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Thoughts on New Gretsches?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by cutter2001, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. cutter2001

    cutter2001 TDPRI Member

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    I was just wondering what you folks here on the board thought about the quality of both the Korean and the Japanese Gretsche guitars? Especially in relation to the price point for each, ie, $800 and $2000.

    Thanks again in advance for your opinions and advice,

    Cutter
     
  2. willspear

    willspear Tele-Holic

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    The electromatics are decent. The upgraded electromatics are pretty good

    Japanese gretsch guitars are as good as any gretsch guitars I've ever seen or better.


    The basic electromatics like a 5120 have been pretty popular modding platforms and so if you look around it is not uncommon to find a used one that has been tricked out with tv classics, better tuners and other great mods for little money more than a normal used one. Never ceases to amaze me why the people who mod these dont either keep them as a backup when they buy a pro line gretsch or harvest the upgrades and remount the old stuff in some way.


    A used japanese 6118 anniversary can be had for not a lot of money compared to other models too. They rock. I love the smoke green 6118. I saw one going for less than a grand not long ago but they can be had around 1200 with little haggling.


    Like any guitar you get what you pay for. You buy the cheapest model it feels a little less refined. Same thing happens if you buy a Mexican over avri fender. You buy top models to get the little things. You buy the base model to get the meat and potatoes.
     
  3. fenson

    fenson ---------------------------------

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    all good IMO, the new MIK have very good pups these days no need to upgrade
     
  4. Toriginal

    Toriginal Former Member

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    Agreed. Great sound and quality right out of the box.
    They can keep their moveable bridge. (I had a 5122 DC MIK I believe) I found it (the bridge) a pain in the butt with absolutely wonderful sound quality and great playability. I found the dimensions of the box a bit large in width for my small frame but as for quality, it was excellent.

    Heavier strings, rosin on the bridge bottom, pin the bridge. I've heard them all. Loved the Bigsby. Hated the bridge on my particular model.
    In the right hands, like the hands of the Lad who bought it all I can say is Wow! Nice guitar!
     
  5. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    "A used japanese 6118 anniversary can be had for not a lot of money compared to other models too. They rock."

    This is true, my Gretsch is a pre-FMIC Japanese 6118 and it is awesome
     
  6. Dawg

    Dawg Tele-Holic

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    The Japanese Gretsch guitars are superbly made - as an owner of an original and truly great 1954 Duo Jet, I still say that the new reissues are waay better built... I had two different reissue 6128 Duo Jets and have played a couple of really nice Chet Atkins 6120 reissues. Currently thinking long and hard about a 2 tone coloured Country Club.... :cool:

    Buy one, you won't regret it!
     
  7. Olgabowl

    Olgabowl Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, go hit a vintage guitar show, and check out all the crumbly bindings and neck resets (or needed neck resets) on the vintage guitars...

    One could arguably say that the Terada Gretches are the best Gretsches ever made....

    I've had 4-5 in the last few years, and every one was a winner...
    And to score a high-quality hollow body instrument for just over 2K (sometimes under 2K) is a no-brainer...
     
  8. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I won't argue with the statement that the MIJ (Terada) Gretsch guitars
    are the best ever made.
    The old (NY or Bowling Green) ones rarely hold up/stay together.
    I think of them as the perfect middle ground between big F and big G
    electric guitars.
    I've had hundreds of guitars in my silly "tone quest", and my (2003) 1959
    Nashville Classic sounds better than anything I've ever had.
     
  9. paratus

    paratus Friend of Leo's

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    My MIK is a couple years old, and IMO it is a winner with some tweaks.

    1. New pups ...I wanted Dynasonics but didn't want to drop that much $$$ in a modestly priced guitar, went with Surf 90s which I like just fine.
    2. Compton bridge to replace the dreadful Rattle-o-Matic
    3. Switchcraft pickup selector and output jack, the output jack on a LP jackplate...pretty easy to wreck your guitar with the stock setup.

    As much as I hate the cheesy tuners, I keep everything lubed, and the guitar stays in tune very well, even when using the wiggle stick.

    The guitar plays and sounds good. Someday when I get the time I may build a new harness and upgrade the pots.
     
  10. fabricator

    fabricator Tele-Meister

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    I've owned several 50's, 60's, and early 70's Gretsch's over the past 25 years and can honestly say that their newer models are better made than the old stuff (although I still love the vintage gear - and wish I still had them).

    I bought a 5120 a few years ago and did a few upgrades: new bridge, Sperzel locking tuners, TV Jones Classic p/u's, new switch/pots/harness, etc.
    I wanted it to look & sound as much like a 6120 as possible without spending too much $$.

    It's not necessary, but a little work will transform an Electromatic from a good guitar into a really nice one. Their higher-end (MIJ) models are very nice too; however, I don't use a hollowbody as my main guitar so I had a tough time justifying spending several thousand on a backup guitar.
     

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  11. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I've got a current production Gretsch Country Club (Cadillac Green with Filtertrons). Awesome guitar. I've pretty much stopped playing all of my other guitars since I bought it about a half year ago, and those are Custom Shop and vintage Gibsons and Fenders. Yes, it's that good.

    However, I do agree with the recent article in ToneQuest Report that basically says there's a strange dynamic at play with Japanese Gretsches, where no matter how great those guitars are, the $3,200 price tags seem too high for a Japanese made guitar. It shouldn't seem strange - after all, people pay 5k and more for Gibson archtops that aren't made any better than those Gretsches. But that's just the way things are.

    But you don't have to pay that much for those guitars. Bought my Gretsches through Ebay for waaaay less than that. They were both used and in brand new condition. Those deals are easy to find, as very few people (relatively speaking) are even interested in Gretsch guitars.
     
  12. Valvey

    Valvey Tele-Holic

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    What about the G5420t?
     
  13. rsi106

    rsi106 TDPRI Member

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    With regards to the old Gretsch guitars, I read somewhere that workers were paid by "piece rate" in the old Brooklyn Gretsch factory. I don't know if this is true or not, but if so, it would be a reason for spotty quality with old ones.
     
  14. jjkrause84

    jjkrause84 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Great guitars...but all the 'nice' Gretsches I've played (admittedly, not many) had quite thin necks. If you're a thick neck guy you might be SOL.
     
  15. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I'm someone who usually prefers 50's style necks, which is what I have on my LP (54 reissue) and my 54 CS Tele (Nocaster sized neck).

    But my Gretsch Country Club is a decent sized neck. Certainly not a baseball bat sized neck like the Nocaster, but definitely decent and bigger than the neck on the Falcon I had.

    It's pretty comfortable and I don't like small-necked guitars.
     
  16. G-log

    G-log Tele-Holic

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    I had a 1961 Double Anniversary in smoke green many years ago which I had to sell for food/rent etc.I saw my old guitar at a guitar show about 4 years ago and got to play it again. I am glad I sold that one because it was a dog....Flash forward to Jan 2013 and I am the proud owner of a Japanese 2012 6118t Double Anni in green again. There is simply no comparison ,this new one is really fantastic.I wouldn't hesitate buying another new Gretsch for a second-they really are good instruments,very consistent.
     
  17. cutter2001

    cutter2001 TDPRI Member

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    That is sort of how I feel. I know it is stupid, and likely an ingrained response from all the years of hearing that American= Quality, and Japan/Chinese/Korean = less than quality. Thereby giving me great pause when it comes to laying out two grand for a 6120. What is kind of funny is I have a bit less of a problem laying out the cash for the Electromatics that I have seen because of how solid they feel and play.

    I almost feel as though if I am going to be putting out that kind of cash, then it has to be an American made guitar, and maybe I should be looking at another brand. I just have to work on my guitar prejudice I guess.
     
  18. jjkrause84

    jjkrause84 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I should have said that my experience was just with Duo Jets (in various configurations). Maybe the bigger hollows are better in this regard?
     
  19. furtherpale

    furtherpale Former Member

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    i love the feel of the gretschs...great necks, play well... but no matter what, they sound like arse when i play them...
     
  20. FredDairy

    FredDairy Friend of Leo's

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    Last year I went through pretty much every modern reissue Gretsch has to offer aside from the White Falcon. I hate to say it but none of them felt or played like my vintage Gretsches. A lot of the vintage ones have issues but once you find a good one they are pretty good. Most of the reissues are ready to go outta the box. So that's a big plus.

    I have a mid 60s Tennessean and 2011 6119-1962HT Tennessee Rose(Gibson has the Tennessean name now)which is supposed to be a reissue of that Tennessean. The reissue is nice. But they are completely different guitars. From the way they are constructed, body shape, pickups, finish, etc.
     
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