Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top Review – Features, Pros and Cons

By Alizabeth Swain | Acoustic Guitars

Last Updated on

The Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy is a refreshing parlor guitar, and with a price tag of under $200, this ¾ scale budget-friendly guitar is an instrument that will surprise musicians of all skill levels and playing styles.

When I first picked up the Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy, I honestly was taken aback by the sound quality that came out of this ¾ scale guitar, so much so that I didn’t believe my friend (who happens to be a guitar expert) that is was just $200. It’s very rare that companies make quality ¾ guitars that are so affordable. It’s almost too good to be true!

Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t hand this guitar over to a professional acoustic guitarist who is getting ready to play on stage and tell them that they’d be set to perform flawlessly. However, this fun little parlor guitar would make a great instrument for a beginner, someone who travels a lot, or just for someone who is looking to keep a guitar out on display in their home or in their studio to run their fingers across every once in a while!

Enough swooning, let’s get into talking about what makes the Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy so great!

Features of the Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top

  • Six Steel strings
  • Parlor body shape
  • No cutaway
  • Right-handed
  • Vintage sunburst color
  • Agathis top wood
  • Semi-gloss polyurethane
  • Agathis sides and back
  • X body bracing
  • Nato neck
  • C-shape neck
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • 12-inch radius fingerboard
  • White dot inlay
  • 18 frets
  • 24-inch scale length
  • Open gear tuning pegs
  • Rosewood bridge
  • PPS nut
  • 1.678-inch nut width
  • 18-inch body length
  • 13-inch body width
  • 3.875-inch body depth

Build

Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top - Vintage Sunburst

This six-string parlor guitar sports a body that is entirely made up of Agathis, while also featuring X-bracing, complete with a matte sunburst finish that ombres from dark brown to black. The white Gretsch pickguard acts as a useful, but decorative accent piece for the dark appearance of the G9500.

As for the neck, you will find that this ‘C’ shaped neck is comprised from Nato and has a standard rosewood fingerboard, with 18 frets and white dot inlays. While Nato isn’t the highest quality of wood to use for a neck, Gretsch’s quality craftsmanship made the neck feel sturdy and playable, which also helps contribute to the sound that makes the G9500 stand out from the rest of the crowd.

From a physical appearance alone, this certainly isn’t a cheap looking guitar if that’s something that you’re concerned about. I don’t think that it would be fair to compare the looks of this guitar to a high-end or expensive model, but for this being right around $200, it certainly doesn’t look like it was that affordable.

With the 24-inch scale length non-cutaway flat top ¾ body, the G9500 is a great choice if you are a beginning guitar player, someone who has smaller hands, are looking for a guitar that you can travel around with easily, want a guitar that you can easily display inside of your home without taking up too much space, or if you are shopping around for a guitar for your child to start learning on.

G9500 Hardware

As for the hardware that comes installed, you’re not going to find anything too exciting or too unique. Just a 3 + 3 configuration of open gear die-cast tuners, which are pretty solid. On the opposite end of the guitar, you’ll find a rosewood bridge with a compensated saddle, which is what I would expect to find on a budget-friendly guitar. Like I said, nothing too fancy, but everything is solidly built.

While you may have heard that laminated Agathis isn’t a valuable wood to choose if you’re looking to get a guitar with quality sound projection, we will get into that a little bit later. But for now, the ‘C’ shaped neck with smooth semi-gloss makes this an easy to play neck that’s friendly to small hands. For this being a budget friendly guitar, the affordable price tag certainly isn’t shown or felt in the neck! The biggest downfall is that this acoustic guitar does take some setting up when you pull it out of the box and it isn’t ready to play as soon as it arrives to your doorstep, which is a common problem with affordable acoustic guitars.

Sound

The only thing that I found to be lacking with the Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy is the sound projection, but that’s to be expected because of the smaller sized body. It wouldn’t be fair to compare the sound projection of the G9500 to a full-sized guitar, but it does still certainly have a nice punch to its sound. As with the majority of other ¾ guitars, the middle tones are what are the most noticeable on this guitar.

As for the overall tone of this guitar, it’s got a sweet and boxy tone, which makes it perfect for slide guitar, jazz, and blues fingerstyle. However, the tangy sweetness of this guitar doesn’t take away from other acoustic playing styles, but if you have a very keen ear, you may not be completely in love with the overall sound of this guitar when used in different playing styles or genres. If you are someone who is looking for a guitar that’s going to deliver a punchy vibe, this is going to be the perfect guitar for you if you’re on a strict budget.

Pros of the Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy

  • Affordable pricing, especially if you are looking for a guitar to casually play or you’re looking to just get started
  • ¾ size (AKA parlor size), which means that it’s great to have if you are someone with a smaller stature
  • For this being a budget guitar, it has a spot on tuning and doesn’t fall out of tuning every time you pick it up to play
  • This guitar features a pinless bridge, which makes it easier for beginners to change out strings!

Cons of the Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy:

  • The smaller size of this body may make it harder for people who have larger statures or larger hands to play
  • The G9500 does have a boxy sound projection to it, but in my opinion, the rich timbre makes up for the boxy sound projection
  • Doesn’t come with a starter case, meaning that you’ll have to do extra shopping if you’re a beginner who is in need of tools to begin your guitar journey

Pros of the Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy

Cons of the Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy

Affordable pricing

Produces a boxy sound projection, which may be a deal breaker if you’re someone who has guitar experience and are only shopping around for a very specific sound

Small and comfortable to play for youngsters or teens or for adults who have small hands or small bodies

Wouldn’t be a good choice if you are a teen or adult that has a larger stature or large hands

Incredible tuning and tuning hold

Doesn’t come with a starter case, meaning you have to shell out more cash on other guitar necessities if you’re just getting started with your guitar journey

Who is the Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy best suited for?

Other alternatives to consider

If the Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, here are a couple of other alternative guitars for you to take a quick look at!

Yamaha FG JR1

Maybe you’re on the hunt for a guitar with a dreadnought body, and if which case you are, the Yamaha FG JR1 is a ¾ scale guitar that comes with 20 frets and an authentic acoustic guitar sound thanks to the Yamaha’s quality craftsmanship. Even if you’re specifically in the market for a guitar that’s comfortable in small hands and that would make a great guitar to travel around with, the Yamaha FG JR1 is a great contestant to look at. Not to mention that to make your guitar experience a lot more affordable if you’re just getting started, the FG JR1 comes with a starter kit that gives you everything you need to have a successful start to your guitar journey. Thee FG JR1 is $135. Check out the latest prices on Amazon.

Fender FA-115

If you’re looking for a beginner friendly guitar that has incredible sound performance without breaking the bank, the Fender FA-115 is a solid top acoustic guitar that is made up of spruce, which provides a higher-quality tone in comparison to another beginner-friendly (and budget-friendly) acoustic guitars, that mainly use laminated woods. This is going to be the acoustic guitar you want to gravitate towards if you intend on eventually playing live performances jam-packed with high-quality sound! The FA-115 is $160. Check out the latest prices on Amazon.

Conclusion

The Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy is a very affordable parlor guitar that makes a great instrument to have around if you’re not someone who plays all the time but want to have an instrument to grab when you’re in the mood to run your hands across some strings. This guitar wasn’t built to play on stage in front of a huge live audience, so if you’re looking for a small guitar that’s going to give you the sound to be able to do so, you’re looking at the wrong instrument. The Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy is a traditional guitar that has a unique sound to it but doesn’t have a bunch of bells and whistles.

If you’re looking for a high-quality guitar that you can keep at home for practicing or you’re just interested in an instrument that you can keep out for display (because the G9500 is stunning, if we’re being completely honest here), the Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy will fit perfectly in line with what you’re looking for. The Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy is a solid guitar that delivers a lot of character, but still comfortable and plain enough to make an outstanding entry-level guitar!

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