Has Gretsch done a Gibson?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Humpblock, Aug 12, 2021.

  1. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Country Gent

    Feb 17, 2020
    And also, I am tired of people hating on Gibson. Isn't that the meaning of this thread?

    A year ago I got a great deal on their absolute cheapest 2019 model LP and mine is perfect and could not be better. Not one flaw or imperfection, as good as any guitars I own including MIJ and MIM Fenders.
    So I understand that they may have had some problems in their long past but everything I've heard/read lately has been positive.

    I own over a half-dozen made in Indonesia (Gretsch Streamliners, G&L Tributes, Squier FSR and Yamaha bass) and they are all perfect. The half-dozen from China are good too and a couple of Epis are not as well finished as the others but I'm not going to bash on the whole brand.
  2. Chmason85

    Chmason85 Synchromatic

    May 1, 2018
    What’s the imperfection we’re looking at in that picture? I’m not seeing anything wrong
  3. new6659

    new6659 Country Gent

    I think we're seeing limited depth of field (the area which is in focus) from using a large lens aperture on the camera which took the picture. There's probably nothing wrong at all with the binding.
  4. Highroller

    Highroller Country Gent

    Jun 11, 2015
    Portland, OR
    I thought of that too, but the inside stripe on the binding actually gets thinner towards the foreground. If it was blurring out due to depth-of-field issues, typically it would spread wider as it diffuses. At least I'd think so.

    But hey, light can do weird things. I wouldn't discount the possibility you might be totally right there. But even if that's the case, they could have picked a better pic for the ad, because it looks like something's wrong there. And we all know - in advertising, looks are everything!

    Last edited: Aug 14, 2021
    new6659 likes this.
  5. Frank_NH

    Frank_NH Synchromatic

    Mar 25, 2013
    Lebanon, NH
    Actually, just looks like the binding edge needs a gentle scraping with a razor. You could scrape the edge, touch up the finish and polish it, and it would be perfect. :)

    Of course, someone could also relic the finish and charge an extra $500…:D
  6. amp360

    amp360 Synchromatic

    Oct 21, 2012
    I’ve had a bunch of the newer Gretsch guitars. None of them felt spectacular, most felt like a decent MIJ guitar that didn’t seem all that “Gretsch”. I guess I can’t really see the difference between a Korean/Chinese/Indonesian Gretsch or Epiphone but I can see a huge difference in feel, tone, etc… between my ‘57 6120 and ‘56 Goldtop.

    The only modern Gretsch guitar I have played that I thought was an absolutely killer guitar was a Steve Stills Falcon that was actually built by Heritage.

    To me, the production (not custom, etc…) guitars Gibson, Martin, and (especially) Rickenbacker are making in the USA are really great instruments that are really competitively priced. The lesser known brands like Carvin and Heritage are stupidly cheap. I paid about 1k for my 535.

    I bought a pair of electromatic Gretsch guitars for about $400 each at GC last year. I was embarrassed to resell them for $800. Honestly those models should be $500 tops.
    Electrosynthesis likes this.
  7. dlew919

    dlew919 Country Gent

    Jul 18, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    I have a 2015 5420t which is an excellent instrument. About half the price of a 335 Gibson. But I’d argue as good. Different of course.

    not a slag on gibsons which are great instruments. Praise for my gretsch.
    Electrosynthesis likes this.
  8. AZBrahma

    AZBrahma Gretschie

    Dec 18, 2020
    After reading through this thread and contemplating a Gretsch USA standard production line versus their current production model, the only question I could muster is....why? The Terada built instruments are fantastic quality. Nothing objective would be gained by building them in the US instead. Terada has been building great guitars forever and are highly skilled and respected.

    My favorite manufacturer is the Schecter USA custom shop, simply because every aspect of quality is off the charts. Ironically the two longest tenured luthiers there are Japanese. One does the best fretwork planet Earth (among other things), the other builds the Masterworks guitars. Origin simply doesn't mean much anymore. I used to have reservations about Indonesian guitars, and my Revstar took those winds right out of my sails. It's perfect.

    As far as Gibson, I'm not going to dogpile. They have features that I don't prefer, but even if I loved them I would never buy a new one and support the company. I find their corporate behavior absolutely appalling and reprehensible, and they just keep turning me off over and over.
    Electrosynthesis likes this.
  9. brent99

    brent99 Electromatic

    Jul 22, 2021
    center point AL 35215
    Man I hate to hear that. Companies need to stand behind their products...especially A Country Gent that is a large part of their reputation.
    Gretschtim1 likes this.
  10. T Bone

    T Bone Country Gent

    Has Gretsch "done a Gibson"? Well lessee... appears to me that is an attempt to attack the quality of Gibson's manufacturing or QC. Quite a common and popular thing on the internet. Thing is, it is largely unwarranted.

    I hear people complain a lot, and spending their $ only to have a QC nightmare arrive, it is understandable that they will rant and rave. But the incidents are not common enough in my view to warrant the downing of a reputation attempted by so many.

    I own 10 Gibson Guitars. Produced from 2007 to 2019. One I traded off (a duplicate) makes 11. Every one of them bought on the internet sight unseen. 2 used in near mint condition, the rest new. And every one of them has been FLAWLESS.

    I've bought dozens of guitars online. I've sent back exactly one. It was a Chinese made Gretsch, a Pro Jet, and was returned over a binding QC issue. Had either a couple cracks or a patch in one area of binding. It's replacement was fine.

    Now on to that pic, yes, looks like they failed there, and chose the wrong example for the ad. So Gretsch pulled a Gretsch? Maybe Gretsch just let one slip by and worse yet, into their ad. Is it indicative of what the brand is doing overall? I don't think so (all but that one of my 7 Gretsches has also been flawless).
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
  11. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    That’s how I see it. I’ve owned a Baldwin era Gretsch and it was ok, but nothing special. I’ve played Brooklyn Gretsch and they were pretty good, but not perfect. I see no disadvantage to the Japanese made Gretsch guitars, whatsoever. They are beautifully crafted.
    Electrosynthesis and T Bone like this.
  12. T Bone

    T Bone Country Gent

    I bought my 2018 SG Standard on closeout in early 2019 for a ridiculous $1019. That low price lasted about 2 days as far as I could tell. Went back up to $1099 the day after I bought it. In 2018, pretty sure they were around $1500. Nowhere near 3K.

    The faded SGs, I bought a new Faded SG Special Tribute with P90s back around 2013 (it was from I think 2011?) for somewhere around $530. It listed around $900 if I recall correctly.

    Yes I bargain hunt, and watch for closeout deals etc. And I jump when the iron is hot. And I take advantage of discount coupons, and sometimes zero interest financing. But of my 10 Gibsons (plus one I traded off), 9 were bought new. All made from 2007 to 2019. Deals have included a 2018 Explorer for $1485. A limited edition Les Paul Classic Gold Top (with Bigsby and Vibramate) for $1799 (the most I've paid for a Gibson yet). A 2016 Firebird T for $910.

    I haven't paid $2K yet for a Gibson. And they were all (except the 2018 SG and a 2019 Les Paul Jr.) From Henry J's tenure.

    I think they have and continue to produce some great guitars (in the U.S.A.). And though the Historics get very pricey (along with this acoustics), if you shop for bargains you can get some awesome guitars at very reasonable prices.
    Gretschtim1 and Highroller like this.
  13. Highroller

    Highroller Country Gent

    Jun 11, 2015
    Portland, OR
    Cool, nothing like getting a great deal! Never had that kind of luck myself, more power to 'ya!
    T Bone likes this.
  14. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    My 2018 SG Standard 61 edition is a great guitar.
    The only gripe I've ever had with Gibson was when I sent back my Les Paul custom that had a lifetime warranty and they did a terrible job repairing it.
    The guitar was a great playing guitar until it fell off the guitar stand and the truss rod broke loose. I sent it back to them 3 times and it just was never the same guitar so I sold it. I replaced it with a 335 and it's been my favorite guitar for 40+ years...so all ended well after all...:D.
    T Bone likes this.
  15. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    To start, I love Gibsons - especially SGs. I bought my first one - an SG Custom, in 1972.

    To date, these are the ones I still have:

    SG 3: OK guitar, sounds good with three 57 Classics and the Varitone. The Varitone constantly needs cleaning and can be very noisy when switching. The guitar needs fretwork.

    SG Standard w/P90s: Excellent instrument in every way. Very well made and sounds terrific.

    SG Special reissue w/P90s: decently made but sustain was lacking until my luthier installed a TonePro bridge. Now it no longer sounds like a banjo.

    SG 1961 reissue: Excellent instrument in every way. Very well made and sounds terrific.

    SG Tribute Faded: One of the worst guitars I have ever owned. My son is quite talented with setting up instruments so I gave it to him, stating," Take the turd and see if you can polish it into a guitar.' In retrospect, I should have paid him to take it. This thing made a beginners' Epi look great.

    1958 Les Paul Special: Ridden hard and put away wet, she is a player's guitar but she oozes quality from every tired pore. This is what the Gibson legend was made from.

    Les Paul Special w/P90s: Purchased to play out so I didn't have to keep dragging out the old girl. If it was only 25% better it would be as good as an Epiphone.

    SG Raw Power: A Cinderella story. Despite the goofy name, this is a very useful guitar. It sounded great from day one - all-maple construction with 57 Classics - but the fretwork was less than stellar. Let the luthier lay his hands upon it (PLEK, set up) and it became one of the best SGs I have ever played.

    Les Paul Studio Raw Power: I bought this one many years after the SG as it was the series mate to the SG. Both are silver with 57 Classics. The moment I bought it I knew it needs the luthier's attention to the neck and while it is way better, it isn't on my top ten list. However, it sounds very good and is quite playable now, just not magical.

    ES-139: This is a pretty rare guitar and most people don't know what it is. It is Gibson's Duo Jet. LP shape but bigger. Very well chambered and has two Burstbuckers in it. The neck was OK but the guitar sounds world-class. She is a keeper but is currently at the luthier having the neck done.

    Note the common theme here. Fretwork issues abound. None of these guitars are cheap yet only a few of them can reach the target without having individual luthier work applied to them. Don't misunderstand, I still love my Gibsons and their designs can be timeless but to repeatedly purchase expensive instruments like these and then have to take them to a luthier to have the details done right is an issue.

    Gibson's latest offerings are better as the SG Special demonstrates. The neck is fine but nonetheless, it required swapping out the bridge to make it sound the way it should.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
    new6659 likes this.
  16. diamoroso

    diamoroso Gretschie

    Feb 4, 2019
    San Diego, CA
    Some of you guys seem to have some strange and deeply rooted biases about guitars, lol. I love all sorts of guitars: Gibson, Fender, Grestch, Hagstrom, Univox, Teisco, whatever, I appreciate each for what it is.

    I own two Gibson guitars currently, a ES-335 and a J45 Standard. I’ve played hundreds of them over the last 20 years of playing guitar in general. They are great guitars, and I’ve never run into any of the legendary issues so common according to the Internet. However, I will say that my Japanese made Gretsch 6120 does feel like a different tier of craftsmanship. The frets, “nitro” finish, playability, sound, I can’t imagine where it could be improved. I wouldn’t exactly say that there are flaws to point at on my Gibsons, however it just seems a little bit “rough around the edges” in comparison to the Grestch.

    I’m comparing my Gibson to my Korean 5420 (which is a great guitar at the price), it’s another level again. Interestingly, I feel the craftsmanship difference between my American Fenders and Mexican Fenders is nearly non existent. I do generally prefer my American Fenders, but the differences such as rolled fretboard edges and better electronics in the MIA stuff boils down to the directive of the decision makers, not so much to the craftsmanship.
    Electrosynthesis likes this.
  17. amp360

    amp360 Synchromatic

    Oct 21, 2012
    I think I’m in the minority but I don’t pull out the magnifying glass to look for flaws. Usually I plug a guitar in and see how it plays/feels.
    Gretschtim1 likes this.
  18. mr coffee

    mr coffee Country Gent

    Oct 7, 2009
    I'm with these guys. I don't see the flaw, but I do see very soft focus in the near field, an artistic decision by the photographer, or perhaps a compromise. A smaller aperture would need more lighting, higher ISO or a slower shutter. More lighting could mean undesired glare (there's already a lot of glare on the side and a reflection of one lamp on the body top near the upper left portion of the shot), and higher ISO or slower shutter could mean more noise in the image. Noise could be reduced by stacking, but how many photogs are going to get into that when they probably took hundreds of images in that shoot to begin with?

    If anything, I'd say that camera angle leaves the f-hole looking slightly misshapen, although I'm sure that's a matter of perspective.

    Electrosynthesis and new6659 like this.
  19. azrielle

    azrielle Electromatic

    Feb 24, 2021
    Lund,NV USA
    How does it Look?
    WHY should I care about ridiculously minor binding flaws, when at the Streamliners' price points typical buyers just want a playable guitar that looks like a Gretsch and SOUNDS LIKE A GRETSCH and is Made By Gretsch?
    Gretschtim1 likes this.
  20. Johnny ray

    Johnny ray Electromatic

    Jun 29, 2018
    Maybe I just got lucky, but my Streamliner that I bought new 3 years ago is flawless. My black g5220 Electromatic is flawless, and my g5420-59 is flawless. I bought the Electromatic's from Sweetwater 2 years ago. They all play great.
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