Modern Gretsch Guitars

After the new Pro Jet honeymoon phase…

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A few years have now passed since the Pro Jets went from the mahogany bodies, mini-humbuckers, and thumbnail inlays model to the basswood bodies, blacktop filtertrons, and hump-block inlays model. Those new Pro Jets were pretty exciting to see when they first came out. Now that they've been out a while, is anyone still noticing a preference of one over the other?

I've hung on to my 2005 model (the older one) although I was tempted to sell it off and purchase one of the newer ones. Instead, I took out the mini-hums and installed HS Filtertrons in it, and honestly, it's my favorite of all my guitars and I'm glad I didn't sell it. Initially, I liked the look of the "proper" Gretsch knob configuration on the newer ones, but at this point I like the simplicity of the one volume-one tone setup.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Do any of you who preferred the newer ones when they first came out now finding that you prefer the older ones? Just curious.

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I have both models. The earlier guitar was bought for me by my stepkids for Christmas some years ago so that guitar isn't going anywhere. It was set up by my stepson (it's part of his day job) and it plays beautifully.

Issues? We'll it's quite heavy, but it's well balanced so I can deal with that. And the minibuckers, while decent enough in their own way, didn"t sound 'Gretschy' enough for me. They were swapped out for a Bare Knuckle P90 and a soapbar- sizeTV Jones Filtertron -- simple drop-ins.

I had some issues with the bridge. For proper intonation, the saddles had to be set so far forward that some of the strings hit the back of the bridge on their way down to the Bigsby tension bar. This type of Bigsby is fine on a Tele or LP Junior, but at best is a compromise on a Jet with its archtop. I tried spacers under the Bigsby to level it up but I wasn't keen on that. In the end I just ran the strings right over the tension bar -- yes, a shallow string angle over the saddles, but no more so than my Jazzmaster. I don't have an "over-enthusiastic" (ahem) playing style so I've had no problems with strings popping off the bridge -- and the Bigsby now has a much easier and smoother action. Overall, it's now a good playing and sounding guitar.

I'm also enjoying the more recent double cut Jet. I like the sound of the Blacktops -- a different sort of Gretschiness to my Hilotron and Dyna loaded guitars, but that's all part of the fun. I must admit I tend to leave the individual pickup volumes on Gretsches full on almost all the time and just use the tone knob and master volume -- and I haven't had a Gretsch with a mud switch since 1979!

So, two different Pro Jets and I like both of them. I feel a little more at home with the earlier model, perhaps because for many years I've played Les Pauls and a Yamaha SG1000 and they too had the full set-in neck which tucks the strings a little closer to the guitar body. Just a little thing that goes unnoticed most of the time.


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