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Gretsch Guitars G5120 Electromatic Hollow Body with Dual-Coil Pickups

Sound Quality

sounds great. The original pickups were.... OK... I guess. A little on the dark/wimpy side. I replaced them with Gibson '57 classics. I think it sounds better now, a little more airy, with a little more richness. In both cases I like the pickups set a little low, instead of cranked right up under the strings...Give it a try, you might be surprised. I used to own a '60s mahogany Guild Starfire III. that guitar was thinner, and heavier (had a bigger block under the pickups), and made entirely of mahogany, which all together lended a heavier, but darker sound, with a softness to it. I liked it with flatwounds. The Gretsch has a deeper body, and is all maple--it has more of a bright, glassy sound, without that much depth in the bass. It's also not 40 years old. I like it with roundwound .11s, or maybe even heavier. I miss the Guild, but I like the Gretsch a lot too, now that I've sorted it out. No guitar is perfect, I'd rate them both as solid 8s. (only my strats seem to be worthy of a 9) I sort of wish this guitar responded a little more to heavy pick attack, but I think the sound it does give lends itself to lighter, chimier playing, which is usefull enough. It might need to "open up" a bit too, the damn thing has probably less than 20 hours of playing time...ask me again in a few months.


the rosewood part of the bridge has already started to crack, but it doesn't seem to matter. the pots and jack seem good quality...better than epiphone probably. neck seems real solid. bigsby is a monster. finish seems tough.


General Comments

the only thing left to do is change the plastic nut to a custom cut bone nut. changing the pickups was really not that hard...just use a guitar string to thread the jack back into its hole when you're done (sick it through the jack, then make a knot). I really like having a hollow body guitar in my arsenal and this one does the job. I like the pristine condition vs. the beat to hell look of my old Guild. Tone and volume knobs have a very nice taper to them. Wish it had the "tone switch" of the fancier gretsches...those things are so cool. If you're ambitious enough you can add one. I'm going to have to try flatwounds on this thing at some point...they just seem made for hollowbodies


Lastly, you can get this from guitar center for $500 plus tax if you talk nicely to the right salesperson. with all my upgrades it comes out to about a $660 investment

Reviewer's Background

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