The inspiration for our Astrojet v2.0 was the 1964 Astro-Jet from Gretsch(R). We've made a few improvements over the original design, namely using a Bigsby tremolo (optional) rather than the old 60's Burns model, and changing the middle switch from 3-way tone (mid/bass/treble) to a coil tap for a more versatile guitar.
Posted by Pal on 18th Aug 2014
I was thrilled to find out that Eastwood was doing an Astro-Jet reissue. My favorite guitar, since I found it sixteen years ago in a shop in damaged-enough condition that I could afford it, has been a '67 Gretsch Astro-Jet. It sounds perfect for my purposes. However, I was afraid to take a vintage Gretsch out to bars, so the Eastwood Astrojet was just what I needed. I picked one up the moment they became available.
I compared my original with the Eastwood: the reissue is about a pound lighter than the original (still heavy enough that the guitar isn't neck-heavy like an SG), and the body at its widest point is an inch and a half narrower than the original. The frets are nice and smooth on the edges; fret ends that stick out (as I've found on cheap guitars before) would have been a deal-breaker for me. Cosmetically, I think the shark-fin inlays are an odd choice.
The pickups aren't exactly like the Gretsch; to my ears they are in mini-humbucker territory, brighter than a PAF but fuller than single-coils. The both-pickups-on setting is the most Gretsch-like to me, but I use the other two positions (bridge alone or neck alone) when any overdrive/distortion is involved.
The finish (I chose the seafoam green, just to set it apart from my red original) is really nice, with the black back and neck like the original.
The "Licensed by Bigsby" vibrato is fine and stays in tune at least as well as the Burns vibrato on the original. I prefer the unique look of the original's "pyramid" base, but those aren't easy to find these days.
All in all, it's a very suitable substitute for the too-valuable-to-take-to-bars original. I use it all the time. The only trouble I've had at all was that the wire to the guitar's input jack came off after a couple of months' use, so a quick resolder was needed. Nothing else has let me down. I ended up putting different controls and 1970s pickups in the Eastwood, but that was just because I rewire guitars as a hobby, not because of any shortcomings of the Eastwood electronics.
In short, I'm happy with it, have no plans to get rid of it, and use it regularly. I'm very grateful that they reissued a guitar that I thought was not on anyone else's radar (including Gretsch's, apparently!). Thanks for putting this one out.