Should a brand new $2500 Gretsch Players Edition guitar be unplayable out of the box?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Snow, May 22, 2020.

  1. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Yea, unless you want to pay for the guitar to be shipped in a hermetically sealed, climate- controlled box, it would be sheer luck if a guitar showed up well set up after shipping.
    They make sure there aren't 55 bullet holes in it. Next year it will be 56, guitars will be tested for the coronavirus too.
    stevo likes this.
  2. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    I just can't believe that .........:p
    MTurner likes this.
  3. sgarnett

    sgarnett Gretschie

    Apr 14, 2020
    There’s no case or gig bag included with the Electromatics, sooooo .... :D
    thunder58 likes this.
  4. Scott

    Scott Country Gent

    Jun 27, 2008
    Winston-Salem, NC
    I drove for FedEx for several years. Trust me, the way packages are handled by the shipping companies will invariably affect any and all guitars that pass through their hands...
    NJDevil and G5422T like this.
  5. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    It's just hard to compare. First you need to set them up identical. Maybe your expensive one has the low E string end of the bridge too low? I set my guitars up with the low E about 2x the high E clearance to avoid rattles.
    The seller has no idea what you prefer, but if they advertise that, it should be well set up to SOME standard anyway.
  6. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Set ups and buzzing are funny things. When I jumped up to 12’s I had a buzz I couldn’t find on all my guitars and I searched and searched and realized it was my fretting hand technique the whole time. It is great for a player to learn about basic setups.
    radd likes this.
  7. lathoto

    lathoto Electromatic

    Apr 23, 2020
    Sweetwater has the best customer service in the business. You probably just got the new kid setting up your guitar(s). Just call them back, communicate your issues, and they will make it right. Expect that the 55 point inspection will be cursory for a $700 dollars. Skeleton crews are doing the best they can these days.
    TSims1 likes this.
  8. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    LOL ...... just so you and @Snow , and any other " newer " members are aware .... It was more of a joke on my part . I do know that they do not come with cases . Most of the older members here will tell you my biggest pet-peeve with any guitar is ...... " ever guitar should come with a case and a jack plate ( except the SG , that would look silly )
    I went on a big rant years ago about it , honestly , what does it take for a company to add these items
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
    Tadhg, MTurner and sgarnett like this.
  9. sgarnett

    sgarnett Gretschie

    Apr 14, 2020
    Oh, so it’s you! :p I’ve gathered that somebody around here had made a fuss about jack plates. I totally agree! :D
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
    MTurner and thunder58 like this.
  10. snakestretcher

    snakestretcher Gretschie

    Sep 7, 2009
    Anyone care to hazard a guess as to what the '55 point inspection' actually consists of? My criteria; level frets, straight neck, electronics all working, clean cosmetics (finish), and properly fitted hardware. That leaves 50 points...
    Frankly it sounds as ridiculous and unlikely as 'Sales Engineer' does!
    Last edited: May 27, 2020 at 9:25 AM
  11. nedray

    nedray Electromatic

    May 2, 2009
    No VA
    All due respect to the OP, this sounds like a case of howling before being hurt. My experience with the Japanese-built Gretsches is that they're superbly built and very consistent in quality fit and finish. I guess it's not optimal to have the low E string buzzing out of the box, but many factors could contribute to that and I'd be very surprised if it required more than an experienced eye to spot the problem and easily fix it. It was probably in tune when it left the dealer too, but might not have been when it got to you. Is that a defect? Hardly rises to my definition of an "unplayable" guitar. As for the Electro, are you saying the "blemish" you refer to is a rough spot in the binding? Maybe it's a bit of dried polish or something that didn't get wiped entirely clean. Maybe fixable with a flick of a fingernail?

    Having not seen so much as a picture of your quarantined guitars, it's hard to diagnose anything, but none of this seems to indicate scandalous ineptitude by either the vendor or the builder. Obviously, close observation could prove me wrong. Did you address it with SW before broadcasting your grievance? They might like a chance to make you happy. Do you even know what to address? You say you're a beginner, which is fine--we all start somewhere--but an arch top guitar with a Bigsby is fairly complex piece of gear and might need examination by someone who knows what they're looking at. It might not even be the ideal instrument for a rank beginner. Gretsch guitars call for some nuance in how they're approached.

    Hope it all works out for you.
    davenumber2 likes this.
  12. rockinstephen

    rockinstephen Electromatic

    No guitar at that price should be "unplayable"! I believe I know the company of which you speak that does the 55 point check. A year ago, I purchased an Epi LP Custom from them. The guitar arrived perfectly set up and I was very pleased. I would contact them about sending the Gretsch back. If they care at all, they'll make it right. Remember, you can always write a nasty 1 star review, but it shouldn't have to come down to that...
    Runamok likes this.
  13. hippdog

    hippdog Electromatic

    Jul 23, 2013
    NW Arkansas
    The buzz is concerning right out of the box. (and yes they should have caught it.....they may have assumed the factory shipped it with a professional set-up, and wanted to get it to your quickly, so they didn't check). However, neck flex, and misaligned bridge do happen. The question is whether this is a serious problem (neck twist) or a minor problem (bridge or truss rod adjustment).

    The first thing to do is check the bridge height. (a trained luthier is much more precise in this process) However, the way I do this is to put a capo on the 12th fret (or higher...the 15th fret is ideal). Then check for a buzz between the capo and the bridge. If it still buzzes, raise the bridge on the side that is buzzing....also check for general string height on all 6 strings. Eyeball the string height. Then lower or raise the bridge height to fit your tastes. I typically lower the bridge on both sides till I get a slight buzz, then raise it until it rings clean. This is your minimum height. If the buzz returns when you are playing in the upper frets then the bridge still needs a bit more height. Then remove the capo and check string height at 7th fret (no capo...just open). If the strings are too high or too low at this part of the neck (after the bridge is set) then this requires a truss rod adjustment. Adjusting the truss rod is a learned skill. It's not that hard but getting a sense of what your guitar responds to comes with practice. I'll let someone else walk you through that procedure.
  14. Runamok

    Runamok Gretschie

    Aug 25, 2017
    USA midwest
    1) Tinkering. But — somebody else screwed it up.
    2) You should know from the carton whether it went through their inspection process.
    3) If the guitar was not stocked by the reseller & came from the Gretsch factory...
    how does the reseller fix surface blemishes?

    4) Did you call the reseller, or Gretsch?
    If you didn’t, then some of the griping is a bit premature.

    You got a $2500 guitar for $700?

    I had a problem with a Gretsch awhile ago. Different online store than yours.

    They, or Fender made it right. Not immediately.
    I was first told the components were not covered by the lifetime warranty, but after a lot of detail they made it right, anyway. Photograph or video the process of opening the box when buying a guitar.
    Last edited: May 27, 2020 at 2:41 PM
  15. Runamok

    Runamok Gretschie

    Aug 25, 2017
    USA midwest
    If the first step was not contacting the online store salesman, or Gretsch rep...
  16. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Friend of Fred

    Jan 19, 2012
    Maldon UK
    Many folk "graduate" to a proline after going through the ritual of learning to live with an idiosyncratic design, floating bridges, Bigsby trems, pickup heights, funny electrical controls and so on. That said, a bad set up is a bad set up, but folk do need at least some experience to know the difference between the two.
  17. olliethecat

    olliethecat Electromatic

    Jun 12, 2019
    East Yorkshire, UK
    I must confess it's a lot of years since I last bought a brand new guitar, early 70s back when I was full time pro and touring if I remember but I have a collection of ten guitars including two I bought in the late 60s/early 70s and I have tried a few new ones in one huge store I occasionally visit and to be honest, none that I picked up were what I would call playable for me and all would need some attention to set them up for my playing style before I could comfortably play them.

    I've bought several very decent used guitars in the past few years including a very nice Fender Telecaster and an almost unplayed Gretsch 5120 which had a neck bow that would cope with limbo dancers due to strings which were so thick you could tow a car with them but I took my time and adjusted the neck and it now plays very nicely.
    In fact all of my guitars have had the frets leveled and dressed and or the neck relief set up, all of which I do myself ...I couldn't imagine not doing that with any guitar I bought either new or used. To me a new or used guitar is simply work in progress.

    I have a desire for the string playing height to be extremely low which suits me and my playing style and consisten when I swap over from one guitar to another but many guitars just wouldn't be playable for me personally without some adjustment so I don't even know if any guitar would be playable for me out of the box as all the guitars I've ever come across have needed some setting up.

    If the OP is really unhappy with what they consider the set up, finish quality etc then I would think there are rules governing mail order goods and it would be within one's rights to return the product within a specified period if unhappy with it but from my experience, a guitar needing setting up to suit the player is usually done by a local luthier or one'self rather than a supplier.
    Last edited: May 27, 2020 at 5:14 PM
    Scott likes this.
  18. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    @Snow Have you read up on doing your own set up? I’m thinking about my four electrics only the ones bought at the mom and pop were set up when I got them. The the one electric I won was set up by the man giving it away and the one electric I bought online needed the basic neck tweak, a truss rod adjustment. Where are you at with your guitar now? Dialed in or still evaluating it?
  19. afire

    afire Country Gent

    Agreed, but I also don't classify a guitar with some low E string buzz unplayable.
    Runamok, G5422T and radd like this.
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