G5034TFT Rancher Query

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Pops Thumb, Jul 15, 2020.

  1. Pops Thumb

    Pops Thumb Electromatic

    Dec 21, 2019
    Hi folks,
    Arthritis is slowing me down with my picking,
    and I'm interested in adding a guitar to my little herd that is old man fingers friendly...

    I've been looking at the Rancher G5034TFT and would sure appreciate input from anyone who has experience with this guitar.

    How is the playability?
    Bixby ?
    I only have a couple of acoustic amps , DS4 and Cube EX
    Wonder if they would do fine or is another amp needed?
    Thanks for your time

  2. kjmac

    kjmac Gretschie

    Mar 7, 2018
    Omaha, NE
    I can't speak for the G5034TFT, but I used to own a G5024 Acoustic Electric. It was a beautiful guitar and I loved it until I got my Guild. I think the 5034 has a single humbucker so you could use either an acoustic or an electric guitar amp. You could also use electric guitar strings on it which might be a little easier to manage than regular acoustic strings.

    Incidentally, the quality and the fit and finish were excellent. It was a beautiful guitar. The consignment shop sold it for a little more than I paid for it new. A very impressive instrument for the money.
  3. Hi. I have had two. Got one when they first came out, sold it off, and just purchased another one about a month or two ago. I bought it because i thought it just looked unique and i wanted an acoustic with a bigsby. I could not find any other acoustic with a bigsby that wasn’t home made and scary looking. So thats why i bought it.

    Over all its a typical gretsch mid level guitar. Its built well, looks good with no finish marks. It plays more like a low action electric than a acoustic. The first one i had came strung with 10’s. It was very easy to play. The bigsby feels a little stiff on that one, and the one i have now, but that can be corrected with one of those Biggs fix thingys. The neck pickup works well, its on the neck position, so thats the sound it has. It doesnt bite like a bridge position pickup does. That being said..........

    It looks like a acoustic, but it really isn’t. The back and sides are like their regular ranchers, but the top is really thick. Under the bigsby they attached another piece of wood to screw the bigsby down to, and the pickup has another wood box built around it. Yes, you can hear it when you play unplugged. Buy next to a standard acoustic, not even a Martin, its volume is underwhelming. Good for quiet practice, but not that good in a open jam with others.

    I bought the second one to try an experiment. I went with heavier strings , and put on the phosphor bronze acoustic set. 12’s. The volume did beef up a little unplugged, and those strings sound more typical of an acoustic than the standard steel they come with. However, the bronze doesnt pick up as well in the neck pickup. It works, but any unwound string, like the high E and the B have more volume through the pickup. You could adjust the pole pieces on the strings to balance it out, I haven’t done that yet. I wanted to install an internal acoustic pickup to see if i could plug it into an acoustic amp and get a acoustic sound and have a bigsby. I went with a Baggs LYRIC. I out one of these in a acoustic tenor I have, and it works well. Easy install, its a little mike that you stick inside under the saddle area, plus a battery pack and a volume knob. These all stick with double side tape and are not permanent. The only permanent was drilling another hole for the jack. The pickup works, but it can only reproduce what it hears. With the top being so thick, there’s not a lot of volume inside the guitar. So it sounds a bit thin. Unlike the tenor i put it in, that i can turn up as loud as i want without feed back, this one was starting to get feed back when i turned up the gain. I fiddled with it a bit, then put it down, as i was initially disappointed with the results. When i have more time, i may reposition the mike, or try another acoustic amp to see if i can pull more sound out of it. But i am doubtful. Since the top is too thick to resonate enough for a internal mike, that leaves a saddle pickup. Its equipped with a gretsch gold bar bridge. If it didn’t have a bigsby you’d could put a bridge on with a built in saddle pickup like most acoustics have. But i dont think a wood bridge would hold up well to the bigsby pulling it back and forth. Without the bigsby, i ask myself, why would i have purchased this model.

    So, in a nutshell, short story made very long by me, its a great playing guitar, that looks like an acoustic,l but you will be hard pressed to get a decent amplified, or even natural acoustic sound out of it, and with the thickness and bigsby, its heavier than any acoustic you ever picked up. If you like the rancher colors, and can do without a bigsby, than just get a rancher, they play well and sound decent plugged in. If you want a unique guitar, kind of like the duck billed platypus of guitars, this is it.

    If you have read this far and are still interested, i may have a short video my wife and i made that got posted to facebook where I play it unplugged. I will look for it and try and post a link here.

    Regardless of my seemingly failed attempt to get this thing to sound acoustic, I haven’t sold it off yet. I just thing it looks too cool. That and i will try again somehow to get a decent plugged in acoustic sound.
    Henry, giffenf, wabash slim and 2 others like this.
  4. I’m guessing my post was a bit winded and put people to sleep
    CatTones likes this.
  5. mrcoffee23

    mrcoffee23 Gretschie

    Sep 23, 2009
    Virginia, USA
    Actually, thanks for your long post. There is so little useful stuff out there about this model, and you have probably given the best post as a resource for people who are in the decision process about buying this guitar.
  6. Thanks! Now i can show this to my wife to justify more purchases!
    CatTones likes this.
  7. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    To put it simply, it's more electric than acoustic.
    I've a soft spot for a flat top with a pickup, nd this one even adds a Bigsby. As a caveat, play one before you buy one.
  8. giffenf

    giffenf Synchromatic

    Oct 26, 2008
    Los Angeles
    I've owned one, and was even lucky enough to do the demo for Premier Guitar when it debuted at NAMM:

    I was playing with it when PG's camera crew walked up so Joe Carducci said "Frank, can you demo this for these guys?" Then he leaned in and said quietly "And use the Bigsby A LOT." So I did. A few seconds from my 15 minutes of fame.

    Eventually, I bought one, and started the same quest that @freddyfingers did, to get a usable acoustic tone out of it. I superglued some JJB soundboard transducers inside the guitar to the spot under the bridge where the saddle would be if it were a regular acoustic guitar, and wired the stock pickup and with the stereo jack the JJBs come with and ran both through a Radial ToneBone Piezo Plus preamp/DI. And I tried. I did a demo video trying to show a comparison of the different methods of amplification:

    My conclusion was the only way to get it to sound like an acoustic guitar was to play it unplugged, and then it's not loud enough for much beyond sitting on the couch and personally enjoying it. A blend of the pickup and the soundboard transducers yielded the best sound to my ear, but even its best acousticky sound wasn't ideal, and the sound of the transducers' picking up my clothing (or anything else, like fingernails, forearm, etc.) coming into contact with the guitar made me a little crazy. I also used too much reverb in the demo. Using the guitar with just the stock pickup, like it was designed to be used, makes it sound like a good jazz box, albeit a wacky-looking one, which will likely forever endear it to my heart and probably make me wish I still had one.
    freddyfingers and CatTones like this.
  9. Pops Thumb

    Pops Thumb Electromatic

    Dec 21, 2019
    Ha! no way...
    Your response was perfect for what I was looking for.
    Your findings reinforce what my brain has been trying to tell me...
    Having a bixby on an acoustic guitar would be cool...
    But, you can't have both...an acoustic as we know them to be and a Bixby

    I suppose I would be a buyer of one at a really great deal only because of the novelty of it.

    Thanks very much for your evaluation and time.
    I would enjoy seeing your video!
  10. An acoustic archtop with a bigsby would work. But archtops dont have the same acoustic sound as a typical acoustic. The problem is the bridge. Most bigsby guitars require a raised bridge so the strings have an angle toward the bigsby. A flat top acoustic makes that difficult. Putting a floating bridge on a flat top doesn’t have the pressure needed to make the top resonate. So if you look at the g5034tft, the neck angle is set so that it can accommodate that raised bridge. I’m not sure why they had to screw the bigsby into the top, that was really thick to begin with, plus the added piece of wood under the bridge. If the top was thinner and braced properly, it would work.
  11. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    I would avoid any steel string guitar unless it s a shorter scale like a parlor. I would check out nylon strings like a Godin.
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