G6120T vs G5420T

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by MichaelRopp, Aug 15, 2021.

  1. Intoamartian

    Intoamartian Electromatic

    Feb 10, 2021
    I have a 5422 and I am very impressed by the quality. I want to swap the pickups to get more of the classic chime/high end but the overdriven/distorted tones of the BTs really make that something I can wait on.
    GlenP, ESGslim and section2 like this.
  2. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Country Gent

    Feb 17, 2020
  3. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    My 5422TG and Phoenix are both great guitars.

    Sure, different price points, but both are great players, with their own Gretsch twist tone wise.

  4. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Friend of Fred

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    My 95 6120 has a 5-ply top and a tone post, same as 5420T, but the fit and finish are far superior. It also as a beautiful ebony fretboard.
    One big difference between them that is noticeable immediately to the touch, is the poly finish on my 6120 is no where near as thick as was on my 5420T. My 5420T felt like it was candy coated.
    I suppose this is why the 6120 is much more resonant than the 5420T, even though they both have a 5-ply top.

    However, my 5420T was a DAMN fine instrument! Once I got rid of the blacktops (you may dig them, I did not) and replaced the bridge it sounded as Gretschy as a Gretsch can get!
    I did so many mods to that baby, that I bore myself trying to list them. After all the mods, it still wasn’t a 6120.
    I sold it last month to a happy guy at a big $ loss for me, and I’m at peace with that. I learned an obvious lesson about doing irreversible modifications to a guitar that I may end up selling.
    But hey, it’s only money!!
  5. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    I didn't realize that the 6120 was 5-ply. I thought I'd heard that it was 3-ply, but it's entirely possible that I made that up.

    I didn't know you'd sold your 5420. What a gorgeous guitar. Whoever owns it now is a lucky player indeed!
    calebaaron666 likes this.
  6. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Friend of Fred

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    The pre-Fender MIJ Gretschs have 5-ply tops.
    The post Fender MIJ Gretschs are more period correct with 3-ply tops.

    and yes, my 5420T was a beauty! I wanted to sell a guitar so I could pay for my new amp, and since I rarely picked up the 5420T anymore, it had to go!
  7. MichaelRopp

    MichaelRopp Electromatic

    Jan 20, 2021
    @diamoroso -- well said!
  8. MrAstro

    MrAstro Gretschie

    Mar 5, 2015
    Sydney, NSW
    I have both. I use the 6120 for recording and the 5420 for everyday practice. I think the difference is in the electronics and fit and finish. If you only saw a 5420 you’d think it was a really nice guitar because it is… I think I probably need to replace the nut for tuning stability on the 5420 but a bit of graphite powder makes it acceptable for the time being. The pickups on the 5420 sound a little more mellow and warm… that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They are fine for me to play all day long. I have gigged withe the 5420 and don’t have to worry about it like I would with a 612o. Even so I look after my guitars and I haven’t ever knocked either guitar. Anyway I put 95% of my wear on the 5420 because it matters less… Probably stupid of me because life is too short.
    new6659 and GlenP like this.
  9. jackfossett

    jackfossett Gretschie

    Jul 17, 2019
    UGGH not that Jack Fossett character… terrible guitar player. No one would watch him if he weren’t so charismatic and good looking.
  10. MartsNeo

    MartsNeo Newbie

    Jun 6, 2021
    I have owned both and totally agree the the 6120 is a better quality guitar. However, I spent some ££ upgrading the 5420 with an ABM roller bridge, TV Jones Classic/Classic plus and find it to be a really close in sound and play-ability as the 6120 as well as fixing the tuning stability. The 5420 cost me £450 second hand and £350 for the parts (which I fitted myself) - and for £800 it is a great backup guitar and probably the first one I pickup when recording at home.
    MichaelRopp, Groutsch and section2 like this.
  11. nightchef

    nightchef Electromatic

    Jun 3, 2021
    I saw that video, and even though I liked the sound of the 6120 better, my takeaway was to buy a used 5420 when a good deal became available. My feeling was that I liked the sound of the 5420 so much that if I had heard just that, without the 6120 comparison, I'd be running off to buy it. And I could afford the 5420. So I shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good (especially since so much of what separates the perfect from the good is available via upgrade if I choose to go that route).
    Randy99CL, rake_ether and jackfossett like this.
  12. tom_poynton

    tom_poynton Electromatic

    Oct 23, 2020
    Bristol, UK
    Haven’t gone through all the replies here so apologies if I’m just repeating why others have said but for me I would say it comes down to expectations: for what you pay for the 6120 I would expect nothing less than a truly wonderful guitar, whereas with the 5420 what you get for the price (and I’m speaking purely from personal experience having picked up one last year-see my avi) I think is a truly outstanding guitar compared to others in its price range.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2021
    new6659 likes this.
  13. TSims1

    TSims1 Gretschified

    Jun 18, 2013
    6120 is the real thing. 5420s are a cheaper version of a 6120 for those who can’t or don’t want to pay 6120 money. And Gretsch gives you a fanTASTIC guitar in the 5420. I think both punch above their weight.
  14. tom_poynton

    tom_poynton Electromatic

    Oct 23, 2020
    Bristol, UK
    That’s exactly what I paid for my 2019 542o-TG, and whilst I haven’t upgraded some of the parts and electronics I thinks that’s what’s so great about it, it makes a fantastic project guitar. With not too much more expense you can get yourself one hell of an instrument.
    TSims1 likes this.
  15. TSims1

    TSims1 Gretschified

    Jun 18, 2013

    Absolutely fanTASTIC modding platforms! I’ve done several myself. So fun!
  16. wizard1962

    wizard1962 Electromatic

    Feb 22, 2010
    Glendale AZ
    I have 5 Gretsch's - 5126, 5120, 6120Eddie Cochran, 6136 White Falcon and a Country Gent 12 string. The 5126 I upgraded with actual Gretsch Dyno's. 5120 with TV Jones Classics. Falcon with TV Jones Classics. I play the 5126 and 5120 leaving the Falcon and Eddie on the wall looking like art work or guitar trophies...for some reason to me the 51x line sounds better with upgraded electronics and total out cost wise a lot less. Now the difference is - per a recently retired head of Gretsch Fender - "the ingredients"...The professional line of Gretsch's = aka Japanese made - are 3 ply maple. The lower priced 5 x's are 5 ply. So the pro line will resonate more. Add good pickups and wiring to the 5x and you will have a very close sound to a 6x.
    Craig Encinitas and MichaelRopp like this.
  17. ESGslim

    ESGslim Electromatic

    May 23, 2021
    Merrick NY
    Hello all,

    I own a 5422TG and am very pleased with the quality of this Korean built guitar, but not so much the hardware... So one by one, I'm upgrading everything. First it was the addition of a Compton brass chambered bridge which really gave me more crispness and chime, then I swapped out the cheap tuners for Kluson locking tuners and added an output jack plate and strap locks.
    Now, I'm waiting for my TV Jones tone pot harness and kit, and TV Jones classic in bridge and neck.

    It's a labor of love, so it may end up costing me as much as a good used 6120.
    IMG_0473.jpg IMG_0475.jpg
  18. RRGuitarCo

    RRGuitarCo Gretschie

    May 23, 2021
    San Diego CA
    I have both and love them both. I have a pretty stock 5410 and a way modded 5420, both of which kick ass. Different flavors and I play them all the time. However, my Pro lines are on another level all around.
    As to your question is it worth the $$$? 110%!
    Coming from a background of being a Luthier, running a guitar shop, working as a musician and a teacher, I make my living from guitars. Working on them, selling them and playing them.
    So over my lifetime I've lost count of how many guitars I've bought and sold. That being said, I feel like Gretsch is the only company out there where you can spend cash on a high end guitar and ACTUALLY get your moneys worth...but that's just my 2 cents.
  19. Waxhead

    Waxhead Friend of Fred

    Aug 30, 2014
    My 5422 has had more upgrades than you're planning and still cost 40% of a 6120 :D

  20. jackfossett

    jackfossett Gretschie

    Jul 17, 2019
    Having done this exact same thing, I can pretty much echo whats already been stated.

    The 5420t is a really good guitar. You can perform with it, record with it and just plain enjoy it. It can definitely be improved with some upgraded pickups, but thats not to say that the stock Blacktops don't sound good on their own. I recorded a solo on my last album with the blacktops. I upgraded mine to Righteous Sound filter'trons which sound great though, and did improve the overall richness of the tone.

    Its not entirely fair to compare the two though as the 6120 is pretty much a work of art. It would be kind of like comparing a high end Mexican made Fender (like the classic/Vintera series, which anyone who has one will tell you is an excellent guitar) and a Fender Custom Shop. The MIMs are great, but the Custom Shop is just on a completely different level with craftsmanship. Of course, both the Gretsch 6120 and the Custom Shop come with a much heftier price tag.

    There's a reason I have both and keep both. I'm very lucky to be in a position where I'm able to have a 6120, but if a 5420 were all I were able to have, then it wouldn't make me love or play Gretsch any less.
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