AF’s Weblog

June 15, 2010

Gretsch G5191BK Tim Armstrong Guitar Review

When it comes to punk music, Gretsch is not really the first guitar brand you think about. And yet, Tim Armstrong, Rancid’s famous guitar player, chose the US brand for his signature model. Overview of the “no-future” Gretsch.

Tim Armstrong

The brand has been offering special and signature models for a long time. We have already tested here a model customized by pinstriping artist JimmyC. Moreover. Gretsch has already collaborated with big names in the guitar world including Chet Atkins and Brian Setzer (The Stray Cats), as well as hard-rock artists like Nono (Trust) or Malcolm Young (AC/DC). With Tim Armstrong, Gretsch takes one more step towards sound brutality!

Rancid is a punk rock band from California created in 1991 by Matt Freeman (bass) and Tim Armstrong (first guitar player to walk on the moon) who came from the ska punk band Operation Ivy. Rancid, together with Green Day and Offspring, was part of the American punk revival in the 1990’s. Their bestselling albums are “Let’s Go” and “…And Out Come the Wolves” (and its hits Ruby Soho, Time Bomb, etc.) respectively launched in 1994 and 1995. Rancid became a cult band in the punk and ska punk scenes and influenced bands like Good Charlotte or Simple Plan. After a somewhat slack period from 2004 to 2007, in 2009 the band launched their latest album “Let The Dominoes Fall,” which has enjoyed critical and commercial success alike.

The signature guitar presented by Gretsch is a replica of the left-handed punk rocker’s favorite: a ’71 Country Club.

Now let’s take a closer look and a listen to what this baby has to offer…


Gretsch G5191BKGretsch offers an interesting signature model with a rich and original finish and a pair of good Filter’Tron pickups with a strong personality. Among its major pros are that the instrument is easily playable, well balanced and not too heavy is spite of its wide dimensions. The Grover machine heads and the fixed tailpiece ensure a very good tuning stability. We only regret the lack of a gig bag or case — a must have for an instrument with a price tag of $1,150… We can honestly recommend the G5191BK to all punk fans… and the rest of you!


  • Nice and original look
  • Interesting pickups
  • Grover machine heads
  • Good tuning stability
  • Very pleasant to play


  • No gig bag nor case
  • Expensive for a Korean instrument

To read the full detailed article with sound samples see:  Gretsch G5191BK Review

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