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6120 or some upgrades to a 5120?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by fatfingers, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. fatfingers

    fatfingers Electromatic

    Oct 15, 2013
    New Jersey, USA
    I've got a black 5120, that's the first strike against as I'm infatuated with Gretsch's orange color. My 5120 doesn't stay in tune very well, that's the second strike. It also doesn't bring a lot of heat to the party but I can fix that.

    Should I bother with pickups, locking tuners, and a pro set-up or just upgrade the whole shebang to a 6120?

    I kinda like the JR's but where do I find a list of the years where a 6120 is actually a 6120JR?

    Thanks in advance!
    MKunie likes this.
  2. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    You should know better than to ask such a question to this bunch of Gretsch junkies.

    The answer, of course, get the 6120. It is a better guitar in every way and they are exquisitely made. If you can afford one, get one.
    MKunie, emitex, Trash Kidd and 2 others like this.
  3. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    In these parts you won’t get but 400 or so for that 5120, and it’s a long wait to sell. I’m on that trip: getting a 6120 or 6122, but I’m also in no rush because I’ve modded a few Electros that already give me what I want, sonically speaking. Best thing is I don’t have to baby what is essentially a tool.

    No matter what I do though, I can’t get enough until I have some Orange or Sparkle. At least that’s the hope ;)
  4. Gretschman2

    Gretschman2 Country Gent

    Apr 8, 2013
    Enetai, WA
    I have a black 5120 with TV Jones Classics, bone nut, and chambered Compton Titanium Bridge. I've never had any tunning issues or problems with the pots or wiring. All in all, even including the case I bought for it I have less than 1k invested and am totally happy with it. Will it ever be a 6120, of course not, but it's close enough for me to where I've yet to have GAS for a 6120. I have a Duo Jet too, so I'm not totally naive about the differences between prolines and Electromatics. But that's just me, you really just need to judge for yourself. BTW, I love black guitars, fingerprints and all. Shows it's being played.
  5. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Country Gent

    Jul 5, 2014
    SE QLD
    I'd make sure the guitar is set-up properly by a qualified tech, then see if you need a 6120...which of course you do. But having the 5120 properly sorted will make the wait much more bearable.
    Mr. Lumbergh and JHowdy like this.
  6. JHowdy

    JHowdy Country Gent

    Nov 16, 2013
    The tuning issue in your 5120 is probably nut or bridge related and does not come from the tuners. That may happen in a brand new 6120 too without a proper setup! The 5120 stock tuners should be alright, unless they're damaged somehow.

    If you have a store nearby that sells 6120s you should go to check them. There are different neck profiles available and you may find a 6120 neck feel super fast (better...) compared to your 5120 even though it may look the same. That's what happened to me. The 5120/5420 necks tend to be a bit bulky and you will feel the difference. Besides that, a 5120 with proper electronics, nut and bridge, and a proper setup can come very close to a 6120.
  7. russmack

    russmack Country Gent

    May 1, 2017
    ballina australia
    And if you can't afford one, well, just get one anyway.

    Then you'll just have to work out a way.

    Tony65x55 and speedicut like this.
  8. thunder58

    thunder58 Gretschified

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    I just sold my 5120 fully modded . ( you'll see it in the " for sale " section ) I put a lot into it but expect not to make it back . That's just the way it is with the 5120 . I also have a 612-1959 . Blows the doors off the 5120 . Go for the 6120
  9. audept

    audept I Bleed Orange

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    6120, No contest.
  10. Hepcat73

    Hepcat73 Electromatic

    Oct 31, 2017
    Newark uk

    Upgraded my 5120..stays in tune...blacktop filter tron on bridge n dog ear p90 on neck..tuners are fine..11 gauge strings too...heavy stings l=less de-tuning issues.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  11. wildeman

    wildeman Friend of Fred

    May 10, 2015
    I love my 5120 but you don't sound like you love yours, no mods will make that happen. Sell it and get a Chet.
    Mr. Lumbergh likes this.
  12. Robbie

    Robbie Country Gent

    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    If finances aren't a huge issue get the 6120. If finances are a bit of an issue now, I'd suggest you play the 5120 as is until you can comfortably pay for the 6120. Only MHO
    loudnlousy likes this.
  13. fatfingers

    fatfingers Electromatic

    Oct 15, 2013
    New Jersey, USA
    what's surprising is that, other than the cracked Bigsby mount which has already been replaced/upgraded, the build quality of my 5120 is excellent. I've got a Les Paul Gold Top that may be moving on today so that is what is driving the thought that it's time to go for the 6120 and sell the 5120. I don't dislike the 5120 but I had a Power Jet at one point and that thing was exquisite, just perfect in every physical detail. If I had modded it to my tonal tastes I'd still have it but, alas, I sold it.

    I'll keep thinking, we'll see what happens.

    Thanks for all of the replies.
  14. fatfingers

    fatfingers Electromatic

    Oct 15, 2013
    New Jersey, USA
    I'm a big RHH fan, maybe that's it, but I get it.
    BorderRadio likes this.
  15. LA Miles

    LA Miles Country Gent

    Dec 6, 2012
    Here's the deal - if you put in TVJ Pups, locking tuners, and have it done by a luthier and NEVER sell it, fine. But, if you sell it, you'll lose MORE money on it than you will buying a nice used Proline 6120 of some flavor and then selling that. You'll need to be patient, study up on what you want and be ready to pull the trigger when that deal pops up, and it will.

    I have no affiliation/interest in this outfit but they offer screaming deals from time to time. Brand spanking new 6120 Setzer Hotrods were $1499 this past weekend. You want a JR., study Reverb. Good Luck.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  16. fatfingers

    fatfingers Electromatic

    Oct 15, 2013
    New Jersey, USA
    They're not $1500 anymore!

    Are there issues with fake 6120's out there the way fake Les Pauls are all over the place?
  17. JHowdy

    JHowdy Country Gent

    Nov 16, 2013
    There should be no 6120 fakes in guitar stores, but some chinese fakes pop into ebay occasionally. Avoid AliBaba dot com and you'll be fine :D. If in doubt, you can post a picture here and you'll get an answer right away!
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  18. Charles Conner

    Charles Conner Gretschie

    May 19, 2016
    Check out Gretsch guitar history. What's their biggest selling model ever? Love my 5120 ... It's a well built instrument. New nut, bridge and choose your favorite pickups, proper set up. You can make it as good as any guitar gets.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
    Mr. Lumbergh and Gretschman2 like this.
  19. wildeman

    wildeman Friend of Fred

    May 10, 2015
    Fake 6120's are very easy to spot as of now but they're getting better. When i modded my 5120 the first time it was less than 100 bux for some GFS Surf 90s and it made a huge improvement, now it has filters and a Compton.
  20. G DynaTron

    G DynaTron Synchromatic

    Dec 7, 2015
    Pro-line is the way to go.

    Have a look at 6119, 6118 too, sometimes you can find very good deals.