Modern Gretsch Guitars

NGD-my Azure Corazon.

1

My g5420t came today.

WOW that blue is stunning.

Kings and Queens have gone to war to acquire and possess such objects of beauty.

The sweet part is this sapphire jewel does not simply rest in a crown or apon a finger. It is an object of beauty that is both personal and to be shared.

You can display to stun and play to amaze.

How wonderful we live in a world where a little wood and metal can expand both horizons and culture.

Humans do not deserve such boons yet the deities have so far looked past our hard and fragile hearts and given us music and these beauteous means with which to make it.

And this one is mine.

2

Its not letting me upload pics.

I will keep trying.

4

Whats in the sandwich bag???

5

So I assume you like it?

7

So I assume you like it?

– NJBob

Oh yeah!!!

11

Great color. Congrats

– Baba Joe

Thanks.

I know i am one of a million fairlaners but it was too pretty to ignore

12

There’s a reason why there are so many of them out there.

13

Awesome guitar..I just bought one a couple weeks ago..same great color..I can't believe what a great playing guitar this is and the attention to detail in workmanship..I've only owned Prolines and I'm telling you this is on par with my SSLVO . I was surprised by the Blacktops..great

14

I do like it. There are some problems with mine though.

The b and e strings dont want to stay in the saddle.

It was said that the pups were low output but wow these pups hardly push at all.

Does anyone know the pin spread on the bridge? I am going to get a space control like on my 65 anny.

Otherwise she is a sweety.

15

I don't have an answer to the technical issues but she is sweeeeeeeeet!!!!!!! I am strongly considering one also and love the blacktop filters. Congrats!!!!

16

How does the pickup output compare to your “other” new Gretsch?

I know you’re new to the brand, and without your having a “baseline” for Gretsch performance, it’s hard for us to diagnose this problem - which may or may not actually be a problem.

A Gretsch isn’t a Gretsch because it looks different from other guitars; it’s different because various aspects of its design and features really ARE different.

Among those are the pickups: Filter’Trons (of most varieties) have considerably lower output than other “humbuckers” - that’s how they get their characteristic twang, detail, and high-end clarity. It also makes them very sensitive to height adjustment. (They like to be closer to the strings than you might think.)

So the pickups on your guitar could simply be misadjusted. While many experienced Gretsch guys will tweak the pickups of a new guitar, it would be a rare occurrence for a 5420 straight from the factory to have them very far out of whack. But you could try cranking them up.

In the context of Gretsch pickup behavior, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the comment that blacktops, in particular, have low output. Mine have all been in the normal range for Filters - if not a little hotter than some - and every blacktop-equipped guitar I’ve handled (dozens, I bet) has had the expected output.

But if you don’t have hands-on experience with other Filter’Trons, you may not be able to ascertain that - and of course we can’t know if your guitar is “right.” It could have a wiring issue which robs it of full output. You might measure the output of the pickups with a multi-meter and report back.

Also, I assume you’re making these judgments based on all tone controls being wide open. I haven’t kept up with the details on the 5420’s wiring harness - some Gretschs are now getting harnesses that are more forgiving - but at least in the modern era, most Gretschs sound their best with volume pots wide open. Turning them down (and they’re very touchy, with most variation coming at the top of the rotation) attenuates highs, and can produce more drop in volume than anticipated.

Also also, strings popping out of an Adjustamatic is VERY unusual. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that. I’m curious if the guitar has the “right” gauge strings on it. I think Electromatics ship with 10s, which are the minimum I’d ever use on a hollow body. Many guys go to 11s and stronger on hollowbody (or any!) Gretsch. They sound better to lots of us, and of course higher tension helps keep them in place.

If your pickups are truly out of spec (though, again, how can we be sure?) AND you have such a bridge problem...I wonder if you should make a call to the seller. (Where DID you get it? The better dealers ship guitars only after checking them thoroughly and setting them up as necessary. Others, not so much.)

Also also also note that a Space Control will probably not provide accurate intonation at the factory-“secured” location of the base on the 5420.

17

How does the pickup output compare to your “other” new Gretsch?

I know you’re new to the brand, and without your having a “baseline” for Gretsch performance, it’s hard for us to diagnose this problem - which may or may not actually be a problem.

A Gretsch isn’t a Gretsch because it looks different from other guitars; it’s different because various aspects of its design and features really ARE different.

Among those are the pickups: Filter’Trons (of most varieties) have considerably lower output than other “humbuckers” - that’s how they get their characteristic twang, detail, and high-end clarity. It also makes them very sensitive to height adjustment. (They like to be closer to the strings than you might think.)

So the pickups on your guitar could simply be misadjusted. While many experienced Gretsch guys will tweak the pickups of a new guitar, it would be a rare occurrence for a 5420 straight from the factory to have them very far out of whack. But you could try cranking them up.

In the context of Gretsch pickup behavior, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the comment that blacktops, in particular, have low output. Mine have all been in the normal range for Filters - if not a little hotter than some - and every blacktop-equipped guitar I’ve handled (dozens, I bet) has had the expected output.

But if you don’t have hands-on experience with other Filter’Trons, you may not be able to ascertain that - and of course we can’t know if your guitar is “right.” It could have a wiring issue which robs it of full output. You might measure the output of the pickups with a multi-meter and report back.

Also, I assume you’re making these judgments based on all tone controls being wide open. I haven’t kept up with the details on the 5420’s wiring harness - some Gretschs are now getting harnesses that are more forgiving - but at least in the modern era, most Gretschs sound their best with volume pots wide open. Turning them down (and they’re very touchy, with most variation coming at the top of the rotation) attenuates highs, and can produce more drop in volume than anticipated.

Also also, strings popping out of an Adjustamatic is VERY unusual. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that. I’m curious if the guitar has the “right” gauge strings on it. I think Electromatics ship with 10s, which are the minimum I’d ever use on a hollow body. Many guys go to 11s and stronger on hollowbody (or any!) Gretsch. They sound better to lots of us, and of course higher tension helps keep them in place.

If your pickups are truly out of spec (though, again, how can we be sure?) AND you have such a bridge problem...I wonder if you should make a call to the seller. (Where DID you get it? The better dealers ship guitars only after checking them thoroughly and setting them up as necessary. Others, not so much.)

Also also also note that a Space Control will probably not provide accurate intonation at the factory-“secured” location of the base on the 5420.

– Proteus

Thanks for the response.

I have had gretschs before all US 50s and 60s models.

The other one i just got is a 65 anny.

A few years ago i used a late 60s 'tron in an ash and zebra wood esquire i built.

I admit am no expert but i know output. My preference is for low output pups. Thats why i really like alnico 2 pups with minimal wiring.

I like the pups they are just really low compared to most i have had.

I will do the height adjustment like you said.

The saddle problem is a puzzler i agree.

The factory sends them with 11s. My prefered on hollows and semis. I got it from zzounds. They try to say their "experts" check them out but in all the years i have done business with them that is just not true. Thats why Sweetwater is better for such things.

It has been suggested i try a tru-arc or compton bridge. I think i will.

I intend to do a full setup and see where that takes me.

All the big Gs i have had never had saddle probs so i am mystified.

Always open to info and suggestions thanks again and please keep it coming.

18

Ah, sorry for impugning your Gretsch experience! From your posts so far, I thought maybe it was just this and the old one you bought last week - and that’s why I produced a newbie primer. My apologies.

I’m sure you know your way around Gretsch pickups. Which makes this doubly mystifying - again, because my experience with the blacktops has not included any sense of low output. Makes me wonder if Zzounds might have shipped you a problem child (good looks notwithstanding).

I can help you with a Tru-Arc (it’s my company), not so much with that other kind. We have a specific model with string-to-string compensation for the location and angle of the pinned base on the 5420 - which is its own thing.

19

These are wonderful guitars. Gretsch really knocked it out of the park ,with these. I keep saying that for some reason. Proteus, the gentleman above, has great advice and he is THE man when it comes to Tru-Arc bridges, since he started the business.

Here's what the pickup height should look like, for Black-Top Filter-trons...

20

Can you post pics of the bridge issue?

21

Ah, sorry for impugning your Gretsch experience! From your posts so far, I thought maybe it was just this and the old one you bought last week - and that’s why I produced a newbie primer. My apologies.

I’m sure you know your way around Gretsch pickups. Which makes this doubly mystifying - again, because my experience with the blacktops has not included any sense of low output. Makes me wonder if Zzounds might have shipped you a problem child (good looks notwithstanding).

I can help you with a Tru-Arc (it’s my company), not so much with that other kind. We have a specific model with string-to-string compensation for the location and angle of the pinned base on the 5420 - which is its own thing.

– Proteus

Nothing to apologize for.

I am still learning and hope to do so forever.

My previous experience is why i am baffled.

Please always assume to start me at the beginning and maybe...just maybe i might learn something...haha.

I always appreciate info and suggestions. Heck if i knew everything not only would thar be largely unlikely but darned boring.

If i appeared snippy that was not my intention sorry about that.

Please keep all the info coming.

I am the proverbial sponge.

22

Proteus. (You cant see this but i am bowing right now, even as you read this)

I am very interested in a brass one of your little beauties.

So you would surely be the bridge expert.

Like i mentiioned my experience with strings afraid to ride is thankfully small. So yeah im perplexed.

Any suggestion are very appreciated.

Thanks for your help as had and any future assistance. I am sure to need it as thats how i learn.

23

These are wonderful guitars. Gretsch really knocked it out of the park ,with these. I keep saying that for some reason. Proteus, the gentleman above, has great advice and he is THE man when it comes to Tru-Arc bridges, since he started the business.

Here's what the pickup height should look like, for Black-Top Filter-trons...

– Suprdave

That is how they look although yours may be closer so i will try that.

Using A2's as i like i am quite often putting the screws to my little magnetic friends.

Thanks

P.s. i agree these are really well made and i got mine at a good price so me and her are going to dance fandangos as she is beautifully dressed and ready to cut rugs.

I do not mind having to do what must be done to see to it she is ready to tango.

I have not had a hollow in12 years so this will be fun.

24

The Fairlane Blue is very impressive. My wife has the exact same model and it's one of the easiest guitars for my hands. A Tru-Arc can only make things better, IMO.

Congrats again.

25

I didn't detect any snippiness, no problem. In fact, you deflected my See Dick Run approach with grace and aplomb. These are just artifacts of people who don't know each other learning how to communicate.

No problem here.


I have a Candy Apple 5420, perhaps from one later inter-generational batch than your Fairlane blue (That is, I think the Fairlane is a 2016 introduction and the CAR 2017). I'm not aware that they're much different in spec - though the Electromatic series in particular is subject to subtle changes from batch to batch, whether specified by FMIC or volunteered by the factory.

Anyway, what I have to offer is that my CAR (bought Dec '17 from Rocky's Street Sounds in Brooklyn - possibly the premier Gretsch dealer, and certainly a favorite here) is as perfect a new guitar as I've ever received. The thoroughly refined spec from FMIC was apparently perfectly executed by the factory, and Rocky nailed the setup.

I'll change the bridge, of course, but so far I'm happy with the pickups (after all, they provide a contrast to the Filter'Trons I have in other guitars) - and I've had zero setup or functionality issues with the guitar.

It's been my general impression that each generation of the 5420 has gotten better - though I'm not always sure how. There have been obvious changes from time to time, but the differences don't seem necessarily tied to those changes. (Like a change from chrome pickup surrounds to the grooved plastic ones - how does that really improve the feel or function of the guitar?) But in general the model has gone from "a great place to start" (both in the sense of being a Gretsch intro model for the first-timer, and of being a substantially "right" mod platform) to "this thing is GREAT as is, for anyone."

Again, I can't quantify any of this - it's more of a qualitative thing, and no doubt a sum-of-parts "synergistic" thing. But my Candy Apple 2017 just feels like a more satisfying guitar than the 2014 Aspen Green I had previously. And not that there was anything wrong with the Aspen Green - that I could put my finger on. The newer one just makes me want to play it.

So I wasn't surprised at your original (perhaps a touch hyberbolic) delight with the guitar out of the box, and am surprised at the issues you now report.

Let's see how it behaves after a thorough setup. Sometimes that makes all the difference.


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