Newer vs Older 5422 Electromatics

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by WilburBufferson, May 29, 2020.

  1. WilburBufferson

    WilburBufferson Electromatic

    17
    Jan 23, 2017
    Canada
    Howdy gang. After owning a few of these (i.e., 5122, early 5422), I am gearing up to get another 5422. In recent years, Gretsch has made a bunch of changes like:

    - thumbnail vs "block" inlays
    - removing "Electomatic" from the headstock
    - binding the headstock
    - securing the bridge
    - adding/changing colors

    For those who have sampled or know a lot about the changes in the past 5 years, is there a good reason to buy one of the newer/est models? I like the pinned bridge, moving the Electromatic to the pickguard. I like the current black, sapphire blue, and the orange stain colors. In Canada, orange and black are $1,200+13% tax new. Add $100 for white or sapphire blue.

    There's an older/2012 model in black selling used locally for $1,000 (incl case). So my dilemma is whether to ante up a few extra hundred for the latest model.

    Any thoughts either way?
     
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  2. DennisC

    DennisC Synchromatic

    Age:
    37
    982
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    Yes, there is:

    Headstock is smaller, making the strings bend less towards the tuners, decreasing friction in the slot, making it easier to get rid of tuning issues.

    And they now have a treble bleed on the master volume. I don't know how those without reacted to turning it down from maximum, my current 5420 is my first one, too ... but it is a bit of effort, additional cost - and is generally seen positive. To me, it sounds good enough not to do anything about it.

    The nut now is NuBone, some sort of cheapo-Tusq from Graphtech. I think this wasn't always, but I'm not sure - and would upgrade to Tusq-XL anyway.

    The smaller headstock to me seems the major noncosmetic change and therefore I'd at least look for a newer one and prefer them over older ones.
     
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  3. WilburBufferson

    WilburBufferson Electromatic

    17
    Jan 23, 2017
    Canada
    This seems pretty major to me, and I hadn't thought of it -- it's a major design flaw of the 3-per-side headstock design.
     
  4. WilburBufferson

    WilburBufferson Electromatic

    17
    Jan 23, 2017
    Canada
    Curious to hear if anyone can speak to the "improvements" of the newest 5422 models?
     
  5. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    I have a 2018 MIK G5422 TDC I love :)

    I don't care about headstock shapes or block v thumbnail inlays.
    Don't care if it says Electromatic or not.
    Most of the colours Gretsch make are great so not fussed there either.

    I care about the important things - pups and build quality :D
    The MIK models with Blacktop filtertrons, graph tech nut, chrome hardware and pinned bridge are the best imo.

    I'm not a fan of gold hardware as it tends to tarnish with age.
    Treble bleed is good to have also.
    See my mod'ed one below.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2020
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  6. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    How have they been improved?

    They're not if they are now made in China.
    They are worse if they have Broadtron humbucker pups imo cos then it won't sound like a Gretsch.
    The other little aesthetic changes made are of no importance imo and it's subjective anyway :D
     
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  7. WilburBufferson

    WilburBufferson Electromatic

    17
    Jan 23, 2017
    Canada
    I've seen some Electromatics made in China, but thought this was limited to the Streamliner and "solidbody" Electromatics?
     
  8. sgarnett

    sgarnett Gretschie

    453
    Apr 14, 2020
    Kentucky
    I think Broad’trons are only used in the Streamliners, at least for hollow bodies.
     
  9. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Those are the things I'd be checking now.
    Where is it made, what pups, how will it sound.
    Good luck :)
     
  10. mike77rios

    mike77rios Gretschie

    226
    Nov 13, 2011
    san Diego
    I have a Nov of 2019 G5422T. It arrives perfect. I bought it from Sweetwater where they do a 55 point inspection. I don't know if this made the difference in how it arrived, but it was perfect out of the box. I'm really very picky. All I did was lube the nut and the bridge saddles, and swithlch out the spring for a super squishy spring and it's perfect. Did I mention it arrived in perfect playing condition?
     
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  11. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    There a several Gretsch pickups that use that term “Broadtron”, one at the SL level, another for the Blacktop “Broadtrons”, and even a Pro line “Broad’tron”. Makes no sense, and in that way, it’s consistent with Gretsch aesthetic ;)
     
  12. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    SLs are Made in Indonesia, Electro Jets, a majority of them, have always been MIC. As you know, the hollows and center block Electros have been MIK and they have a reputation for good quality. I’m cautious about the new MIC semi-hollows, but there is no reason to assume that it’s a down grade just because it’s MIC, that’s more a perception issue.

    Look at the Squier CV line, the bar was set very very high, and it’s MIC. I can attest IME that the CV move to MII was not a good one for the line, but it’s the move and ramp-up/training that might be the reason. Same thing here, it’s not that Chinese guitar makers can’t produce quality Gretsch, but there might be some issues starting a ‘new’ model in a different factory. Small chance, but time will tell.
     
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  13. sgarnett

    sgarnett Gretschie

    453
    Apr 14, 2020
    Kentucky
    My Indonesian-made (factory code “IS”) Streamliner 2420T is very well made. Yes, there are some cheap components on it, but the bridge is the only part I felt needed to be replaced (not interested in using nail polish to glue the rattler together). The nut slots needed a bit of setup, which is true for most guitars. The fretwork was great, better than guitars I paid a lot more for.
     
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  14. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    New 5422s still come with Blacktop Filtertrons. As far as I know, they're still made in Korea.

    Last year, Gretsch moved production of the 5622 to China and started outfitting them with Blacktop Broadtrons. The 5655T is also made in China with Blacktop Broadtrons.

    I agree that it's probably worth the extra money for a 5422 from 2016 or newer. The smaller bound headstock is an improvement, and the treble bleed is a nice touch. I'm not fond of the secured bridge, but it can be unsecured.

    If you do find a great deal on a pre-2016 model, there are ways to bring it up to snuff. I have a 2014 5620 with the large headstock, and I fixed my tuning problems by replacing the stock plastic nut with a Zero Glide nut. If you're handy with a soldering iron, you can easily add a treble bleed with about half an hour's effort and $5 to $10 in parts.
     
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  15. WilburBufferson

    WilburBufferson Electromatic

    17
    Jan 23, 2017
    Canada
    It's a tough call because a new 5422 is basically +$500 before we're even talking about a case. I think my move will be to get the older, used 5422 and wait until things are back to normal (post-COVID) and audition actual guitars in stores to find a good one. I found a store that has one in stock right now, but who knows if it is a dud or not? I was told by another store that Fender basically stopped production and shipping, so it may take over a month to get one of these in Canada.

    Of all the current colors, I am really digging the Amber Stain!!! Thanks to all, this has been extremely helpful!!!
     
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  16. WilburBufferson

    WilburBufferson Electromatic

    17
    Jan 23, 2017
    Canada
    Well, just as I made up my mind, the fellow "just" sold the used 5422, so the hunt is still on! Smaller headstock, here we come! LOL
     
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  17. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    Minor point, possibly does not apply to the 5422. My newer version, still Korean made 5420 has a secured bridge, not a pinned bridge.

    pinned, bridge is located in place by the two pins and is held in place by the string tension.

    F2254E87-52D7-427E-BA37-6EE8BC91C189.jpeg

    Secured, the bridge posts are threaded into the body

    495D92B7-89C6-4000-98A3-0F5AEB003264.jpeg
     
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  18. Scott

    Scott Country Gent

    Age:
    56
    Jun 27, 2008
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Not sure why all the fuss about the larger headstock on the earlier models. I have two 5420s with the larger headstock, and have no tuning issues whatsoever because my tech filed the nuts on the peg head side so there is no binding. It's not a big deal, folks.

    As far as aesthetics are concerned, it's simply what you like to look at.
     
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  19. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Thanks Radd - good info :)

    So .... does it matter what system of fixed/pinned bridge plate we have - provided both stay in place good.
    Can someone explain why it should matter?

    Same with floating bridge plate - they work fine too but are more trouble to manage.
    My Jet 6131 is floating bridge. My 5422 is pinned.

    I prefer pinned/fixed plate myself only cos it's set and forget.
    It's a standard mod to replace Gretsch bridges with Compton, Tru-arc, dBridge anyway.

    As for headstock shape - why does anyone care?
    The change is only small anyway :D
     
  20. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    Fix or secured, pro and cons to both. The secured stays put when the strings are off, no movement at all. Sounds good unless you have a 5420 like mine. The bridge was set in place slightly off so a couple my strings could not be intonated properly. A new bridge, a ABM 2400 fixed the problem, the bridge saddles had more adjustment.

    That problem with a pinned bridge is easier to solve, elongate the holes into slots in the bridge bottom to gain more adjustment or just take out the pins and have a floating bridge.

    My problem is pretty rare.

    It is not an issue I would worry about. I have owned, secured, pinned and floating bridge Gretschs, they all are fine. I would never let that influence me regarding purchasing a Gretsch.

    For me, my main three deal breakers, it has to have a neck and fingerboard that works for me, not be heavy, and I must like the tone, or know I can do a mod to get the tone I want. It does have to be a guitar I enjoy looking at and holding.

    I like my 5420

    4BBD9C97-0F5A-414B-874E-D589F05C60F3.jpeg
     
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