It all started with a Variax…

ThePluckedString

Electromatic
Apr 27, 2022
27
Centralia, WA
Hi All, I’ve posted a few times here, but thought I’d introduce myself and how I came to be a Gretsch fan. The Variax HD was so cool being able to change virtual guitar bodies, pickups, even capacitors. But I found that I liked real magnetic pickups better than the Variax sounds, so I sold it. But not before I discovered that the Gretsch guitars in the Variax were some of my favorite. I didn’t know what a Gretsch was before that.

I grew up playing acoustic and so my first Gretsch, a G5420t, felt very at home to me. After a couple years I upgraded to TVJ Classics, and a couple more years, a Compton bridge, both bigger improvements than I could have hoped for. I’m a home and church player and mostly very clean, but I do love how Gretsch guitars sound so complex and massive when they get dirty.

Then I decided to go big and get a Japanese Proline model. I did a ton of research, and it came down to the Player Jets with Dynasonics and a tension bar Bigsby, or the ‘53 Duo Jet with TVJ T-Armonds. I listened to every demo I could find of those two and ended up with the ‘53. It’s still my favorite guitar. The sound is incredible!

Now I have one Gretsch each from Japan, Korea, China, and Indonesia. I’ve done mods to all but the Japanese ‘53 Duo Jet. Pickups, bridges, Bigsby springs, etc. I have a PRS S2 with “D-type” pickups, a Supra with goldfoils, an Eastman T484 with Fralin Unbuckers, an American Pro Jaguar, and a couple others, but four Gretsch guitars. I guess that says something about the tones I like most!

Not pictured is my Streamliner Jet Jr. (featured in another thread), but that’s my Gretsch family. Kinda like Papa, Mama, and Little Bears from Goldilocks, but they’re all just right to me.
 

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ThePluckedString

Electromatic
Apr 27, 2022
27
Centralia, WA
Beautiful guitars. I have a Fairlane Blue 5420, great guitars. That ProLine Jet looks like a keeper.

Congratulations.
Since you have a blue G5420t you know it’s made in Korea, and the brown G5657t is made in China. Both are Electromatics in the $800 range. I enjoy playing both, but the G5420t does feel a little better built. The G5657t is nicer than most Epiphones semi-hollows I’ve picked up in stores, but the price is higher too.

To be honest, I enjoy and appreciate all 4 Gretsch I have. At the same time, I make that mental allowance that the $2,500 Proline will be nicer finish and playing feel than the $800 Electromatics. But the Streamliner G2215 is a killer guitar for the $350 I paid!
 

radd

Friend of Fred
Dec 27, 2017
5,648
Santa Cruz
Since you have a blue G5420t you know it’s made in Korea, and the brown G5657t is made in China. Both are Electromatics in the $800 range. I enjoy playing both, but the G5420t does feel a little better built. The G5657t is nicer than most Epiphones semi-hollows I’ve picked up in stores, but the price is higher too.

To be honest, I enjoy and appreciate all 4 Gretsch I have. At the same time, I make that mental allowance that the $2,500 Proline will be nicer finish and playing feel than the $800 Electromatics. But the Streamliner G2215 is a killer guitar for the $350 I paid!

I think Korean Electromatics are amazing guitars. No question my ProLine Tennessee Rose is better made guitar, but not by as much as the price difference would indicate.

I had an Indonesian made Gretsch, it was a well made guitar for its price point.

I have had two Chinese Gretschs and they did not compare well with the other three manufacturing locations. I should add, I have not owned any of the Chinese made Gretschs produced in the last couple years. They appear to be well liked.
 

ThePluckedString

Electromatic
Apr 27, 2022
27
Centralia, WA
I think Korean Electromatics are amazing guitars. No question my ProLine Tennessee Rose is better made guitar, but not by as much as the price difference would indicate.

I had an Indonesian made Gretsch, it was a well made guitar for its price point.

I have had two Chinese Gretschs and they did not compare well with the other three manufacturing locations. I should add, I have not owned any of the Chinese made Gretschs produced in the last couple years. They appear to be well liked.
You know, sometimes I wish I had made the ProLine purchase a hollow body, because of the special feel and sound that a hollow body brings. Seems much easier to make a good chambered solid body. But I can’t find anything to complain about the G5420t. It really is fantastic.
 

TSims1

Gretschified
Jun 18, 2013
12,428
Atlanta
Great story and cool guitars!

Yeah, my friend and I were just talking about(he’s not a Gretsch guy btw)how Gretsch really only makes good guitars. Each price point offers a good guitar with great value. The cheap Gretsches are great, the expensive Gretsches are great. Nice formula!
 


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