Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top Acoustic Guitar - REVIEW

13 Jul 2022

Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top Acoustic Guitar - REVIEW

Back again with an interim mini review of a small bodied guitar that might appeal to ukulele players. This is the much lauded Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top Parlour Guitar.

Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top Acoustic Guitar

I've been intrigued by these for many years now and this series of small guitar reviews seemed like the perfect time to take a closer look. 

Compared to the last two small guitars I've looked at this sits between the two. It's still certainly much smaller than a dreadnought guitar and whilst it's bigger in the body than the Aria I looked at it's a fair bit smaller than the PRS P20. In fact it's a very 'old time' skinny body, developed by Gretsch as a homage to their old Rex guitars. I absolutely love the look of it.

Scale wise too this is halfway between the last two, not quite as long as the 24.7 inch PRS but longer than the Aria. It's a 24 inch scale, interestingly joined to the body at the 12th fret, not the 14th which also gives it an air of feeling smaller and a very old time feel.

It's pretty basic construction too, made from all laminate basswood in the body covered in a range of flat colour finishes.  Basswood is a pretty cheap material to make guitars from, so we shall see how it sounds in the review. It's an interesting one for me because when I see ukuleles like this (basswood laminate, painted outer finish) I run for the hills.. Colour wise this is a limited edition offering called 'Nocturne Blue' but it comes in a range of other options such as a sunburst, a plain brown, and, over the years a range of other 'limited edition' colours that come and go. The colouring combined with the skinny body just adds to the old time look. All share the same white pickguard with the Gretsch G.

Another old time oddity here is the top load bridge. That is to say that unlike most other acoustic guitars this omits a pin bridge style and rather allows you to feed the strings directly through the walnut bridge mounting. It's essentially a tie bar like you'd see on a ukulele, but with the ball ends on guitar strings there is no need for the 'tie'. Neat.

I'll leave you to judge the tone yourselves from the video below,  but I am quite staggered by how it sounds. No, it's not a full beefy 'big guitar' sound, but it kind of suits its look down to a tee. It's a little blues box! Just a great porch pickers instrument I think that I have grown to be VERY taken with!

They can be had in the UK for about £180 which is also something not to quibble about. Recommended!



Model: Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy
Size: Flat top parlour
Scale: 24 inch
Body: Laminate basswood
Bridge: Walnut top load
Saddle: Synthetic bone, compensated
Finish: Satin
Neck: Nato
Fingerboard: Walnut
Frets: 18, joined at 12th
Nut: Synthetic bone
Nut width: 43mm
Tuners: Vintage style open gears
Strings: 12's (D'Addario)
Country of origin: East Asia
Weight: 1.61 kg
Price: Circa £170 - £180







  1. Well done, Baz! These inexpensive catalog type guitars from the early 20th century were a staple for many struggling amateur musicians and newbies who simply could not afford the better instruments.

    These plywood wonders were sold by Sears, Montgomery Ward and many had names like Stella, Silvertone, Kay, Harmony and others. I started learning on one - a no name import - very similar in size and shape to the Gretsch over 60 years ago. So many old period photos show inexpensive catalog guitars in the hands of blues musicians who eventually went on to achieve fame and own the good stuff.

    The cheaper catalog guitars like the one I had featured thick, stout C necks (in lieu of a truss rod) and fairly high action , both of which were more amenable to slide playing with a drinking glass, bottle or butter knife. It's still a treat to listen to the old early 20th century recordings and hear the organic sounds of the string squeaks, fret buzz and string slap of these inexpensive guitars.

    Thank you for reviewing a 21st century throwback acoustic guitar even though the Gretsch is a much nicer, better quality version with a truss rod. Bravo!

  2. Thanks for reviewing related instruments that uke players might be interested in - based on your recommendation I purchased one of these in the new 'Rex sunburst' finish and I'm absolutely blown away by the playability and tone of a sub $200 US guitar - ( I have Martins and Taylors ) but this is 'special' - the look and feel of a depression era catalog instrument that is actually playable ! I looked up a 1936 Gretsch catalog which lists a very similar looking 'Rex' model for US $8.00 almost exactly the same price in 2024 US $ ( $190.00 )


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