Jet w/ Bigsby or No Bigsby - G5220 vs G5230T

Discussion in 'The Great Bigsby forum' started by phite, May 16, 2018.

You have $500 and want to buy a Jet - which one do you get?

  1. G5220 - No Bigsby / Broad'Trons - $450

    45.0%
  2. G5230T - Bigsby / Filter'Trons - $550

    55.0%
  1. phite

    phite Electromatic

    9
    May 16, 2018
    USA
    Which direction would you go? I've heard lots of complaints about tuning issues on the Bigsby-equipped Electromatics, especially the B5/50 style ones with the roller bar putting so much tension on the bridge. As these aren't the classic hollow/semi-hollow style Gretsch guitars, I don't think aesthetically the Bigsby is quite as necessary, but it looks nice regardless. All other things being equal, I'd prefer having a vibrato arm available, it looks better, and I don't mind restringing with one, but I'm not sure it's worth the extra $100 if I never use it for fear of coming back up flat/sharp. Even less so if moderate bends will do the same thing. I also don't fancy spending another $200 to fix these problems if they occur.

    These also have two different kinds of pickups - Broad'Trons in the G5220 and Black Top Filter'Trons in the G5230T. I'm not overly partial to either one, they both sound infinitely better than what I'm using now.

    G5220 - https://www.gretschguitars.com/gear...-jet-bt-single-cut-with-v-stoptail/2517110579
    G5230T - https://www.gretschguitars.com/gear...atic-jet-ft-single-cut-with-bigsby/2507210506

    I've got about a $500 budget for a new guitar and I'm really loving the Gretsch sound - it seems to have exactly the kind of bite I just could never get from my cheap Epiphones. Unfortunately there is nowhere within a 6 hour drive to test drive one - I'm in Louisiana and I can't find anyone who carries anything from the Electromatic line in stock, not even in Houston :( I'll be making a blind online purchase if I go this route, so I can't try out both versions for myself first (I know that's the standard advice).
     
  2. benjwri

    benjwri Country Gent

    Age:
    80
    Oct 27, 2011
    Central ON Can
    Welcome to the forum! I have a personal dislike for Bigsby...so my choice is easy. Your choice, on the other hand, is not. Hang on though, lots of advice to follow!!
     
    TW4990, russmack and phite like this.
  3. stevemorrison

    stevemorrison Synchromatic

    686
    Jun 3, 2011
    Dundee, SCOTLAND
    I chose the Bigsby option because I have had 2 Electromatics and with proper use of the Bigsby I haven't had any tuning issues at all. In fact I just bought a G5435TG in CAR in the past few weeks and I use it all the time with no problems.

    Secondary to Bigsby or not to Bigsby, I don't like the block inlays to me they look cheap :mad:
     
  4. CaliforniaSlim

    CaliforniaSlim Gretschie

    162
    Jul 21, 2016
    94597
    Option number 3: Put Bigsby on yourself.

    I bought a stop tailpiece model and modded w a B-3c bigsby (and a couple ohter things) I'm not a fan, aesthetically, of the B-5
    IMG_0622.jpg
     
    TSims1, Henry, jfassett and 4 others like this.
  5. phite

    phite Electromatic

    9
    May 16, 2018
    USA
    That's gorgeous!
     
  6. phite

    phite Electromatic

    9
    May 16, 2018
    USA
    Can you define "proper use"? I just like to use vibrato for a little flavor on the tail end of something ... I'm not doing dive bombs on the thing :D
     
  7. phite

    phite Electromatic

    9
    May 16, 2018
    USA
    Hey, I see you have a 5445. That was also on my list (I LOVE the double cutaway), but that neck joint looks huge and fret-access impeding. Do you find it to be an issue? Also, what was involved to swap out that tail piece, I assume it had a Bigsby and you removed it?
     
  8. stevemorrison

    stevemorrison Synchromatic

    686
    Jun 3, 2011
    Dundee, SCOTLAND
    Sounds like you are using it properly, just for a shimmering vibrato. Dive bombs with a Bigsby are definitely a nono.
     
    Armygirl likes this.
  9. thunder58

    thunder58 Gretschified

    Age:
    59
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    I have Bigsbyitis ( can't play a guitar without one )
     
    Daktari9 and RomanS like this.
  10. benjwri

    benjwri Country Gent

    Age:
    80
    Oct 27, 2011
    Central ON Can
    Currently I have a 5655CB. And yes, I traded out the Bigs on this one too. No problem at all, probably didn't take me two hours. Here are some pics.
     

    Attached Files:

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  11. jfassett

    jfassett Gretschie

    167
    Dec 9, 2017
    Tucson
    I bought a 5220 and love it and the new Broad tron pickups as well! The Broadtrons seem to have a bit more "growl" than the Black top filtertrons. With the price of these guitars being what they are, I would grab a 5220 then roll some coin and get a 5420 as well, best of both worlds! I paid around $400 for my 5220 and around $500 for the 5420, both brand new! BTW, I have no tuning problems on the 5420, however, I also have a 5122 that is ill tempered and I had to do some mods to keep it in tune, go figure? Also, I bought both guitars online and they were great right out of the box!
     

    Attached Files:

    MikeSchindler likes this.
  12. JC higgy

    JC higgy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    47
    Jun 6, 2008
    Belfast Norn Iron
    I love me some Bigsby,all but 2 of my Gretsches have them,but,i choose the 5220 non Bigsby Jet here,cause i like the look,and the one i played a few weeks ago was pretty nice.
     
  13. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    I think a plurality on this forum would prefer getting a hard tail electro jet and adding either a Les Trem II or B3 with towner down tension bar for functional as well as aesthetic reasons.
     
  14. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    I have the intention to buy a G5220 cherry metallic LH and add a B3 on it but without the Towner bar... Will the break angle be enough ?

    A+!
     
    cjtowner likes this.
  15. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    As I've never heard these Broad-Tron pups I can't vote either way.
    I doubt many other members here have either :)
     
  16. CaliforniaSlim

    CaliforniaSlim Gretschie

    162
    Jul 21, 2016
    94597
    Break angle is likely enough- Mine was. However, then you are left with what to do about the holes from the tailpiece. Towner seems cleanest solution to my eyes. Other options are the "custom made" plaque, or just leaving tailpiece bolts naked.
     
    cjtowner and hcsterg like this.
  17. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Fine - thanks California Slim ! I had the same info via member DuoRay12 - so it's a confirmation of the feasibility without the Towner bar. And yes, I will engrave a custom-made plate which will be screwed via the studs. So the G5220LH Cherry Metallic maybe my next Gretsch...

    A+!
     
    CaliforniaSlim likes this.
  18. MikeSchindler

    MikeSchindler Synchromatic

    659
    Feb 3, 2014
    Pennsylvania
    Really like the new blacktop broadtrons for that harder rock.. v tailpiece is cool.. looks great for 449.00 especially in that cherry metallic finish or black
     
  19. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    ALWAYS go with the Bigsby. Without it, you have no way to overcome nut/binding issues that mess up your tuning stability.
     
    ffooky and vyndance like this.
  20. vyndance

    vyndance Gretschie

    Age:
    63
    288
    Dec 12, 2014
    Bear Valley Springs, CA
    I am also in the no Chigsby camp. I have a 5655 that had a B50 on it. Locking tuners, perfect nut(been cutting nuts for 45 years, even had it checked) pins pulled, completely apart sanded imperfections and lithium grease, Reverand spring, Bricks spring, Bricks roller would not stay in tune. 24 bucks to Darren Riley and it is a great guitar. As for not dive bombing Bigsbys my Gent will go to the pick guard 10 times in a row and stay in tune. 20180517_164107_001.jpg