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Dave Wiese

Gretsch Guitars G5120 Electromatic Hollow Body with Dual-Coil Pickups

Sound Quality

Here's where this thing exels! Obviously you get a Gretsch hollowbody sound when played on clean which is great for rockabilly, country, and quirky rock tones, especially with a bit of reverb. The guitar is actually able to achieve more than just "that Gretsch sound", the bridge pickup by itself has quite a bit of attack which works great for heavier rock or punk. This is the first guitar I've had where I didn't feel pigeon holed into one sound, like you get with your Strats and LP's. I usually like stripped down guitars that only get one sound, but I love the throatyness of this guitar with both pickups on, and I love the bite of the bridge pickup with overdrive. The neck pickup on its own has a nice archtop jazzy sound, and is very clean. For the Gretsch snobs who know Gretsch tones better than I, I'm sure one could achieve a closer sound by replacing the pickups with TV Jones, the stock "Gretsch humbuckers" are not the same as the higher end models, but I don't fell a real need to replace them, they sound great to me. I run mine through an old Silvertone 1485 (150 watts all-tube with 6x10 cab) and use a modded TS-9 for crunch, and am considering a Holy Grail reverb pedal, as my Boss reverb-delay is a bit lacking. With a Twin Reverb played clean, it sounds very rockabilly, but with a britics highgain amp (or clone) it can achieve a wonderful punk drive. Palm muting may take some getting use to, but it's easier on this thing then a RIC 660.


I'll give the G5120 a 9 here cause it does go out of tune rather easily. I'll probably replace the tuners at some point, but I have a wonderful Korg Pitch Black that takes care of that. Otherwise, everything else about it is perfectly Gretsch.

General Comments

If you're looking specifically for that Gretsch sound for a budget price, or if you just want to go with something a little different, this is the way to go. Gretsch was even smart enough to put Gretsch at the top of the headstock instead of Electromatic (in smaller letters between the tuners) which makes the player look more like he's just playing a Gretsch and not the "lesser" model, I'm sure this has sold more guitars for them...


The retail price may seem a bit steep at a glance, but when compared to some Mexican Fender prices, or Epiphone hollowbodies that have the features of the US made models, the G5120 is right on par with where it should be. Used prices on these are extremely reasonable, I was even able to get a brand spankin' new hardshell thrown in with the deal, so I really couldn't say no. For those worried about the pickups, remember, if you buy the TV Jones, they go for over $100, and if this guitar came stock with them, they'd probably go for almost a grand new. I recomend trying this with the stock pickups, as it'll get you by until you can invest in the better ones. Obviously if money isn't an issue, you're probably just buying the "real thing", and not reading reviews on the G5120.

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