Proline Quality Questions

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by 6124Bassman, Oct 31, 2020.

  1. 6124Bassman

    6124Bassman Synchromatic

    May 20, 2018
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Hi everyone I have a couple questions about the quality of a proline Gretsch. Pretty much nowhere around me carries proline models only electromatics. I have owned several electromatics and several vintage Gretsch guitars ranging from Jets to Country Gents. But I have never played a proline model before.

    I’m wanting to get a vintage select series White Falcon, 6120-55 or maybe a 6128 but I am curious about the quality since I’d pretty much have to order online.

    Is the proline range of guitars closer to an American made fender (such as American standard strat or Tele) or is it closer to a custom shop fender? It’s definitely priced more like a custom shop fender. Is it worth the $3k+? For $3k I can get a killer custom shop fender or even a ‘60s Country Gent or Tennessean so I’m hoping the quality is the same when it comes to new Gretsch models in the same price range.

    Thanks for any help!
  2. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa Cruz
    I’ve had a couple ProLines and a couple top level American Strat’s, Eric Clapton and Eric Johnson, and I think there is not a chance you would be disappointed with the quality of a ProLine Gretsch. It matches or exceeds any guitar I have ever played.....I have no custom shop experience.
  3. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Oct 18, 2015
    First of all: You cannot compare a solidbody with a hollow.
    Building a hollowbody usually takes much more production steps and therefor it should be more expensive to built one.
    Fender`s CS is a little factory compared to the Gretsch CS, which is a 10- person-or-less operation.

    Fender CS uses a lot of components directly from the big productionline and mixes/matches them expertly whereas the Gretsch CS is building everything from scratch.
    So you should better compare apples with apples:
    Of course building a nice hollow in Korea would be much cheaper than building it in Japan or in the US.
    So compared to an electromatic you will get a step-up in overall quality and craftsmenship from a proline. Same when comparing a proline to a CS model.

    If you buy a proline you can expect a perfectly made instrument with great hardware, great finish and perfect setup. The Japanese are perfectionists by nature and their QC is legendary.

    I own a proline Tennessee Rose for years and it is the last Gretsch left in my stable.
    I had many, many lovely vintage Gretsch guitars but this one beat them all. The finish is poly and not nitro but this fact is no roblem with me. It is such a perfectly made instrument. It is flawless.
    And I really cannot say this about every Us-made Fender or Gibson that I ever owned. From my point of view, compared to it`s competition it is priced absolutely fair. You will not be disappointed.
  4. 6124Bassman

    6124Bassman Synchromatic

    May 20, 2018
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Great points here thanks for the insight. One thing that I am worried about is that they have a plastic-y feel like a lot of the poly guitars especially with glossy necks. Not to say that the electromatics aren’t good guitars, but to me most of them have felt plastic in a way and I’m hoping that a proline would be different.
  5. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Oct 18, 2015
    Yes a high-gloss poly-finish does feel a bit glassy on my proline (I would not say that it feels plastic-y because it is super-hard.)
    You can always make it feel more "flat" by applying some fine steel-wool or by using the rough side of a kitchen sponge. (That`s usually a reversible mod because you can polish it back to perfect shine.)
    There are even some proline models that do have a nitro-finish.

    But from my experience most of the nitrofinishes on necks (be it Fender, Gibson or Gretsch) tend to get sticky when being exposed to heat or sweat. That`s a fact I really dislike about this kind of finish. (Although they age more gracefully than poly.)
    Runamok and 6124Bassman like this.
  6. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    Is the quality of a Proline worth $3k?

    My answer............

    20200722_211412.jpg 20191130_134356.jpg

    To me, worth every penny, in every way.
    pmac11, mrfixitmi, j.s.c and 14 others like this.
  7. MikeSchindler

    MikeSchindler Synchromatic

    Feb 3, 2014
    One thing about a Gretsch is that they are some fine looking guitars.
    new6659 and Mr Swisher like this.
  8. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    I bought my 3 prolines used none over $1700 shipped. Each person needs to decide whether it is worth the money, but I think the quality is on par with pretty much any production model out there. And yea, you can't really compare hollow body with set neck construction vs plank and bolt on. It's several steps up in skill. Most players can order good parts and build a fender custom shop level strat or tele at home with little or no wood working skills. Good luck building a hollow body.
    pmac11, GlenP, T-Bawler and 2 others like this.
  9. 6124Bassman

    6124Bassman Synchromatic

    May 20, 2018
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I’m not really concerned with the cost necessarily, just want to make sure the quality is there. Luckily I am in a position where I am fortunate enough to afford guitars in this price range. So I get that a hollow body is much more costly to build and takes more work than a bolt on neck like a Tele or strat. But what I was more referring to is the quality of a custom shop fender.
    For example a custom shop fender generally has a great finish, a fantastic feel, very resonant and high quality woods and hardware. Does a proline Gretsch such as the vintage select series have the same high quality feel (price points aside)? Or does the Gretsch feel more like your standard production American strat in terms of quality, feel/finish, and playability?
  10. bluenote23

    bluenote23 Country Gent

    Oct 17, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    Well, I never played Custom Shop Fenders but I do have AVRIs, an old growth Telebration and a Thinskin JM and my prolines are easily at those levels. Prolines have solid wood braces and blocks and non-spliced necks so, at least my prolines were much more resonant than my old G5129 Electromatic.

    All of my prolines are from 2005-2008 so I can't say if the new ones they make now are the same standard (or better?)
    6124Bassman likes this.
  11. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    I'm surprised by your question.
    Gretsch proline quality since 2003 is consistently better than anything Fender make imo.
    Better than their custom shop models too :D
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020
    pmac11, bigjohnbates, audept and 2 others like this.
  12. 6124Bassman

    6124Bassman Synchromatic

    May 20, 2018
    Phoenix, Arizona
    That is good to hear!
    Waxhead likes this.
  13. JC higgy

    JC higgy Gretschified

    Jun 6, 2008
    Belfast Norn Iron
    Can't fault my Pro line Gretsches,they're very well made,but i did buy all of them ,bar one, used.

    I've played a few Custom Shop Fenders but they were relics,so not really the same,i did play a lovely Master Built 60's Strat a number of years ago ,and although it was a beautifully made guitar ,i didn't think it merited the exuberantly high price tag.

    But i'm a guy who is more than happy with Fenders US reissues.
    Mr Swisher and 6124Bassman like this.
  14. Mr Swisher

    Mr Swisher Synchromatic

    Jun 12, 2012
    I've never regretted buying this, and it blows me away every time I pick it up. The perfect marriage of high quality and character. IMG_20201031_214356.jpg
  15. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    I love my Country Gent. The only complaint I have and I've expressed it here many times is that the bridge radius does not match the neck. A quick fix is to buy a custom bridge that matches but I think for the money the proline Gretsch guitars cost they should fix that flaw free of charge. I really like the way this guitar sounds but it would play better and there would be less string rattle if the radius of the bridge and neck were the same.
    I know one of the head guys at Gretsch views this forum and I wish he would make a suggestion at a board meeting that they fix this on going problem with the proline Gretsch guitars. I don't know if they all have the mis-match problem like my Gent does but in my opinion it's unacceptable. How hard could it be to bend the bridge to match the Neck?
  16. Gretschmen65

    Gretschmen65 Country Gent

    May 20, 2016
    QLD Australia
    Comparing the Proline Gretsch guitars with Fender CS is probably not the best for reasons mentioned above and clearly reasons you understand.

    I own Fender CS guitars but will use another comparison.

    The Proline series is produced in the Terada factory in Japan. This factory also produced the Epiphone Elitist range of guitars until 2008.
    Elitist ES335's, Casinos, Les Pauls and a range of other semi hollow/hollow body guitars.

    I have owned the Elitist ES335 which was a beautiful instrument. Abalone shell, Mother of Pearl inlays, immaculate fit and finish with fret work, binding and a beautiful fitting case.
    Very similar construction to the Gretsch guitars and others produced for other brand names to their specifications.

    The Prolines I have owned G6120 and G6128TDS ( both produced in the Terada factory ) were of the same standard as the Epiphone Elitist, no better but probably as good.

    In 2008 The Elitist could be purchased for around 2/3 or less the price of similar Gretsch models. The only reason I can see for this is that the price of Epiphone Elites or Elitist
    guitars were held down by Gibson. Gretsch put their price up to show that they were still in the race with Gibson and Fender, albeit with an Asian import.

    The fact is that even today we are still asked to pay more for a Gretsch than other guitars out of Terada built to exactly the same standard but with some other manufacturers name on it.
    OH, and the others don't have Filtertrons or Dynasonics fitted.
    Mr Swisher and 6124Bassman like this.
  17. 6124Bassman

    6124Bassman Synchromatic

    May 20, 2018
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Okay so this gives a pretty good idea of what I could expect. I’ll ultimately have to try one out in person eventually but I wanted to get a good idea of what to expect before fully diving in to the GAS
    G5422T likes this.
  18. speedicut

    speedicut Friend of Fred

    Jun 5, 2012
    While I haven't played a Fender CS guitar, I couldnt imagine one having a fit and finish that would exceed the fit and finish of my 4 Gretsch prolines. Especially my Duo Jet and 6121-1959 Nashville. The quality is so amazing that I have to fondle and admire them a bit before playing....
  19. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    Best advice that I can give you is this.

    Know what features you want, then you'll be narrowed down to just a few models to consider.

    There's a ton of variety in the Proline line up. That's a good thing, but requires some homework.

    The disappointment that you may have, is not a quality issue, but buying one model with features that you want, but don't have.

    Best of luck on your quest.

    Did I say that I really like my Prolines! Lol

    20200722_213935.jpg 20200107_154553.jpg 20200713_171902.jpg 20200719_120617.jpg
    MrWookiee, speedicut, Gregor and 6 others like this.
  20. 6124Bassman

    6124Bassman Synchromatic

    May 20, 2018
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I have it narrowed down to which two models I would want as far as hollow bodies go. The G6120T-55 and the G6136-55. I know the body sizes are slightly different but I’m looking for the DynaSonics, fancy inlays (especially on the 6120), and nitro finish. Different specs to consider of course such as fretboard material but overall would be happy with either as far as features go.
    Bertotti and G5422T like this.
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