Help Me Choose!

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by Danny S, Feb 24, 2021.

  1. Danny S

    Danny S Newbie

    Feb 24, 2021
    I am saving up for my 6oth birthday present to myself, a Gtretsch! I currently play a cheapie strat. I am looking at the electromatic line, but i am confused by hollow body/center block, pickups, and the differences between the two types of Bigsby (one has some kind of roller).

    I will only ever play in my living room along with recordings, and I use a little practice amp (Yamaha THR-10). Can someone knowledgeable tell me if a hollow body or centre-block model would be best for me? Apparently the centre block guitars have higher output pickups, so maybe i wouldn't need that in a living room. But, i like the thinner profile of the centre block instruments, and how the pickups are lower to the body, not as high as on the hollow body. but i don't like the look of the bigsby with the extra roller. You can see how confused i am!

    I play a little bit of everything, classic rock/oldies, a few smooth jazz licks, and some chet-style fingerpicking.

    Any help or guidance would really be appreciated!

  2. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Welcome. The Bigsby with the tension rollers will be on all or most guitars with your preferred lower pickup (really, neck and bridge) setup. That is because the lower bridge requires that the strings coming from the Bigsby be lower too, hence the tension roller.

    It is possible to have what you want but it requires more effort to ensure that the strings don't pop out of the bridge during vigorous playing.

    Another alternative is to get a gretsch with a stop tail, then install a non tension bar bigsby with a towner down bar. That is basically an after market tension bar but looks better than the B5 or B7 imo.
    Sid Nitzerglobin likes this.
  3. Danny S

    Danny S Newbie

    Feb 24, 2021
    Hi henry, thanks for the advice. i have never had a bigsby before; is one better than the other, in terms of performance or tuning stability? (tension roller vs no tension roller, i mean)
  4. Sid Nitzerglobin

    Sid Nitzerglobin Country Gent

    Jun 8, 2015
    Centerblock models will sound a bit closer to a solid body in their directness w/ better resistance to feedback in most cases. They're generally a little more in line w/ what I like for more aggressive sounds. Most of the centerblock Gretsches in the Streamliner or Electromatic lines (& more & more of the Prolines it seems) will have that super low neck height rather than the usual archtop type height. As a result they use the tension roller models of Bigsby w/ them from the factory.

    IME, a non-tension roller Bigsby works significantly better in action & tuning stability in most cases. Same for a non-tension roller Bigsby w/ a Towner bar. The resulting break angle over the saddles of a B5/50 or B7/70 is usually way too steep IMO especially w/ the stock bridges they tend to be paired w/. There's the Biggs Fix ( that replaces the roller w/ one on a bracket to reduce that angle & sounds like it works very well from what I've read, but I like the aesthetic of the B3/B6 + Towner better myself.

    Here's my 5655 I swapped the stock B50 for a B3 + Towner bar on as a visual aid:
    MyGirlGretta likes this.
  5. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck I Bleed Orange

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    Welcome Danny and Happy 60th!
  6. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Welcome to the forum, Dan!
    Maple Leaf doormat.jpg
  7. new6659

    new6659 Country Gent

    Welcome from Ontario, Dan. Do you think you will actually use a Bigsby very much? You might want to think more about how the body size will feel to you in your home setting than worry too much about what type of Bigsby is on it.
    Shock likes this.
  8. Skydog

    Skydog Gretschie

    Dec 19, 2014
    Are you able to try any first?
  9. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Welcome to Gretschville Danny!

    The centerbeam models are more suitable for hi-gain and/or high volume scenarios where battling feedback is a requirement.

    Good luck in your quest!
  10. michelb

    michelb Synchromatic

    Mar 27, 2020
    Welcome ;) my two cents would be -> G5420T or G2420T. They can easily cover the genres you wanna play, they're even great for them.

    I like the hollowbodies because at home you can also pick them up and play around with them acoustically. Especially the 2420, that's a swimming pool inside, the 5420 has a tone post which takes away a bit of resonance.
    Don't think you're gonna have to "fight" feedback at home. Tho I've heard mixed things about people experiencing or not experiencing feedback with their Gretsches. I feel like the feedback "issue" is a bit over exaggerated, also don't have any issues with it, even at ear splitting volumes. Don't play high gain tho, I like to play at edge of break up.

    kk, this has become longer then intended :p
    Make sure you like to look at your guitar as well as play it and the sound of it ;) picking a guitar is pretty subjective.
  11. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Country Gent

    Feb 17, 2020
    Hi Dan
    One of the most popular models is the G5420 so let's start there. This is what many people think of when they think Gretsch, a full size hollowbody. Very versatile, great pickups and sound, great neck feel and fretboard. Many beautiful colors. Best (IMO) Bigsby in the B60 with no tension bar.

    Then there are the center-blocks like the G2622 and G5622. They are more like an ES-335 size with thinner body and are less likely to feedback. These have the B70 with the tension bar. They don't sound as open and airy as the bigger hollowbodies but still sound great. Same great quality and neck/fingerboard feel.
    I look at the G2622 as a 335 clone, good for rock, RnR and blues.

    IMO, if I could only own one I'd get the G5420, there is something about that big body sound and style. Or a Rat Rod, a little less expensive and a little thinner.

    If you have good speakers on your computer there are great videos comparing the sounds of these. Jack Fossett, a member of the forum, makes fantastic videos. Gretsch G5420T Electromatic - YouTube

    And you've got to find a way to get to a store and try some of these.
  12. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Welcome Danny
  13. Paulie26

    Paulie26 Electromatic

    Sep 7, 2020

    To my mind, what you are looking for is a G5655. Thinner body and very comfortable guitar to play
  14. Robbie

    Robbie Friend of Fred

    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    Welcome and Happy Birthday. Take a good look at a 5420. Just my $0.02
  15. Dana Rudd

    Dana Rudd Country Gent

    Nov 26, 2019
    Greybull, WY
    Hello Dan welcome to G-T. Glad to have you join us.
    I too would suggest the 5420, 5422 or 5410. Hollow bodies and no tension bar on the Bigsby.
    Good luck on your quest. If you can play a bunch and let them decide for you.
    MyGirlGretta likes this.
  16. MyGirlGretta

    MyGirlGretta Gretschie

    Jul 23, 2012
  17. JC higgy

    JC higgy Gretschified

    Jun 6, 2008
    Belfast Norn Iron
    Welcome to GT Danny!
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