additions is rounded off by the Dreadnought. The price difference between the Standard ($189) and Deltoluxe ($279) remains the same here, as does the extra value coming via the magnetic soundhole pickup in the Deltoluxe.

Again too, they both come with walnut fretboards, with the standard offering a white pickguard and the Deltoluxe tortoiseshell with the rex burst and frontier stains exclusive to the standard and the black top its fancier namesake.

What sets the Dreadnought apart from the others is its specially designed slope shoulder body shape. Combined with its 24 3/4” scale length, Gretsch says the Dreadnought offers a "refreshingly comfortable and compact form factor without sacrificing the volume, projection and bass response."

The new range is available to order – thankfully not via mail-order catalog – in March. So it’s probably worth putting your next barn burner on hold until then.  

Gretsch, no stranger to Guitar World readers, has been turning trees into classic-sounding guitars since 1883, with a long list of luminaries to have slung one over their shoulders.

From George Harrison and The Cult’s Billy Duffy – one of the best guitarists Manchester, UK has ever produced alongside the recently returned John Squire – and the behatted Orville Peck.

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Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to Prog, Guitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.