#1
Hey guys. I'm looking for a new guitar and I think I have narrowed down to 2. I was looking at the Gibson 50's tribute Les Paul, but I think that my experience with their "faded" guitars has convinced me that I do not want another one. I was also looking at Ibanez RG prestige models but I fear that the super thin neck isn't going to work for me. I had a Dean guitar with a thin neck and my hand cramped so badly that I just couldn't play the thing, so I would rather not do that again.

Anyway, on to the actual topic. I think I've decided that I would like something different than what I have, my main axe is a 2005 Gibson LP custom which is amazing, but all of my other guitars are just cheap ones, I've got an Epiphone LP100, an Ibanez iceman, and LTD m-17, and a Hondo flying V. I'm looking for something "mid range" not cheap but not custom shop like my Gibson. I don't really want an Epiphone or a Mexican Fender, I'd like something better than those.

What I have come down to are these

Gibson midtown standard http://www.zzounds.com/item--GIBDSDC15T?siid=183382 this one is not a true hollow body, it's chambered and made to look like a 335. It has the burstbucker 1 and 2 pups in there.

The other is the Gretsch 5420T http://www.zzounds.com/item--GRE2506011?siid=186382 This one is a true hollow body and has the blacktop filtertron pups which are supposed to be a lot like TV jones.

So, here is my dilemma. I've had an electromatic Gretsch before and it was flat out wonderful, I loved nearly everything about it, so I am not too much worried about quality, playability, etc with that one, more the sound. I love the Gretsch sound but I don't generally play country, rockabilly, 50's or anything like it. Back when I had my previous one I used it for the clean songs my band did.

On the Gibson, I'm just wondering about it, quality wise. I know how crappy a cheap Gibson can be and considering this one has binding, inlayed headstock logo, and a case for under a grand it sure makes me wonder how good the guitar could be.

So, to my original question. I'm playing a Hughes and Kettner grandmeister through a 2x12 cabinet and I find that most of the time I hang out on the crunch channel. I'm playing AC/DC type distortion, not much, more like classic Marshall tone. However, sometimes I like to flip over to the lead channel which is very much like a JCM800 with an overdrive pedal, and then I kick it to the ultra channel which is like a dual recto. So, I'm wondering which of the two guitars would be the better pick, the full hollow Gretsch or the chambered Gibson? Considering that 80% of my playing is "classic rock" which one will do that well AND be able to handle the occasional heavy modern rock or metal?

What I'm looking to do here is to have a good "mid level" guitar for the times I don't want to dig out and then polish etc my high end Gibson but one that at the same time doesn't suck like my cheap guitars so.

Thanks for any advice.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#2
Gibson. Gretsch is Chinese trash.

Better pickups, better wiring, better everything. Unless you get one of those high-end Gretsch's, I would go with the Gibson.

I may sound like a fanboy for Gibson but I am not. I have a LP Studio is all. Ibanez's for everything else. But like you said, the wide/flat/thin neck of the Ibanez isn't very good for softer stuff.

But, if you want it for Rock...and maybe heavier stiff occassionally, the Gibson is going to work better. If you were doing mostly Jazz/Rockabilly I'd say go w/ the Gretsch....even though I still think they are inferior in quality.

Ibanez has some semi's also. If I were to buy a cheap (non Presitge or ESP standard), I'd buy Ibanez. Their cheap stuff is way beyond LTD, Fender, Schecter...etc...in my experience - which is many, many years.
Last edited by pressureproject at Jul 30, 2016,
#3
I take a Gibson Midtown and you know what to expect sound wise with that.It will sound like an LP.
#4
Open to considering other brands in the same price range?
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#5
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#6
Quote by pressureproject
Gibson. Gretsch is Chinese trash.

Better pickups, better wiring, better everything. Unless you get one of those high-end Gretsch's, I would go with the Gibson.

I may sound like a fanboy for Gibson but I am not. I have a LP Studio is all. Ibanez's for everything else. But like you said, the wide/flat/thin neck of the Ibanez isn't very good for softer stuff.

But, if you want it for Rock...and maybe heavier stiff occassionally, the Gibson is going to work better. If you were doing mostly Jazz/Rockabilly I'd say go w/ the Gretsch....even though I still think they are inferior in quality.

Ibanez has some semi's also. If I were to buy a cheap (non Presitge or ESP standard), I'd buy Ibanez. Their cheap stuff is way beyond LTD, Fender, Schecter...etc...in my experience - which is many, many years.
EyeballPauldannyalcatraz

Actually the Gretsch guitars are Korean, not Chinese and they are by no means junk. I have had one, I would put that up against anything in it's price range and several well above it also.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#7
Quote by EyeballPaul
I take a Gibson Midtown and you know what to expect sound wise with that.It will sound like an LP.


Ah, so it WILL sound like an LP.. That may actually rule it out. I was sort of looking for something that sounded different from the LP I already have. Thanks for the reply.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#8
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#9
ZZounds DOES carry both Godin and Reverend, though none of those models are currently in stock. If you like them, it may be worth it to contact them about future availability & prices.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#10
dannyalcatraz shoot, I didn't realize that. I will look into them.. I need to see if I can find any locally to play.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#11
Happy hunting!

I'm surprised no one else has chimed in, so I'll say it: don't overlook higher-end Epiphone or Ibanez hollows & semis. (And personally, I like the Electromatics, too.)
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#12
Chiliphil1 My bad...I suppose it depends on the model. There for certain are Chinese made Gretsch guitars (Corvettes for example), I've played them. But as far as this particular one it looks Korean - which can be hit or miss from my experience.

If for around the same price you can get a Gibson, I'd get the Gibson....all things being equal in personal preference.
Last edited by pressureproject at Aug 1, 2016,
#13
Quote by pressureproject
Chiliphil1 My bad...I suppose it depends on the model. There for certain are Chinese made Gretsch guitars (Corvettes for example), I've played them. But as far as this particular one it looks Korean - which can be hit or miss from my experience.

If for around the same price you can get a Gibson, I'd get the Gibson....all things being equal in personal preference.


I understand that and truthfully, that's also my thought process on it. By the time I bought the case and the strap to go with it, we're talking about a $40 difference between a Korean Gretsch and an American Gibson. That's not something that's easy to overlook.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#14
Quote by Chiliphil1


Actually the Gretsch guitars are Korean, not Chinese and they are by no means junk. I have had one, I would put that up against anything in it's price range and several well above it also.
Seems like you've answered your own question then.
Quote by TheSennaj
And well yes, I'll enjoy the carpal tunnel and tendonitis, because trying to get one is clearly smarter than any word you have spoken thus far.
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Aug 1, 2016,
#15
Quote by Chiliphil1
I understand that and truthfully, that's also my thought process on it. By the time I bought the case and the strap to go with it, we're talking about a $40 difference between a Korean Gretsch and an American Gibson. That's not something that's easy to overlook.


It is also the difference between a full hollow and a semihollow.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#16
I think you should play both and get whichever one you prefer
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#17
Sometimes, used guitars drop a lot in price. I don't know your budget, but you might be able to find something good on Reverb or eBay. Just posting his here as an example:
https://reverb.com/item/2667118-reverend-manta-ray-hb-2010s-black
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#18
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Seems like you've answered your own question then.


On one hand I did. On the other, the original question of would a Gretsch handle hard rock/metal on occasion was the more important one.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#19
Quote by dannyalcatraz
It is also the difference between a full hollow and a semihollow.


Right, and that is the reason for my concern as to which one, if either would handle the occasional hard rock/metal stuff.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#20
Quote by kalypto
I think you should play both and get whichever one you prefer


I agree, but I won't be able to. The midtown was a limited thing and no one has them in stock. I may be able to put hands on the 5420 but the midtown I won't be able to.

Zzounds does have a nice return policy, so if whichever I go with is terrible I can send it back.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#21
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Sometimes, used guitars drop a lot in price. I don't know your budget, but you might be able to find something good on Reverb or eBay. Just posting his here as an example:
https://reverb.com/item/2667118-reverend-manta-ray-hb-2010s-black


No can do. Cash on hand will be limited, so I am going with the payment plan from zzounds, that means new.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#22
Nothing wrong with that.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#23
Just to update. I think I have figured out which way I am going. Not quite what I thought when I made this thread but after a trip to my local music store today I have decided to go with the Fender American special strat. I'm going to order a Seymour Duncan JB jr pup to go with it and I think that should cover it.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#24
Contact Seymour Duncan to see if they think that would be a good replacement HB in that guitar. Sometimes, the manufacturers have a better idea of what really works together than customers.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#25
Might I suggest a used USA Standard strat instead of the Special? The Special is (IMO) no step up from a MIM and its only selling point is the country of origin. Higher quality with better specs can be had from either Mexico (Classic 50s and 60s models) or USA (used MIA Standard). The Lone Star strat is basically the same as the HSS American Special but half the price new. Pickups are different but you can get a whole new set for less than the price difference between those models.
#26
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Contact Seymour Duncan to see if they think that would be a good replacement HB in that guitar. Sometimes, the manufacturers have a better idea of what really works together than customers.


I'll do that. Thank you.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#27
Quote by Roc8995
Might I suggest a used USA Standard strat instead of the Special? The Special is (IMO) no step up from a MIM and its only selling point is the country of origin. Higher quality with better specs can be had from either Mexico (Classic 50s and 60s models) or USA (used MIA Standard). The Lone Star strat is basically the same as the HSS American Special but half the price new. Pickups are different but you can get a whole new set for less than the price difference between those models.


I'm stuck with new because I am financing it. Do you really think the classic 50's is better? That one caught my eye also, the surf green is awesome.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#28
Yes, I do. I usually prefer 50s style strats but I was particularly impressed by the Classic 60s I played recently.

If you want something slightly different, Guitar Center had a special run in a few really cool colors this year, Lilac and Canary for the 60s (Lilac looks amazing, Canary just ok) and a pale Apple Green and Jetstream Blue for the 50s. The Apple Green looks kind of dopey in the pictures online but in person it's really quite neat. If I had your budget for a strat right now I'd get one of those (probably Lilac) and perhaps swap out the pickups.
#29
I just remembered that a Zzounds carries Fret-King. I've been looking hard at a higher-end sig version of this guitar, but this will definitely do the rock & roll genre justice. Besides the Wilkinson HBs, this is equipped with Fret-King's VariCoil system, which is essentially a knob that progressively turns your HBs into singlecoils. An analog coil-splitting system, in a sense.

http://www.zzounds.com/item--FRKELISE
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#30
Quote by Roc8995
Yes, I do. I usually prefer 50s style strats but I was particularly impressed by the Classic 60s I played recently.

If you want something slightly different, Guitar Center had a special run in a few really cool colors this year, Lilac and Canary for the 60s (Lilac looks amazing, Canary just ok) and a pale Apple Green and Jetstream Blue for the 50s. The Apple Green looks kind of dopey in the pictures online but in person it's really quite neat. If I had your budget for a strat right now I'd get one of those (probably Lilac) and perhaps swap out the pickups.


OK, cool man, thanks for the info. I will look into those. I'll be at guitar center in a couple of days just to "make sure" about everything so hopefully they'll have one I can test drive.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#31
Quote by dannyalcatraz
I just remembered that a Zzounds carries Fret-King. I've been looking hard at a higher-end sig version of this guitar, but this will definitely do the rock & roll genre justice. Besides the Wilkinson HBs, this is equipped with Fret-King's VariCoil system, which is essentially a knob that progressively turns your HBs into singlecoils. An analog coil-splitting system, in a sense.

http://www.zzounds.com/item--FRKELISE


That sounds pretty cool.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#32
FK is a good brand. I've got 3. But the higher end one I mentioned is about 50% more expensive (last I checked) and hard to find, so it isn't part of my immediate plan. So # 4 is some time off, y'know?
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Aug 2, 2016,
#33
Update. I just ordered the American standard strat. I got a JB jr pup with it, so when the first string change comes up I'm going to toss that back in there.. The Gibson midtown was showing at 12 payments of $83.00 and for some reason they have now changed it to 6 payments of $160, so that one went out. I'm hoping this will be good. I played one in store the other day and it was nice, but you know how that goes from one to another. If it's not good I'll most likely send it back and get the Gretsch but if all is good then there we go.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#34
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#35
Got my strat last night. Came in a super nice molded case, absolutely beautiful instrument.

Out of the box it was in terrible need of a set up. I did that this morning and I've got it playing decently now. To be honest, I'm more disappointed with it than anything. The feel is nowhere near as great as I'm used to with American strats, the fat 50's pups are pretty bad, and it has a very unclear tone to it which comes through even unplugged, it's like a "clanky" sound?? I can't word it but it just doesn't sound clear when playing..

I did a big set up on it this morning and had to adjust everything but the truss rod and it's better but it's still not that "magic" I was hoping for. I'm gonna play it for a day or two and decide but it may very well be going back.

EDIT: I spend a little more time with set up and then just played the thing for a little over an hour and something very interesting happened. The guitar just "woke up" I've never seen a guitar do that before but basically the pups opened up, they started to sound better and began having that nice chime and glassy tone, the neck started feeling better and better, like the "new" was being worn off. It really surprised me the difference.

I went ahead and tossed new strings on it and installed the JB jr pup I ordered with it and now it's really singing. I'm liking it more and more and I think it's just going to get better from here.

One other note, for whatever reason the amp has to be loud for this thing to sound good. My LP and other guitars can sound good when quiet but this one needs volume to really shine. Not sure why.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
Last edited by Chiliphil1 at Aug 11, 2016,
#36
Update again. As I mentioned above I spent a lot of time going through it and setting things up but the more I played the more the high action got to me.

So, Took her to the local Fender dealer today.

In his words "send it back because this one should have never left the factory"

So, essentially the neck is off, has a wave to it which I couldn't see but he showed me with the straight edge, the nut is cut too deep, and there are uneven frets. In reality it needs a new neck but I guess I'll just send the guitar back for another. It'll be Monday before the retailer gets back to me but that's what I'm going to do.

I hate it that I now have to remove the pup that I installed and loose a new set of strings but if I get one that's actually playable it'll be worth it.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"
#37
My replacement arrived today and WOW is about all I can say. The first one was more of a Squire than a Fender and this one is just awesome. The feel is perfect, tone is perfect, everything is perfect. I'm very happy now and Fender is definately still making a great product. Somehow I just got a serious DUD that first time.
Gibson Les Paul custom
Ibanez RG1570
Schecter KM7
Mesa Boogie triple rectifier
Rectifier 2x12"