Electromatics

NGD G5435TG FSR

1

Greetings! I have an Electromatic Pro Jet G5435TG coming June 1. It's Candy Apple Red with gold hardware. Absolutely stunning looks!

I've never owned a Gretsch before and I have questions concerning the brand.

This guitar appears to be very well built, very impresssed with the fit and finish. Only concern is a few fret ends that need dressed.

Are the Chinese Pro Jet models similar to Epiphone Les Paul's in that they need upgraded tuners, pots, pickups,etc.? My particular guitar has the Black Top pickups and in the store, thru a Fender DRRI, they sound pretty good.

I'm not positive, but I think the pickup surrounds are made out of plastic. Are there metal ones available?

What are some of the mods that are done on Pro Jet models?

I am excited to get this guitar and learn more about Gretsch guitars. Any help anyone can provide is greatly appreciated.

2

Welcome to the GDP. I have a Pro Jet with Blacktop pickups and have no intention of swapping them out -- I like 'em. However, quite a few players have replaced them, usually with one or other of the Gretsch type pickups offered by TV Jones. I'd at least give the Blacktops a chance.

Regarding Pro Jet pickup surrounds -- plastic surrounds have usually been the norm on most Gretsch guitars. Until recently, Pro Jets and some other Electromatics, had chrome surrounds -- mine has chrome surrounds. The company only recently switched to plastic on these models, I believe to meet the preference of most players.

3

Coachmoe, first of all welcome to the forum. Second, congratulations on your choice of guitar. I hope and am sure that you will love it.

As to your questions, I do not have a pro jet. I do have an electromatic Gretsch, a 5422-12. I have not felt the need to replace anything on it to this point. On your pro jet, the pots and wiring are probably not to US or Japanese standards but give them a chance, they may be fine. The pickups in your guitar are the same in mine and, again, I have found no reason to change them. Some do so your mileage may vary. As for the surrounds, you can probably fine metal surrounds easily. Probably some on the board would send them to you for the cost of shipping but you should probably know that most prefer the plastic as they look better and are more authentic. The metal surrounds are larger and have different screw locations than yours.

The one mod I would suggest is to change the Bigsby spring for a Reverend low tension spring from Reverend Guitars. It is $10 shipped and they will probably throw in a couple of picks. It makes the tension bar Bigsby's action much easier. It was a game changer on a couple of my guitars.

Other than that, play your guitar and get used to it. Then decide if you want to change anything. You may decide that it is fine as is.

EDIT: On the other hand, I had two Korean made Epiphones that I made wholesale changes on. Other than the bodies and necks, there was little left that was original.

4

Don and Dave,

Thanks for the info. I usually won't make mods with pickups or pots until after I've had a chance to play it on gigs.

I am primarily concerned about the tuning keys. Not quite sure these will do the job. I had some difficulty tuning it in the store. In my mind, keys would be the first thing to replace if past history with Chinese Epiphone's counts for anything .I am wondering what keys are compatible with the G5435TG.

Lastly, is there any one vendor that deals with Gretsch parts.

Thanks again for any help given.

5

If I was going to replace them with a minimum of fuss, I would go with Grover Sta-Tites or Grover Deluxe 133 or similar Gotohs. If I didn't care about filling some holes and drilling some others I would go with some Rotomatics, Shallers or Gotoh 510. Haven't bought any tuners in eons but I used to swear by Rotomatics. Not sure if the quality has been maintained.

Whatever you do, please don't put tulip tuners on a Gretsch.

6

I haven't had any tuning problems with my Pro Jet -- but I did have the nut slots properly fettled and lubricated. I think a lot of guitar tuning issues are caused by one or more of the strings sticking or snagging at the nut.

The electrics on my guitar seem to be holding up OK, too, although Gretsch electrics and me somehow don't always seem to see eye to eye! I tend to leave the two pickup volumes permanently on full and just use the selector switch, the master volume and the tone knob. If anything is going to conk out, my money is on the switch -- it works OK but feels a bit cheap. Overall, I'm really enjoying this guitar.

7

Don,

It looks like Grover 136G is what I need. $60.00 on Ebay. They appear to be identical to what's on the guitar currently. I'll leave the tulip tuners to my Les Pauls!

AS for eveything else, I plan on leaving it all stock except the tuners. I want to get to know the guitar and see how it compares to my Les Paul's. I have a 2004 Historic R9 and a 2013 Studio. Over the years I've owned over 15 different Historic Les Paul's and a few USA Standards and Studios.

The Candy Apple Red / White two tone and the gold hardware on the new 5435 TG Pro Jet are to die for and I'm looking forward to having a different horse in the barn.

Also found out that the plastic pickup surrounds are common on the Jet series. At least I found a couple of sources that claimed it. Also, it seems that some original Gretsch pickups also had metal surrounds depending on the guitar.

Thanks again for you help.

8

Plastic is right. That way you get the groovy Art Deco groove pattern, which eloquently says "I am not a Gibson." Those distinctive plastic surrounds were the order of the day in the 50s-60s classic era, and metal appeared in the floundering 70s (maybe late 60s).

I suppose you might prefer the look of metal, but the more you're around Gretsch, the wronger it starts to look.

The tuners on my first 5420, in Aspen green, were deficient - as the set on my first Jet, a 2002, remains. But no trouble with the tuners on the recent CAR 5420 - nor the Electromatic 5622 Centerblock.

Don't assume you'll have to trade them out. Do dress the nut properly, which is of course where most tuning problems originate.

Are the Chinese Pro Jet models similar to Epiphone Les Paul's in that they need upgraded tuners, pots, pickups,etc.?

Emphatically not. And fit and finish are typically on a par with (if not a little ahead of) and almost certainly more consistent than recent Gibson pro-line stuff. Gretsch has gradually upgraded the Electromatic line to the point where it encroaches on the functionality and build quality of the pro line.

Also, as the other fellers say, give the blacktops a fair trial. They have a distinctive throaty tone - clearly Gretsch, but unique to themselves - and are not just entry-level WannaBe'Trons. You can always pop in your choice of TV'Trons later.

My own Gretsch adventure began about 15 years ago - with an Electromatic Jet. It was clearly a gateway drug, but a nice enough guitar that I still have it. Like the best Epiphones (Casinos, Wildcats, and the like), the best Electromatics are not junior Gretschs. They may be less expensive, but they're completely satisfying and distinctive guitars in their own right.

But, assuming you have a positive experience - and if you hang around here much - you'll be unlikely to stop with the Jet. You've been a multiple offender with high-end Gibsons, and there's less pickup and construction variety among Les Pauls than among Gretsch's offerings. Unique body construction and three families of wildly different - and equally distinctive - pickups (Dynasonics, Filter'Trons, Hilo'Trons) create a more expansive tonal and textural playground you'll probably find yourself wanting to explore.

And you're starting with an especially sweet Electro Jet. It could be quite an adventure!

9

I can't see why anyone would pick up a new G54** series guitar and not be blown away with the fit and finish and playability. The Blacktop Filter-Trons to me are excellent pick ups and I have no reason to even think about changing mine out, for what I do (Rock), not to say that everyone gets along with them but I still don't know why. They just have to be up close to the strings. The Jets are great guitars. Congrats and welcome to the GDP.

10

Proteus and Superdave,

I had a little bit of extra cash and I decided that I was going to look for guitar. I walked into GC and I looked around and at first the only thing that caught my eye was a white Mexican Strat. I played it and was not impressed . Last week I was in another store and I played a classic vibe Strat and I really liked the way that it played and sounded; actually blew the Mexican Strat away. So I thought that was what I was going to purchase.

When I went to put the Strat back on the shelf, I noticed the red Gretsch on the bottom row at the very back, almost hidden from view. I picked that up and plugged it in and played it. I was amazed at how well it played right off of the wall. Usually guitars at GC are not set up well.

As I looked the guitar over, I was very impressed with the fit and finish and the gold hardware and Bigsby looked gorgeous! I also played a gold top 5435 which was nice as well but the red and gold was stunning.

I went home and did some research, watched a couple of YouTube videos and I was hooked. I have a friend who works at the GC and I texted her and a deal was struck.

I think when we go to buy a guitar we all look for something that speaks to us and for the first time in a long time that happened to me.

I also want my gear to make a fashion statement as best as I can. I have a Surf Green Tele to match my Surf Green Dr. Z amp. I like painted head stocks and custom colors on my Strats. My Les Paul and Firebird both have aged hardware that I did myself. I also have a purple special run Vox AC 15. As you can see I like unique combinations and I think the 5435 will fit in nicely with the rest of the kiddies.

I think we all look for a guitar to speak to us and I haven’t found one in a long time until I picked up this 5435. I’ve never had a guitar with a Bigsby and I’m looking forward to learning how to use that.

I’ve been in a rut the last few years with my playing. Sometimes a new guitar can rekindle the desire to play again and I’m hoping this 5435 will do that for me.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

11

Every one of my guitars brings something different out of my playing. Learning their voices and what they want to play is a great exercise, and keeps my ears and fingers fresh. Hope your new one does the same for you!

12

Well, as Joe C says, every guitar has a story. Cool story about how you came about this one. Good on ya!

13

Well, as Joe C says, every guitar has a story. Cool story about how you came about this one. Good on ya!

– Suprdave

Dave,

It was literally buried, about 6 guitars from the end of the bottom row. Lighting in that corner is kinda dark too. It's lik she was hiding and waiting for me to find her!

14

As to the Filtertrons, while getting to know my G-5438T in gold, I discovered the magic of the pickups lays not in them themselves, but in the two pickup volume knobs. Any slight adjustment of either, especially when both are engaged, offers a complete variety of tones from Tele to Paul. Matter of fact to me is that it seems that it the only selection on the threeway switch that offers that ability.

It's not an automatic find of the tone, you have to work them a little, but, I've come across some stellar sounds out of that guitar with that simple information and application. I also second that Reverend soft spring. I was less than impressed with the B-50 that comes on the Jet, but past bridges, or washers or what ever you do, that simple spring makes the Bigsby effortless.

15

Well I've had the ProJet since Saturday. Here are some findings.

When I buy a new guitar, if it has a rosewood board, I always clean in with mineral sprits then dress it with lemon oil. Several days later, the lemon oil keeps seeping on the fretboard. Never experienced that with Gibson, Fender, Epiphone or PRS guitars. Very strange.

Never strung a guitar that had a Bigsby before. Took way too long to figure it out.

The strap buttons are a PITA. I always use Strap Locks so I had to figure out how to remove the screws. The Phillips screwdriver DID NOT work. I went to a hardware store and matched the Gretsch strap knob to a machine screw and found out it is M4. I bought some M4 nuts, threaded 2 of them on to the screw and used a wrench to back the screw out. Installed strap locks, all is good.

Adjusted the action and it plays really well. Also holds tune pretty well; have to play it some more. Looks like I don't have to replace tuners. YAY!!!!

Additionally, I really like the sound of the Blacktop pickups. They seem to be very articulate. Don't think they will get changed either.

Finally, I really like the fit and finish on this guitar. In my opinion, it is better than an Epiphone Les Paul. I'm really interested in a Streamliner JR. Going to look for a blue one and see if there any out there.

I think this guitar is well worth what I paid for it. Think I'll keep it. Will try to shoot some pics tomorrow.


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