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FDP Forum / The Gretsch Forum / Has Gretsch ever had periods of uneven quality?

Next 20 Messages  
Contributing Member

Ham-fisted player

May 7th, 2011 02:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

You know, like Fender and Gibson have had in their history.

Or can Gretsch be characterized more like Hamer; ie, well build product with uneven popularity.

Contributing Member


May 7th, 2011 07:42 PM   Edit   Profile  

Well the history of Gretsch is ....

From what I have read the quality during the 50's 60's was variable, some very good, some bad.

The rebirth of the company in the 90's, with the guitars being made under contract in Japan, quality was more consistent and since Fender took them over the quality has reportedly improved further.

Don't know about the cheaper Electromatic line tho'

My japan-made Gretsch met my quality and level of coolness expectations.

Contributing Member

Ham-fisted player

May 9th, 2011 12:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

OK, this seems like a better question:

How does the '90s Gretsch build quality compare to that of the post-Fender era?

And how do the pre-fender Gretsch pickups compare to the TV Jones range?

Contributing Member

Vancouver, Canada

May 12th, 2011 01:51 PM   Edit   Profile  

i'm pretty sure Fender took over in 2003.. or 04. so a 90's Gretsch is pre Fender. from what i understand now, they are making high quality, and consistent guitars



Aug 2nd, 2011 04:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

There`s a saying that the quality went down in the sixties - never coming back til the restart 1989...!
If you want to play your Gretsch regularly on stage, I would prefer a version from the "restart": the necks are really fixed, the construction isn`t "shaky" - and the binding will not falling apart whilst playing...!
I play a 6120SSL from 1994 and a Duo Jet 6128-1957 from 2003 (when Fender started owning Gretsch): the quality of the later one is not better - and I like the thought of owning a Gretscht that was made before (!) Fender bought them. Just a feeling...!

Contributing Member

Twin Cities, USA

Land of Sky Blue Waters
Aug 2nd, 2011 06:23 PM   Edit   Profile  

Well the guitars built in the FMIC era (circa 2003 and later) are the most consistent.

But the survivors of the old era probably represent pretty good guitars. Just be sure to check it out carefully.


Contributing Member


We had the hit but Van got the money
Aug 7th, 2011 08:42 PM   Edit   Profile  

The original Gretschs were never tops in quality. Always a lot of build variability. The new ones are just outstanding guitars. Hard to go wrong with one if that's what you're looking for in a guitar.



Aug 16th, 2011 07:20 PM   Edit   Profile  

I can tell you that my 2010 G6120 has great build quality and great tone. The current MIJ Gretsch's are some of the best quality made Gretsch guitars ever.

(This message was last edited by telegib at 04:01 AM, Aug 18th, 2011)


USA/ central N.Y.

Aug 19th, 2011 06:53 AM   Edit   Profile  

The build quality is better now than ever. I have had Gretsch guitars sense the 60's. I just can't get over how people still think that Fender OWENS Gretsch. They don't, they are in charge of marketing and production. They have been a great asset to Gretsch sense taking over that area. Fred Gretsch still owns Gretsch.


(This message was last edited by sleeperNY at 08:02 AM, Aug 19th, 2011)

Contributing Member

western Ma.

I don't want much just one of everything
Aug 22nd, 2011 07:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

Sleeper, thanks so much for posting that! I don't know how many people I have told that Fender Does NOT own Gretsch and I get blank looks and they say ,yes they do ,what are you talking about?

Contributing Member

Vancouver, Canada

Aug 22nd, 2011 09:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

ya i thought Fender owned Gretsch... where did i get that from?? good to know!

...anyone know why they are made in Japan and not the US?



Aug 22nd, 2011 09:36 PM   Edit   Profile  

I think a few models are made in the USA. The price tag is pretty high.



Aug 24th, 2011 05:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

This is an important statement of sleeper: "they are in charge of production (!)" - that means that Fender can say "we do it as we want - not as you (Gretsch) want".
All in all one can say that the quality of Gretsch Guitars is good since 1989, up to this day. It doesn`t mind if you buy a new one or one from e.g. 1992. Enough said


Contributing Member

That chicken

is WRONG, baby.
Aug 26th, 2011 08:11 AM   Edit   Profile  

Even the made-in-China Electromatics are fairly well built. And they're getting better.

The TV Jones Filtertrons are every bit as good as the original pickups, and even then, they are consistently better. The original Filtertrons were hit and miss. Some of the old ones are spectacular. Some are pretty dismal. Most fall somewhere in the middle.



Aug 26th, 2011 05:47 PM   Edit   Profile  

I also like the standard Gretsch Filtertrons.



workin' on a highline...baby
Sep 16th, 2011 02:02 PM   Edit   Profile  

The 5120 is surprisingly good.

B Labrador

united kingdom

Dec 22nd, 2011 02:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

Hi guys i'm bew here, i have a GRETSCH G6193 + A number of other brands.
Just thought i'd poke my head in and say hello to you gretsch guys
B Labrador

Contributing Member


We had the hit but Van got the money
Dec 29th, 2011 04:31 PM   Edit   Profile  

Vintage Gretsches had very uneven quality, and as the 60s progressed into the 70s it got worse. JMHO, of course, but reissue quality is leagues better than the originals.

Contributing Member

State of Jefferson

Jan 2nd, 2012 10:35 PM   Edit   Profile  

My 2006 Pearl Jet is flawless.. my friend's 59 Jet is the definition of crude.

However both are fine sounding and playing guitars.

Bing K

USA Central Mont

Jan 8th, 2012 09:34 AM   Edit   Profile  

I believe Baldwin owned the company for a while and it ended in a wreck. It's believed they didn't know the market.
I think production stopped in something like 73.

Then Fred Gretsch III basicly bought his name back and production on the pro line started in Japan. They are very nice instruments.

(This message was last edited by Bing K at 09:35 AM, Jan 8th, 2012)

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