Friday, June 3

New Gear: Gretsch 5129

This one has been a long time coming, since I've actually had this guitar since March, but that extra time has also given me the chance to evaluate it in a lot of legitimate, gig-type settings. I saw it hanging on the wall in the used section of a music store that I rarely go to, and it called to me. I plugged it in to a few amps, turned some knobs, and fell in love. Behold!

If you've never owned or played a Gretsch, you're missing out. There is a difference between the bottom line (Electromatic) and top line Gretschs, but I think it's only the difference between solid wood and laminate, and some fanciness in terms of binding. The electronics, the build quality, everything else is on-par, and I think made in the same factory in the good old USA. What that means is that the tonal difference between a $2000 Gretsch and the $700 Electromatic version is there, but it's really subtle. I much prefer that to the Gibson business model, where an Epiphone Les Paul, we'll say, sounds just awful compared to it's big brother, and isn't even manufactured in the same country, let alone the same plant.

This particular one doesn't seem to be a part of their standard line anymore, but it seems to be in the same line as the White Falcon. It's got single-coil pickups, a Bigsby tremolo and a hollow body. Let me just say, this thing is awesome. I absolutely love hollow-body guitars for the extra grit and feedback that you can get at normal volumes. And something about all that extra space inside of the guitar really rounds everything out, controlling the highs and the upper-mids so that it becomes really difficult to get a harsh sound out of this guitar. Sure, you can go countryesque chicken-picking with it, but even those tones won't tear your head off like a Tele can. It's just a more mellow, smoother tone. Hard to explain.

I got turned on to Gretsch guitars by (who else?) Hillsong United. They use them. A lot. I saw them live a few times in the last year and it seems like everyone was using some kind of Gretsch with a Tele or Strat as a backup.

Also, I used this guitar with my Blues Jr. to record the clip of the Westbury overdrive from just a few days ago, so give it a listen and you can hear some of it's tones. This is probably my favorite guitar, and I've had it for the least amount of time. I try to play it every chance I get!

1 comment:

  1. The 5129 are Korean made. I also own one, they are a unique and awesome guitar.