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Gretsch Owners Chime in!

The_Wretched

Member
Messages
1,277
So I've been contemplating picking up a Gretsch. Never owned one. I played a Duo Jet and thought it was pretty cool.

But its made in Japan??

Over $2k for a Japanese made guitar. I thought they were American and the Electromatic were made in Asia.

Why?

Anyone put off by the price tag?

I'm just wondering. Is the quality there?

I opted not to buy a Duesenberg because it was Koren made. :huh
 
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mbargav

Member
Messages
6,372
You're missing out. Those Terada made Gretsches are just as good as (if not better than) anything being made stateside.
 

SGNick

Member
Messages
3,578
The Japanese Gretsch's are consistently terrific guitars, their quality control is second to none, at least as good as Homer's "Gorilla" car in your avatar :)

The Electromatic series are great guitars as well, but you have to do a bit more searching before ending up on a good one! I own a 5120, and upgraded the humbuckers to the TVJones TV Classics. Playability with, it's terrific!
 

The_Wretched

Member
Messages
1,277
I was looking into that too... spend $900 for TV Jones and the Electro upgrade. I think adding a grestch would be a great idea for my rig.
 

GAD

Wubbalubbadubdub
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
14,688
Japanese Gretsches are fantastic guitars. My Setzer SSLVO was not an inexpensive instrument. I have many fine us-made guitars, but this Gretsch is one of my favorites.

 

guitarmook

Member
Messages
2,837
another endorser of japanese-built Gretsches. Excellent guitars.

And I have a pair of electromatics that are also terrific values.
 
Messages
10,651
Just to be clear: the electromatic 5120/5122 are made where?

I am definitely looking to get one. In the end, for me the country of origin isn't as important as how it plays/sounds. And if I can save a grand on a 5120 relative to a 6120....
 

BEACHBUM

Member
Messages
3,208
You've got it precisely backwards. In the upper end guitar market Japan has been building guitars that are far superior to anything American companies have to offer including Gibson and Fender at 30-50% less money. And, they have been doing that since as far back as the late 70"s. Take some time and slip on over to the Gretsch forum. Ramble through the postings by current Gretsch owners and you'll find that the overwhelming consensus is that the current Japanese made models are far better made than the ones produced by the original Gretsch company.

Here's an example. My Tennessee Rose ($2000.74) showed a build quality that is one of the best I've ever experienced including my 83 Japanese Hoshino Gakki made Ibanez AM 205 which to Ibby fans is one of their "Holly Grail" guitars. Workmanship, finish, and playability were absolutely perfect out of the box. Pro set up with low action and not even a tiny flaw to be found. I also had the same experience with my Japanese made Yamaha SA 2200 ($2000.00) which has a build quality that approaches the fanatical.

GRETSCH TENNESSEE ROSE


83 IBANEZ AM 205


YAMAHA SA 2200


In contrast, my new Gibson ES 137 Custom ($2800.00) had no set up. The frets needed leveling. The intonation was off. the neck needed adjustment. The lacquer finish showed dimples. There were hairline cracks at the neck joint, and uneven binding transitions overall. And, to top it off Gibson decided to use fake plastic mother of pearl inlays on this very expensive guitar. My new Les Paul showed many of the same problems as well. And, the quality or lack of it found on my Gibsons are evidently more the rule than the exception. I consistently come across the same issues with Gibsons when shopping at GC. It is no secret that the CEO at Gibson has been practicing cost cutting measures and allowing quality control to go lax over the last several years while raising prices above anything reasonable. And, it is also no secret to those of us who own high end Japanese made guitars that there is absolutely nothing on the market that can compete with them at any price.



Oh, buy the way. Those Korean made Gretsch 5120's are no slouches either. I recently went shopping with a friend who bought one and it was impressive. Flawless build, great playability and tone. As of late I'm really liking some of the offerings coming out of Korea. I have a Fender branded Korean Tele that compares dead even with my American Standard. I wouldn't be at all surprised in the not to distant future to hear that the Koreans have caught up with the Japanese.
 
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The_Wretched

Member
Messages
1,277
Electromatic in Korea.

I just thought all other Gretsch were American. Never knew they made them in Japan. So the $2k+ plus are Japanese. Unless you get the Custom Shop like the $20k George Harrison apparently.
 

mbargav

Member
Messages
6,372
Just to be clear: the electromatic 5120/5122 are made where?

I am definitely looking to get one. In the end, for me the country of origin isn't as important as how it plays/sounds. And if I can save a grand on a 5120 relative to a 6120....
Korea. A lot of people put Tru Arc/Compton bridges & TV Jones in their 5120s, but I honestly think it's a terrific guitar stock.

Also, for any looking to buy new Gretsches, give Joel at Shanghai Music a go; he offers pretty competitive pricing.
 

VicAjax

Male Supermodel
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,554
Japan produces some of the best guitars in the world.

My dad has a mid-80s, Japanese-built Lowden that is a magically good instrument, and my 1978-79 Yamaki-built Washburn Prairie Song goes toe-to-toe with just about any Martin I've ever played.
 

Blue4Now

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,028
Gretsch Pro lines are phenominal intruments. I have an 08 6118T-LTV and an 03 6120W.

These are finely made instruments that are not cheep but worth every penny and are really a great value compared to many other builders whoes prices are much higher. The fact that they are made in Japan and not the US is meaningless to me.
 

tartanphantom

Member
Messages
743
Gretsch Pro lines are phenomenal instruments.

These are finely made instruments that are not cheep but worth every penny and are really a great value compared to many other builders whose prices are much higher. The fact that they are made in Japan and not the US is meaningless to me.
+1 :aok
 

GAD

Wubbalubbadubdub
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
14,688
I've played a pile of electromatics, and none of them compared to any Japanese Gretsch I've ever played. They don't suck, for sure, but there is a distinct difference between the Korean and Japanese Gretsches.
 

Chicago Slim

Member
Messages
4,213
I love the sound and looks of Gretsch guitars. I've owned a MIJ Proline, MIK Historic Series, and MIC Electromatic, and liked them all. My problem was the thin necks. As I have gotten older, I have more and more trouble with Arthritis. I have now switched to PRS Starla's. They have a Gretsch like sound. The Starla pickups are like a wider range TV Jones Classic. They sound good in both humbucker and single coil mode. Plus, I actually play better on a PRS Wide/Fat neck. They are Made in the USA. They sell for between $1300 and $1700 new, and $1200 to 1300 used.

 
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Messages
59
I've got a japanese made 2010 6136T white falcon and it's probably the best guitar i've ever played. It's a solid 10, right across all the categories. Construction detail, setup, sound, fit and finish. It is about as good of a production guitar as you can buy.
 




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