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

Previous 20 Messages  


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)


Pacific Northwest

Jan 10th, 2012 08:22 PM   Edit   Profile  

Baldwin era; 1967 to 1989.



May 15th, 2012 02:52 PM   Edit   Profile  

A friend has a recent Japanese Gretsch..not sure which model, but It's AWESOME!! Action, Tone, Everything!!

Contributing Member


A big two stroke engine on full throttle
Aug 25th, 2012 09:54 AM   Edit   Profile  

I agree that the models made since Fred got things under control.

The Japanese models are superb instruments. That doesn't mean that they wont ever need a setup though.

I think the only thing that has really changed over all is the body shape. Those Fred made were a little more oval and oblong where as Fender has changed that to look more round, like there a Gibson ES.

My favorite was an early mid 90s Nashville with a roller bridge. I just loved the look. But the very best I ever played was a 120th Anniversary Bamboo Annie. I plugged that thing into a Victoria Super and that was that. Simply the best guitar sound I ever heard.

Former owner of a Silver Falcon, White Falcon, Nashville, Nashville Jr, Tenn Rose, Annie, and a 120th Bamboo Annie.

Contributing Member

Walton County, GA.

Half a century of guitar and amp service
Aug 25th, 2012 06:20 PM   Edit   Profile  

The imperfections and assembly line variations are one of the things that I loved about the old Gretsch guitars. My '64 6120 had a few oddities and minor imperfections that made it truly unique...wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

My current 2003 6119 is pretty much perfect, which is great except it doesn't have quite the individual personality that the old 6120 did...not to mention the value. :-)



Hawaii, USA

Perfect is the enemy of good enough
Nov 9th, 2012 02:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'm past brand new to Gretsch, but after reading this tread I lined up my new Pro Jet, My McCarty, and my best strat together last night to look them over and compare build etc.

I don't think it's built or finished anywhere near my PRS, but then again, it costs a third of the price of that guitar.

As opposed to that Strat, the Strat feels rather dead and plastic compared to the Gretsch, even if the Gretsch is chinese made. The fender definately does not have the resonance unplugged as the chambered Gretsch has even though it's outstandingly Stratty plugged in.

Personally, I find the Gretsch well made and very toneful. I guess they are like any other guitar manufacturer, dependent on the era, owner, finance, and support, you will get what they can best produce for the price.



james dawson
Jun 30th, 2016 03:57 PM   Edit   Profile  

The 50's and 60's Gretsch's sucked big time. Back in Arizona I've seen necks fall off, binding disintegrate might a been the heat but I've always thought they were cheap crap with a big fat price. The quality got way better when Fred moved them to Japan. Anyway that's why I stick to Fenders....


Contributing Member


"bald to the bone"
Jun 30th, 2016 04:38 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've seen binding on older ('60s?) Gretsches that REALLY went to crap, but don't know the cause.

My MIJ 6122-JR is nicely made.



Jan 5th, 2017 04:48 PM   Edit   Profile  

I wonder what Rickenbacker's secret is...keeping production in USA with high quality. They aren't cheap, but still like the traditional instruments.

Big Joe


Jan 5th, 2017 06:57 PM   Edit   Profile  

I bought my first Gretsch a 2016 5420 last year after trying a few. I was very impressed with the fit/finish and playability of this $800 guitar. As a point of comparison, I do own Gibson's, MIA Fenders and other high end guitars.
I did install TV Jones Classics and a Compton bridge. But I also changed pick ups in just about all of my high end guitars as well as bridges. But then again a lot of MIC, MIK and MIM guitars are consistent quality due to modern production lines which are very consistent in the production process.

Contributing Member

I tried to think

but nothing happened!
Jan 18th, 2017 09:26 AM   Edit   Profile  

Hey Joe! Pray tell, did you have to move the bridge foot on your 5420 when installing the Compton bridge? Still pretty good intonation?

Contributing Member

Bakersfield, CA

Getting old is not for sissies!
Jan 18th, 2017 10:19 AM   Edit   Profile  

RDR - I installed a stainless Compton (non-chambered) on my 2014 5420. Bridge on this earlier model is free floating. No intonation issues at all and I love the improvement in tone, brightness, and the disappearance of rattles & buzzes.

Several others on a different forum report similar experiences even with the pinned bridge 5420's but YMMV.

Big Joe


Jan 18th, 2017 11:41 AM   Edit   Profile  

RDR... the bridge base is pinned and therefore can be moved unless unpinned. However, the intonation at the 12th fret is pretty good, not 100% on, but not audibly off to my ears. Close enough that I will not unpinned bridge. I also have a quality roller bridge I could use, but prefer the Compton.

Contributing Member

Hemet, SoCal

Let's do the Funky Alphonzo
Jan 19th, 2017 01:54 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have a recent made in Korea Electromatic G5120 and I cannot fault that guitar in any way. Build, finish, sound quality, and playability are top notch. I don't know the year it was built but it is at least 10 years old.

Edited to add: According to the serial number, the guitar was made in Korea by Samick in 2007. That's all I got.

Gretsch G5120

(This message was last edited by JAFO at 04:03 PM, Jan 19th, 2017)



Mar 21st, 2017 03:02 PM   Edit   Profile  

I believe that guitar quality, across the board, is better than ever.

Yes, Gretsch had some real issues, as did just about everyone else (one of the reasons Atkins left, I believe).

It's amazing the guitar quality you can get today, even cheap guitars can have terrific sound, straight necks and low action without buzzing.

Although I have bitched about Gretsch necks a lot, both of my Guilds needed neck/fingerboard planing to straighten out the necks.

But that's hollowbodies for you; I saw a beautiful used (late model) Gibson deep hollowbody w/ P90s on the wall at a Guitar Center in Massachusetts. The neck was awful; the guitar unplayable; the neck curve was visible from a distance.

Solidbodies are easier to build and have them come out correctly.

That being said, I have sent a lot of guitars back to Musician's Friend over the past dozen years; I really like being able to reject a guitar until I get a good one.

buster strings
Contributing Member


Rafe Hollister is a friend of mine
Aug 1st, 2017 01:46 PM   Edit   Profile  

I once heard the build quality of vintage Gretschs described as "what would be done by a very good carpenter."
Although I've owned several and enjoyed them all, I have found that observation to be pretty accurate.

Previous 20 Messages  

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

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