I thought this would be easier

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by Pop1655, Feb 10, 2019 at 8:48 PM.

  1. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Electromatic

    16
    Feb 9, 2019
    Texas Hill Country
    New here. Couple of buds gave me Gretsch fever. I’ve always been a 335 guy in a solid body world, so it made sense. I thought it would be easy. Grab an orange used one on CL and call it good. Thought I’d cruise over here and snoop around a little. Goodness! There’s a million model numbers. New pups, old pups, pinned bridge or no, wide headstock or narrow, on and on. Seem to be some great deals on used ones, but new seems better. To top it all off, I’ve been around the block enough to know a Gretsch is supposed to be orange, then I see Aspen green! Wow! It’s calling me. Anyway, thanks for all the great reads and knowledge. Hopefully when my head stops spinning, I’ll grab one.
     
  2. section2

    section2 Synchromatic

    653
    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Welcome! You're right—there are a million different models, but we're here to help. First things first: hollow or semi-hollow?

    Next: single or double-cut?

    Then: single-coil or humbucking?

    Last: Bigsby or no?

    There are other parameters, of course, but those questions will go a long way towards narrowing down what you're looking for.

    The other thing is that Gretsches are addictive. "My Gretsch" has a tendency to turn into "my Gretsch collection" pretty quickly.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019 at 9:31 AM
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  3. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Electromatic

    16
    Feb 9, 2019
    Texas Hill Country
    Orange 5420 is probably the right answer.
    Definitely full hollow, single cut, humbucker type pups. Actually not a Bigsby guy. Strat trem arms live in the case. With the Gretsch though, it seems like part of the package and I’m good with it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019 at 10:55 PM
  4. section2

    section2 Synchromatic

    653
    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    If you're looking for an orange single-cut hollow body with humbuckers, a 5420 is the guitar for you. (Unless you're looking at the pro line, in which case you want a 6120.)

    See? Easy!
     
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  5. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Electromatic

    16
    Feb 9, 2019
    Texas Hill Country
    I’m a huge fan of Japanese guitars. My A team semi hollows are both from Japan. Can’t take that big a step right now on the first run. A new 5420 should be the plan. Still trying to figure out some of the used ones I’m seeing. Love to get in the door easy, but don’t want to do it wrong.
     
    section2 likes this.
  6. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    Welcome!
    I just bought a brand new 5420 in a limited edition vintage orange stain from Sweetwater (not affiliated, just a happy customer) last week. Incredible guitar for the price. Plays/sounds great, and I can’t stop staring at her!
     
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  7. section2

    section2 Synchromatic

    653
    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    The 5420 is a fairly recent addition to the Gretsch lineup (it was introduced in 2012 to replace the old 5120). The newer models have some nice touches. They added a stock treble bleed circuit around 2016, which I think was also the year they switched to the smaller headstock without the Electromatic logo. All else being equal, I'd recommend a 2016-or-later model, but you'll be in good shape with any 5420.
     
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  8. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    69
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Howdy! Welcome to the asylum!
    Pull up a pew and sit a spell!

    Nice thing about Gretsch guitars is that there are enough variations that you can find (or mod) exactly what you want. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it, and it wouldn't be worth the effort.
     
  9. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Age:
    62
    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    All Gretschs are supposed to be green. Really.
     
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  10. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Electromatic

    16
    Feb 9, 2019
    Texas Hill Country
    That’s a really interesting comment. Have to admit, a big part of being here was to find out if y’all would show me the secret handshake if I started with a green one. Looking online, I see the orange and think “Yep, that’s it. That’s a Gretsch”. I see the white and gold and black and gold and say “Wow”. Then I saw the Aspen Green and it just hit me.
    7D9B39B8-4207-4749-A827-F9835E4B8173.jpeg
    That thing calls me!
     
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  11. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Electromatic

    16
    Feb 9, 2019
    Texas Hill Country
    This one catches me looking at used
    2D46B9BD-FB56-41C1-8822-7BA2F803790F.jpeg
    What do I miss vs new with one like this?
     
  12. section2

    section2 Synchromatic

    653
    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Minor differences, mostly. This one has the following:
    • a wider, unbound headstock with the Electromatic logo (newer ones have smaller headstocks with binding, and the Electromatic logo on the pickguard instead of the headstock)
    • hump-block inlays (some people like them, and some prefer the thumbnail inlays on the newer ones)
    • big chrome pickup surrounds (I prefer the classic reverse-painted clear plastic ones)
    • no treble bleed circuit on the master volume (but it would be easy to install one if you're handy with a soldering iron)
    Still a great guitar.

    5420 experts: did I miss anything?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019 at 9:27 AM
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  13. speedicut

    speedicut Country Gent

    Jun 5, 2012
    Alabama
    Welcome to the forum and good luck with your search!
    Many great guitars to choose from!
     
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  14. section2

    section2 Synchromatic

    653
    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    The only wrong colour choice is the one you don't love. I've got three Gretsches, and none of them are orange! (Though I do lust after an orange 5422.)

    A few weeks ago, the forum had a series of threads showing off guitars in different colours. We had a red thread, a green thread, a blue thread, and a sparkle thread. (I'm partial to sparkles.) And @drmilktruck never met a blue guitar that he didn't love. Go with the finish that knocks your socks off.
     
    Pop1655 likes this.
  15. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Country Gent

    Welcome to Gretsch-Talk Pop1655!

    There are plenty of great choices in the Gretsch family of guitars, and orange is only one color choice. Me? I started out with a 5120 in a great sunburst. I let that go in a deal for a Taylor acoustic, but later I went to a 5420 in a Snow Crest White with gold hardware. Last year I picked up a 6119 Chet Atkins Tennessee Rose with a cherry red finish. I also have a 534TG Pro Jet that has a Candy Apple Red top with white back & sides. You pick the style and the color that stirs your heart and makes you want to play. At the end of this post, I'll add pictures of my little Gretsch family to help you, or make your choice a little tougher :).

    As one who has a 2015 5420, you nailed the differences, and as you stated, they are indeed minor for the most part. I really don't miss the treble bleed at all. As a matter of fact, I tend to use the roll off in treble when I turn down the master just a bit. My 5420 liked my Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue, but the amp can get a little shrill at times, so backing off the volume is the trick I use to control the treble.

    The 5120: The 5420:
    2011 Gretsch 5120 - 1.JPG 2015 Gretsch 5420  -3.jpg
    The 6119 Chet Atkins Tennessee Rose: The 534TG Pro Jet:
    2011 Gretsch Tennessee Rose 1.JPG 20170627_120105.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019 at 10:44 AM
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  16. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Electromatic

    16
    Feb 9, 2019
    Texas Hill Country
    I wish the internet was kinder to 5120's. I've seen several that were "how could you go wrong" deals. I pause though when I read about the differences. I don't think I'd have any problem with an old headstock first run 5420. I probably wouldn't have a problem with a 5120, just don't know.
     
    section2 likes this.
  17. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    53
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    Welcome here. Enjoy your hunt.
     
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  18. Tinman46

    Tinman46 Country Gent

    Age:
    50
    Dec 19, 2011
    Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
    There's nothing wrong with the 5120's except the stock pickups. At least most don't care for them. A lot of people swapped them out. If you find a used 5120 that has a set of TV Jones in it I say snap it up.
     
  19. Beardog

    Beardog Synchromatic

    Age:
    55
    555
    Apr 15, 2018
    Nova Scotia
  20. Blaker55

    Blaker55 Newbie

    2
    Feb 9, 2019
    Minnesota
    An FNG here: I was in the same shoes as you. I was locked in on Aspen Green. Then as I studied more, and watched more vids, the Candy Apple Red was the one! Finally made my move at Sweetwater and at the last second, ended up with the orange. Go figure. Should arrive Wednesday. Good luck.
     
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