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Electromatics: Crazy high bang-to-buck ratio?! (NGD)

Tritone

Member
Messages
1,117
So I walked into Guitar Center to pick up a cabinet I ordered online and was interested in trying out a Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster since I'd heard so many good things about it. Played the only one in the store; it sounded good and looked even better, but the playability wasn't there. The feel of the satin neck was great, but the action itself was pretty bad. Might've been able to tweak it, but it didn't seem worth it, especially since I already have a Thin Skin Jazzmaster. On a whim I plugged in an Electromatic Pro Jet (G5435T). The neck was nice and fat, the action was low, the frets, construction and hardware were solid, and the sound--THE SOUND--was full, musical and a perfect fit for the sound in my head. This was the first Gretch I'd ever played, for what it's worth. I couldn't leave the store without it and at $425 before tax it felt like getting away with highway robbery.



Some notes:
- The pickups seem fine and I don't have any desire to swap them out. They're lower output than P90s and more balanced. They have a single coil-esque twang but with more guts.
- I think the chambered (?) body contributes a very nice fullness to the sound. The guitar is also pretty light (~ 6 lbs?)
- The tone control seems to have a relatively subtle effect in the first 1/2 of the knob's range. Not sure if that's just the circuit, the pot values or just my imagination. I like it because on most guitars I never turn the tone down past 7 anyway, so it's good to be able to dial in that subtle treble rolloff with precision.
- The Bigsby was not staying in tune well in the store. As soon as I got it home I put 11s on it. It seems to stay in tune much better now. Fingers crossed.
- Overall I'm very happy with the fit and finish. The feel of the pots, switches and other hardware is good. The tuners seem good. My only real concern is the nut. It's doing fine now, but time will tell if it needs to be recut for smooth Bigsby operation with 11s.
 
Last edited:

TheoDog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
20,304
I don't know about "crazy" high cost:quality ratio. But it is a very good guitar for a great price. I paid $385 for mine officially as used, but still had Pickguard film, stock strings, etc. gigged it about a year.

I think it would be off the charts in value if bridge and pots were a bit better. Most naysayers complain about tuning stability with the Bigsby, but all that needs is a touch of nut filing to match player's string gauge of choice.
 

mutron

Member
Messages
252
I've had my Pro Jet since 2008 and I've grown to totally hate it. I've had to replace the tuners and nut, the knobs and strap locks keep falling off/out and the input jack has somehow "loosened" so that 1/4 inch cables randomly come unattached. Also the pickups are totally flat and uninspiring. I use this purely as a teaching guitar now and can't wait till the day I light it on fire and throw it off a bridge. Rant over and sorry to ruin your NGD but this thing has not aged well! I hope yours treats you better!
 

Tritone

Member
Messages
1,117
Classy looking guitar!! Congrats
Thank you!

I don't know about "crazy" high cost:quality ratio. But it is a very good guitar for a great price. I paid $385 for mine officially as used, but still had Pickguard film, stock strings, etc. gigged it about a year.

I think it would be off the charts in value if bridge and pots were a bit better. Most naysayers complain about tuning stability with the Bigsby, but all that needs is a touch of nut filing to match player's string gauge of choice.
The bridge looks good to me, but time will tell. To be fair, I did have to replace the bridge and nut on my Thin Skin to get the vibrato working smoothly, and that guitar was USA-made for about 4 times the price of this Electromatic.

I've had my Pro Jet since 2008 and I've grown to totally hate it. I've had to replace the tuners and nut, the knobs and strap locks keep falling off/out and the input jack has somehow "loosened" so that 1/4 inch cables randomly come unattached. Also the pickups are totally flat and uninspiring. I use this purely as a teaching guitar now and can't wait till the day I light it on fire and throw it off a bridge. Rant over and sorry to ruin your NGD but this thing has not aged well! I hope yours treats you better!
Sounds like a headache for sure! I read that Gretsch updated the pickups on some of the Electromatics in 2012. I can't vouch for these pickups' authenticity, but I'm really happy with the sound. A bit worried about the tuners. I'll give you an update in 2024 ;)
 

Waxhead

Member
Messages
6,324
So I walked into Guitar Center to pick up a cabinet I ordered online and was interested in trying out a Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster since I'd heard so many good things about it. Played the only one in the store; it sounded good and looked even better, but the playability wasn't there. The feel of the satin neck was great, but the action itself was pretty bad. Might've been able to tweak it, but it didn't seem worth it, especially since I already have a Thin Skin Jazzmaster. On a whim I plugged in an Electromatic Pro Jet (G5435T). The neck was nice and fat, the action was low, the frets, construction and hardware were solid, and the sound--THE SOUND--was full, musical and a perfect fit for the sound in my head. This was the first Gretch I'd ever played, for what it's worth. I couldn't leave the store without it and at $425 before tax it felt like getting away with highway robbery.



Some notes:
- The pickups seem fine and I don't have any desire to swap them out. They're lower output than P90s and more balanced. They have a single coil-esque twang but with more guts.
- I think the chambered (?) body contributes a very nice fullness to the sound. The guitar is also pretty light (~ 6 lbs?)
- The tone control seems to have a relatively subtle effect in the first 1/2 of the knob's range. Not sure if that's just the circuit, the pot values or just my imagination. I like it because on most guitars I never turn the tone down past 7 anyway, so it's good to be able to dial in that subtle treble rolloff with precision.
- The Bigsby was not staying in tune well in the store. As soon as I got it home I put 11s on it. It seems to stay in tune much better now. Fingers crossed.
- Overall I'm very happy with the fit and finish. The feel of the pots, switches and other hardware is good. The tuners seem good. My only real concern is the nut. It's doing fine now, but time will tell if it needs to be recut for smooth Bigsby operation with 11s.
oh yeah 54 series Electromatics are THE best value for $$ mid priced guitars available today imo :)
They have the new Gretsch Blacktop Filtertrons which are excellent.
The tuners are fine, no issues.
The bigsby should work perfect on all strings gauges - check the nut if not.
Tone control in the first 1/2 turn is normal
 

C-4

Member
Messages
14,516
Thanks, guys. Got a family pic:




The Vox was just delivered today! Did not expect the cabinet to be that huge :-O

Nice family you have there! :) I like the Vox AC 15 HW! Yummy! Your new Gretsch looks like George Harrison's original guitar when the Beatles first started playing in the Cave! Very VERY nice. I hope you really enjoy it. :)
I just ordered my first PRS. 5 figures of Private Stock 594 due in in 6 months.
 

strumnhum

Member
Messages
1,324
Agree that the new Gretsch's are a bargain. I need another guitar like the proverbial "hole in the head", and the wife would probably disown me, but I played a Torino Green Streamliner and can't get it out of my head now. There was another shopper in the store that came over to see what it was he was hearing. He had been trying out a similar guitar of a different brand, said he preferred the Gretsch when he heard it. Congrats on the new guitar!!
 

bgmacaw

Member
Messages
8,080
Thanks to your thread I had to break out my 1998 Electromatic SparkleJet...



I haven't played it in a while so it was fun to pick it up again. While the were about the same price new, I think yours is a lot nicer. They just build them better now (set neck, fancier inlays, etc.) That said, I've kept mine stock and it has held up very well except for early on, the pickup selector broke and had to be replaced. It holds tune well but it doesn't have a Bigsby to deal with.

I think you'll do better with 11's on it. That's what I use on mine.

Enjoy it!
 

archey

Member
Messages
6,473
Nice guitar! I had one for awhile. It was a pretty well made guitar. If you think those are a lot of bang for your buck try a prs se!
 
Messages
15,344
I love Gretsch guitar, whether MIJ, MIA or MIC. I agree that the MIC ones are a fantastic bargain. if my shoulder hadn't suffered through 4 surgeries, I'd be keeping my 6119.
 

BigDoug1053

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,568
I am blown away with the available quality for instruments under $1000 - even under $500! The Electromatics are a solid series.
 

Axis29

Member
Messages
3,621
My 5127 (2004) is a fantastic instrument.

Congrats on the new Gretsch! I've eyed a few Pro Jets over the years....
 

joec63

Member
Messages
1,888
Picked up a Streamliner today, G2655 Double cut Jr. Always been a Strat/Super Strat/LP player. Compared it against the Epi 339 and it won out for me. Much more articulate. Nice guitar for the price point.

 




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