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  #1  
Old 06-26-2021, 01:09 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Default NGD: Gretsch G5420TG-59 - Vintage Orange - Hollowbody, Arch Top, Electric Guitar

I received my new Gretsch G5420TG-59 - Vintage Orange on Wednesday and marveled at its good looks and feel of quality. I wasn't able to plug in until Friday and during the interim, I wondered would its amplified tone support its beauty? On Friday, I plugged into my Fender Blues Junior III Custom and the guitar's tone?--No Sweat! After orienting myself to its controls, I could get nice bass and trebly tones and everything in between, all with no hum or hiss from the amp. The Bigsby B60 Vibrato works smoothly and keeps the strings in tune with "normal" note and chord bending. The B60 isn't a "dive-bombing" vibrato as the Gretsch doesn't have locking tuners or a locking nut or roller-type bridge saddles. Think of its usage as great for Chet Atkins's "Country Gentleman" type bends.

Being primarily an acoustic guitarist, I didn't want to spend a lot of money on an electric guitar, which I've done many times over the last 50 years, only to have them be the first thing I sell or trade-in on another acoustic because I didn't play them very much! For $1112.38, including the premium Gretsch Deluxe hardshell case, and sales tax, this is a wonderful value, hollow body, archtop electric guitar.

I want to thank Steve DeRosa for his expertise in helping me decide to buy this Korean-made, surprisingly high-quality Gretsch--It's A Keeper, Steve!




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Last edited by SpruceTop; 06-26-2021 at 03:17 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-26-2021, 01:25 PM
mrfixitmi mrfixitmi is offline
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Nice guitar, I am sure that you will love it. IMHO, the Gretsch hollow body line is one of the closest transitions from Acoustic to Electric. In the 1960's I went from an acoustic Kay to a Country Gent, and found it to be a simple change. The Gretsch was just as unforgiving as an acoustic, where if you did make a mistake it was for all to hear. Having the required fundamentals for acoustic, made the Gretsch an easy guitar to play.
The same thing happened to may son, I would not allow him to start on electric, and then try acoustic. He went from a Yamaha LA8, to a Gretsch G5120T, when he was in Jazz Band.
The guitar studio where my son taught, had the same advice, Acoustic first, Electric next.

Many of the Gretsch fans are typically acoustic players as well.

Congratulations on a beautiful selection, I am sure you will love it, thanks for sharing.
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  #3  
Old 06-26-2021, 01:50 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
...I want to thank Steve DeRosa for his expertise in helping me decide to buy this Korean-made, surprisingly high-quality Gretsch--It's A Keeper, Steve!
Told ya...

Use it well, often, and LOUD - string it up with a set of flatwound 11's for some genuine Brooklyn Gretsch tonal vibe, and if you decide to take it to the next level, the authentic '59-style parts are available:

The Chet-approved Bigsby bar bridge:



https://www.angela.com/gretschrockin...062844000.aspx


The V-cutout "Gretsch by Bigsby" B6C tailpiece:



https://www.angela.com/gretschbigsby...060138100.aspx


The "signpost" '59 pickguard (note: this one's made specifically for the '59 G5420):



https://quickguards.com/products/cop...lcon-pickguard


Not authentic, but within the spirit of a '59 6120 and a nice touch (also made-to-order for the G5420):



https://quickguards.com/products/gre...russ-rod-cover


- and it wouldn't really have the '59 mojo without one of these:



https://www.streetsoundsnyc.com/gret...nut-new-100598
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Old 06-26-2021, 03:57 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Thanks, Steve! Cool swap-outs! What brand of flat-wound strings do you recommend?
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Old 06-26-2021, 04:04 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Strange, and although I don't really care, but this guitar has gold-toned hardware except for the tune-o-matic-style bridge and Bigsby B60 Vibrato. It's the same on every guitar I've viewed on the seller's website. Is this common to various models of this guitar back in the late 1950s? Comments are welcomed.
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Old 06-26-2021, 07:47 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
...What brand of flat-wound strings do you recommend?
Start with D'Addario 11's - they're relatively easy to find, fairly consistent, and reasonably priced - and experiment with different brands/gauges from there (if your tastes run more toward pre-1967 R&R/R&B, classic country, rockabilly, cleaner blues, first-wave British Invasion, and/or jazz, 12's might be a good choice - FYI my bought-new '64 Double Anniversary was shipped with flatwound 12's, and I never used anything else); BTW the wound G that comes with their flatwound sets goes a long way in creating the vintage Gretsch tone (FWIW a plain G can sound a little wanky with the shorter-than-normal 24.5 - 24.6" scale) - and IME I think you'll find your Bigsby holds/returns to pitch better...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
Strange, and although I don't really care, but this guitar has gold-toned hardware except for the tune-o-matic-style bridge and Bigsby B60 Vibrato. It's the same on every guitar I've viewed on the seller's website. Is this common to various models of this guitar back in the late 1950s?...
Absolutely - except for the very earliest Dynasonic models, until the mid-70's the distinguishing characteristic of 6120/Nashville hardware was the mixture of silver (nickel, chrome, or aluminum depending on era of production) and gold parts/trim, and Sweetwater wisely chose to extend this cosmetic touch to their E-matic '59 tribute model. BTW as long as we're on the topic, for a short time in mid/late-1964 Gretsch used gold-plated Hi-lo'Tron covers on the (by then double-cut) 6120; the result, albeit unintended, was the first appearance of the "blacktop" Filter'Tron that would subsequently be associated with the '70s Baldwin/Kustom era, and revived for the MIK 5400/5600-Series E-matics...
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Last edited by Steve DeRosa; 06-28-2021 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 06-28-2021, 03:23 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Thanks, Steve, you put my mind to rest on the chrome/gold hardware mix. I'll order some D'Addario 11-50 flat wounds for the Gretsch. More to come ...
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Old 06-28-2021, 09:15 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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While you're waiting for your strings to arrive here's a demo of the Euro-spec G5420TG-59 (note finish color), taking it through the various pickup combinations:



- and a side-by-side of the standard 5420 with the $3K+ MIJ Professional Series G6120T-55:

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Last edited by Steve DeRosa; 06-28-2021 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 06-29-2021, 04:38 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Steve, interesting and informative Gretsch videos, and the guitars sound great in both! In the second video, I can't really hear much difference in the tone of the two Gretsches--not enough to choose the Japanese Gretsch 6120 over the Korean 5420 model--and I especially dig the tone of the Korean 5420 in the "Wicked Game" segment. I also like the simpler aesthetics of the 5420 better. The latest 2021 Korean 5420 version, which I just got, has the golden-colored pickguard similar to the expensive Japanese 6120 Gretsch, and that adds nicely to its looks.

D'Addario ECG24 XL Chromes Flatwound Electric Guitar Strings - .011-.050 Jazz Light set on order along with an Electro-Harmonix Ram's Head Big Muff Pi Fuzz Pedal. More to come ...
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Old 06-29-2021, 06:19 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
...I can't really hear much difference in the tone of the two Gretsches - not enough to choose the Japanese Gretsch 6120 over the Korean 5420 model...I also like the simpler aesthetics of the 5420 better. The latest 2021 Korean 5420 version, which I just got, has the golden-colored pickguard similar to the expensive Japanese 6120 Gretsch, and that adds nicely to its looks...
Um, that's kinda the idea - the Dynasonic pickups on the '55 6120 are crisper and almost Fender-like in person, but in terms of capturing the overall visual/tonal vibe of the upscale models Gretsch succeeds where most others fall short (can you say Epiphone?); given that there are many flavors of "That Great Gretsch Sound" depending on pickups/production era the MIK E-Matics represent a real alternative to the big-buck boxes for savvy casual players on a budget - or in-the-trenches working semi-pros who refuse to compromise tone/playability/QC but don't want to bring a high-end axe to a rowdy gig...
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Old 07-02-2021, 03:12 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
Um, that's kinda the idea - the Dynasonic pickups on the '55 6120 are crisper and almost Fender-like in person, but in terms of capturing the overall visual/tonal vibe of the upscale models Gretsch succeeds where most others fall short (can you say Epiphone?); given that there are many flavors of "That Great Gretsch Sound" depending on pickups/production era the MIK E-Matics represent a real alternative to the big-buck boxes for savvy casual players on a budget - or in-the-trenches working semi-pros who refuse to compromise tone/playability/QC but don't want to bring a high-end axe to a rowdy gig...
Steve & All, Playing my new Gretsch G5420TG-59 urges me to also steer prospective players thinking of getting a low-priced, electric archtop to consider this model! I've had several American-made Fender Teles and Strats, Gibson Les Pauls, but with this being my first Gretsch, let me say I'm smitten with the tone and quality of this guitar!
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Last edited by SpruceTop; 07-02-2021 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 07-02-2021, 05:07 PM
jricc jricc is offline
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Cool Gretsch Sprucetop! Congrats!
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Old 07-03-2021, 06:31 AM
dkstott dkstott is offline
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Nice looking guitar!! I'm guessing that you'll be playing mostly rock, rock-a-billie style on it?
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Old 07-03-2021, 06:53 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkstott View Post
Nice looking guitar!! I'm guessing that you'll be playing mostly rock, rock-a-billie style on it?
Yes, those styles are my intended use for the Gretsch. Being an acoustic guitarist, the Gretsch marks my return to dabbling in electric guitar-playing styles just for fun.
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Old 07-03-2021, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jricc View Post
Cool Gretsch Sprucetop! Congrats!
Thanks, Joe, I appreciate your kind remark!
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