Gretsch G5422DC-12 12-String review

Perilon

Electromatic
Sep 8, 2012
24
Kingston, Ontario. Canada
I recently posted here that I had purchased a G5422-12 12-String, and this was followed by several requests for a review. I previously owned a Washburn 12-String Acoustic guitar, and I was anxious to get back that rich, full sound so characteristic of the 12-String.

I haven't seen many reviews so cannot be sure what is expected, but I will do my best. Here goes:

The G5422DC-12 is the 12-String double cutaway version in the new Electromatic G5400 series. It comes in black (which I bought) and sunburst finishes. Hollow-bodied from 5-Ply Maple, double-cutaway, Gloss Urethane finish, 2.25" Body depth, 16" wide - the same as the G5122DC and G5422DC 6-string models. 22 Frets, Maple neck, Rosewood fretboard, Nut width 1.8125" (wider than the 1.6875" on the G5122DC), and a 24.5" scale length. The position inlays are the classic wide "crown"-like design (I actually think I prefer the more subtle thumb-nail design on the G5122DC - just a preference).

The guitar is beautifully finished. I believe that the 5400 series is intended to be a slight upgrade from the 5100s, but honestly the finish of my G5122DC is so good it is difficult to see how it could be improved upon! The guitar has the classic off-white binding around the body and on the neck, and there is a white finish to the f-holes too.

The G5422DC-12 has Bridge and Neck "Black-Top" FilerTron pickups, an upgrade from the Gretsch Dual-Coil Humbuckers in the 5100 series.

The 12-String is standard strung, ie the high octave string in each of the lower 4 pairs is positioned below the standard string. The top 2 pairs of strings are tuned in unison. In my research I was interested to find that the Rickenbacker 12-String is strung differently from standard in that the high octave string is placed above the standard string. I would be interested to know how that difference affects the "jangle" - significantly I would think.
The frets are smooth and even, no jagged or protruding edges. I think the nut is "synthetic bone" however I find that the edges are pretty sharp (I'm presuming that the edges can be sanded smoother?).

The 12 Tuners are pretty standard independant tuners, chrome plated and, contrary to Gretsch's stated specs, are sealed back units (not open-backs). (The tuners on my G5122DC ARE open-backed. Sealed units are presumably better to avoid dust etc in the gears.)

The Bridge is a 12-String version of the Adjusto-Matic, and the tailpiece is slightly angled design, chrome finished, with a deco-style detail, and the Gretsch "G" cut into it. Knobs are "G-arrow". Standard controls - 3 position pick-up selector switch, master volume, 2 pick-up volumes, and master tone control. I have replaced the Gretch Strap buttons with Schaller Strap locks.

The G5422DC-12 is very comfortable to play - the same easy thrill that I got when I bought my G5122DC only a few months ago. String pairs are well positioned closely together making it easy to finger the pairs as a regular 6 string fingering. The slightly wider nut helps avoid fingers interfering with other adjacent strings.

The sound of the 12-String is fuller and richer, although it has its own distinctive shrillness, and does not have the same warmth as the 6 string version. The 12-String tends not to lend itself to "lead" work, but to a fuller sounding accompaniment. I am playing through a new VOX VT20+ in the AC30 position 2 setting. I still reach for my 5122DC 6 string FIRST, and then find that the Searchers, Byrds and Beatles songs often tempt me to my 12-String.

I bought this new G5422DC-12 for a remarkable price (of less than $550). My Gretsches have become the focus of my guitar playing, and the 12-String has become a really excellent addition.

When I bought my G5122DC I bought it with the Gretsch 16" body hard-shell case (G6241FT). So I was very pleased to find that inspite of its longer 12-String head, the G5422DC-12 fits comfortably into the same case (see detail pics).

I'm afraid I havent yet learned how to record sound bites.

I hope this has been useful.
Perilon
 

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John Pimlott

Gretschie
Jul 27, 2012
350
London
Thank you so much for taking the time to review this. Very useful to read an un-biased oppinion. I was already tempted, so I've added it to my wants list. Many thanks again.
John
 

fletch

Country Gent
Oct 19, 2010
2,277
Sydney Australia
Excellent review. I have never even seen a Gretsch 12-string in the flesh (so to speak) but I love it and am having green sweats of envy.
 

NickGretsch

Synchromatic
Aug 30, 2011
937
Cornwall, England
Many thanks Perilon for a well detailed review.

With those pickups I am however surprised t hear you note a "distinctive shrillness".

Hope I can get the chance to play one, they sound very interesting.
 

jflintmac

Country Gent
Jun 20, 2011
2,088
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thanks for the review Perilon. There aren't many people that have posted them and independant reviews are much better.
Being a Gretsch, I would expect the performance to glow. You should pick that guitar up almost every day for at least a few minutes. I am a firm believer that unused strings that do not get used regularly - go on to ruin the neck. The fibres in the wood get a little lazy or something.
I prefer Black guitars. They never get out dated, and are always cool. Of coarse that is just my personal taste.

The nut on a non Bigsby model Gretsch should hold up fine for years to come. You can sand the edges down with a little piece of 220 or 320 grit sand paper, and it will be just fine.

I wonder if Pop's can make you a Compton Bridge for that??? I don't really see an issue with the idea, and it would most likely sound even better than it does now.

I see that you are from Kingston Ontario...
Perhaps you can bring this guitar to the "Round-Up" in May, as it is being held in Kingston. That way we can all check it out! Maybe I can fit a Bone Nut for you there...
 

MyGirlGretta

Gretschie
Jul 23, 2012
144
CA
Thanks for the review.
If I could find a sunburst at that price I'd jump on it.

+1. Awesome review. And I'd take a black one at that price.


I wonder if Pop's can make you a Compton Bridge for that??? I don't really see an issue with the idea, and it would most likely sound even better than it does now.

I've been wondering the same thing.

Oh, and Perilon if you need any help getting started recording, feel free to PM me.
 

Perilon

Electromatic
Sep 8, 2012
24
Kingston, Ontario. Canada
Thanks for the review Perilon. There aren't many people that have posted them and independant reviews are much better.
Being a Gretsch, I would expect the performance to glow. You should pick that guitar up almost every day for at least a few minutes. I am a firm believer that unused strings that do not get used regularly - go on to ruin the neck. The fibres in the wood get a little lazy or something.
I prefer Black guitars. They never get out dated, and are always cool. Of coarse that is just my personal taste.

Thank you everyone for your nice comments.
Yes, I do play the 12-String every day - just not as much as the 6-String. I too love black guitars - I have a Black Godin Freeway-SA, a Black Godin ACS-SA, and a Black Variax JTV-89 to go along with my G5422-12!

The nut on a non Bigsby model Gretsch should hold up fine for years to come. You can sand the edges down with a little piece of 220 or 320 grit sand paper, and it will be just fine.

Thanks for your confirmation - Today I tried a little sanding and the nut is already less sharp.

I wonder if Pop's can make you a Compton Bridge for that??? I don't really see an issue with the idea, and it would most likely sound even better than it does now.

I should contact him. Contact info?

I see that you are from Kingston Ontario...
Perhaps you can bring this guitar to the "Round-Up" in May, as it is being held in Kingston. That way we can all check it out! Maybe I can fit a Bone Nut for you there...

Yes, I am from Kingston and very much plan to be at the get-together in May, and I will bring my Gretsches.

MyGirlGretta - I will PM you for your help. Thanks for the offer.

Tony - Great to get to talk with you - you have so much wisdom to add! Hope we can get together soon.

Thanks everyone.
 
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Dawgupp

Electromatic
May 24, 2011
82
Orange County California
Thanks for taking the time to sit down and give us ur review...like I said in my beginning post I have seen photos but not handled one nor could I find anything review wise...thanks for being the first!

Now if they only made it in white...:D
 

Perilon

Electromatic
Sep 8, 2012
24
Kingston, Ontario. Canada
With those pickups I am however surprised to hear you note a "distinctive shrillness".

Hi Nick perhaps it is semantics or the difficultly to describe sound, but I mean almost a tinnyness - obviously contributed to by the many more treble strings. And perhaps I need to try more variations in the use of the different pick-ups and tone control. I'm still just getting used to it!
I am also still a neophite when it comes to the different tones obtained from the various pick-ups - particularly what change I would notice with upgraded pick-ups. No doubt I will continue to learn from my friends on this board.

Have you tried adjusting the pick-ups?

I am presuming that if I adjust the pick-ups (such as raising the poles on the lower strings) that the balance will be better, and reduce the treble ringing.

I am also considering changing to some Pyramid Gold flatwound 12-String strings that I bought a couple of months ago. These tend to mellow the sound. Having said all that, I believe that the treble "jangle" is what makes the 12 String sound so distinctive. Any comments or suggestions?

Just a word about the price I paid. I was given a good "valued customer" discount by a known supplier, however I think that the person who took the phone order mis-calculated the discounted price. It lists for $799, and I was expecting to pay $640 (a 20% discount), however I was invoiced for about $520. I cannot say that it could normally be purchased for this amount, nor that I could get it for that price again! A fluke, yes, but I certainly accept a gift, and clearly I don't want to rock the boat! lol

Now if they only made it in white...

White? Yes I'm sure that would be very cool. Strange, -- for so many years my ideal image was always "Fiesta Red" (or Flamingo Pink as Hank Marvin said it was called) and yet now I dont have any red guitars. My next guitar will almost certainly be white.

Regards to all. Perilon

(What a great board this is!)
 

Leobeat

Gretschie
Mar 2, 2010
149
Argentina
what a Beauty!!...and agree with you about the treble "jangle" ...just like the Ricks...I´m a big Beatles, Byrds, Searchers (and all those "British invasion" bands) too......To everything Turn, turn, turn... :D . Congrats, a beautiful guitar!
 

tremelo68

Gretschie
May 23, 2011
343
Boston
I noticed that you said it came strung traditionally, but your photos and the photos on gretschguitars.com show it strung like a Ric, with the octave above the main string. That is how I would prefer it and like that it looks strung that way in both places.

However, which is it really? As shown in the pics or as described? Or, did you change the stringing?

I am jumping on that one in Reno!

Thanks
 


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