Electromatics

G5420T review

1

Although it's an odd way of starting a review I've got to say that I'm astounded that Gretsch have managed to get these guitars into the shops at a price point slightly less than most retailers were recently selling the G5120 for.

When the first reports about them surfaced I was certain that we would be looking at a MRSP in the region of the Tim Armstrong model. Fortunately this is not the case.

My sunburst G5420 arrived Friday morning. I know that it never happened if there are no pictures so here is a link to my actual guitar on the Richtone music website serial no 3730.

http://www.richtonemusic.co...

Their photography is much better than mine.

Anyway. I didn't post immediately because I wanted to get some time in with the guitar first. It's had about 12-14 hours since it arrived and so now I feel happy to comment on it.

Fit and finish - Superb. The finish is evenly applied all over with no voids. Binding is very tidily finished. Frets are well polished and nicely smooth at the edges. Inlays are well done with no sign of filler. Neck is lovely. It feels considerably wider than a Fender Deluxe player Strat neck and is more of a handful too. I would say it feels much more like the neck on a Yamaha APX series electro acoustic (although the frets are much bigger).

Blacktops - That great Gretsch sound! I had planned to get some HS filters but that most likely won't happen now. I really like them and have no prejudice against ceramic magnets. Bridge pickup is my favourite, it's nicely rounded and not harsh at all. I've heard people describe them as 'darker' than HS filters and I'd agree at lower volumes but they seem to open up as the volume increases.

B60 Bigsby - Works perfectly and the handle sits at the right height to hold whilst playing. I like the little rubber tip as well, it's very tactile. I planned to get a V cut Bigsby and most probably will in the future as it's an aspirational and aesthetic thing but there is definitely no rush (or functional requirement).

Inevitably there are a few very minor niggles - The bridge is a rattling, buzzy piece of rubbish but I had already factored in the cost of a replacement and a Compton is already on it's way. Initially I quite liked the big chrome pickup surrounds but having looked at the guitar for 5 days now they are a bit overbearing and I could see replacing them in the future if Paul Setzer or another forum member starts making similar sized plastic replacements that mimic the normal Gretsch surrounds. That said it's not a big deal and I can easily live with them.

Overall I could not be more pleased with the guitar, especially since I'm not now Jonesing for new pickups. It's the first guitar I've had which I think is actually limited by the quality of the gear I'm playing it through.

I don't have a pro line to A B it with but it is definitely better built than my previous Gretsch, a G3156 Historic series Streamliner, surprising since both were, I believe, made by Samick.

Kudos to Gretsch for both raising quality and maintaining a price point. They deserve to sell these by the truckload.

2

Thanks for the detailed review and I'm thrilled to hear all of the positives. As for this concern:

I've heard people describe them as 'darker' than HS filters and I'd agree at lower volumes but they seem to open up as the volume increases.

Seems like a simple treble bleed mod would take care of that, no?

3

This is great to hear. Thanks for posting it. As for the pickup surrounds, they are a little big compared to other guitars but I personally prefer metal over plastic anyday. I wonder why they are so big? Is the whole still cut for Gretschbuckers? If it is, you could replace the Blacktop Filtertrons with any Filtertron or humbucker sized pickup which would be a bonus for modders.

4

Or TV-HTs, which fit in a regular filter mount, and one has a solid, neo-Double-Annie with HiLos. I'd LOVE to own that guitar.

5

Great review! It really got me interested even more. I've been looking into the new Electros and can't decide on whether or not I want to save up for a Pro Line G6118T or the Aspen Green/Cadillac Green G5420. I'm interested in those Blacktop Filter'Trons. I'm sure they're a huge improvement over the GretschBuckers. Also, part of me wishes that they stuck with the Neo-Classic inlays. I don't know why. But who cares right? Sounds like Gretsch really got their act together on these, and have fun playing yours!

6

Man! I just bought my first Gretsch, a 5120. Now I am really liking the 5420 Aspen Green. Great review. Thank you. Should I have two? I may have to start selling gear to support this addiction. 8-o

7

The large pickup rings are a Baldwin thing.

9

This is great to hear. Thanks for posting it. As for the pickup surrounds, they are a little big compared to other guitars but I personally prefer metal over plastic anyday. I wonder why they are so big? Is the whole still cut for Gretschbuckers? If it is, you could replace the Blacktop Filtertrons with any Filtertron or humbucker sized pickup which would be a bonus for modders.

– BuddyHollywood

This is great to hear. Thanks for posting it. As for the pickup surrounds, they are a little big compared to other guitars but I personally prefer metal over plastic anyday. I wonder why they are so big? Is the whole still cut for Gretschbuckers? If it is, you could replace the Blacktop Filtertrons with any Filtertron or humbucker sized pickup which would be a bonus for modders.

– BuddyHollywood

That's an interesting question. Are those big surrounds covering a G-bucker sized cavity? Question: will GFS Surf 90's still drop in the 5420/5422?

10

Thanks for the review. I've got a question for you if you don't mind.

I got my 5422 in Caddy yesterday, and I noticed the binding is really pretty yellow, and didn't match the white of the f-holes. Did you notice this at all? Thanks. :)

11

Hi,

I certainly hadn't noticed any difference so I checked. Having spun the guitar round and looked at it from various angles I can say that my f hole binding is clearly a pale cream like the rest and not white. In bright sunlight looking at it from inches away I can see that it is actually fractionally paler than the body binding but still definitely cream.

Sitting here looking at my guitar 3 feet away (or even when it's on my lap) I can't tell any difference at all. The binding looks coherent with no mismatch.

Perhaps the difference on yours is enhanced by the darkness of the caddy green.

regards.

12

I got some HiLoTrons, for my 5420 from Darrel and they dropped in perfectly. I'd also love to get some plastic surrounds, as the chrome ones are a little too big for my taste, I think they'd look nicer in nickel also,

13

I'd have to come up with some kind of cast to do sculpted rings, or farm it out to a cnc machining co. That could get costly. I can do plain plastic/layered plastic or clear back painted plexi rings with a bevel or radius edge in house.

14

This is great to hear. Thanks for posting it. As for the pickup surrounds, they are a little big compared to other guitars but I personally prefer metal over plastic anyday. I wonder why they are so big? Is the whole still cut for Gretschbuckers? If it is, you could replace the Blacktop Filtertrons with any Filtertron or humbucker sized pickup which would be a bonus for modders.

– BuddyHollywood

That's an interesting question. Are those big surrounds covering a G-bucker sized cavity? Question: will GFS Surf 90's still drop in the 5420/5422?

– Rockabillybob

This is great to hear. Thanks for posting it. As for the pickup surrounds, they are a little big compared to other guitars but I personally prefer metal over plastic anyday. I wonder why they are so big? Is the whole still cut for Gretschbuckers? If it is, you could replace the Blacktop Filtertrons with any Filtertron or humbucker sized pickup which would be a bonus for modders.

– BuddyHollywood

That's an interesting question. Are those big surrounds covering a G-bucker sized cavity? Question: will GFS Surf 90's still drop in the 5420/5422?

– Rockabillybob

No they wouldn't just drop in, the Blacktop Filtertrons are the same size as standard Filtertrons, which are smaller than the HB size of the Surf 90's. They'd physically fit in the body cavities but would require custom rings.

15

speaking of pup rings ,,, i am doing something different for pup rings on my 5120 ,,,, it should be very very very very cool , so stay tuned ,,,, pics will follow soon

16

So are the holes in the guitar filtertron sized? Are the metal surrounds HB sized?

Don

17

I would put money on the body routes being big enough for PAF sized HBs. The ultimate question is will a standard ring fit without too much messing around with the mounting holes.

I really want to get my hands on one of these. I like the Aspen green, and the Caddy green look really killer too. I already have 3 51xx hollow bodies, but I might just have to add one. I don't have a single humbucking pickup in my house right now. Maybe this is the remedy.

18

Setzer, I'd take the clear, back painted plexi rings, in silver or cream.

19

I would put money on the body routes being big enough for PAF sized HBs. The ultimate question is will a standard ring fit without too much messing around with the mounting holes.

I really want to get my hands on one of these. I like the Aspen green, and the Caddy green look really killer too. I already have 3 51xx hollow bodies, but I might just have to add one. I don't have a single humbucking pickup in my house right now. Maybe this is the remedy.

– Cory Ripley

I would put money on the body routes being big enough for PAF sized HBs. The ultimate question is will a standard ring fit without too much messing around with the mounting holes.

I really want to get my hands on one of these. I like the Aspen green, and the Caddy green look really killer too. I already have 3 51xx hollow bodies, but I might just have to add one. I don't have a single humbucking pickup in my house right now. Maybe this is the remedy.

– Ripley1046

The holes are large enough for HB's. The standard ring is smaller and will not cover the mounting holes of the larger ring. I put HiLo's in my 5420 and it was a perfect match, size and sound wise.

20

I've had my Cadillac Green 5420 for close to two weeks now, and I'd say its a pretty swell guitar. Even without doing any work on the nut other than pencil graphite, it stays in tune quite well- a big plus for me.

I'm don't know pickups as well as most of you do, so I can only compare these to the Gretschbuckers on my 5122, and I like the blacktops way, way better. The neck pickup is definitely stronger/fuller/brighter, but the difference in the bridge pickup has been an great surprise, in that now I'm actually using both pickups, both alone and blended.

I second the comments on the fit and finish and playability. For any of you trying to figure out what color the green one really is, as I was from the photos, thats been a good surprise too. It varies with the light, but in normal light its just green enough to not be too much. I was practicing outside the other day and a passerby said "that's a bad-ass Gretsch!"

I've already handled the "it never happened" in another thread- so here's another shot- when the 5140 FSR photos finally showed up on the MF site, I zoomed in on the one showing the back of the heastock- and saw my serial number!

22

I would put money on the body routes being big enough for PAF sized HBs. The ultimate question is will a standard ring fit without too much messing around with the mounting holes.

I really want to get my hands on one of these. I like the Aspen green, and the Caddy green look really killer too. I already have 3 51xx hollow bodies, but I might just have to add one. I don't have a single humbucking pickup in my house right now. Maybe this is the remedy.

– Ripley1046

The holes are large enough for HB's. The standard ring is smaller and will not cover the mounting holes of the larger ring. I put HiLo's in my 5420 and it was a perfect match, size and sound wise.

– Patrick SPENCER

I would put money on the body routes being big enough for PAF sized HBs. The ultimate question is will a standard ring fit without too much messing around with the mounting holes.

I really want to get my hands on one of these. I like the Aspen green, and the Caddy green look really killer too. I already have 3 51xx hollow bodies, but I might just have to add one. I don't have a single humbucking pickup in my house right now. Maybe this is the remedy.

– Ripley1046

The holes are large enough for HB's. The standard ring is smaller and will not cover the mounting holes of the larger ring. I put HiLo's in my 5420 and it was a perfect match, size and sound wise.

– Higgs Boson

So would an HB ring cover this ring area?

23

I would put money on the body routes being big enough for PAF sized HBs. The ultimate question is will a standard ring fit without too much messing around with the mounting holes.

I really want to get my hands on one of these. I like the Aspen green, and the Caddy green look really killer too. I already have 3 51xx hollow bodies, but I might just have to add one. I don't have a single humbucking pickup in my house right now. Maybe this is the remedy.

– Ripley1046

The holes are large enough for HB's. The standard ring is smaller and will not cover the mounting holes of the larger ring. I put HiLo's in my 5420 and it was a perfect match, size and sound wise.

– Patrick SPENCER

I would put money on the body routes being big enough for PAF sized HBs. The ultimate question is will a standard ring fit without too much messing around with the mounting holes.

I really want to get my hands on one of these. I like the Aspen green, and the Caddy green look really killer too. I already have 3 51xx hollow bodies, but I might just have to add one. I don't have a single humbucking pickup in my house right now. Maybe this is the remedy.

– Ripley1046

The holes are large enough for HB's. The standard ring is smaller and will not cover the mounting holes of the larger ring. I put HiLo's in my 5420 and it was a perfect match, size and sound wise.

– Higgs Boson

So would an HB ring cover this ring area?

24

What are the differences between the 5420 and the 5120 other than the pickups and hump inlays? They state the body as being 5 ply maple for the 5420 and laminated maple for the 5120. Doesn't that mean that they're the same?

thanks J.


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