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Gretsch Guitars?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by terekyasuta, Mar 6, 2021.

  1. terekyasuta

    terekyasuta TDPRI Member

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    Long story short, I got a Tele instead of a Gretsch Jet/Penguin.

    Long story, I tried to get a Gretsch White Falcon, went into a shop, grabbed the Falcon, played it, and for some reason I was very, very disappointed with the guitar. I mean... it sounded good, but for some reason I just didn't... want it? I was so determined to buy it and I had all my cash ready but at the end I didn't make a decision and left the shop with my hands empty.

    Then I realized, maybe a hollow body guitar isn't just right for me. I wanted a White Falcon because of how cool it looked but I didn't really like it... so why not try to solid body version, which is, a Penguin?

    But I tried so hard to find a Penguin but at the end I just couldn't get my hands on a Penguin, and there was a local Gretsch distributor who was willing to sell me a Penguin for around $6,000 if I pay 10% upfront and to never question anything and buy it when the product arrives.

    Now, I'm not a very careful person, or take huge caution while I make purchases, but I don't feel comfortable when I buy a guitar that I haven't played. But I preordered it anyway, and of course, my worries did not go away and I eventually cancelled my preorder and had to fight for my deposit back.

    After that whole fiasco, I bought a Tele that I wanted, and now here I am, wondering if things would've been different if I bought the Gretsch instead of the Tele?

    Are there any Tele owners who have a Gretsch solid body guitar? If you do, do you think it is good to have one with the Tele? And also, do you think it's worth the money you paid for? For a Made in Japan guitar, these things are pretty pricey IMO. The guitar I was ultimately thinking of getting was this: https://www.gretschguitars.com/gear...tage-select-57-duo-jet-with-bigsby/2401612846

    The reason why I'm asking this question in a TDPRI forum is that I would get heavily biased answers if I would ask the same question from a Gretsch guitar forum, and I would like to avoid that.
     
  2. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I owned about over a dozen of so Gretsch guitars, vintage, MIK, MIC, MII, and MIJ. Huge Tele fan as well. I'm on the Gretsch forums too so there you go.

    MIJ Gretsch quality comes close to flawless, so for me it's worth it. Going Pro line is the only way to get a 3-ply thin ply top Duo Jet with proper Dyna-style chambering. No, there isn't a Nitron drum cover top, but I don't really want one dampened like that anyways.

    Having one with a Tele? I think those ideas are myths. I like the idea that guitars compliment one another but no, a Gretsch is not necessary to anything, any more than a Gibson, etc. Get what you like.

    I'm also not a fan of 'half-way' Gretsch, which is modern interpretations of Gretsch to appeal to Gibson type people. I have no shame here, I'm a Gretsch purist lol :) The Players Edition series is dilution, with the low neck joint, conventional strap buttons, and that awful Bigsby B7. No floating rosewood base bridge? Nope. Doesn't mean it won't work for you, but it's not for me.

    My main problem with the Jet DS, besides the neck joint and B7, is the fact they made custom Dynasonics to fit the geometry. They are housed in custom casings. You best like those pickups from the get go, because you can't install Seymour Duncan Dynos or TVJ T-Armonds, not without transplanting them into the stock casings. Glue is your friend here, and it's not fun.

    I prefer DeArmond/Dynasonics as the "Gretsch sound", but it's also much more closer to a single coil Fender than it is anything else. Any reason you don't want a Filtertron Gretsch?
     
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  3. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Holic

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    I don't own either so I can't help on that front, but I certainly understand why you canceled under those conditions. If I ever pay that much for a guitar, I want my hands on it before I decide to buy it.

    How far would you have to travel to a shop that has one? Might be worth a trip for that kind of money.
     
  4. 68tele

    68tele Friend of Leo's

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    Only you will know if u would prefer a gretsch over a tele - a completely subjective unanswerable-by-anyone-but-yourself question. Might as well ask a stranger what your favorite color is.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2021
  5. teleman1

    teleman1 Friend of Leo's

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    THey say tone is in the fingers. Some say more guitars, more tools. First off, I had a 6118. I actually play a bit different cause of the fretboard & tone. It made me think of new things to try. SO that is the plus for me with Gretsch. Also, the Falcon is big, lightly heavy, maybe a bit cumbersome? But the 6118, for me was much more manageable. Check out a 6118 and the Tennessee Rose. Gretsch are vibrato happy guitars also.
     
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  6. decibel

    decibel Tele-Meister

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    I have two Teles and have owned three Duo Jets, though I'm down to one. I prefer the Teles, but every once and a while that Gretsch feels and sounds incredible to play. For those moments, it's worth it. Between those moments, I always want to sell it.
     
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  7. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Gretsch guitars are sneaky.
    If you find a good one, you may fall in love with it.
    My MIJ 2003 Chet is easily my best sounding guitar.
    I was a Tele guy for 30 years.
    I got a great deal on my Chet, took it to a few gigs, and it quickly knocked my old faithful avatar guitar off it's throne.
    I still use my Tele on "all country/all night" gigs, but the Chet sounds like "me".
    My point is, if you can, spend some quality time with a good Gretsch.
    I personally prefer the MIJ guitars with TV Jones Classic+ and Supertron pickups.
    No guitar is perfect (yet), but for me, my Chet sounds perfect.
     
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  8. terekyasuta

    terekyasuta TDPRI Member

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    I did hear a lot about the modern Player's Edition series and how it's similar with Gibson. As a guy who owned two Gibson Les Pauls and sold them after playing for a month or two, I don't think I would go with the Player's Edition also.

    I was thinking of changing the pickups... thanks for letting me know of this issue.

    I don't have any problems with Filtertron, but so far I've sold two of my Gibsons which are humbuckers, and I try to stay away from them and stick with the single coils.

    I could take a plane to Osaka and go to 2 Michelin one star restaurant there, take the Shinkansen to Kamata, Tokyo, visit Ochanomizu and get myself the Penguin I wanted at that time, buy a bunch of sweets from the duty free, get my tax refunded, and head home, and I would be a bit over the budget, but you get my point ;)

    Surely you do not want a whimsical conversation with an internet stranger about the great differences of two guitar brands and how they sound, or discuss the what-if situations and how my decisions could've been changed if certain circumstances were right? Of course I do want somebody to help me to choose and give opinions about my past and future purchases but I'm also just trying to have a nice conversation here. If you have any other opinions related to the thread let me know, I would like to have a lot of opinions that I could consider from a different perspective point of view~
     
  9. Dereksys38

    Dereksys38 Tele-Meister

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    I plan on buying a Gretsch, a 5220 Jet. I've never played a real Telecaster, but my partscaster was a Tele (different body shape, neck). Personally, I like the looks/sound of a Tele, but I love the looks/sound of the Gretsch, it's my first real guitar so I'm choosing what speaks to me.
     
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  10. rockymtnguitar

    rockymtnguitar Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I'm not playing the same financial ballpark as you're discussing, but I will say that I have a solid body (chambered) Gretsch G5439T Electromatic Pro Jet along with a few different Tele variations. I find them to be different tools. Equally fun, but not the same. So yes, I think one of each is good. They can have a similar bite, to my ears, but the feel is different. I also find that I approach some guitars differently than others. I don't play my esquire the same way I play a standard tele, for example. I think you'll find the same with your teles vs a gretsch.
     
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  11. terekyasuta

    terekyasuta TDPRI Member

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    I'll try to keep an eye on that model too. Gretsch guitars are hard to come by in this country, so I might as well wait until I can visit Japan to get a quick look at some of the guitars I want to try out. In fact there's a list(still pending) of guitars I would want to check out when I go to Japan and I'll add the 6118 on the list.

    So it's just like my old Gibsons... incredible when the moment occurs, if not, then sell... hmm...

    I don't think I've tried the Chet Atkins version, but then again I have a strict private rule of not owning any artist signature guitars so that's out of the league I think. I will try it though if I get a chance, it's kind of hard to try out guitars in this country.
     
  12. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yep. Here's my Japanese pre-FMIC:
    [​IMG]
    My modifications were removing the pickguard and mudswitch circuit, and adding the bigs.

    Dick Dale also modded it:cool:
     
  13. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Are you picky about necks? That's the other thing, almost all the MIJ Gretsch guitars have thin necks. One reason I went with a '53 Vintage Select Duo Jet was because of the potential for a chunkier neck. I took a chance online, since I got a good deal on it. Thankfully it was not thin but had a little thickness and shoulder to it.

    Filtertrons are the only humbuckers I like (besides Firebird pickups). Not Powertrons, not Supertrons, or any of the new stuff Gretsch is trying to make more Gibson like, just the original, 4k variety. Bright and clear as can be for a double coil. IF you went for a Filtertron Gretsch, you'd also have a vast amount of options to swap in.

    Personally, I never spend MIJ kind of money for a guitar that doesn't have everything I want up front. Everything except you know, the bridge lol. That always has to GO on a Gretsch :lol:
     
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  14. terekyasuta

    terekyasuta TDPRI Member

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    Well noted, I like thicker necks, and the reissue models seemed thick to me, hence why I'm going for the reissue duo jet model.

    I tried filtertrons but I think I still prefer the single coils, although I haven't had enough time with them tbh. I think I should try them more and see what's what.
     
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  15. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I have an Electromatic Pro-jet (import) that is an outstanding value and I love it. Different animal altogether from a Tele. Chambered body, shorter scale, and a Bigsby - what's not to like?? If you put a gun to my head with a Sophie's Choice, I would choose my 74 Thinline. But at least try a Pro-jet or Duo-jet.

    2016-12-26_19h28_46.jpg Gretsch B3V.jpg
     
  16. glenlivet

    glenlivet Tele-Afflicted

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    Mid range Gretsch's are a heck of a bargain....I have a 2010'ish 5429 that is a super guitar.
    Low action, great neck. Plays great.
    I did a couple upgrades, just to fit my tastes....but it didn't *need* a single thing.
     
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  17. Bob M

    Bob M Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I’ve owned 3 Gretsch guitars. A ‘64 Harrison spec Country Gent, a 2006 g6120 (Terada made) and a 2012 White Falcon g6136. The Gent was a good (not great) guitar. The 6120 was a great guitar that I gave to my son. The Falcon was an enigma. It was one of the few guitars that I have bought for no good reason except that I always wanted one. The Falcon was a great guitar but it was physically huge and as I got older it became harder to play. Long story short I sold it. I think I have finally gotten over impulse buying (if that’s possible!) and have reshaped my collection to a more workmanlike assortment. I think owning a Falcon was cool for sure. But you should buy it used so you don’t get beat up too badly with resale. Just like a boat or a sports car it will be sold.
     
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  18. decibel

    decibel Tele-Meister

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    That's my experience. My three Gretsches were all the Made in Japan, btw. I kept one (the best one), but most days I feel that's an error. The days I don't feel that way and it sounds like bliss makes keeping it worth it.

    Gretsches will fight you a little. Mostly I think this is because the bridge is taller than Fender's, so there's a strange righthand feel when switching to the Gretsch. The necks are also just a hair too thin to feel great. They just feel okay. Go find a shop and test some out. I agree above the Dynasonics (or TV Jones version) are the way to go. Unless you're gigging, and then Filtertrons make a lot of sense.
     
  19. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    The VS ‘53 and the ‘57 Duo Jets are the ones to definitely check out. Both come with T-Armonds stock, which is a major plus, IMHO. They can be a little mid heavy on the bridge, but because the pickup position is true to vintage (i.e. closer to the bridge), they end up sounding very balanced with (oh damn) “twang and snarl” lol.

    The Gretsch Dynas are not compensated for bridge or neck position, and they have the tall magnets which means they can easily cause ‘Stratitus’. The Gretsch Dynas do have a raw edge to the them, where I think T-Armonds are more even sounding. I have played both back to back with a real vintage 50s DeArmond Model 2000. The T-As came very close, so it’s all minor. The only Dyna/DeArmond type I haven’t used is a set of Seymour Duncans, but I hear they have more of that rawness to them.

    Not sure if it matters to you, but there are different aspects to a Jet that are subtle and lost in the mix. Literally, in a band mix it doesn’t matter. BUT the vintage Jets have a thin top, which is attached under the bridge and around the pickups. That and the sides of course. This means that a original style Jet acted more like a hollowbody. This creates a unique attack/decay profile that isn’t so much the case with Electromatics and later post-Baldwin Jets, which are more like chambered solid bodies, with a thick maple cap.

    DE355438-941E-44C3-B7F0-772EE4F143C6.jpeg F167AA8C-C8FD-4CCC-8400-26344DD99916.jpeg
     
  20. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    when one of those beetles guys got a Gretsch, Carl Perkins said "boy, now you got yourself a hoss"
     
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