Which Are Better? D’ Angelico vs Gretsch Guitars

When looking for a new guitar it’s very common to antagonize certain brands.

Most likely they are trying to appeal to the same audience, and the competition becomes obvious.

However, if you look closer, there are noticeable differences between these 2 brands of guitars.

If you’re looking for a quick answer to the question, here it is:

The main differences between Gretsch and D’Angelico are that Gretschs start at a cheaper price point and are a great entry into the hollow and semi-hollow guitar world for many players, especially with their Streamliner and Electromatic series. D’Angelico guitars are more expensive and of better quality.

If you want to stay a bit longer with us and go more in-depth on the topic, we will talk about each of these guitar makers, and then we will put them side by side to expose their main differences.

Finally, we will give you our insights into what we think would work out better for you.

Are you ready?

Let’s get started.

D’ Angelico guitars brief history, quality, and overview

Dangelico EXL

The D’ Angelico guitar brand was founded in 1932 in Manhattan’s Little Italy. Since then it was a staple in the New York jazz scene.

However, these guitars are clearly not solely designed for jazz. The instrument line this brand has to offer is very broad and looks to appeal to a wide range of players.

D’ Angelico offers solid body, hollow body, and acoustic guitars at different prices and quality points.

They have an entry-level line called Premier, mid-range lines called Deluxe and Excel, and of course, custom shop and master-built ones. 

You can find amazing guitars inside their lineup that would suit almost any need and with an amazing price to quality ratio.

Where are D’ Angelico guitars made?

D’angelico’s cheapest electric guitars are made in Indonesia, and their mid-range ones are built in South Korea. Their acoustics are made in China. Their higher-end instruments are made in the USA.

Gretsch guitars brief history, quality, and overview

Gretsch guitar

The Gretsch company was founded in 1883 in New York, also. Since then it focused on providing world-class musical instruments for players all across the world.

These instruments are part of the American culture, and they might be considered the third most popular guitar brand in the States.

Gretsch offers a lot of different instruments to suit their fans’ needs.

Their modern lineup is comprised of 3 lines: The entry-level Streamliner line, the Electromatic line, and the Professional line.

All of these instruments are of amazing quality and have great price-to-quality ratios.

Where are Gretsch guitars made?

The Streamliner line is made in Indonesia, the Electromatic line is made in Korea, while the “Jet” models are made in China. All Professional line guitars are made in America.

Main differences between D’Angelico and Gretsch guitars

Both these brands have a unique soul that transpires into their instruments.

However, both also try to tap into the industry leaders’ market share by offering models with specs very similar to the ones of their competitors.

You could find instruments in both their lineups that compete directly with Les Pauls or 335s.

D’Angelico, however, has a distinct solid body line that seems to go to places that other brands never went. For instance, their Bedford model is very interesting.

Gretsch doesn’t have anything like that to offer, and solid bodies are not their specialty, apart from the Jet models that are more geared towards what a Les Paul could offer.

When looking into the hollow body lineup, both brands shine in their own particular way. D’ Angelico’s most popular flavor has always been their archtop jazz machines, and they are top-notch.

Gretsch’s lineup is more blues, rockabilly, and rock-oriented, however, you can surely get amazing jazz tones with their instruments. Not the D’ Angelico archtop sound, though.

As a curious note, D’Angelico even offers a hollow body model that comes with replicas of Gretsch’s famous Filter’Tron pickups. So even if you’re looking for a Gretsch tone, they could help you with that.

Having said all these things. It’s important to note a defining factor when contrasting these 2 guitar brands.

D’Angelico guitars are considerably more expensive than Gretsch’s

And Gretsch’s great selling point is that their Streamliner and Electromatic lines contain amazingly constructed and sounding instruments at a very affordable price point.

For the common player, and maybe for those who are just taking their first steps into hollow or semi-hollow instruments, a lower entry price might be the dealbreaker.

With that in mind, we can say that D’Angelico’s lineup is targeted to a more sophisticated player audience.

Which one should you choose?

Here at GearAficionado, we don’t like pointing you in one direction blindly. We know that getting a new guitar is a very personal decision and you should treat it as no less than that.

There are many sources of information and you should always make your way among them in the most effective way.

We always encourage you to try out the gear before making a final decision, especially when talking about guitars. If you could get to go to a store that has a few Getschs and D’angelicos available, it would surely be a very enriching experience for you.

However, if you want to know what we particularly think about who would prefer which one of these brands, here are our insights on the matter:

  • If you want to make your first experiences with a hollow body guitar, check out the Gretsch lineup
  • If you want a unique guitar that will give you a unique tone, look at D’Angelico’s solid bodies
  • If you are on a budget, check out Gretsch’s Streamliner lineup
  • If you play jazz exclusively, give D’Angelico’s archtops a try
  • If you are more of a country or rockabilly player, go for a Gretsch guitar
  • If you value more quality than any other thing, try out the D’Angelico lineup