Gretsch G5622T

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paul_
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Gretsch G5622T

Post: # 1420123Post paul_ »

I had an NGD fail, gambling and losing on one of these bad boys (bad as in "these things suck" and boy as in "this thing was fretted by a blindfolded child at knifepoint").
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The Gretsch Electromatic series recently fully switched over to China (with the hollowbodies having been made by Peerless or Samick in Korea right up to 2018) and receieved CYG serials in the process, so I'm guessing they (and the Streamliner series) are now both made in the "Grand Reward" factory where the other CYG guitars like Squier CVs and some Fender Modern Players come from. Gretsch operations are on Fender's watch, anyhow.
This guitar had the worst fretjob I've ever had in 24 years of buying 20+ electric guitars across virtually all price ranges (I've never spent over $2300 on a guitar, but I have spent as little as $70 on crude vintage ones). I have a '65 Japanese Kent and a '73 Sakai-Mokko serviceman SG that smoke it, and needless to say any Squier or Epiphone I ever had blow it out of the water pretty cleanly. My SG Special Faded makes it look like a RAPIST by comparison.
The 2nd fret buzzed because the 3rd fret was too high under the wound strings, there was evidence of sprout (or just poor installation) of several frets at the treble side of the fingerboard and bending the high E provided a "scrapey" feel like they didn't finish the surface of the frets up at all on that side. I'm forced to doubt it was leveled at all, and the dress-job is lousy for consistency, with every fret edge on the treble side telling it's own violent or messy little story. This thing retails for $800. I bought an open-box one for $720. CA tax put it up to $773.

Apart from that the guitar played pretty nicely, surprisingly... it took me a few days to ditch the honeymoon vibes, it was weird. It sounded good, it felt good... it had a nicely-done graphtech nu-bone nut, the bigsby worked great with the TOM and the guitar had overall great tuning stability, the pickups and treble-bleed master volume were really cool, the neck shape was comfy, and having a maple neck and super bright pickups on an Epi 335-alike was really interesting... but the 2nd fret on the low E wouldn't sound properly and I didn't enjoy playing lead on it because of the rough feeling. Finding the workmanship issues just added insult to injury. It should've tipped me off that I didn't play it once on the 3rd day I owned it, but for some reason it was another 3 days before I thought about returning it, and another 2 until I started the process.
These things have an amazing reputation and people say "they feel more expensive than they are!" I'm calling bullshit on that because you can get an Epi G-400 and a spare Epi G-400 for less than this total. You can get pretty much any Squier you want, and most cool Epiphones for this sort of money. You should NEVER pay more than $200 for a guitar with fretwork like this, and if you do the guitar should be potentially worth a lot more if you can get it fixed. On a brand new FMIC import? Fuck the shit off. And the retailer I bought it from giving it a fake luthier checklist and warranty? Even worse, but convenient for return purposes. I was not aware they even sold imports with shit fretwork anymore... let alone Fender doing it with a brand like Gretsch and pricing it like it's a professional instrument. I'd be interested to know how many of these things are this bad and people are just excusing it here and there, I'm otherwise just one of the unluckiest Gretsch Electromatic customers of the past 3 years who uses the internet.

Anyway, had it for about 8 days and sending it back today, and even with a full refund I can't really justify replacing it... and also wouldn't want to. I no longer have any faith in the lower-tier Gretsches and will be gently asserting that Fender/Squier do make some overpriced dogshit guitars when they're told to from here on out.
Short of lucking into a free Electromatic with zero issues somehow in the future I'm not going to be budging on the "they're the worst instrument in their price range" point. Reminded me of reading sublimedo's review of an Eastwood guitar 10 years back or so. People can sing the praises of certain examples they've played all they want but if this is the sort of QC blunder that can occur, it's not a guitar I'd buy without trying in a shop first. I wanted this to work out so badly that I spent most of the week in denial about it having major issues (the worst of which I noticed the instant I unwrapped it and tuned it up last week, quickly convincing myself I'd get over it). I was like "uhh, that's pretty shabby but I bet you won't hear that fretwork-related buzz through the amp."
You heard it through the amp, guys. If anything, it somehow got louder through the amp.

I may be loosely committed to saving a fuckload of money and buying an MIJ Country Gentleman to cheer myself up.

Sorry so rude, I am sulking.
Aug wrote:which one of you bastards sent me an ebay question asking if you can get teh kurdtz with that 64 mustang? :x
robertOG wrote:fran & paul are some of the original gangstas of the JS days when you'd have to say "phuck"
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euan
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Post: # 1420125Post euan »

Still better than some Custom Shop Gibsons I've seen lately ;)
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dezb1
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Post: # 1420132Post dezb1 »

Ooft! That sounds shite. I can however vouch fir the Streamliner series as I have a g2420t and it's a lovely instrument and nowhere near that price.

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The Bigsby even holds tuning since I learned how to set one up properly
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euan
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Post: # 1420133Post euan »

There is a lefty Streamliner in Guitar Guitar on Argyle St that I've been avoiding incase I love it/hate it.
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dezb1
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Post: # 1420134Post dezb1 »

Always wanted a Gretsch Tennessee rose, but couldn't justify the price this is an excellent budget friendly version
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NickD
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Post: # 1420136Post NickD »

euan wrote:Still better than some Custom Shop Gibsons I've seen lately ;)
Kinda. They suck at QC, and mine had 2 very small imperfections that shouldn't have been there. I've not seen anything that affects playability, in fact all the ones I've played have played great (and should at their list prices) but I recall you alluded to seeing something recently on a Tom Murphy.

I think 70s Fenders are probably the worst for inconsistant quality. But even then the Mustang I used to own had a pretty large gap round the neck/pocket joint, and everybody who tried it says it played amazingly.

The kind of fret work that Paul is talking about would annoy the hell out of me though. I can live with a couple of inconsistencies in finishing, but not shitty fret work.
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ekwatts
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Post: # 1420140Post ekwatts »

Gretsch are all over the shop on the cheaper end. I don't know what the pattern is in terms of country of origin and range, but in my experience they can vary massively.

I've spoken before about my Baritone, but one of the things that sticks out to me with that guitar isn't the quality or playability as much as the cost-cutting design choices contrasting with the eventual price. It's a plywood body, the neck is two lengths of wood glued at around the third fret, which is all visible because the neck is a bolt-on with a satin clear-coated back. There's no binding on it, it just has regular white dots. In spite of all these things, it plays and sounds absolutely fine. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with any of it. Except the price. I got mine for something like £250 as an ex-display model when they were regularly fetching somewhere between £400-£500 RRP, around 2012 or so. That's insaaaaaane, considering how the Squier Bass VI came out around the same time and had none of those cost-cutting measures as far as I could see, and cost new what I'd paid for the Gretsch. And they're probably made in the same factory.

It's inconsistencies like that that I can't quite get my head around. I have played some absolutely fantastic Gretsch guitars from their budget ranges, and the Streamliners have all been good. But the consistency seems to lag massively behind guitars that are almost surely made in exactly the same factory, and the pricing used to be all over the fucking place. They upgraded the Baritone a few years back and brought it into line with the rest of the electromatic range as far as the construction and styling, but that still means that Fender, via Gretsch, were pumping out a £500+ plywood Baritone and a fancy-ass Bass VI with blocks and binding for £300 from the same factory for years, which is absurd.
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dezb1
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Post: # 1420160Post dezb1 »

After looking at the pic of my Gretsch last night I decided it needed proper Gretsch chrome nobs - so they'll be here next week.
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