#1
I've had my eyes on a Gretsch Electromatic hollowbody for a while now, with the dual-coil pickups. My friend reckons they're not a particularly good build, but others have told me otherwise.

Opinions on whether they are a good quality?

I'm planning on upgrading the pickups.
Gretsch 5120
Marshall TSL60/1936 Cab (2x12 Celestion)
Pedal Train:
Vox Wah / Boss TU2 / Ibanez TS9 / Boss GE7 EQ / Boss NS2 / Line 6 DL4

Proud owner of possibly the only good Fender acoustic...
#2
I've heard they're pretty good guitars once you've swapped the pickups out but until then they apparently are really, really, really, really really really really really, really really really really really really really, really bad.
#3
Any other opinions?

And any thoughts on whether I'd be better off going for a Gibson Explorer or V for a bit more?
Gretsch 5120
Marshall TSL60/1936 Cab (2x12 Celestion)
Pedal Train:
Vox Wah / Boss TU2 / Ibanez TS9 / Boss GE7 EQ / Boss NS2 / Line 6 DL4

Proud owner of possibly the only good Fender acoustic...
#4
I really liked the Gretsch 5120 Electromatic I played at the local store. If I didn't already have 4 hollowbodies I'd consider buying it. Very good quality and tone although the electronics confused me (three volumes?). On the other hand, the Electromatic acoustic (malapropism) sounded horrible. The X or the V would be similar to your LP so it's hard to justify that but...you don't have to!