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What's Your Experience With Reissue Products That Have Improvements?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by ZackyDog, Mar 17, 2017.

What's Your Experience With Reissue Products That Have "Improvements"?

Poll closed Mar 24, 2017.
  1. I wish that they didn't try to fix/reinvent the wheel; it was never broken and sounds worse

    5 vote(s)
  2. Yeah, I like the changes they made to make it more "modern" and/or reliable

    8 vote(s)
  3. I have mixed feelings

    16 vote(s)
  4. Other

    3 vote(s)
  1. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Country Gent

    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    When you see in a guitar/amp manufacture's literature that they have improved a product, what has been your experience?

    For example, when Celestion reissued the Alnico Blue in 1993 after being out of production for over 20 years, I was ecstatic. Incidentally, The Cold War kept Cobalt; one of the ingredients in Alnico (Aluminum/Nickel/Cobalt), at high prices. You need that speaker to get British Invasion, Brian May, etc. sounds. I've heard the originals and I thought Celestion did the best job possible with what is available to recreate that speaker. That didn't change or try to "improve" anything; that inevitably results in an unwelcome change.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  2. thunder58

    thunder58 Gretschified

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Yea , don't " reinvent the wheel " here on my end . Usually when something is " new and improved " it's generally not as good as " old and working " . Then of coarse the manufacturer raises the price of the product .
    Example : New and improved " gluten free " ......did you ever eat something " gluten free " ? Apparently , gluten is delicious . And most people don't even know what gluten is . " Gluten " to me falls under the same category as ordering Chinese food .... " oh, and no MSG " . To me , MSG simply means , no Madison Square Garden :) Gluten , MSG , NAI ( that's New And Improved ) .......keep it
    ZackyDog likes this.
  3. emitex

    emitex Synchromatic

    Aug 21, 2014
  4. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Apr 5, 2014
    New and improved these days usually means 'now made in China using parts that make it easy and quick to assemble'.
  5. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    hey Zacky I don't think you can generalise - some reissues are crap and some are great & everything else in between.

    Gibson have had lots of reissue disasters, Fender mixed, Marshall mixed and Mesa Boogie's reissue of the Mark IV into Mark V is a triumph.
    They turned a great Mark IV into the best amp ever made by anyone imo :)
    ZackyDog likes this.
  6. Axis39

    Axis39 Country Gent

    Jun 2, 2008
    Falmouth, Va
    I voted 'mixed feelings'. I have a couple of Fender Reissue amps that have a few 'improvements' Some make sense, some are confusing.

    Both of them are early 90's, a '63 Vibroverb and a '59 Bassman. Both left the factory with Solid State rectifiers. The reason they did was that at the time, nobody was making good rectifier tubes. They were all unreliable with a high failure rate.

    On the Bassman, they made it a regular tube socket and plug-in rectifier, they just included a SS one. I like this approach. But, they also fiddled with some of the cap values inside the amp... Nothing major, but I would have liked a more accurate representation.

    On the Vibroverb, they didn't include the socket, but built it into the board... Booo! I would love it if I they had done the tube socket thing like on the Bassman. But, at the same time, they built a little sag into the rectifier circuit.... So, it still does kinda feel like a tube rectifier, kinda. But, i think they stayed truer to the circuit with this amp.

    Don't get em wrong, I love both amps. Wouldn't give them up for anything (short of original version of the same amps).

    Gibson is the worst though, each year, their 'Reissues' are 'more accurate' than previous reissues.... Why can't they just make a good copy and not gouge the living crap out of us on price?

    I like the way Gretsch has worked towards more accurate representations of the old stuff, without including things like binding rot! LOL But, I would like to see more lacquer finishes and less poly.... One thing I wish my Jet had is a lacquer finish. I understand I ain't getting it on my Electromatic. I also would understand if you did a poly finish on the 'Player's' series or whatever you wanna call it. But, if you want to make a guitar feel like an old guitar, lacquer is the answer. Poly just feels different.
  7. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Friend of Fred

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    However, they did call it a different name, so it's not just a reissue.

    Sometimes as has been pointed out the reissue addresses some problems with the original. I wouldn't want Gretsch to reissue an early 60s Annie with the Tone Twister!
  8. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Country Gent

    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    I follow you 100%.

    I still have the Guitar Player Issues from ~1990 that talked about the accuracy of those reissue amps---very interesting. VOX made a pretty accurate reissue of the AC30 in 1993; it was great that the reissue of the Celestion Blue alnico coincided with that but they made a circuit change by doubling the filter cap value of the original '63 circuit from 16uf to 32uf (apparently concerned that the reissue would be too noisy/more hum, like the original).

    I know what you mean re: poly. If it is any consolation, the latest Gretsch have a lighter coat of poly than what they did back in 1989 when they started making guitars again. Also, the hollow body wood thickness went from 1/4" to 1/8" (like the vintage models).
    Axis39 and MikeSchindler like this.
  9. wabash slim

    wabash slim Country Gent

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    Stefan and audept like this.
  10. MikeSchindler

    MikeSchindler Synchromatic

    Feb 3, 2014
    I really liked Englishmans post.. Most..not all but a lot of these reissue things are manufactured to look like the original products and components therein but they are no where near being reproductions of original vintage pieces. In today's slap together manufacturing using cheap materials for added profit to our corporate big Whigs...there is no way. Some products are better than other ..Gretsch is good...but is what it is
    englishman likes this.
  11. BuddyHollywood

    BuddyHollywood Gretschie

    Sep 11, 2009
    Venice, CA
    Gretsch's Players Edition models seem to be an overall successful attempt to update old features with improvements for the gigging musician who uses the guitar as a tool as well as a piece of art.

    The '53 Duo Jet sports a modern swivel arm Bigsby that the originals didn't have. I support that decision.

    Ando, Aymara, thunder58 and 2 others like this.
  12. Pine Apple Slim

    Pine Apple Slim Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2011
    North Alabama
    A lot of times the "improvements" detract from why you liked the original product in the first place.
    Then once in a while the "improvements" hit on a whole new thing which you do actually like better than the original.
    So while I'm always suspicious of this kind of marketing I will sometimes consider the possibility it might be "better" .
    ZackyDog likes this.
  13. Pine Apple Slim

    Pine Apple Slim Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2011
    North Alabama
    Yea the players edition line has the string thru Bigsby. Never strung one but I do suspect it makes the process less cumbersome. Thinner bodies or center blocks could be favorable depending on the intended use and individuals taste. Tone knobs vs mud switch is probably an improvement for lots of folks, but I notice some really love their mud switches.
  14. GoLeafsGo

    GoLeafsGo Gretschie

    May 1, 2014
    Whitby Ontario
    These days it seems more like "If it ain't broke, fix it until it is".
    J Bird, Ando, ffooky and 2 others like this.
  15. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Country Gent

    As one who came to playing music (although I have been singing in choirs since I was a wee lad) at a later age, I don't have the same affinity for original models. I can enjoy my Fender DRRI just fine, because I've never heard the Deluxe Reverb, and probably never will. I also have a Fender Special Edition 60's Strat with pickups that reproduce the 60's tones. I loved it the minute I played it, in part because I have never heard, or played, a 60's Strat. I pick gear because it helps me get close to what I hear in my head - and I've been playing long enough now to have gone through the exploration phase, or at least most of it.

    I did vote "I have mixed feelings", because when others wax nostalgic for the original gear, I do wonder what I might be missing. Then I let it go and just enjoy what I have.
    ZackyDog likes this.
  16. wabash slim

    wabash slim Country Gent

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    That fits with the Carly Simon line,"These are the good old days."
  17. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    Re-Issues come "new and improved" or at times just "re-issue". So sometimes, they are resurrections while at others, they are reincarnations and at other times, they are outright rescues or reinventions. (If that makes sense.)

    New and improved / Re-Issue translations:

    1) The old product, while cool and loved, was not selling well. So we had to do something to freshen it up and revive the line. (IE, put in different control circuit and locking tuners etc...)

    2) We've seen that there is a lot of interest in this discontinued product and since there are so many copycats out there, we thought we would resurrect the product and cash in on this train. Can't make it like the original any more, but we can make it sound pretty close. (IE, no longer tag board construction, but we can do PCBs that are robust).

    3) One or more of the critical materials we were sourcing to build the product is no longer available, so we have to substitute. Hopefully, we haven't killed it's essence. We'll just call it "new and improved". (IE, we can no longer get certain lumber because of import restrictions. So we'll substitute in another.)

    4) This product just can't be made anymore at the current price point unless we cut come corners and move manufacturing out of the country. But trust us, it's just fine. It's really just reincarnated, but it remains to be seen whether it's moving up or down the line. Did it move from a poodle to a slug, or from a hamster to a thoroughbred?

    Not all of these are strictly "re-issue" points, but they all come into play at one time or another when re-issues are launched.
    deluxelespaul likes this.
  18. I am still waiting on the Freddyfingers version 2. There are many upgrades that I can think of. My wife can think of even more.
    Rob Williams and Pine Apple Slim like this.
  19. Pine Apple Slim

    Pine Apple Slim Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2011
    North Alabama
    I have a reissue Korean Newark St. line Guild Starfire Bass. Having nevered played an original, I'm extremely happy with this one. Great playability, exceptional workmanship, and great sound. IMO an absolute bargain at its price point.

    My only experience with vintage Gretschs were a couple of Baldwin era dogs. Falling apart and barely playable. Compared to that the new ones are night and day.

    My advice on Old Fender amps is to stay out of shops that have nice examples, don't play them, or you will have to have one and it'll cost you.
    ZackyDog and LivingMyDream like this.
  20. TSims1

    TSims1 Friend of Fred

    Jun 18, 2013
    I like stuff that looks the part but plays with modern conveniences. I dig old aesthetics, but want reliability and comfort.

    This is also coming from the guy who wishes to God that car companies would do this. Gimme a brand '59 Cadillac exterior, but power steering, ABS brakes, new engine etc. Or a '65 Mustang body with a '17 everything else. I just want the look man. I'm GLAD to be alive in 2017.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017