Modern Gretsch Guitars

Why Your Players Edition Jet Needs a B7 Bigsby

1

all japanese jets before 2015 had a steep neck angle, bridges on wood bases that were about 7/8" total height, and pickups that sat very high above the body, and they used a bigsby without a tension bar (B6)

since 2016, the vintage series jets still have the steep neck angles, bridges on wood bases 7/8" high, the pickups sit high, and Bigsbys without a tension bar are used (B6).

all electromatic jets have always had a flatter neck angle, bridges on studs that are 3/4" high, pickups that sit low, and a Bigsby with a tension bar.

the players edition has the flatter neck angle, bridges on studs that are 3/4" high, pickups that sit low and a Bigsby with a tension bar (B7).

now for players edition jets, do we believe that Tereda re-tooled their production line to make faithful copies of korean electromatics? no.

if you have a jet with the neck angle such that your bridge sits on studs (because a real gretsch bridge on a wood base would be too tall), and you have a Bigsby that needs to use a tension bar to keep the strings low, then you have an electromatic. at least electromatic design.

was your players edition made at Tereda or in Korea? i don't know for sure. i imagine it was at least partially assembled and possibly finished at the Tereda factory (thus the JT serial number). but i think its way more likely the the neck/body blanks came to them from korea. either that or Tereda went to a lot of trouble to make imitation electrodatics. why would japan "upgrade" to korean design?

2

There's nothing really new about the Players editions. Gretsch made these in the early 2000's:

3

that's a very Gretsch-centric view of things. the stud mounted tune-a-matic, shallower neck angle and full size pickups are nods to a Les Paul, and more familiar to a lot of non-Gretsch players. Gretsch is aiming for a broader audience who think a solidbody with an archtop bridge is strange, and who want Les Paul familiarity/sustain/feel. No reason to think they're MIK guitars.

4

A lot of people who are not familiar with floating bridges, especially on a solid body guitar, are always afraid that the bridge will move while playing heavy. I haven’t noticed this fear to be true in my limited experiences with floating bridges, but I know I have had that conversation. So is the neck angle set to allow a more ‘modern’ setup, or to accommodate outsourced stud mount bridges? Or is it the other way around? Either way, I do think the players’ addition is to attract new to Gretsch buyers...(as suggested by WB)

5

I love Gretsch guitars in all of their glory and every step of the way. So they're different? So what? Gretsch has always been different and for them to do a change up on things never surprises me. I think they'd be rather boring, otherwise. JMO.

6

I think it's just to save money.

K

7

I don't think the Player's Edition specs are necessarily to attract non-Gretsch players. I feel they are exactly what they advertise themselves to be, Gretsch guitars that are meant to be played live for every song night after night. They build them so you can rock out as hard as you want without the concern that something will go out of whack right in the middle of a song.

I love my DSV Duo Jet but I've always thought it would sound better, have more sustain and be more stable if the bridge was secured to the body like a Les Paul rather than a floating bridge base. I'm fine with it so I'm not going to change it but it didn't make much sense to me when I bought it.

Now that FMIC has ownership of Bigsby they should redesign the tension bar models so the bar is raised higher.

8

Now that FMIC has ownership of Bigsby they should redesign the tension bar models so the bar is raised higher.

Or is adjustable in height.

9

A higher or adjustable tension bar on a B7 would be a game changer for a lot of guitars like Les Pauls, etc that have the shallower neck angle, anchored bridge, and not much distance between the bridge and tension bar. Much better feel and tuning stability with a higher tension bar.

10

I think it's a ludicrous notion - unsubstantiated and based on dubious reasoning - that Terada Jets aren't all-Terada. That impugns Gretsch and insults all the Asian manufacturers, who have proven capable of building to the spec provided by Gretsch.

You're free to like or not like a particular design for your purposes - and make all the noise you want about it (we like diversity of opinion) - but that freedom shouldn't extend to questioning the guitars' parentage. For that you need more than hypothetical speculation.

11

If the serial number prefix on your Gretsch guitar displays, "JT", the build of that instrument comes from the Gretsch/Terada Japan factory.

12

I wonder if it would be possible to increase the arch of the top, to allow a steeper break angle with the fixed bridge, rather than resorting to the inferior tension bar.

13

I don't understand why anybody would feel that there is anything wrong with Gretsch making a Jet with a lower set neck. In the case of the Players Edition Jet it (arguably) makes the guitar sustain better and ring out more - I have had many Filter'tron Jets and wished that they had the zing of my 6120. The Players Edition Jet does. It's a great guitar in it's own right. And duh - I worked out why a B3 wouldn't work all by myself.

I can't see how it would be cheaper to produce, as the neck still has to be hand-fitted. I don't see why it has to be made with Korean bodies. Maybe before we all go off on conspiracy theories we should go out and play one. I think then you would see that it's a great addition to the Gretsch range. It isn't replacing anything. I don't think it's a sinister plot to subvert the traditional Gretsch - but I could be wrong.

I have owned and played many traditional Jets and currently have an amazing Gibson Les Paul. I also have a Players Edition Jet and it doesn't replace either a traditional Jet or a Les Paul. The 6228 is similar to both yet has it's own identity, and right now I prefer it over a trad Jet in every way except the Bigbsy issue. It's a great sounding guitar and plays as well as any guitar I have played.

To remain viable Gretsch can't just keep making the same old guitars over and over. Obviously the thing to do is make 'em like they used to (or better) and add some new models from time to time. Seems to me exactly what Joe & Co are doing. Joe - I love the new jet!

14

I did a google images search on "gretsch electromatic jet" and looked at the first 100 photos that came up. all 100 electromatics had the flat neck angle, the low bridge on studs, and every single one of them that had a bigsby had a bigsby with a tension bar (B5).

I then did a google image search on "gretsch 6128". of the first 100 images, 98 of them had the pitched neck angle, a high bridge on a wood base, and all had a bigsby without a tension bar (B7), except two, and both of those two were elliot easton signature models.

so since 100% of the electromatics were of the flat neck/low bridge design, i'm going to call that the "electromatic design". fair enough?

and since 98% of the pro series had the pitched neck/high bridge design, i'm going to call that the "tereda (japanese) design". fair enough?

now, as far as the 2 out of 100 (both elliot easton models), i don't know where they were made, but they were of the electromatic design. It doesn't make too much sense that the japanese tereda factory went to all the time, trouble, and expense to set up production to purposefully manufacture a very limited number of guitars of an inferior design. But it IS possible. it is much more likely that they started with korean electromatic neck/body blanks.

i fully realize that the pro series guitars (even the korean design) are at least partially made in japan at the tereda factory. for instance, the elliot easton model has an ebony fretboard, which i imagine was put on at the tereda factory (maybe). and of course the electronics were possibly installed in japan, possibly the painting was done in japan as well as the fretwork and final inspection.

in my own case, my 6128 double cutaway was a FSR guitar. it is a pro series, has a tereda serial number, and says "made in japan" on it. it is a 2015, has a zero fret, ebony fretboard and cream colored nitrocellulose lacquer. i think all of this special work was done at the tereda factory in japan. but it has the flat neck, low bridge mounted on studs, and a bigsby with a tension bar. so i know it is made to electromatic design, and i imagine the neck and body were made in korea.

do you think gibson is going to set up a new production line to painstakingly recreate a 2001 epiphone wildcat? why would tereda set up to recreate an electromatic?

why is this important? because until recently, japanese gretsch guitars with bigsbys stayed in tune perfectly. i've had 6 of them since the late 90's (two 6128, one 6120, three 6119). they all had bigsby B6's and rocker bridges. so when i got my most recent one i was very unpleasantly surprised to find that it was absolutely unusable due to tuning instability. i thought a gretsch rocker bar bridge would solve the problem, but then i found out that a rocker bar bridge won't work on a korean design gretsch because it's too tall due to the korean neck angle. then i found out that a bigsby B6 won't work with the korean design because the bridge is too low. but the tension bar on a bigsby B7 forces the strings down too much and they have way too much break angle going over the bridge, which is why the guitar wouldn't stay in tune.

(i finally solved the problem with the help of a guy who makes a device to replace the tension bar with a higher tension bar. slightly unsightly, very expensive, but it works great. it changed my guitar from being absolutely worthless to being absolutely useable.)

the gretsch "player series" may or may not be made in japan, or may be partially made in japan. but they are definitely made to the korean design. i think they are $500-$700 cheaper, but they aren't worth the savings. there is no way i would invest that kind of money in my guitar again, knowing what i know now. i really feel like fender/gretsch screwed me.

15

Why would you think it was made in Korea? Haven't the Electromatic Jets (other than the 5655) been made in China for several years?

16

Quote: "do you think gibson is going to set up a new production line to painstakingly recreate a 2001 epiphone wildcat?"

If there would be a demand for a USA made Gibson Wildcat, they sure as hell would.

17

Electromatic Jets are made in China, not Korea. There is no “Korean design” - or Japanese design. The configurations and neck sets of ALL the guitars are specified and approved by Gretsch - or, more precisely, by the guys at FMIC in the USA.

Again, you can have any opinion you want about the specs of the PE Jet. But you’ve had it from the guy at FMIC who KNOWS, beyond speculation, that Terada-built guitars are built at Terada. Why do you persist in categorizing guitars by nation of origin, and pressing this notion of a cross-shipped production process?

Also, if you had so many wonderful Jets in the past - with a build you liked - why did you buy a new one with a design you don’t like? You can still get Terada Jets with the more conventional configuration.

You might be happier if you sold your low-neckset Jet and got one of those.

18

Rather than call them the Japanese version and the Korean version, call them the historic version and the modern version. The historic is the way they made them back in the 50s. When Fender started having Terada make the jets, this is the model they used. It was a familiar version as it was like the old Jets. Now, Fender/Gretsch wants to use the style popularized by the Les Paul to make the Jet a more familiar feel to those that grew up playing Les Pauls rather than those that played big archtops.

That should make sense to you, unless you are yet another incarnation of Thunderball, which seems more than likely, coming back to spark discussion by taking totally inane positions on issues that should not merit much if any discussion.

And yet I fall for it again.

19

I thought they were designed in Indonesia by Koreans using Japanese tools made in China.

20

Ha! Yes Don I too felt after posting that I may have fed the troll. And Bob, I think you left out the bit where they went on vacation to Viet Nam.

21

I can’t imagine that a factory like Terada would even blink at doing runs of similar models with different neck sets and bridge mounts.

22

Ha! Yes Don I too felt after posting that I may have fed the troll. And Bob, I think you left out the bit where they went on vacation to Viet Nam.

– JimmyR

And that is this guy's modus operandi. He takes an absolutely preposterous position and even as the absurdity is demonstrated, he digs his heels in deeper. And, as you say, we continue to feed the Troll.

Oh, Baxter. Heeee's baaaccckkkkkk!

23

The possibility of Thunderball did cross my mind too. Ignoring Joe's comment completely, then circling around the arguments and doubling down on the thesis.

24

ok. let's forget about where these guitars were made. none of us know that for sure, and where the guitars are made is just a side issue anyway.

the central issue is that the "traditional design" has a nice string break angle over the bridge. it will stay in tune (all of my other japanese gretsches have stayed in tune beautifully). my newer 2015 FSR has a horrible string angle over the bridge and the guitar is totally unusable because of severe tuning instability.

the "traditional pro series design" uses a B6 bigsby with a tall bridge and a steep neck angle. the "electromatic design" can't use a B6 bigsby because the bridge is too low (it has to be that low because the neck angle is too flat) so they put on a B7 bigsby because a B7 bigsby has an extra tension bar that forces the strings down low enough to use with the low-mounted bridge. the problem is, the tension bar forces the strings down too low. much too low.

here's a guy who made a video that explains all of this. ironically he uses a cheap jet as his example:

https://bricksbiggsfix.com/...

so if you were wondering why your player's edition jet won't stay in tune, now you know.

anyone who wants to buy a beautiful white lacquer double cutaway 6128 that was supposedly made in japan but is of an electromatic design, and has a beautiful gold B7 bigsby, and won't stay in tune, $1600 and its all yours.


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