Should I buy a Gretsch 5120 vs 5420?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by jonlarsen002, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. jonlarsen002

    jonlarsen002 Member

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    So, the old Gretsch 5120 is selling for $460-500 now that the newer 5420 has been released (with blacktop filtertrons and some other cosmetic upgrades) for $750. Am I really going to want those new pickups? I haven't heard much or a comparison. Or should I just go with the 5120? The costmetics don't matter much to me.
    Btw, I play mainly alternative-ish modern worship music.
     
  2. wilder

    wilder Member

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    Many (myself included) end up replacing the stock pups in the 5120. They don't suck, they just don't have much Gretsch character.
     
  3. Fab4ever

    Fab4ever Member

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    Agreed. What's the point of getting a Gretsch if it doesn't really sound like one?
     
  4. humbuckerbrian

    humbuckerbrian Member

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    You may want to also check out the Electromatic series that was discontinued a few years ago that had DeArmond pickups. If memory serves correct it was models 5124-5129. These are killer guitars and came stock with USA made pickups. I would imagine you could get one used for a pretty reasonable price. I have had many Gretsches including old ones and this series "sounded like a Gretsch".
     
  5. barryg_nyc

    barryg_nyc Member

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    The 512x series with DeArmonds are great - but they are very hard to find.

    The 5120 is a great guitar (I have the doublecut version - the 5122). But, they come with "Gretschbuckers" - humbuckers that don't come close to that "great Gretsch sound". I swapped mine out for TV Jones classics. A cheaper option would be to swap for HS Filtertrons or GFS Surf 90s. But few people I know of keep the Gretschbuckers (though some claim that if you adjust the pole pieces you can get close to the Gretsch tone).

    So. It's up to you. If you can save $300 by getting a 5120, you can drop a set of Surf 90s in (another $70) and save some cash.

    Or, go for the new ones with the Filtertrons.

    Whichever you do, I'd also recommend replacing the bridge with a TruArc or Compton (google them for details). The stock bridge is the achilles heel of the Electromatics.
     
  6. Waxhead

    Waxhead Member

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    Test out the new Blacktop Filtertrons b4 you decide is my suggestion.
    And remember you can swap TV Jones Classics into a 5120 for $200 :D
     
  7. mwittoesch

    mwittoesch Member

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    In the end, you will get a 6120. They are just better from the start.
     
  8. Daryl_Licht

    Daryl_Licht Member

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    My 5120 is a really good guitar, but as others have pointed out the Gretschbuckers don't have the sound of a set of Filtertrons. The stock bridge is cheesy too, it rattles pretty bad. I don't notice it coming from the amp, but you can hear it while playing.

    I've thought seriously about the new 5420 and will check one out as soon as I see one locally. If it needs a pickup change I'll probably just bite the bullet and buy a proline Gretsch.

    The 5120 doesn't sound bad, it just doesn't have that sound that is instantly identifiable as a Gretsch. The only way you could really tell is to go somewhere and play one.
     
  9. GA19RVT

    GA19RVT Member

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    Good point. Resurrecting this thread as I am about to buy either a Gretsch 6120 or an Electromatic 5420. If I get something this week, it will be the Electro. If I wait 6 weeks I can get a real Gretsch.

    Any and all wisdom very much appreciated.
     
  10. UrbanHymns

    UrbanHymns Supporting Member

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    Facing a similar dilemma. Dropping $2K or more on another guitar is not an option right now. But I could do $500-$800 and have been wanting a Gretsch for some time. So a 5120 or 5420, and then upgrading the pickups and bridge is an option for me right now.
     
  11. shakeshakeshake

    shakeshakeshake Member

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    I had two Korean electromatics and just got a Chinese made one. The Korean ones were made a bit nicer and played nicer as well. The humbuckers in the Korean ones were pretty good but not traditional Gretsch in nature. The filtertrons in my Chinese Gretsch are ok, not spectacular. I'd try to find a korean one and upgrade with some aftermarket pickups if the stock ones were to taste.
     
  12. twitch

    twitch Member

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    I would HIGHLY recommend being patient, saving up extra money, and getting a 6120 or any other pro series Gretsch. IMO, while you are spending more, you are getting far greater value and better bang for your buck.
     
  13. yoyoyoseph

    yoyoyoseph Member

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    I love upgraded 5120's because they are lighter and have a very alive tone. They are different beasts which I enjoy differently than 6120's. 6120's are amazing, more fancy and better built guitars, but I don't always want that especially with the price tag. 5420's a more alike to 6120's to me, which is a huge value savings.
     
  14. Blue4Now

    Blue4Now Gold Supporting Member

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    I would look for a nice beat up 6120 for 1200 bucks. I think the step up in price is worth it.
     
  15. shakeshakeshake

    shakeshakeshake Member

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    The Japanese Gretches are really excellent but the electromatics are probably the best budget guitar line being made
     

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