Guitars to some men are like purses are to some women—how can anyone abide having just one? You need an acoustic for living room doodling, a clean-sounding electric for the jazz riffs you’ll never master and a husky-voiced Gibson for blues and rockabilly. Oh, and you’re going to need a show-piece. Enter, the iconic Gretsch Black Penguin. This vintage-style axe combines the cut out shape of Gretsch’s Duo Jet with the wild, glittery gold finish of its Falcon. Every part is pure Deco: a gold, Gretsch “G” Cadillac-style tailpiece, gold-sparkle ebony fingerboard, and rhinestone-and-gold control knobs. Technically, the Black Penguin boasts dual Dynasonic pickups (the company’s signature tech since the forties) and Grover imperial tuners, for a perfect, old-school richness. Not many guitars can boast that they look as good as they sound, but the Black Penguin has hardware as golden as its voice. [$4,500; gretschguitars.com]
Looks like a villain, sounds like a hero.