First Gretsch advice / 5420t

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by Electric Gator, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. Electric Gator

    Electric Gator Newbie

    Jan 14, 2020
    Hi everybody, first post here!

    I’m on the hunt for my first Gretsch after a chance encounter with an Imperial Stain streamliner.

    I’d read they aren’t super representative of the Gretsch sound which has lead me to possibly buying a 135th Anniversary G5420t.

    Has anyone got experience with this model? It’s the cherry/casino gold model. Its a lot of money for me and my main question is it going to be a great guitar straight out of the shop?
    (The particular guitar I’m looking at is new from a Retailer)

    Having done some reading over the past week, I get the impression some guitars aren’t so great stock. I do love that the Bridge is secured though.

    I play alt country / drone kind of stuff (think Earth / Jesse Sykes ) and also in a band which is more Roy Orbison kind of vibe and think this would be a great guitar for the job.

    Any insight appreciated, great forum!
    thunder58 likes this.
  2. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    5420T’s rule, and that’s a beautiful model!
    Some of us here mod our guitars, some folks are real happy with them as they are. No hard rules.

    This guitar will do what you want it to do.

    Welcome to GT!
    Zeek, Electric Gator and Outlaw like this.
  3. DennisC

    DennisC Synchromatic

    May 11, 2017
    She'll match that.

    The bridge is secured, meaning the studs go through the wooden base into the top. Some don't like this, some do...

    ... the bridge itself would be my only concern, but there are a few recommendable ones (Truarc, dBridge, Compton), all one-piece designs.

    Aside from the colour, this is a 5420 as every 5420 ... and these are great! Some don't like the pickups, but they're at least worth a try - not bad by any reasonable means.

    The nut may require a little attention, as the strings usually are pretty high there ... sanding off it's bottom would be the way to go here, and maybe work on the slots isn't even required.

    I thought about that colour, too, but ... didn't like her back side's colour, and after a severe meeting with my dentist, I decided to stop at the largest local musical-stuff-store and let pain and analgeticts take over the process a little bit (I already had planned buying either a 5422 or 5420 and met a nice red/gold one which I bought a few months later). But ... colours - that's up to each of us, you have to like it. The top side looks brilliant!

    Anyway, after a setup like every new guitar needs one ... she'll be fine. Everything anyone recommends is only meant to make something really good a little bit better. The original bridge isn't really nice, but will work, of course.

    Welcome ... to one of the most knowing, caring and friendly places you'll ever find on a screen!
    Electric Gator likes this.
  4. Chris MC

    Chris MC Gretschie

    Oct 27, 2014
    Orange, Aus
    My 5420 is my best guitar and the most fun to play.
    Electric Gator likes this.
  5. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Welcome to the forum friend . Best with your search
    Electric Gator likes this.
  6. BrianW

    BrianW Synchromatic

    Oct 21, 2014
    Vancouver Island
    Welcome to G-T. I have a 5420 from 4 or so years ago. Not a "T" model. Not sure exactly what the difference would be to the newer 5420T versions but aside from the usual setup stuff (how high do you like the action? etc etc) I am happy with mine. If anything, I believe the newer ones are even better.

    I don't think you would be disappointed but as always: best if you can actually play the one before you buy it. Good luck with the search!
    Electric Gator likes this.
  7. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Welcome to the forum, Electric Gator !
    g'day mate.jpg
    Zeek likes this.
  8. dak55

    dak55 Country Gent

    May 31, 2018
    Welcome to the group. As is or modded it is a fine guitar. Good luck on your hunt.
    Electric Gator likes this.
  9. Gregor

    Gregor Gretschie

    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Welcome from the Great White North.
    Electric Gator likes this.
  10. Lockupyourfatdog

    Lockupyourfatdog Synchromatic

    Aug 8, 2016
    Everett wa
    I have that model. It’s beautiful and a great player. The neck feels nice and it’s really comfortable. Mine came with an upgraded bridge and pickups which I would have done anyway. Those bridges don’t last long. Within a year they start rattling but there’s a few good options to replace it with that only takes a few seconds to switch out. The pickups are great as is, I just have other more high end guitars that the stock 5420 pickups cans compete with so for me different ones were needed. Other than that it’s a great guitar. You’ll love it
    Electric Gator likes this.
  11. DennisC

    DennisC Synchromatic

    May 11, 2017
    The newer ones ... have a short, but nice list of changes:

    - smaller headstock, therefore lower break angle towards the pegs
    - treble bleed on the master volume
    - different inlays, "ELECTROMATIC" on pckguard instead of headstock and other minor cosmetic stuff. Every year, there's at least one limited colour optiom, often there are even more that are only sold in ceratin stores, like the black/gold one, in germany only available via Thomann, and the regular colours change a bit through the years, too.

    ... and, although I can't point at something and say "There!" - the 2016 and after ones in general feel/seem built a bit more careful. The changes were made the same time the Streamliner series came into stores the first time, and usually, while not that typical Gretsch, these are seen as great guitars, too. I think they had to improve a few things to justify the higher price.

    If you can try out more than one, try out all you can, as none is like the other. I won't recommend a colour, as this is only up to taste and taste alone ... but I do recommend not buying one only because the colour is your choice, if another one feels better, feels more at home, that one's the better choice. Until now, they didn't come up with a really ugly one. I don't really like Aspen Green, but that's just my taste. Nothing wrong with liking that.

    However, Good luck on the hunt!
    Electric Gator likes this.
  12. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    I have played a lot of guitars and the Electromatics are at the top of that list in regards to quality for the money. The 5420 might well be the most popular. It is well loved on this forum.

    In other words, ya did good. You picked a great guitar and a great forum...congratulations
    Electric Gator likes this.
  13. anthony466

    anthony466 Electromatic

    Dec 13, 2019
    Current 5420's are a lot of guitar for the money. Easy upgrades and mods if you feel so inclined. I am still getting know mine sonically to be honest.
    Electric Gator likes this.
  14. Monty_piglit

    Monty_piglit Gretschie

    Oct 9, 2019
    Welcome from the UK, I have a 5420t and it is great out of the box.

    I chose to mod mine to drop the action.
    Electric Gator likes this.
  15. foilfear66

    foilfear66 Electromatic

    Jan 7, 2020
    I've only had my 5420TG since Saturday but I am very pleased with it, I've given the truss rod a little tweak for a bit more neck relief and raised the action on the bass side a touch but other than that it plays lovely out of the box.

    I have a very nice collection of guitars (several USA made guitars) and this one holds its own for build quality for the money, the fit and finish are excellent. I'm sure things like the bridge and possibly the tuners could be better but I plan to play mine until it gives me grief before I consider replacing anything.

    I'm very happy with the Black Filtertron pickups they give a nice tone that is different from my other guitars which was the objective of the purchase.

    Play it and enjoy it, fix it if/when it breaks.

    Zeek and new6659 like this.
  16. Joey L

    Joey L Synchromatic

    Jun 24, 2016
    White Plains, NY
    Love my 2016 5420..great guitar out of the box, but being a tinkerer I made a few mods:
    TV Jone Classics
    Roller Bridge
    Reverend Soft Spring
    Strap Locks (as I have on all my guitars)
    Jack Plate
    31615065-C45B-4094-9C6A-E8BFEBB1386A.jpeg EDAF3714-4696-4186-86D4-AA8DE266D4C0.jpeg EDAF3714-4696-4186-86D4-AA8DE266D4C0.jpeg
    Electric Gator likes this.
  17. Electric Gator

    Electric Gator Newbie

    Jan 14, 2020
    Thanks for the warm welcome and thoughtful responses!

    It sounds like if I end up with the guitar it will be good to go, as it should be. I'm going to go have a play tomorrow afternoon, and if it feels and sounds right I will buy it, so I'll let you know how I go!

    Do you find the guitar stays in tune pretty well?
  18. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Howdy! Welcome aboard!

    Simply, play it and see if you like it. Your ears are the ones that truly matter. There are many small subtle things you can do to increase the playability. That falls under the scope of adjustments. Every guitar needs some set up when first purchased. A few tweaks and it'll be perfect for you---like adjusting the seat and mirrors in a car. The 5420 is a great bang for the buck guitar. Many Gretsch players change out the bridges. It seems to be the one real low point in the world of Gretsch. It's an easy fix, tho. There are a lot of choices there, from simple to complicated. You've made a great choice already in looking at a Gretsch. Have fun!
    Stefan87 likes this.
  19. new6659

    new6659 Country Gent

    Good choice and here's another welcome from Canada!
  20. BrianW

    BrianW Synchromatic

    Oct 21, 2014
    Vancouver Island
    Staying in tune with a bigsby has given some folks a bit of grief, from reading posts about it. They aren't meant for aggressive use tbh, and from there it's usually a matter of friction at the nut. String gauge vs nut slot, graphite, lube, the angle of the string to the tuner (maybe causing "pinch") are all factors that could affect it. I can't say I personally have had any problems, this is from reading what others have experienced. It's possible I guess the slots at the bridge if burred or sharp could affect the way the strings return to pitch as well. Inherently though I don't think there's a problem with them staying in tune - worst case seems to be a bit of tweaking cures it.
    I am no expert, the foregoing is only based on my one guitar and what I have seen posted here.
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