Miscellaneous Rumbles

Why spend the money on a pro..?

1

I’m as much a sucker as the rest of you for expensive guitars... BUT.. looking at the new electromatics, I’m wondering am I mad even considering a new pro series when a good set of TVs in the new 5655TG for example would give you an amazing guitar by the looks of things?!

2

It's a great question, and kind of along the same lines (for me) as to why someone would buy a Fender when the Squiers are so good.

It's all illusory anyway right? They're just wood and strings.

3

They are indeed scavenging their pro line with the electromatics.

4

There are several reasons.

Arguably top of list, and most fundamental: 3-ply construction in the Professional Collection vs 5-ply in Electros and Streamliners - along with the particular and specific build (neck shapes, construction geometry) and internal bracing/chambering which come with each Pro Collection model.

Do these things make a lot of difference? Debatable - but those fundamental structural differences, in combination with other factors mentioned below, do add up. And however you upgrade an Electromatic, the construction and bracing are baked in, either impossible or stupidly difficult to change.

Also quantitative: better nut material and, usually, hardware.

Softer reasons: while Electromatics and Streamliners are usually well sorted out and nicely set up out of the box (Streamliners perhaps more consistently than Electros, in my experience), the Pro Series guitars are almost always universally and consistently superb. More detailed attention to build, fit, and finish - more time taken, more eyes and hands assuring each individual guitar is tweaked to perfection. Lemons are vanishingly rare.

Softer yet: the pro line carries the historic model names and specs: Falcon, Nashville, Duo Jet, Tenny, Anni, you get the idea. The Electro and Streamlines certainly offer models similar to some of those, but for some buyers it's not quite the same.

The counter side of these observations is that the Electro and Streamlines offer detailed specs which don't come in the pro series, and are dandy guitars in their own right.

There are no universally wrong answers. (Though we all have our individual opinions about particular builds and models. It's fair to note that there's a sizable contingent of die-hard Gretschies which is less than completely thrilled about the proliferation of the centerblock and solidbody models with shallow neck sets and stud-mounted bridges - which reflect another guitar brand's heritage more than Gretsch's.)

5

Say you're climbing a mountain and you get within a thousand feet of the top. You look out over the valley and the view is spectacular. You look at the top of the peak, knowing the view probably won't change all that much at the top. Is it worth spending all that extra energy to climb the extra thousand feet just to say you've been there? Just to satisfy the ego? Yes it is my friend, yes it is...

6

Besides the 5 ply vs 3 ply, neck shapes, finishes and electronics, the bridge pickup placement on most Electromatics is moved closer towards the neck than on the Pro-lines. It’s a weird spec but I think it’s to prevent people from passing off an $800 guitar for a $2,000 guitar. I would rather they moved the neck pickup closer to the bridge.

7

that's what's kept me from buying a hollow Electromatic for ages now.

8

The electro build is great but if you change out the wiring, pots, switch, tuners, Bigsby, bridge, pickups and move the bridge pickup back where it should be you could have bought a proline.

Many love how they sound out of the box and if that’s the case there’s no reason to spend more but if you’re buying one to mod then consider spending more upfront.

9

I don't think there are any Electromatics with trestle bracing or lacquer finish (or a mud switch for that matter). Why waste your money?

10

I think the Streamliners are actually a better mod platform. They seem to be built lighter than the Electros (usually a good thing in my world), with more body resonance, the QC is superb, and they're less money upfront. A couple judicious mods as suits, and you've still saved money.

11

Well, and expanding on Otter's point about the specific Proline-only features he most treasures, I guess it's worth emphasizing that there are many Proline features you can't get in the lo-liners. Full hollow enclosed "Electrotone" thinline body, exactly the chambering of Proline Jets, of course a whole range of pickups, anything 17" (either deep or thinline), Western or Falcon/Penguin regalia (and headstocks), etc.

12

I think that the cost/value of mods is a great point. However, if your goal is make something yours, it may be worth it if you’re not concerned with resale. For example, my Streamliner has upgraded pickups and bridge and can sonically hold its own against a proline imo. I jokingly refer to it as my version of a double cut Jet. I know that it’s not the same thing but I am quite happy with it. Overall, I prefer my pro-lines but there are are times when the less expensive models do a better job of getting where I want to be.

One thing that I have never understood is switching Bigsbys. Handles yes, but the whole thing? Other than for aesthetic reasons, why? I have never had a problem with the original Bigsby on any non pro-line.

13

Or just go to a guitar store and play a pro-line...You'll get it.

Everything stated above and I love my Synchro/Electros but it's so damned hard to put my Falcon down. It gets most of the love.

14

It's a great question, and kind of along the same lines (for me) as to why someone would buy a Fender when the Squiers are so good.

It's all illusory anyway right? They're just wood and strings.

– Devil's Tool

The last 3 guitars I've bought were all Squiers (after hearing Jack Pearson kill it with the Allman Bros with an $80 pawn shop Strat). A $75 Strat from a pawn shop and two of the bullet teles (new). The bullet teles get played the most. I really liked the neck on the pawn shop strat but it the electronics were fried...so I put one of those $25 loaded Chinese pickguards on it and it fired right up. Those cheapo loaded pickguards are hot and actually sound really good for the price.

15

I sold just about everything gretsch I have, two prolines and a bunch of parts, and am now looking into electros and streamliners with the specific intent to mod the hell out of them. I don’t see any prolines I want but definitely am eyeballing the “lower end” models.

16

As Curt explains, the positioning of the bridge pickup on hollow Electros is so far forward of where it is on any non-mute Proline that it will always sound 'different' without surgery no matter how much you spend on pickups.

The Strat-quack treble sound is an intrinsic component of the Electro build blueprint.

Always listen carefully to Curt when he says something about guitar construction fundamentals!

17

As a new guy to Gretsch guitars (3 years), I now have one each of the Electromatic and Pro Line guitars. My first Gretsch was a 5422TG bought in february of 2018. I bought my second one in September of 2020, a 6131T PE Firebird Duo Jet. I read over and over again on the GDP, that as good as the Electromatic Line is, the Pro Line is noticeably better so I was anxious to see for myself. I have no regrets at all about buying the Duo Jet

I have about $1600 into the 5422, after buying the Deluxe Hardshell Case and a pair TV Jones Classic pickups and a TV Jones wiring harness (yet to be installed). I have a cool $2500 (after tax) into the Duo Jet. Was it worth it?

Heck yeah, you bet it is! While both guitars are flawless with perfect fit and finish, the reason is more than skin deep. I didn't completely bond with the Blacktop Filter'Trons, especially knowing that it could be better (with TV Jones pickups), and the B60 Licensed Bigsby is kind of stiff (requiring a softer spring).

The 6131T has better hardware all the way around, I really dig the locking tuners and string through Bigsby. The guitar just feels good to play. It has the feel of quality that can't be beat, it's tight and rattle free. The HS Filter'Trons have great clarity and note separation in chords, and the guitar chimes like a bell. I've been thrilled with it, and I play it constantly. There isn't anything about it I would like to change, and it came with a Deluxe Hardshell Case, so heck yes it was worth buying the premium model!

18

I think if someone just wants a nice GRETSCH guitar, an Electromatic can definitely scratch that itch.

However, if someone wants a Gretsch 6120, or a Gretsch White Falcon, or a Country Gent, or a Tennessee Rose, etc etc, an Electromatic might not do the trick. At least it didn’t for me, no matter how many modifications I made.

19

A Toyota is a great car, but a Lexus is better.

20

Doesn't make a lot of sense to spend "pro money" if you aren't a pro. If you are, then it makes the best sense in the world.

21

Doesn't make a lot of sense to spend "pro money" if you aren't a pro. If you are, then it makes the best sense in the world.

– DaveH

I'm not sure I can agree with that. If you can afford it, you want it, and you're not starving your kids to get it, why not? People spend more on golf clubs.

And I'm not just saying that to justify my own existence. I own one proline Gretsch, but I've played far more gigs with a Squier P Bass.

If someone wants to play cowboy chords in the living room with a Custom Shop Falcon, there's nothing wrong with that.

22

I’ve never liked that Gretsch chooses to call their flagship line the “Professional Collection.” It seems both snootily elitist, as well as a bit cynical and disingenuous - as they have to know “professionals” are not the demographic responsible for the bulk of their sales volume.

It’s a lot like pickup trucks and sport utes which are pitched as rugged tools of manly trades, as if buyers are going to use them to claw their ways up sides of mountains as heroic adventurers. Or sporty cars marketed with film showing them driven at competition speeds, usually on wet roads on dramatic sweeping curves in the mountains.

As if any appreciable fraction of the sport utes will ever go further off-road than the grass parking lot of the soccer field, and the sports cars won’t spend most of their time gridlocked in freeway commutes.

They’re complimenting us, appealing to our inner Walter Mittys, in a pretty transparent (but old and familiar) ploy.

No real harm done, and as a force eroding the meanings of language in our daily lives, or contributing to the cloud of faux narratives which surround us, it’s awfully small potatoes by comparison to the real doublespeaking offenders.

“Professional Collection” is not as bad as Epiphone’s “Elitist” series. It’s just impossible to use the word “elite” in any context now; it’s just too loaded. It’s either pretentious or a derisive sneer. Had Epi just gone with “Elite,” it would have said what they intended (even if it was loaded with negative connotations). You’d think someone would have explained to whoever chose that name that it was actually an insult used against those who would dare to consider themselves “elite.”

What’s needed - what would be both more honest and more descriptive - is a term characterizing the guitars themselves, not the people who supposedly buy them.

All kinds of terms could suggest their top-notch deluxeness. Premium Series. Premier. Flagship Line. Top Shelf Collection. Mainline. Pinnacle. Apogee. Heritage. Icon Collection.

Or, I don't know, Acme?

Anyway.

23

The Professional Series are definitely better guitars, but from the 2 or 3 that have passed through here I would say the Electros represent better value. You do seem to get a awful lot of bang for relatively little buck.

The Pro/Professional label can cause confusion too, especially with Jets.

I had a Tru-Arc customer looking for a bridge for his ‘Pro Jet’, which, when he sent me a photo, turned out to be a Professional Series Duo Jet. He was unaware of the actual Pro Jet model and just abbreviated Professional for economy of communication.

24

I still can’t understand the blue white falcon.

25

If I didn't already have a Hot Rod, and wanted a "6120" shape, I'd be getting the the 5420 in Fairlane Blue. I think the Electros are FINE guitars, especially after they've been set up to your preferences... there's always a chance I would swap out the bridge (if it rattles) or the pickups, but that's true of the Proline Grestches as well (I have done both with my Hot Rod).


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