Tonal Evaluation

I stayed long after normal Wildwood hours to write this tonal evaluation because I simply couldn't wait until tomorrow to play this Turquoise Sparkle 1959 Penguin from the bench of Masterbuilder (and mastermind!) Stephen Stern. What enticed me to forfeit my free time? Well, I can't lie: I was smitten with its aesthetic. The Lake Placid Blue back, sides, and neck complement the sparkly top beautifully, and the relic job is top-notch.

I was right to judge the book by the cover, too, because this thing roars! It's loud enough to fill a room acoustically, and the three Super'Tron pickups provide endless sonic delights when you plug in. Super'Trons are quite touch-sensitive, and you can get everything from glassy, warm, shimmering cleans to growling, gnarly rock overdrive simply by altering your right-hand velocity and technique. Plug one of these babies into a tube amp on the edge of breakup and you might be tempted to toss all your overdrive pedals in the dumpster...

As far as frequency response goes, this Gretsch is just right. The growly, percussive attack gives way to rich lows, vocal upper-midrange quack, and shimmering, shiny highs. Players of all stripes will find something to love here. Country players will love its capacity for twang, folk rockers will love its jangle, rockers will love its AC/DC-worthy crunchiness, and punks will dig its aggressive voice.

Stephen Stern's Masterbuilt Gretsches are always spectacular. They're the kind of guitars that sort of make you feel like a rock star when you play an E power chord, and this serial showcases that hard-to-define quality. Anyone searching for a sparkly beast will love this serial for a lifetime (also, Sparkle Beast would be a great name for a band, wouldn't it? No one take it--it's mine!).


Brand Gretsch
ModelMasterbuilt 1959 Penguin Relic
Top ColorTurquoise Sparkle
Back and Sides ColorLake Placid Blue
Weight9.52 lbs.
Master BuilderStephen Stern
Top WoodArched Laminated Maple
Body WoodChambered Mahogany Body
BindingWhite Pearloid
Neck WoodMahogany
Neck ShapeStandard "C"
Neck Dimensions.880 1st - .950 9th
Fingerboard InlaysPearloid Thumbnails
Nut MaterialBone
Pickups3 TV Jones Super'Trons
ControlsTriple Jet Wiring
TunersGrover Imperial
BridgeRocking Bar Pinned
CaseGrey Hardshell Case

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Serial Number: UC18101718

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