Modern Gretsch Guitars

NGD G6131T Player’s Edition Jet FT Firebird Red! EDIT : 2 Weeks Rev…

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Well well well, I finally got my Jet, and it's a humdinger! It's a Firebird, and it is packed full of Gretsch goodness. This one weighs 8lbs on the nose, and sounds as good as it looks (even better), with HS Filter'Tron pickups. I bought it from Sweetwater on their Labor Day sale, and it came loaded with $400 Sweetwater Bonus Bucks. With $300 of the Bonus Bucks, I bought a pair of gold plated TV Jones Classic pickups (and the mounting screw adapter kits) for my 2018 - G5422TG hollow body guitar. It should be a substantial upgrade for that guitar. So today is an NGD and a NPUD! I bought this guitar for my 60th birthday, which is October 3rd.

I had originally ordered an Electromatic G5230T Jet in Aleutian Blue, but it just kept niggling at me to "buy the Pro Line Jet, your going to be 60 years old dagnabit"! Time was on my side, since the Aleutian Blue Electromatic Jet was on backorder for two weeks. I looked over what I really wanted, and the Firebird Jet was singing my name. I'm a sucker for red guitars, so I called my Sweetwater rep and made the switch!

The guitar was due to arrive on Monday the 14th, so I was totally surprised to see a FedEx truck pull up, and the driver carrying a very familiar type of box up to my front door. Could it be? Oh yeah baby, it was and it is! My beautiful Firebird Jet arrived three days early, so without further adieu :

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Voila! My new Firebird Jet has landed!

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I love red guitars and that is a beautiful shade of red! Hope to grab a firebird sometime

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She's a stunner!

Congratulations and enjoy!

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It was meant to be. Congrats.

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Voila! My new Firebird Jet has landed!

– Wade H

Viola? I didn't know Gretsch made violin instruments?! Ha! She's a beauty! Congrats!

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Viola? I didn't know Gretsch made violin instruments?! Ha! She's a beauty! Congrats!

– Metman

Oops, a typo..... voila not viola! Good catch Metman, I edited it to avoid any further shame and confusion. French grammar has never been one of my strong points

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Congratulations, Wade!! The Jet Firebird was what sparked my love of and need(s) for Gretsch guitars -- around 1957! It remains as strong as ever in 2020.....

Something to "monitor"...... Some of us have had tuning stability issues with Players Edition models with "small" (13"-14") bodies with B7 Bigsbys. The roller bars are closer to the bridge than on full-size guitars resulting in a sharp break angle. I had pretty severe problems with my Broadkaster Jr. I even took it to my dealer (who is also a luthier) -- he noticed the sharp break angle but could not come up with a solution.

GOOD NEWS -- I stumbled across Bricks BiggsFix....

<a href="https://bricksbiggsfix.com/" rel="nofollow">https://bricksbiggsfix.com/</a>

Long story short -- it worked VERY well. No more tuning problems and joy returned to Mudville!

Have a ball with your gorgeous new Jet!!

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Congratulations, Wade!! The Jet Firebird was what sparked my love of and need(s) for Gretsch guitars -- around 1957! It remains as strong as ever in 2020.....

Something to "monitor"...... Some of us have had tuning stability issues with Players Edition models with "small" (13"-14") bodies with B7 Bigsbys. The roller bars are closer to the bridge than on full-size guitars resulting in a sharp break angle. I had pretty severe problems with my Broadkaster Jr. I even took it to my dealer (who is also a luthier) -- he noticed the sharp break angle but could not come up with a solution.

GOOD NEWS -- I stumbled across Bricks BiggsFix....

<a href="https://bricksbiggsfix.com/" rel="nofollow">https://bricksbiggsfix.com/</a>

Long story short -- it worked VERY well. No more tuning problems and joy returned to Mudville!

Have a ball with your gorgeous new Jet!!

– senojnad

I'm already on it, senojnad! I think that I learned about this little gizmo from one of your earlier posts. In any event, thanks for the heads up then and now, I don't know why Bigsby doesn't incorporate it into their design. There's been enough bad press about the tuning instability in some of their existing units, you'd think that they would have got the message.

I've played around with this guitar, testing the tuning stability. So far, it seems to be very stable with mild to moderate vibrato, I don't normally lean on the whammy bar too hard so I may be okay. But I've read that the Brick's Biggs Fix improves the function of the Bigsby, making it even smoother, as well as stabilizing tuning. So I'm learning heavily towards doing the modification

This is just one more reason why I love the GDP so much, we look out for one another!

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Love it, Wade! Congrats!

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Congrats! That shade of red is just perfect.

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Okay, I've had the new Firebird Jet for two weeks now, long enough to have made a good evaluation of it.

This guitar is visually stunning, the shade of red is gorgeous, and the black is, well, black! There is no visible wood grain on this guitar (except for the fretboard), but that's okay, the two tone paint job looks amazing. It's very shiny and the chrome parts are spotless, without any defects or blemishes. The fit and finish are absolutely perfect. I can't find a single seam or joint that isn't, for lack of a better word, 'seamless'. These instruments are made to perfection. Terada really has their act together, when it comes to making guitars. I have another Japanese guitar, that I bought new (overseas) in 1982, that is also built to this same standard. It's a Suzuki LP w/ DiMarzio pickups. It's my cold dead hands guitar.

The Firebird Jet arrived with the strings a little higher than I like, but that was an easy fix. I dialed it in to my preferred action, and tightened the truss rod a half turn or so. The humidity is very low in Glendale AZ right now, and the neck bowed slightly. The neck is very nice, it's a U profile that is very comfortable and playable. The Gotoh locking tuners are very nice touch, they make string changes a snap.

This was my first guitar with thumbnail fret markers and that took a little getting used to, but after a couple of days it was easy sailing. I'm beginning to like the feel of an all Rosewood fretboard, without big MOTS block markers. The nut is dressed nicely, and I don't notice any binding issues with the 10 - 46 guage strings that came on the guitar. However, I plan on having a bone nut installed asap.

The Intonation is spot on, and the stud mounted Adjusto-Matic Bridge is rattle and buzz free. The string spacing at the nut and the bridge are very accommodating, to my hands, for accurate chord fingerings and for fingerpicking. The fretboard is wider than my Gibson Les Paul, especially at the nut. My Firebird Jet measures 1.70" at the nut and 2.00" at the 12th fret (measured with a digital caliper).

From what I understand, the neck set is lower on the Player's Edition Jets than on vintage and other modern models of Duo Jets. This brings the strings closer to the body of the guitar, but nowhere near as close as a Gibson Les Paul. I suspect that it's somewhere in between the standard Duo Jet and a Gibson Les Paul. In any case, I like it, I like it a lot.

The guitar is very loud when played unplugged, and it projects for a long distance. It's my loudest unplugged 'solid' body guitar. These are mostly hollow inside, and they resonate beautifully. I can feel the guitar come to life as I play it. It's the feeling we all look for in a guitar, and this one has it.

Plugged in......This guitar sounds fabulous! It has a beautiful chiming tone. I'm really digging the sound of the HS Filter'Trons, and I have no intention of changing them to anything else. I can't imagine improving the quality of sound I'm already getting from this guitar. It has surpassed my expectations in every area, but especially in the quality of the tones I get from this instrument. My brother David was over last Sunday. He is an extremely accomplished fingerstyle player. He's a Chet Adkins/Tommy Emanuel disciple, and the Firebird Jet sounded amazing in his hands. It was a great example of why I need to step up my game, to get the best potential out of this instrument.

As I've gotten older, my taste in music has changed (surprise surprise). They used to call me "Wade Zeppelin" because I played a huge amount of their catalog, to an obsessive degree. I was Mr. Classic Rock Guy, but as I 'matured', I slowed down a bit, and began to appreciate the subtleties of the old fingerstyle music. I began to concentrate on fingerpicking, and it all came together when I got my first Gretsch guitar. That was the sound I was after! My 5422 is about to get a new set of TV Jones Classic pickups a new TV Jones wiring harness. I have the parts, I'm just waiting for my brother to come over and help me out with the parts swap.

Okay, let's talk about the B-7 Bigsby. I was expecting some tuning instability, but I'm not having any real problem with with it. Tuning appears to be very stable on this guitar. Maybe I got lucky, or maybe it's been sorted out, but I don't seem to be having an issue with the Bigsby at all. I normally don't lean too hard on the handle when I play, I usually just add a little shimmer to things here and there. But I tested it out with deep depressions, and it's returning back in tune. I'm not getting notes that return sharp (or flat), which indicates the nut isn't binding and the unit is returning to pitch. I plan on just keeping an eye on it, and hey, if it ain't broken don't Brick's Biggs Fix it! Actually the juries still out on this one, but so far so good. I am also happy with the feel of the spring, it's easy enough to be comfortable, and stiff enough to keep the guitar in tune during a hard string bend or dropping low E to D, so a Reverend Soft Spring may not be necessary for me.

So...... The Player's Edition Firebird Jet is a great guitar (IMO). And I don't have a single regret for purchasing it. I've been waiting for the right time, and this was it. Heck, I even got $400 Sweetwater Bucks with it, that are being used to upgrade my 5422 with TV Jones pickups and wiring harness. It's a double win of Gretsch goodlyness, and I end up with a Firebird Jet and a faux County Gentleman!

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Wade congrats. That is a beauty. I love Jets in red.

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How did I miss this? Congrats and really happy to hear you're getting along with her.

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Excellent review, Wade!! Very clear and helpful information which provides a good sense of what your Jet Firebird is all about!

Congratulations, and have a wonderful time with that gorgeous bird!


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