Electromatic models made in China - your impressions?

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by DHart, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. DHart

    DHart Synchromatic

    Jun 26, 2019
    In your experience, do the China-made Electromatics measure up to the Korean-made Electros? They are priced like the Korean models.

    I've really got some cognitive dissonance around the Made in China guitars, though there are a couple of Electromatic models that do appeal to me: G5220 Jet and, especially the G5655TG Jr.

    I'm having some struggles with that China-thing, thus seeking your input on them. Thank you.
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  2. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    China, like any country, produces good guitars and terrible guitars, I have had both from China.
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  3. Charlie westside

    Charlie westside Country Gent

    Jul 27, 2018
    Sylmar Califirnia
    My G 5230 is an excellent instrument. Made in China. The craftsmanship is next to none. It's a beautiful guitar. I Didn't want to spend two grand on a guitar and was actualy going to buy an Epi Les. I had remembered craving a Gretsch when I was much younger. I almost didn't make the purchase because of the reputation of China built guitars. I took a chance and don't regret it. I thought to myself It's a poor substitute for a Pro or Players guitar but I was wrong. I really enjoy this guitar and it's up there in the top spot among all my guitars along with my Fender Strat. I take care of it as if it were a $2 g guitar.
    So to answer your question. I think that China is making excellent Gretsch guitars IMHO.
    I would buy another
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
  4. ampe

    ampe Country Gent

    May 11, 2011
    Guitars from China are perfectly fine.

    The Gretsch Corvette i just sold was fawless, you could hold it next to my USA Gibson.
    My new Electromatic Gretsch is also from China, built quality is really good and just swapped the pickups and have to say the factory soldering was done really neatly.
    Lastly i have a Fender Modern Player Thinline Tele from China that's real good as well, that makes it three for three :)
    Actually Prefer the build Quality over my korean g5120
    Charlie westside and DHart like this.
  5. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    In the past I’ve owned a Pre-FMIC Electromatic Double Jet, a 2004-ish Special Jet, and a 2006-ish Pro Jet, and even the oldest one had some fine points to them. They weren’t perfect, they aren’t made to be. I recently bought a MIA Gibson Firebird Zero and it paled in comparison to the Pre-FMIC in finish details, best I can recall (big spread in ownership time there). Country of origin is meaningless to me in that regard, it’s all about building (and also paying) to a specification.

    Semi related, but consider the original MIC Squier Classic Vibe/J. Mascis/JM Deluxe lineup. Those guitar are the finest you could have for the least amount of money, they were killer deals because quality was so high.

    I’ve been a “trashy” Electromatic guitar player until getting into MIJ only recently. I can tell ya the MIC Jets have only gotten better in fit and finish over the past 15-20 years. You don’t even ‘need’ to swap pickups anymore...sometimes :)
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  6. DHart

    DHart Synchromatic

    Jun 26, 2019
    I think you guys have gotten me over the hump of resistance. :D

    My eyes and ears have really been yearning for a G5655TG Jr. The Made in China put that yearning in reserve.

    I don't really want to spend the money for a MIJ Junior, though the temptation is there to try to find a reduced priced used one.

    That said, I may take the economical route and spring for a G5655TG Jr.

    Neck pickup tones starting at 1:15 charm me. And Middle position tones starting at 3:00
  7. dmunson

    dmunson Gretschie

    Dec 19, 2015
    Charlotte, NC
    I have both Chinese and Korean Gretsches and the quality of both is exceptional. Right now you stand the best chance of getting a great guitar.
  8. Telechamp

    Telechamp Country Gent

    Oct 20, 2010
    Tampa Bay
    I had an '05 MIC gold 5235 Pro Jet, and other than the stock mini-hums - which were terrible - it was a great guitar. Really loved the neck on that one. It was pretty heavy, though, and that's the main reason I sold it. Looking back now, I wish I had kept it. I probably should have just swapped out the mini-hums for some NYII's..

    Regarding my 2007 MIK 5120 - that guitar is superb (after a pickup change to Surf 90's).




  9. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Country Gent

    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    A friend of mine had a product idea he wanted to build and introduce. He took the idea to China and spoke with several companies that were possibilities. His summation: the Chinese can and will build to the production standards you require if you are willing to pay accordingly. He said it is important to have someone check quality in the initial stages, but if you want high quality and apply due diligence, the Chinese work can be excellent. I have one Korean and one Chinese Gretsch. Both are excellent because Gretsch/FMIC demand excellence.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
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  10. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    I have maybe around 30 "made in China" guitars. Except the one sub $100 cheapie, they're all worth the money. Squier CVs are just ridiculous.

    It took the Japanese at least 5 decades to go from crap acoustics to decent electric ripoffs. The Chinese did it in one. :)
    pmac11, Charlie westside and DHart like this.
  11. DHart

    DHart Synchromatic

    Jun 26, 2019
    You have all eased my concerns and reduced the cognitive dissonance! Thank you. :D
    Charlie westside likes this.
  12. TSims1

    TSims1 Gretschified

    Jun 18, 2013
    The Chinese catch on QUICK. That is a SMART buncha folks.
  13. emitex

    emitex Synchromatic

    Aug 21, 2014
    I have a made in China mahogany Squier Classic Vibe Thinline Telecaster. Perfect! I have a made in Korea Gretsch 5420. Perfect! Excellent quality.. both.
  14. johnny g

    johnny g Country Gent

    Sep 2, 2017
    union, ms
    I long for days that made in the USA guitars were top quality that you could afford. This new world order is not for me.
    Markkkky and Charlie westside like this.
  15. mbkri

    mbkri Country Gent

    Sep 22, 2012
    Im struggling with the same issue. Looking at an Epiphone Broadway and i wish it was from the Peerless factory but its a more recent (2006) Chinese one. Just makes me nervous.
    DHart likes this.
  16. maverick-tx

    maverick-tx Electromatic

    Feb 7, 2017
    I have shopped the Korean Electros twice now and both times came home with a Chinese guitar, one a Pro Jet, the other a Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster. I currently have 2 Chinese Jets and both are great guitars. I like my friend’s Chinese Streamliner 2622t better than the two 5622s I’ve played in stores. Not saying that great Korean examples don’t exist, I just haven’t found one worth buying yet. Played a 5420t that played great but the tone wasn’t there plus I’m really going after a 335 style double cut.
    Charlie westside, new6659 and DHart like this.
  17. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    Now yes. I have both. Chinese Gretsch have made great and neat progress since 2012 when I bought my 1st series G5435LH Black Pro-Jet : my 2018 G5220LH Dark Cherry Metallic Jet is nicer, much well-finished. She sustains the built quality and finish comparison with my korean G5622TLH (avatar) and (now sold :oops:) G5420TLH.


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  18. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Friend of Fred

    I have a Japanese 6119, a Korean 5420, and a Chinese FSR 534TG Pro Jet, and each is a worthy instrument.

    I would say that the tuners on the Chinese made Pro Jet are a weakness, as is the break angle over the bridge. If I wanted to actively gig it, the tuners and break angle would need to be addressed in order to maintain tuning stability. Fit and finish is impeccable.

    The Korean 5420 has been a solid player since I bought it several years ago. I do see that the bridge is the weak link for this guitar. Fit and finish is also impeccable on this guitar.

    The Japanese made 6119 is simply a solid player, great tuners, stays in tune well, and again, the fit and finish is excellent.
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  19. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    The Chinese issue does not bother me, I have an Eastman, made in China, and it may well be the best built guitar I have ever owned.

    My issue is the fingerboards on the Chinese made Gretschs, they are all Laurel or Walnut. I love Rosewood and Ebony and have no experience with anything other than those two, and of course my Maple Fenders I also love.
    Gr8guns, larryb and DHart like this.
  20. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    I have a 2011 Chinese Pro Jet. The build quality is fine, although they did a bit of a sloppy job on the binding. I don't know whether that reflects on the quality of newer Chinese Gretsches; I've heard good things about them.

    I recently sold my Chinese-made Hagstrom Super Swede. It was probably the best-built guitar I've ever owned. The craftsmanship on that guitar was absolutely first rate.
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