Electromatics

NGD FSR 5422G-12

1

MF was having a sale on the FSR 5422G-12 so I went ahead and got one. I’m not thrilled that the scarf jointed neck is so obvious (ugly), but that’s an artifact of having a natural finish. The scarf joints on my other guitars are well-hidden thanks to clever shading and finish color. It required quite a bit of tweaking out of the box to set it up, but nothing major.

The good – the neck, while chunkier than my Hagstrom Viking 12, is still easy and comfortable to play. The action is low without any buzzing. The guitar has plenty of chime, jangle and, most importantly, ka-raaaang (if that’s a word). The Blacktop Filter’Trons work really well in a 12-string format. The amount of sustain is impressive and I like the way the notes "bloom". The guitar is lightweight (7.2 lbs or about 3.3 kg) compared to 8.7 lbs for the semi-hollow Hagstrom.

The bad – I found some cosmetic issues which was a surprise considering this guitar was made by the same factory as the Guild Newark Street series (Starfire and M-75 among others) which I have and like very much. Working from top to bottom, I found the Gretsch headstock logo was not centered (a shame, but only noticeable if you really look for it and are totally anal retentive). This was a problem with some early Guilds, too.

The nut was not cut quite long enough and so the end on the bass side doesn’t sit flush with the neck binding (not noticeable while playing and fixable). There’s some odd figuring on the top of the body and the piece of laminate that was would have been better used for a guitar back rather than a top (beauty marks, not noticeable while playing).

The lower portion of the bass-side of the bass F-hole didn’t maintain its shape after the top was steamed into an arch. It’s easy to see but difficult to photograph. I don’t think it is up high enough to snag my sleeve on so I can live with it. The treble side F-hole has the same issue, but not as bad. My Newark Street Guilds don’t have this issue, but they have standard size F-holes, not the over-size cello F-holes with the long point near the scroll ends.

I suppose I could return it, but I’m too old to care much anymore (hey you kids, get off my lawn!). I think I’m more disappointed that a Gretsch has any issues at all, but I’m spoiled by my pro-line models which are perfect. The good thing is that none of the issues matter while I’m playing and the guitar sounds glorious. Glorious enough that the Hagstrom is now afraid… very afraid.

2

So no deal breakers then? Nice looking guitar. Congrats!

3

Too bad it’s not perfect. It’s still nice. Congrats. On the plus side - maybe the first nick won’t seem too bad.

4

I still don't have an Electric 12-er...I keep looking....

5

Well for what its worth, it looks like a proline in your pic, congrats on the new axe!

8

I have the black one, and have noticed none of those cosmetic flaws. It was also set up quite dreamily out of the box.

I bought two electric 12s this year, already had two...thought the Reverend Airwave would be the end-all/be-all. But I might like the Gretsch enough better that the Airwave becomes superfluous.

The Electromatic 12 is another home run for the home team in my ball park. Other than lacking a whimsical Bigsby, I can't imagine how it might be better. And that wouldn't make it better...just more troublesome for Gretsch support reps.

But it would be cool. I'm thinking of doing one on mine.

10

Nice guitar, I'm kind of sad to hear (and see) that it has some imperfections. I had a 5422TG that had an issue with the bridge being off center of the fretboard, and a couple of high frets. It made it impossible to bend strings in the upper register without them grinding out. I had to get a replacement, and the next one was absolutely perfect, in every way. It makes me wonder about quality control on the Electromatic line. I'm glad yours are more cosmetic than performance issues. Play her in good health!

11

So no deal breakers then? Nice looking guitar. Congrats!

– Suprdave

No deal breakers, just some cosmetic disappointments. Had I been able to see this particular guitar in person prior to purchase, I would have likely selected another. But it functions perfectly as intended and that's all that really matters in the end, I suppose.

12

Man, you'd think Fender bought GRETSCH! I could look past all of that too. I'd be wearing a stocking cap with buttons and playing it in front of the mirror!

13

The off-center logo on the headstock is actually paying homage to Gretsches of yesteryear, it's not a mistake at all. It doesn't say GerTsch, does it?

14

Congrats GG,i'd love a blonde Gretsch 12 to go along with my Rick.


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