Modern Gretsch Guitars

What is this?

27

Knowing what I know about pre-FMIC Electromatics, I'd say that this is either a transitional model (2002-ish) or a promo model. The only standard model issued with the large-fleck black sparkle is the Jet Baritone. The older pre-FMIC Sparklejets did have a black sparkle model, but it was a smaller-fleck sparkle. The headstock, fretboard design and control layout are FMIC-style, as is the contoured top (older sparklejets all had flat tops). The lack of a serial number may also indicate a transitional model, as Gretsch was moving from sticker-applied serial numbers to stamped serial numbers. Fred Gretsch has literally dozens of oddballs and one-off prototypes/test models like this at the "museum" in Savannah. I would bet that this one began life as some sort of dealer promo model at some point.

The tuners, bigsby and pickups look to be aftermarket mods. I can see the rough shape of the pickup cavity in the spacing between the rings and the pickups, and also the neck angle is extremely shallow, indicating that it probably had the mini-humbuckers originally. Also, the fretboard is not ebony, it's "ebonized" (tinted) rosewood-- evidenced by the grain pattern in the pic. Also with that kind of weight, I would bet that it is constructed of sandwiched Luan plywood... much like the ultra-heavy Pre-FMIC Electromatic Double Jets.

Regardless, it definitely looks like a keeper. Congrats on a cool find!

28

Fourteen pounds, eh? With all that money that you saved on the purchase of the guitar over a Les Paul, you might consider investing in one of these...

29

14 pounds! And I thought my Pro Jet-cum Rat Rod was made from depleted uranium coming in at 12 pounds. Wowsa!

Cool guitar!

31

It's not necessarily "bad wood", but many of the early Electromatic bodies were made of Luan (also known as Lauan) plywood laminate, sandwiched together. the weight actually comes from all of the glue in the plywood. Would solid wood be better? It depends. It would certainly be lighter. If you open up the main control cavity, you should be able to actually see layers of plywood, depending on how the control cavity was routed.

The main thing is, if it plays and sounds as good as you say, who cares if it was made from cellophane and aluminum foil??? That it works for you is all that matters. Personally, I'd hit it in a heartbeat-- you've got a very unique model there, and the mods all appear to have been done with care, which is important.

32

Yeah, I am pleased. It has a cool sound and feel.

33

Around the same year model as my Double cut Synchro. They Didn't give them s/n #'s back then, for some reason. The one I bought was the reason that I ended up here asking questions and I never went away.

34

If you wanted to list it in the Gretschpages database, I would call it a 5235 Pro Jet and list the finish as a an unusual factory finish. Other than the finish, it has all the makings of a modified 5235 model.

You can put it in the database from HERE.

35

The only difference that i see is the covers over the controles on the back.

36

Yeah, that is a bit unusual for that model, but I'd again chalk it up to being from the Pre-Fender-to-post-Fender transition period, which took place beginning in the late summer/early fall of 2002. In Gretsch's history, there are other transitional periods (pre-Baldwin-to-Baldwin Era,1967-1969) where guitars have a mix of features from both eras... transitional models are often "in-betweeners"... sometimes made under the newer control standards, but often made with older parts, dies or jigs.

37

I am now the proud owner of this guitar

Btw, the pickups are definitely TV Jones

The spacing between the poles in the bridge pup is larger than the neck pup

It sounds very good

MAN is it heavy!

I wish I knew what kind of pickups these were amongst TV Jones line

They are very sweet sounding

38

I've seen the same sparkle paint on a G31XX series Historic Cat's Eye. The G5235 is solid black and ten pounds. Yours has upgraded pickups that are far better than the original minihumbuckers. The Bigsby may or may not be original, but it's the same as the one on my Pro Jet. Nice find, by the way.

39

I've seen the same sparkle paint on a G31XX series Historic Cat's Eye. The G5235 is solid black and ten pounds. Yours has upgraded pickups that are far better than the original minihumbuckers. The Bigsby may or may not be original, but it's the same as the one on my Pro Jet. Nice find, by the way.

– wabash slim

Thanks. I traded my 5420 for it

I liked my 5420 but my Anniversary 6118 does everything that the 5420 does, but better (HS Filters vs blacktop filters, etc etc) So the 5420 was a little redundant whereas this BEAST is a wholly different animal

Interestingly, it has only two pots/knobs

And one three way switch

Is there any way to determine which TVJ pickup is installed?

They sound great

40

Rockwithdave and WhittleZ, I do have some information about the guitar -- but I am not certain of the accuracy because it is all second hand. But a friend and fellow forum member had one just like it (maybe even the same one). It had the large flecks, the TV Jones pickups (I think they are classics) and Bigsby B50. I played it and it played and sounded great but weighed a TON! I think if it had been lighter, he'd still have it -- or I would.

Anyway, he bought it from a former Fender employee and was told that it was a prototype that never made it into production. It was a really cool looking guitar and I just wish it had not been so danged heavy.

There was a thread about the guitar a few years back but it was lost in the melt-down.

41

Rockwithdave and WhittleZ, I do have some information about the guitar -- but I am not certain of the accuracy because it is all second hand. But a friend and fellow forum member had one just like it (maybe even the same one). It had the large flecks, the TV Jones pickups (I think they are classics) and Bigsby B50. I played it and it played and sounded great but weighed a TON! I think if it had been lighter, he'd still have it -- or I would.

Anyway, he bought it from a former Fender employee and was told that it was a prototype that never made it into production. It was a really cool looking guitar and I just wish it had not been so danged heavy.

There was a thread about the guitar a few years back but it was lost in the melt-down.

– Don Birchett

Cool. Before I got the guitar, they (seller and his wife) did point out this thread, which in the spirit of 'sunshine is the best disinfectant', I appreciate

My understanding is that I could take out the pickup but that would only confirm it is a TVJ, which I am already confident of, but not which particular model

However, if I took pictures of it from the bottom, would a 'guru' or TVJ himself (redundant!:). ) be able to ID it?

I agree with the previous poster that I don't care if it's made of Formica - it sounds epic and that Uid what matters

The thing should come with a warning sticker - 'IF YOU CANNOT DEADLIFT THREE TIMES YOUR BODYWEIGHT, THIS GUITAR IS TOO HEAVY FOR YOU!

Btw, it has two small holes near the straplock (or button or whatever you call it) suggesting the trem was added later

All the previous tension bar Bigsbys I have tried have been kind of lame vs. the ones that do not have one- this guitar breaks that rule

The only upgrade I am considering is one of those Tru Arc or Compton bridges

Thanks again for rte insight

42

If you pull the pickup then if it's a TV Jones pup there should be a sticker on the underside identifying it.

43

great find. I don't know too much on parts and ages of things but it certainly is a cool match of components and finish.

44

Get the Tru-Arc. Best addition you could make, sort of the icing on the cake.

45

I had some heavy Teles but I took them to Curt for some trim work. They sound even better than before plus now I'll actually pick them up and play them.

46

My understanding is that the Asian made stuff of this era was generally contracted out to Peerless in Korea. Does anyone else have knowledge to the contrary?

47

Yea I am very stoked on it

I'm not changing anything except the possible bridge swap

I'm going to remove the pickup(s) so I can see what they are - if definitely buy a set, assuming they are available, into a different guitar

48

this guitar is not 14 lbs It's 10.5 lbs

49

This guitar is just amazing. If I play before any of my other guitars it makes them seem kind of clunky and toylike.

I know it says Electromatic on it but it appears to have a bone nut and I've been able to get the action lower than any of my non-metal guitars and it just seems very refined!

The sound is rich, full AND twangy - almost oxymoronic

The Bigsby arm is angled too far away from the body - need a different spring

I wish I could find out some info on it


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