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Adrian Price

Gretsch Guitars G5120 Electromatic Hollow Body with Dual-Coil Pickups

Sound Quality

I'm fairly new to guitar, playing mainly modern/alternative rock, but also some blues and some classical. I'm going to tackle sound two ways. Unplugged, this guitar sounds brilliant. A little brighter than a regular acoustic, probably because of the thinner body, but I've switched to roller-wound strings which mellows the tone a little (and less squeaks & chirps to boot!) The arched top and back give it a full, warm tone that makes me think of the cello or viola. Amplified (I use a rather mediocre Marshall MG15DFX solid-state amp, clean channel, by way of a DigiTech RP500 multi-effects pedal, which I use for amp/cab and stomp box modeling), you get a wide variety of tones. Clean, it sounds almost like an acoustic-electric with piezo's; full and resonant. Sounds great with a chorus pedal. Distorted you can get anything from warm and bluesy to gritty, but the hollow body means you can't go too far with the distortion or you'll start to get feedback -- no metal, but that's not what it's made for anyway. Distorted I mainly use (emulated by the RP500) a tube screamer (for a bluesier sound) or a big muff (for a crunchier rock sound) to a fender twin reverb. The Bigsby lets you do a very nice, clean, but subtle vibrato. It's not going to offer you the huge dive bombs of a Fender whammy bar. It's fine for my purposes.


Everything seems solid and durable, and it's already survived a couple of moderate collisions with household furniture, but it is a fully hollow body made of fairly thin wood. If you knock it too hard, it will break, and it will destroy the guitar's tone, and it will probably not be repairable. Gig with it? Sure. But I'm always very careful with it. Treat it like an acoustic and you'll be fine.


General Comments

If it were lost or stolen, I would buy another one, or possibly the G5122, same model with double-cutaway.


All in all, I love this guitar. It's got great tone played acoustic, and it's very versatile plugged in. It's got a fast neck and good action, and I find it to be very comfortable and easy to play. I prefer it over my Alvarez RD6 as an acoustic, and I prefer it over my Washburn Idol 14 as an electric. I'll probably sell off the other two and get a strat or a tele to give me more tonal options.

Reviewer's Background

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