Electromatics

Any tone differences between 5420t and 5422t?

1

I'd been planning to get a 5420t for some time, but recently discovered the 5422t, which I prefer the look of. I'm also attracted to the smaller depth of the 5422t.

I love the sound of the 5420t, and I just wanted to make sure I wouldn't lose anything tone-wise if I went with the 5422t.

From reading around, it sounds like the 5422t would be less resonant when unplugged and there'd be less feedback (both of which are OK by me), but would the smaller depth compromise or change the tone at all when plugged in?

I'm mainly after the Gretsch twang, chime, sparkle that I hear in 5420t demos, and, before getting the 5422t, I want to make sure I'd still have all that in abundance despite the smaller profile.

Thanks!

2

I had both - at the same time. (I sold the 22, NOT because it wasn’t completely satisfying, but because I fell waaaay out of like with my color choice. I’ll be getting another. And I’ll keep my 20 as well.)

By which you can conclude either that I’m self-indulgent and a bit nuts, or that they’re different enough to justify having both. (I know which explanation I’d prefer, but can’t rule out either.)

The core tone of both is very similar. The difference between them, inevitably and obviously, comes down to the builds. You mention resonance and feedback resistance, but not the sonic results of those properties.

The 20 has more “bloom,” a fuller amplified tone, exactly like there’s more air bouncing around exciting the top. Lows are more expansive (though not louder) than with the 22. Feedback will come on at a bit lower volume than with the 22 (though it’s not a problem at normal playing volume), and have more low end content. It’s whoomier.

The tone of the 22 is somewhat more focused. Low end is still all there, but is tighter, maybe less “full.” Overall the tone is kinda more balanced from a purely audio point of view.

Are you familiar with “tilt” EQs, which are flat at noon, and gradually emphasize lows and de-emphasize highs when turned ccw - and do the opposite when turned cw? They don’t thin lows or dull highs, they just change the balance of the registers. That’s one way of thinking about the differences between the 20 and the 22. The 20 has a slight low end emphasis - not extreme - and the 22 has a slight tilt toward the highs (again not drastic). In fact, judicious application of an external tilt or parametric EQ could probably turn either into the other.

But the 22 is not really brighter than the 20 up top. I wouldn’t say it has more “sparkle.” I’d say the overall effect (with all settings identical between the two guitars and signal chain) is that it’s “chimier.” Something in the upper mids is slightly more prominent.

And when the 22 is pushed to feedback (at a bit higher volume than the 20), the resonant range is higher - not to the point of howl or screech, but further into the midrange. If so inclined, you could ride the feedback with either, making it work for you, but I suspect different notes would be more easily pushed on each.

But unless you play at higher-than-normal volumes, and simply don’t damp a guitar at all with body, arm, or palm while playing (or have other instinctive technique for controlling feedback), you’re unlikely to have serious feedback problems with either.

When I had the 5422, I found myself playing it more often than the 20 - partly because the thinner body makes a better physical fit for me, and I gravitate for most of my playing to thinlines and chambered solids, and partly because the slightly more balanced tone works well with the endless river of effects I’ve been using lately. If the gig was solo guitar or small combo, with minimal effects and rootsier music, the choice would probably be the 5420. (Though when I’m really in a hollowbody mood, I gravitate to 17” full-depth.)

See if any of that helps.

3

That is INCREDIBLY helpful—thank you for taking the time to share all that with me!!

4

The 5422 is my top 5 favorite Gretsch tones of any line. I don't own one but I really love the way they sound. I'm also a Duo Jet player so I prefer the less boomy bottom end of the 5422. My only hollow body guitar right now is an Epiphone Casino 50th Anniversary reissue that I found on Craigslist for a great price when I was shopping for a 5422. So there is that.


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