Vintage vs. New

Discussion in 'Vintage Gretsch Discussion' started by Killer Karl, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. Killer Karl

    Killer Karl Newbie

    Dec 9, 2009
    Hi Gretsch Fans,

    I am a big Rockabilly and Blues fan. Consequently, I thinking of buying a Gretsch 6120 from the fifties ('56-'59).

    I was told that the real old Gretsch Guitars are - quality wise - much better than the new ones (old hand made 6120 vs asia production of a 6120 etc).

    Looking at the price, a vintage guitar is for sure more than double the price of a new one.

    Is the vintage guitar - besides the emotional value - worth the difference from a quality/sound point of view.

    Thanks for feedback and help.

    Long live Rock'n'Roll !

  2. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    I would say that the current Gretsch guitars are just as good as the vintage models. The Terada factory has very high standards of craftsmanship and the guitars are built to match the specifications of the originals.

    Brian Setzer recorded his most recent CD using new Gretsch guitars and it sounds fine.
  3. Sarah93003

    Sarah93003 Friend of Fred

    Yep! +1 to that. I think you'd be very happy with any of the contemporary 6120's. They are superb guitars.
  4. Telefan

    Telefan Synchromatic

    Jun 2, 2008
    The QC is actually more likely higher now than it was in the 50's. It's harder to screw things up with a CNC than with human hands. Sad but true.
  5. Pappy

    Pappy Country Gent

    Jun 4, 2008
    Modern gretsch guitars have a greater consistency of quality, lower price, are easier to find AND sound great. The whole "vintage is better" mentality is pure BS in Gretsch's case.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Henry likes this.
  6. gringo

    gringo Gretschie

    Apr 12, 2009
    New Jersey
    I think Pappy sums it up pretty well. There were some nice guitars made in the 50's but there were quite a few poor ones. If you want a great Gretsch just visit your local dealer.
  7. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    I think it's true in almost every case. In the '70s the manufacturers were making some real trash and it was true then. These days any guitar company worthy of its stripes has gone back to specs that are pretty close to the original.
  8. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Country Gent

    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Agreed, however, the Japanese Terada-made pro-line instruments are virtually hand made as it is. The only thing they use a CNC machine for is to cut and rout the bodies and shape the necks for consistency. Everything else is pretty much done by hand at Terada.

    The modern pro-line Gretsch guitars are some of the finest made today. And unlike vintage models, you don't have to worry about neck resets, deteriorating electronics or binding rot.
  9. JC higgy

    JC higgy Friend of Fred

    Jun 6, 2008
    Belfast Norn Iron
    I think they're much better today.

    i have vintage and new Gretsch guitars ,i much prefer the tone of the old guitars but the new ones are close enough for me,especially with the TV Jones Classics,i haven't heard Seymour's Dyna's yet!

    I won't be buying anymore over priced vintage pieces,these new Gretsches are great value for money imo.
  10. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    This is a great point. There may even be a bit of survivor bias at work here as well. The truly bad examples may no longer even exist.
  11. Sarah93003

    Sarah93003 Friend of Fred

  12. Scott

    Scott Country Gent

    Jun 27, 2008
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Or, if I may play Devil's Advocate, vintage examples still existing in great condition are in great condition for a might have been a dog to start with. While the best ones were worn out years ago and may not even be around today! It's a possibility...I've seen a lot of beautiful old guitars that look soooo good...then you try to play it and you see why it's so old yet in such good shape.
  13. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    That can indeed happen.
  14. Lz_69

    Lz_69 Gretschie

    Aug 6, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Just to counter point some of the things that have been written already; There are some things that may make a vintage Gretsch better then a new one like the use of hide glue, different wiring diagrams and electronics and just the fact that the wood and finish has been drying for the past 50 years.

    As for the comment about some old guitars in premo shape being dogs... Sure but I would bet there are still some good sounding guitars that have been stashed under a bed since their owner quit playing years ago.
  15. bobkat

    bobkat Country Gent

    Jun 2, 2008
    Valparaiso Indiana
    I believe my Terada made guitars are by far the best instruments I have ever owned and I have owned a bunch. I even owned a vintage Gretsch and it didn't come close. I love my 6120 and it is my favorite guitar.

    Attached Files:

  16. Sarah93003

    Sarah93003 Friend of Fred

    Ohhh, Danielsan, wax on - wax off! :p that thing is shiny!!
  17. bobkat

    bobkat Country Gent

    Jun 2, 2008
    Valparaiso Indiana
    And it plays shiny too!
  18. Renegade

    Renegade Country Gent

    Jun 21, 2009
    Welcome to the forum Karl

    New Fender era 6120...2500.00 dollars.
    Comparable 50’s era 6120...15000.00 dollars.
    The quality
    Buying a vintage Gretsch because you want it, not because you were lead to believe they are better…

  19. Scott

    Scott Country Gent

    Jun 27, 2008
    Winston-Salem, NC
    That could be true...but then you have situations like neck warpage to contend with.

    Vintage is fine...but as for me, from a player's standpoint, I'll stick with the new stuff. I thought about looking into original '57 6120s...I have the money in savings, and I thought about getting one just to keep here at home(maybe play a few gigs with it). But then I thought "I have a 2006 6120DSV"...virtually the same guitar, same wiring diagram etc...only difference really is poly finished instead of lacquer, which to me means nada. From a player's standpoint that's all I need.
    I'll freak purists out even more...onstage I'm ordinarily playing a pre-FMIC 2002 6120-57. Slightly wrong body shape, bridge pickup supposedly in the wrong place, oversized supposedly sub-quality tuners, bad electronics(mostly replaced over time), 5 ply top instead of 3 ply, ebony board instead of rosewood...and to top it all off it's ebonyburst instead of orange. But it fits like a hand in a glove for me, and while it's not as loud as some of my newer Gretsches it has a very sweet tone. So...I play it!
    Vintage or new really is not an issue to me, just as "Made in the USA" vs. "Made in Japan" is no longer an issue to me. Whatever plays best for you is the one you should play.
  20. Bengal65

    Bengal65 Country Gent

    Sep 11, 2009
    Houston, TX
    You said it and I agree.:) I had many vintage Gretsch's back before they became vintage, then had some up to 10-12 years ago, and I really prefer the new ones. Once in awhile, I'll think about getting an old one, but images of reset necks, binding repairs (performed or would need to be done in the future) come to mind, then I say naw, and buy a new or recent Gretsch.
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