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Old 11-18-2023, 08:43 AM
armenjosephchak armenjosephchak is offline
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Default Waiting…NGD

At some point after the 55 point check I have a demo version of a Gretsch G5420TG-59 - Vintage Orange - Sweetwater Exclusive showing up.

My habit is to do covers on YouTube and lately early Beatles has been a fascination…so I got a casino and now the gretsch to try and home in on something akin to their tone.

The particular demo on order seemed the least mucked up from the pictures. Seems like a good way into the Gretsch world.

The fascination with this particular model was the combination of the copy traditional filtertrons rather than the modified FTs or broadtrons, especially if I try to record George’s parts in those 63-67 songs. Okay I admit the color was really nice too

The bigsby ought to be interesting, as my main experience with a trem is on my strat.

My recording setup is a Marshall dsl40 with a CaptorX going into my interface and using the two notes cab sims. I’ve done a bunch of stuff mic’ing up the dsl 40, but the room is small and I got okay results so this is much more convenient. I also have a plethora of pedals including a dyna comp, nobels mini odr1, and a canyon mini which seem to be what I’ve been using lately for most things.

So the questions here surround the guitar itself (recording advice and any quirks I might run into) as well as any maintenance/upkeep specific to this model.
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Last edited by armenjosephchak; 11-18-2023 at 08:44 AM. Reason: Grammar
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Old 11-18-2023, 09:29 AM
rmp rmp is offline
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congrats You'll like it, they are nice guitars for the money for sure

WRT the bigsby, I would suggest picking up a tube of big bends nut sauce.

there's a few youtube vids on where to apply but mostly the key "witness points" as they like to refer to them.

The nut, the saddle at the bridge, where the string makes contact with the pressure bar.

just a dab is all it takes

also if you have the right set of nut files, which many people don't, a very light and gentle touch up of the nut and saddle slots to remove any high spots or burr is a good idea.

Certainly not enough pressure to cut into the slots, but just clean them up a bit can help.

come to think of it, I did need to dress the nut slots on mine as they were not cut quite deep enough for my touch.

I think you'll get some good sounds out of the stock pickups but I've noticed on my 5422TG that the output isn't as much as my Gibson pickups (these are all USA made humbuckers)

A bit more volume than you are used to dialing in to equal out the change in output may be something you'll notice needing.

You can play with the pickup setup/height too, but I haven't found that to be an overwhelmingly effective change.

and lastly, I didn't really trust the Gretch stock strap buttons myself, so I changed those out right off the bat with a set of Schaller Strap Locks.
They look cool but I feel better with a fully locking setup for the strap
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Old 11-18-2023, 10:11 AM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Good for you! That Sweetwater special Gretsch 5420TG-59 is a very cool guitar and really has a great sound. I have been tempted to buy one of those guitars so many times. I should just do it!

Have fun!

- Glenn
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Old 11-18-2023, 03:52 PM
armenjosephchak armenjosephchak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmp View Post
congrats You'll like it, they are nice guitars for the money for sure

WRT the bigsby, I would suggest picking up a tube of big bends nut sauce.

there's a few youtube vids on where to apply but mostly the key "witness points" as they like to refer to them.

The nut, the saddle at the bridge, where the string makes contact with the pressure bar.

just a dab is all it takes

also if you have the right set of nut files, which many people don't, a very light and gentle touch up of the nut and saddle slots to remove any high spots or burr is a good idea.

Certainly not enough pressure to cut into the slots, but just clean them up a bit can help.

come to think of it, I did need to dress the nut slots on mine as they were not cut quite deep enough for my touch.

I think you'll get some good sounds out of the stock pickups but I've noticed on my 5422TG that the output isn't as much as my Gibson pickups (these are all USA made humbuckers)

A bit more volume than you are used to dialing in to equal out the change in output may be something you'll notice needing.

You can play with the pickup setup/height too, but I haven't found that to be an overwhelmingly effective change.

and lastly, I didn't really trust the Gretch stock strap buttons myself, so I changed those out right off the bat with a set of Schaller Strap Locks.
They look cool but I feel better with a fully locking setup for the strap
I heard someone on a YouTube review say that about the nut lube and part of my order is a musicnomad tube. Thanks for confirming with extra instructions on that item. I’ll take a look at the strap locks as suggested. I use the fender rubber o-rings on a couple of my guitars that have the most egregious slipping.

Let’s see how the action is…the reviews all said that factory setup is pretty low. We’ll see. Plus it’s a demo so something will need to be adjusted.

Much appreciated.
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  #5  
Old 11-18-2023, 04:06 PM
armenjosephchak armenjosephchak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glennwillow View Post
Good for you! That Sweetwater special Gretsch 5420TG-59 is a very cool guitar and really has a great sound. I have been tempted to buy one of those guitars so many times. I should just do it!

Have fun!

- Glenn
Thanks, really looking forward to it. This all started when I went into a local shop had a mid 60s 6120 TG with the leather thing on the back. Real Chet Atkins-y look to it…Almost the exact same orange color. But $3800 was just way out of my range. I went back to the website and saw the walnut 5420 a la George Harrison. I kept that in my shopping cart for several weeks and then saw a Tim pierce review of this one…then I couldn’t get it out of my head for a month.

They’ve got some demos there that are a little beat up…but the pristine ones are $90 more. I was on a mission to cut any sliver off the total cost I could. I used a bunch of gear exchange bucks also, sold off a bunch of pedals and other gear I never use. You only live once, go for it :-)
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Old 11-18-2023, 04:22 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Strings are a big part of the sound, particularly with clean or cleanish amp settings. Beatles may have used flatwound strings, at least in the early days. Though I've played flats on other guitars, I personally didn't care for them on my Gretsch for my goals--but I'm me, not you, or the average player, and I'm not aiming for the Beatles sound particularly.

Round wound nickel (not just nickel plated) stings are another way to change the sound. I think I'm using a DR Pure Blues .010 high E set on my Gretsch right now. Nickel strings were more common in the 60s than currently. The DR Pure Blues are a round core string too, so you if you want to go up gauge in diameter they're a bit less stiff.

I did find adjusting pickup height made a difference on mine. I think I read the TV Jones spec online somewhere for what heights to aim for.
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Old 11-18-2023, 05:13 PM
armenjosephchak armenjosephchak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankHudson View Post
Strings are a big part of the sound, particularly with clean or cleanish amp settings. Beatles may have used flatwound strings, at least in the early days. Though I've played flats on other guitars, I personally didn't care for them on my Gretsch for my goals--but I'm me, not you, or the average player, and I'm not aiming for the Beatles sound particularly.

Round wound nickel (not just nickel plated) stings are another way to change the sound. I think I'm using a DR Pure Blues .010 high E set on my Gretsch right now. Nickel strings were more common in the 60s than currently. The DR Pure Blues are a round core string too, so you if you want to go up gauge in diameter they're a bit less stiff.

I did find adjusting pickup height made a difference on mine. I think I read the TV Jones spec online somewhere for what heights to aim for.
I tend to use slinky 9s on my fender guitars and D’addario nickel plated xl 10s on my p90s and humbuckers (habit more than science). Will check out the nickel wounds soon and see what tone I get

Thanks
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Old 11-18-2023, 09:10 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armenjosephchak View Post
...I have a demo version of a Gretsch G5420TG-59 - Vintage Orange - Sweetwater Exclusive showing up.

My habit is to do covers on YouTube and lately early Beatles has been a fascination…so I got a Casino and now the Gretsch to try and home in on something akin to their tone...

The fascination with this particular model was the combination of the copy traditional Filter'trons rather than the modified FTs or Broad'trons, especially if I try to record George’s parts in those 63-67 songs...

My recording setup is a Marshall DSL40 with a CaptorX going into my interface and using the Two Notes cab sims. I’ve done a bunch of stuff mic’ing up the DSL40, but the room is small and I got okay results so this is much more convenient. I also have a plethora of pedals...

So the questions here surround the guitar itself (recording advice and any quirks I might run into) as well as any maintenance/upkeep specific to this model.
I've been a Gretsch player since 1964, and a fan long before anyone on this side of the Atlantic ever heard of the Beatles - they were our hometown brand when I was growing up in Brooklyn in the '50s-60s, and if you played guitar back then your first "good" electric (after graduating from a Harmony Rocket or Meteor) was inevitably a Gretsch - so I'm intimately familiar with what makes these babies go twang in the night...

My thoughts:
  • Except for a few double-cut solidbodies built as exclusives for Guitar Center/Musicians Friend - a "guitar-that-never-was-but-should-have-been" turquoise-over-white/gold-trim Duo-Jet "Mary Ford Standard" (a long and highly apocryphal story - go to the AGF Search engine for particulars) and a near dead-on '63 Jet Firebird tribute - only the Japanese-built Professional Series instruments are fitted with "traditional" Filter'tron pickups. The Korean-built Electromatics of the 2010's used a reverse-engineered version of a '70s "blacktop" FT, similar to what Baldwin used when they owned the company, or the Super Hi-lo'Tron - unlike the true single-coil Brooklyn Hi-lo (still available on the '60 Double Anniversary and '62 Tennessean reissues) this one's a humbucking design based on a modified blacktop FT - which has recently been reinstated to the lineup on the G2604 Streamliner '67 Rally tribute. The Chinese 5400/5600-Series E-Matics (including your '59 tribute) use a new variation called the FT-5E, which employs the 1970's blacktop cosmetics and mounting system (which I prefer to the Brooklyn solid mount, since it allows for overall height/tilt adjustment as well as fine-tuning of all 12 polepieces)...
  • I'm also a fan of the late Mr. Harrison's early work (there's precious little of the Beatles' post-Rubber Soul product that I really like, and most of which I can't stand) and if you're looking to capture his "Gretsch" tone, be aware that he used no less than four different instruments during this time period: a circa-1957 Duo-Jet with Dynasonic pickups (more akin to a hot P-90 than a FT/Hi-lo), a mid/late '62 Country Gent with dial-up mutes, a '63 Gent with "red felt" flip-up mutes (similar to the current '62 reissue), and the "Shea Stadium" Tennessean also used for the "Help" video - any of which could lay claim to the "authentic" Beatles sound in spite of the differences in body/pickup construction. For the uninitiated, be advised that within the pre-1980's USA Gretsch lineup there are several distinct iterations of the Filter'tron design - PAF, patent number, blacktop - and variations within each according to time/place of manufacture, so the best you can hope for is to come close with the guitar you have; thankfully, they all possess that unmistakable chime and twang that constitutes "That Great Gretssh Sound," and as long as you have the right setup and amplification you'll be golden in a band setting...
  • In case you're unaware of their history, the Broad'tron pickup presently featured on the Streamliner line dates to the first Korean E-Matic guitars of the early-2K's and is, for all practical purposes, a lower-power take on the DiMarzio DP156 - a full-size humbucker design with added treble response, which sounds absolutely nothing like a true Gretsch pickup; while the guitars were high-quality and fine-playing as a whole, poor sales and demand among players led to a revamping of the line in 2013 to include the blacktop and Super Hi-lo designs. FYI these Korean-built hollows/semis are some of the finest to wear the Gretsch marque, regardless of origin/era, and savvy players avidly seek them out...
  • The default setting for the modern Gretsch lineup - one that will give you "that" tone and feel with a minimum of time/effort - is flatwound 11's; whatever set/gauge you ultimately choose, a wound G is de rigeur - with the short 24.6" scale and the characteristic Gretsch pickup response, a plain G will not only sound kinda wonky on its own but throw off the overall tonal balance most players look for in a Gretsch...
  • That Marshall might make a good performance amp for some of the post mid-1965 stuff (provided you go easy on the pre gain), but IME you'll want something with EL84 power tubes to capture the feel of the AC combos of the Cavern Club/Sullivan era. I've played two variations of the Gretsch E-matic G5622 (the now-collectible 3-PU cats'-eye and the twin-pickup f-hole, both with Super Hi-lo's) through the current Vox AC10 - a no-frills, lightweight 1x10" home-&-studio combo that'll also handle smaller gigs - and if playing your favorite King George licks through this combination doesn't bring tears to your eyes, you don't have a soul. If you need more grunt but still want to keep things small there's the trem/verb-equipped AC15, or for around $400 you could score a Bugera V22 1x12" combo - a highly-versatile all tube rig that not only delivers enough power to fill a 600-700 seat house but, when you use the pentode/triode switch to power down for home use, opens up a whole new spetrum of tones from the Marshall 18W/pre-Top Boost AC15 lexicon...
  • There's a story about how when Dhani Harrison expressed an interest in learning to play guitar, Papa George - who knew a thing or two about good electric guitar tone - gave him a Strat, a tweed Bassman, and a cable, with strict instructions not to ask for anything else until he had mastered that combination - and in this setting I'll concur. A Gretsch guitar of whatever era/pickup configuration is very much sui generis: a true players' instrument for those who think a bit outside the box, take the time to master its idiosyncrasies and coax out its best (in contrast to the plug-&-play nature of a typical Fender or Gibson), and other than a bit of built-in trem/verb I'd put the effects away until I got a handle on its true capabilities...
  • Finally, if the current Chinese models have been brought up to the levels of QC/playability/tone exhibited by their Korean predecessors there's virtually no maintenance, aside from the obvious that holds true for any guitar. My only recommendation in this department is that if you've never changed strings on an original Bigsby you will find it a world-class pain in the posterior, and while flatwound strings will decrease the frequency/necessity I'd recommend installing a Vibramate Spoiler at your first string change - IME once it's in place it'll cut down your string change times by 50% or more...
Give us a hands-on review onde it arrives...
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Old 11-19-2023, 06:52 AM
armenjosephchak armenjosephchak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
I've been a Gretsch player since 1964, and a fan long before anyone on this side of the Atlantic ever heard of the Beatles - they were our hometown brand when I was growing up in Brooklyn in the '50s-60s, and if you played guitar back then your first "good" electric (after graduating from a Harmony Rocket or Meteor) was inevitably a Gretsch - so I'm intimately familiar with what makes these babies go twang in the night...

My thoughts:
  • Except for a few double-cut solidbodies built as exclusives for Guitar Center/Musicians Friend - a "guitar-that-never-was-but-should-have-been" turquoise-over-white/gold-trim Duo-Jet "Mary Ford Standard" (a long and highly apocryphal story - go to the AGF Search engine for particulars) and a near dead-on '63 Jet Firebird tribute - only the Japanese-built Professional Series instruments are fitted with "traditional" Filter'tron pickups. The Korean-built Electromatics of the 2010's used a reverse-engineered version of a '70s "blacktop" FT, similar to what Baldwin used when they owned the company, or the Super Hi-lo'Tron - unlike the true single-coil Brooklyn Hi-lo (still available on the '60 Double Anniversary and '62 Tennessean reissues) this one's a humbucking design based on a modified blacktop FT - which has recently been reinstated to the lineup on the G2604 Streamliner '67 Rally tribute. The Chinese 5400/5600-Series E-Matics (including your '59 tribute) use a new variation called the FT-5E, which employs the 1970's blacktop cosmetics and mounting system (which I prefer to the Brooklyn solid mount, since it allows for overall height/tilt adjustment as well as fine-tuning of all 12 polepieces)...
  • I'm also a fan of the late Mr. Harrison's early work (there's precious little of the Beatles' post-Rubber Soul product that I really like, and most of which I can't stand) and if you're looking to capture his "Gretsch" tone, be aware that he used no less than four different instruments during this time period: a circa-1957 Duo-Jet with Dynasonic pickups (more akin to a hot P-90 than a FT/Hi-lo), a mid/late '62 Country Gent with dial-up mutes, a '63 Gent with "red felt" flip-up mutes (similar to the current '62 reissue), and the "Shea Stadium" Tennessean also used for the "Help" video - any of which could lay claim to the "authentic" Beatles sound in spite of the differences in body/pickup construction. For the uninitiated, be advised that within the pre-1980's USA Gretsch lineup there are several distinct iterations of the Filter'tron design - PAF, patent number, blacktop - and variations within each according to time/place of manufacture, so the best you can hope for is to come close with the guitar you have; thankfully, they all possess that unmistakable chime and twang that constitutes "That Great Gretssh Sound," and as long as you have the right setup and amplification you'll be golden in a band setting...
  • In case you're unaware of their history, the Broad'tron pickup presently featured on the Streamliner line dates to the first Korean E-Matic guitars of the early-2K's and is, for all practical purposes, a lower-power take on the DiMarzio DP156 - a full-size humbucker design with added treble response, which sounds absolutely nothing like a true Gretsch pickup; while the guitars were high-quality and fine-playing as a whole, poor sales and demand among players led to a revamping of the line in 2013 to include the blacktop and Super Hi-lo designs. FYI these Korean-built hollows/semis are some of the finest to wear the Gretsch marque, regardless of origin/era, and savvy players avidly seek them out...
  • The default setting for the modern Gretsch lineup - one that will give you "that" tone and feel with a minimum of time/effort - is flatwound 11's; whatever set/gauge you ultimately choose, a wound G is de rigeur - with the short 24.6" scale and the characteristic Gretsch pickup response, a plain G will not only sound kinda wonky on its own but throw off the overall tonal balance most players look for in a Gretsch...
  • That Marshall might make a good performance amp for some of the post mid-1965 stuff (provided you go easy on the pre gain), but IME you'll want something with EL84 power tubes to capture the feel of the AC combos of the Cavern Club/Sullivan era. I've played two variations of the Gretsch E-matic G5622 (the now-collectible 3-PU cats'-eye and the twin-pickup f-hole, both with Super Hi-lo's) through the current Vox AC10 - a no-frills, lightweight 1x10" home-&-studio combo that'll also handle smaller gigs - and if playing your favorite King George licks through this combination doesn't bring tears to your eyes, you don't have a soul. If you need more grunt but still want to keep things small there's the trem/verb-equipped AC15, or for around $400 you could score a Bugera V22 1x12" combo - a highly-versatile all tube rig that not only delivers enough power to fill a 600-700 seat house but, when you use the pentode/triode switch to power down for home use, opens up a whole new spetrum of tones from the Marshall 18W/pre-Top Boost AC15 lexicon...
  • There's a story about how when Dhani Harrison expressed an interest in learning to play guitar, Papa George - who knew a thing or two about good electric guitar tone - gave him a Strat, a tweed Bassman, and a cable, with strict instructions not to ask for anything else until he had mastered that combination - and in this setting I'll concur. A Gretsch guitar of whatever era/pickup configuration is very much sui generis: a true players' instrument for those who think a bit outside the box, take the time to master its idiosyncrasies and coax out its best (in contrast to the plug-&-play nature of a typical Fender or Gibson), and other than a bit of built-in trem/verb I'd put the effects away until I got a handle on its true capabilities...
  • Finally, if the current Chinese models have been brought up to the levels of QC/playability/tone exhibited by their Korean predecessors there's virtually no maintenance, aside from the obvious that holds true for any guitar. My only recommendation in this department is that if you've never changed strings on an original Bigsby you will find it a world-class pain in the posterior, and while flatwound strings will decrease the frequency/necessity I'd recommend installing a Vibramate Spoiler at your first string change - IME once it's in place it'll cut down your string change times by 50% or more...
Give us a hands-on review onde it arrives...
lots of great info here…the vibramate in particular - seems like a necessity!
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Fender Deluxe Roadhouse Strat (MiM)
Fender Jimmy Page “Dragon” Telecaster (MiM)
Danelectro 59X12 12-string
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  #10  
Old 11-19-2023, 07:22 AM
rmp rmp is offline
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string changes can be tedious. I have 4 guitars with bigsby units, I'm no stranger to the task.

I don't use a spoiler tho.

I took a wine cork, and cut to a triangle shape that will rest on the top when I slide it up against the post after I put the bend in the string.

That holds the ball end in place on the post till I get enough tension on the string to hold it on the post.

Elegant? Nope! Does it work? yes.

can't help but wonder if somehow the spoiler would seem to reduce string tension, perhaps a bit too much?

Honestly, not sure if that's a thing or not but that's what I think when I see it.
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Old 11-19-2023, 07:30 AM
armenjosephchak armenjosephchak is offline
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good idea, I’ll try an experiment. Being a wine drinker, I think I can supply the cork. uh…**** all my current wines bottles have screw caps…:-)
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Old 11-19-2023, 08:05 AM
rmp rmp is offline
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may have to do an upgrade on the wine thing!
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Old 11-19-2023, 08:58 AM
armenjosephchak armenjosephchak is offline
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Except for a few double-cut solidbodies built as exclusives for Guitar Center/Musicians Friend - a "guitar-that-never-was-but-should-have-been" turquoise-over-white/gold-trim Duo-Jet "Mary Ford Standard" (a long and highly apocryphal story - go to the AGF Search engine for particulars) and a near dead-on '63 Jet Firebird tribute - only the Japanese-built Professional Series instruments are fitted with "traditional" Filter'tron pickups. The Korean-built Electromatics of the 2010's used a reverse-engineered version of a '70s "blacktop" FT, similar to what Baldwin used when they owned the company, or the Super Hi-lo'Tron - unlike the true single-coil Brooklyn Hi-lo (still available on the '60 Double Anniversary and '62 Tennessean reissues) this one's a humbucking design based on a modified blacktop FT - which has recently been reinstated to the lineup on the G2604 Streamliner '67 Rally tribute. The Chinese 5400/5600-Series E-Matics (including your '59 tribute) use a new variation called the FT-5E, which employs the 1970's blacktop cosmetics and mounting system (which I prefer to the Brooklyn solid mount, since it allows for overall height/tilt adjustment as well as fine-tuning of all 12 polepieces)...

From the product specs, they say (sic) that this particular model isn’t using the FT5E but rather some other variant. I suppose I can open it up and find out once I get it
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Old 11-19-2023, 09:00 AM
armenjosephchak armenjosephchak is offline
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Originally Posted by rmp View Post
may have to do an upgrade on the wine thing!
Yeah I might have to stop the search through TotalWine with my mantra “I will buy no wine above $2.99”
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Old 11-20-2023, 07:52 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Originally Posted by armenjosephchak View Post
...From the product specs, they say (sic) that this particular model isn’t using the FT-5E but rather some other variant. I suppose I can open it up and find out once I get it
The ad copy dates from the last of the Korean production, which used the '70s Baldwin-style blacktop - all current MIC 5400-Series E-Matics use the FT-5E Filter'tron...
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