G5120 Review

manufacturer: Gretsch date: 01/18/2016 category: Electric Guitars
Gretsch: G5120
The G5120 is the Korean made version of the popular 6120. It is a single cut away, true hollow body, at 3 1/2" thick, it feels pretty similar to an acoustic.
 Sound: 8.6
 Overall Impression: 8.8
 Reliability & Durability: 8.3
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8
 Features: 8.3
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (10) pictures (4) 22 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.2
G5120 Featured review by: UG Team, on december 23, 2010
13 of 13 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 599

Purchased from: Jim's Music

Features: This guitar has the Gretsch Dual-Coil humbucking pickups, an adjustable bridge, chrome-plated die-cast tuners, and a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece. These Gretsch's are manufactured in Korea mine is the 125th anniversary model which was manufactured in 2008 celebrating the company's long history. I purchased from a local, yet big, music store which special ordered it for me. I purchased the Orange color as it was not too loud' for my personal tastes but loud enough visually.

Detailed features are as follows:
It is crafted with a laminated maple body
24-3/4" rosewood fretboard on maple neck
Bigsby B60 vibrato tailpiece
16" x 2.75" laminated maple hollowbody
Laminated maple neck (24.6" scale)
Rosewood fingerboard
21 medium jumbo frets
1-11/16" nut width
Vintage style machine heads
2 Gretsch chrome covered Dual-Coil pickups
Master tone, master volume, neck pickup volume, bridge pickup volume
3-position pickup toggle
G-Arrow Knobs
Adjusto-Matic bridge on rosewood base
Chrome-plated hardware
Gloss urethane finish // 9

Sound: When I had purchased this guitar I was strictly using solid body guitars such as my Gibson Les Paul and my Fender Stratocaster and was looking for a different sound. After always being a fan, visually, of the White Falcon I was looking to get a Gretsch.on a budget. Having a friend with an Epiphone Dot with upgraded pickups I was able to try out in extensive format his guitar with my amps. I found the Dot was lacking in playability and in a sonic form. He had installed Seth Lover pickups which greatly enhanced the sound of his Dot however there was still something lacking. Thus, I began my journey to find a good hollowbody guitar. After playing through nearly everything in the Epiphone line (Casino, Sheraton, Dot) I stumbled upon this Gretsch. I was instantly a fan of the sound and more importantly a fan of the stock pickups. My biggest complaint with Standard Epiphone guitars is, to me (in my humble opinion, which most definitely differs from yours), the pickups are completely muddy and the tone and volume controls do nothing. Structurally I think Epiphone's are crafted fine but as a guitar player who is always in search of the perfect tone, the Epiphone does not suffice.

While playing the Gretsch I was instantly able to hear the breathability of this guitar. It had a very warm tone. To me I instantly felt like I could be playing in any R&B band (sound wise not ability) from the 50's and 60's. The air passing through the body gives it a very warm yet clear sound. Sharp but not punchy, clear but not too crisp. It has a soft side to it, an old rustic blues side. Reason being is this body type speaks very well to Jazz. As I am not a Jazz player I wanted to make sure this guitar could handle the music I play. Before we get started I will list the amps that I normally play this through.

- Marshall 1962' Bluesbreaker
- Fender 65' Deluxe Reverb Re-Issue
- Epiphone Valve Jr. & Cab with 25watt Greenback

As you can probably imagine these three amps produce an immensely different sound. To get right at it, let's say this, initially these would be the three amps I was playing this guitar through but it really transitioned to one which it shares a beautiful tone. The Marshall, well it's a Marshall (loud, aggressive, bluesy rock), the Epiphone is a great practice amp with some phenomenal tones, but the winner and the best pairing with the Gretsch is hands down the 22watt Fender Deluxe Reverb. Sparkly cleans and extremely warm overdrive. I would like to compare this to something you might have experienced. Most guitarists are always tweaking their amps, their tone knobs, their pedals, etc. Have you ever just plugged a guitar in to an amp and it sounded perfect without touching a thing every single time? Well if so, that is exactly what the Gretsch and Fender do together, every time. No matter what or where I am, I plug the Gretsch into the Fender and there is my tone. Under water, on a hillside, free falling from a plane, plug in and I will get the exact tone I am looking for. My amp settings are extremely basic, turn everything halfway up and plug in. From that, there is miniscule tweaking but for the most part it is always on 5/10. At that volume level the humbuckers (dual-coil) on the Gretsch clean up extremely well with a volume roll and warm up just as easily.

Although this guitar has humbuckers these are extremely low-output in comparison to most Standard humbuckers. I believe these are ever slightly hotter than P-90's. I must say Gretsch did a fantastic job with keeping this guitar affordable and providing a quality sound. I think you get a little more than what you pay for on this guitar. Keep in mind I paid $599 USD for mine brand new. For $699 as listed on most websites I think this guitar is about $50 overpriced, just to be nit-picky. Furthermore, in terms of sounds this guitar is not that versatile. That is why, sadly, this guitar never makes it to my cover band shows. It does not have the range that my Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro or Gibson 61' SG have. This does however work extremely well with my side project which is a female on vocals and my guitar playing folk rock.

If you like to play hard rock or rock n' roll BUY SOMETHING ELSE unless you love getting enormous uncontrollable feedback. Being a hollowbody this guitar has an inherent desire to squeal. Keep in mind it is your own fault if it does squeal because you probably shouldn't be facing the amp directly or be that loud or have that much overdrive/distortion going on. If you do decide to go against your better judgment get ready to get booed on stage! This guitar is meant to play much softer blues, jazz, and very light rock, a la Buddy Holly. For what it sets out to achieve, it does it incredibly well. Good job Gretsch. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: When I purchased this guitar I made sure to thoroughly check for any flaws in craftsmanship including wood workmanship, electronic defects, pickup height, action, and intonation. To my surprise this guitar passed all of my tests and everything sounded fantastic the day I took delivery. To this day, 2+ years later, the guitar still plays great but I have had one electronic issue. I ordered the Orange finish on this guitar because to me it really stood out. I was just drawn to it, I am not sure how to explain this but I saw it and I knew that is what I wanted. I have the same feeling with a Gibson Les Paul Custom in Alpine White with Gold hardware. Something about that just pops.' I take very good care of my instruments as it was my hard earned money that I decided to pay someone for a toy. If I ever decide to sell it, the importance of having an immaculate guitar is quite high when you hit the used market. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Over the last two years of moderate playing this guitar has not buckled under the pressure. I see no issues with the finish whatsoever. I rarely wipe down the body of my guitars (you should see my Stratocaster, it's a relic project, it never gets a wash) because I like the grime, the filth, although I take care of my guitars very well I am vintaging this up as much as possible. I live in Southern California in a beach community and we have the salt water air here. With that you have something that occurs quicker than most other climates, oxidation. Nickel parts turn dull extremely quick, things corrode very easy. To my surprise though the hardware pieces on the Gretsch have somehow withstood the salt in the air. I have other guitars which are newer that have encountered more corrosion, so I am happy to say that I believe the hardware pieces will have a very long lifespan.

A recent issue I ran into involved the input jack. When I am not playing live and just practicing at home I use fairly cheap cables because they get tossed around and I don't really care if I have tone loss at home, unless I am recording. None the less, I thought it was an issue with the cable at first but it turned out to be an issue with the jack. While playing it would get extremely scratchy and cut out for a very short time. I know that as this is my side project guitar I could not have that going on during a live performance. I took it down to my local guitar shop the tech took sandpaper to the inside of the jack and scrubbed it out saying corrosion was to blame. Well I came home and all was well for about two weeks until it happened again. I have a nice Planet Waves instrument cable that almost has little gripper feet on the base of the jack that I decided to use and that alleviated the problem. The issue was not with a clean jack, it was with the jack being tight enough to hold an instrument cable. Luckily this issue has been resolved for live performances. // 7

Overall Impression: My overall impression is very good. I really believe that this is the best hollowbody money can buy for under $600. At least I have not played anything else to date that I believe comes close to the quality of craftsmanship, sound, and playability of the Gretsch Electromatic Hollowbody 5120. Although being a large guitar it is easy to play as it is incredibly light. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send me a private message and/or request sound samples. Thank you. // 8

- Jesse Kleinow (c) 2010

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overall: 9
G5120 Reviewed by: DeanRedneck, on march 16, 2009
6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 700

Purchased from: Guitar emporium

Features: The G5120 is the korean made version of the popular 6120. It is a single cut away, true hollow body, at 3 1/2" thick, it feels pretty similar to an acoustic. The neck and body are both maple with a very nice grain pattern which shows through the transparent Orange on the model I have. It sports a 22 fret neck, although the width of the body hinders upper fret access, but this isnt really a shredder's guitar. For controls it has a 3-way toggle and both pickups have individual volume knobs and a master tone control. It also has a master volume located near the cutout. At first I thought this was redundant but after using it, I've found it pretty useful for going from clean to dirty without changing the balance of the pickups. The two humbucking pickups are Gretsch designed as opposed to the TV Jones pickups on the american model.The bridge is an adjustable tune-o-matic with a bigsby liscenced tailpiece witch adds to the old school appeal of the guitar. The tuners are non-locking open back of unknown origin, which hold a tuning pretty well, but a set of locking tuners would be a good idea with the bigsby. My only real complaint is that there was no case included, which I think is kind of a joke in this price range. Having to buy a case is an annoyance when I would've gladly given Gretsch another 75 or 100 to get a matching case. // 8

Sound: This guitar is actually more versitile than I had expected. And can do about what one would expect of a hollow body. I play through a Peavey 6505+, which is not what you'd expect to compliment this guitar, but I find it to be a very versatile amp with a bit of tweaking. With just the neck pickup on and the tone rolled back a bit, I can get really nice jazz sounds, and with just the bridge you can get some good country/rockabilly twang. Adding a bit of distortion give s really nice raunchy tone that you can only get from a hollow body (think Ted Nugent or George Thoroughgood). Too much distortion and the tone gets very muddy, but this isnt really a metal guitar. The pickups are very well balanced and one of the few guitars I've played that sounds good with the toggle in the middle position, I think this is partially due to the fact that the bridge pickup sets a little further form the bridge than most guitars. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was very well set up when I bought it, but I believe the store I bought it from does a full set up before they put it out. The binding on the body and neck looks very nice. The frets are totally smooth. The pickup toggle is LOUD, not noisy, the sound is from the Switch not in the signal, you can hear it click into position. The grain on my particular guitar is gorgeous through the transparent Orange finish. The finish is totally uniform with no light or dark spots. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I've only owned it a few weeks, but it seems about as solid as a hollowbody can be. I would definately trust it to gig with. I would say I could gig with it without a backup, but I would never gig with a backup for everything, that's amateur. Nobody wants to watch you change a string. The strap buttons are an odd Gretsch design, but seem solid, I wouldn't try to trow it around my neck though. // 9

Overall Impression: Overall, I'm very pleased with this guitar. Again, my only complaing was the lack of a case but I bought one at the store when I purchased the guitar. I bought This guitar because I've really been getting into old rockabilly lately and this is a perfect for that. I've been wanting a hollowbody for years, I've always loved the tone of them. There aren't a lot of good hollowbodies in the under 1000 price range. Epiphone is about the only other company I can think of that make any and all of them I've tried I wasn't impressed with, to me they sounded cheap. This Gretsch actually sounds like a preofessional guitar and plays like one. I'm a metalhead at heart, but I like a having a versitile collection of guitars to be able to play in what ever style I'm into at the the moment. I really can't compare any of my other guitars to this because they are just too different. I think that for the price you can't get much better. // 10

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overall: 9.2
G5120 Reviewed by: Radynj, on december 09, 2009
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 800

Purchased from: McCauleys Music

Features: This guitar is Korean built in august 09. It's 22 frets, rather thick at three and a half inches thick and a single cut away however you can't really reach the upper frets without having to really wrap your hand around the body as it's so thick. I got the piano black finish which is beautiful (shows off finger prints though) The tuners are rubbish and non-locking which is a pain as it has the Bigsby which will rip it out of tune pretty fast. I'll be changing out the tuners this summer. Pretty lame that it doesn't come with a case. // 8

Sound: I mostly play hard-rock and prog stuff (Big Wreck, Tea Party, Queens Of The Stone Age, Moist)and this guitar is great for this. It has a beautiful full tone with a bright jazzy sound when clean. I use a Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal and on a medium setting off the neck pickup this guitar has a great punchy and bassy lead sound. Surprisingly even with the distortion maxed it's really hard to make this guitar feedback. I've actually played Avenged Sevenfold and Tool off this guitar with no problems, this is off the bridge pickup with the tone down and it'll actually make a great low drone sound. Obviously I'm not using some death metal settings but off my gear which is aimed at hard rock I literally have to have the guitar touching my amp before it'll start to feedback. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Guitar was set up perfectly, nice low action, great to solo on however I'm more of a rhythm player as I couldn't handle lead parts and singing at the same time. The neck is beautifully smooth and there are no flaws on the guitar. It's in perfect condition. Not a single flaw on this guitar. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I don't gig but it's built sturdy and feels quite durable for a hollowbody. I got this guitar as a replacement from my old Hagstrom Swede and this feels just as solid (except it doesn't weight a Metric tonne like the Swede) With care I think it'll outlive me. // 9

Overall Impression: I'm very impressed with this guitar, the sound is great, it's amazing quality work and it doesn't feedback like a mother like I figured it would. I've been playing guitar for two years and bass for four years. This is the best guitar I've owned and I couldn't imagine ever selling it. My only complaints are that it's a bit too thick and it's hard to reach the higher frets. I'm glad I went with this instead of the Ibanez I was looking at originally. // 9

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overall: 8
G5120 Reviewed by: krehzeekid, on may 26, 2011
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 700

Purchased from: Avenue

Features: My guitar is a Korean made G5120 electromatic, made some time in 2008 (purchased in mid 2008, so I assume this is a safe guess). This is a full hollowbody, featuring Gretsch's classic "Nashville" body shape. The guitar features laminated maple sides, top and back, with dual F holes cut into the top. The top, back and neck are all bound with off-white plastic, giving the guitar a rather attractive look. The neck features a rosewood finger board, thumbnail inlays, 22 medium frets, a 24.5 inch scale and a 43mm nut. The guitar features a floating tune-o-matic Bridge on a rosewood base and a licensed Bigsby vibrato tailpiece. Other hardware includes 2 Gretsch dual-coil humbucking pickups, die-cast open-style tuners, a synthetic bone nut, a clear plastic pickguard and knurled strap retainer knobs. The guitar also features a master volume, a master tone, Bridge volume, neck volume and 3 way pickup selector Switch controls. The guitar arrived with nearly no accessories of any sort, with only a few allen keys to speak of. Rather disappointingly for the price, there wasn't even a gig-bag included. If you plan to buy one of these, make sure to leave cash space for a case. // 8

Sound: Over the years that I have owned this guitar, I have played it through a wide variety of guitar amplifiers including a Fender Princeton, a Traynor YGM-4 (1972), a Vox AC30-CC, a Peavey Valveking 212 and, most recently a Mesa Boogie Roadster. However, given that I have used it primarily with a Celestion loaded Fender HOT Rod Deluxe, I'll use this amp when commenting on the guitar. Using a clean setting, the Bridge pickup is rather bright and quite loud. It is suitable for strummed parts with a bit of an edge and for clean lead work. The neck pickup, meanwhile, is relatively dark and a little bit quieter. Thus, the neck pickup works wonderfully for single note lines and warmer, jazzier tones. Using the two pickups together produces a rather acoustic-like tone, which is absolutely wonderful for strummed parts, and has become my go-to rhythm sound. Using an overdriven amp, think a little bit of crunchy break-up, the neck pickup stays fairly clean, picking up a little bit more shimmer than on clean settings. This is still lovely as a single note tone, but is is also great for jazz lead playing and is a nice alternate rhythm sound. The Bridge pickup, on the other hand, gets a real great 50's rock tone. Its loud, crunchy and twangy. Absolutely brilliant for rockabilly and rock n' roll lead and rhythm playing. Again, using the two pickups together produces great strummed tones, though the sound is somewhat compressed. Using still more gain, the Bridge pickup becomes a fire breather. Lead lines are full of harmonic overtones and rhythm parts are bright, but never thin or brittle. Both pickups together with moderate gains creates a good tone for rhythm work in a one guitar band, but is a little too thick for use with 2 guitars. The neck pickup developed a singing, vocal quality, which makes it an excellent choice for lead work, which is good because chording becomes muddled with gain. As with any hollow-body, feedback becomes an issue, but it is relatively manageable without significant compromise. It is also worth noting that the vol, vol, master control configuration is absolutely brilliant. It is possible to set different volumes for the two pickups while still being able to mute the guitar entirely, which gigging guitarists will truly appreciate. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The factory set-up on this guitar was reasonably good. The action was a little bit high and the truss rod need to be tightened a little bit, but that is more than acceptable in my mind, especially given the climate where I live. The fretwork is really quite good, though any issues would be masked by the neck binding anyways. Beyond that, the tuners work well enough, the Bigsby is smooth and stays in tune (though I hardly use it) and the over-all fit and finish is quite good. However, the stock Bridge is quite poor. The machining tolerances on the Bridge weren't tight enough and the intonation screws would rattle and work themselves loose within a few hours of playing. The problem was easily solved with the installation of a tone-pros unit, but I would rather have not had to deal with it. // 7

Reliability & Durability: Overall, the reliability of this guitar has been rather good. In 2+ years of regular gigging and practicing, I haven't come across any durability based issues. All the hardware, apart from the stock bridge, has held up quite well and everything still looks and feels good. The strap buttons on this guitar are a nice touch. Essentially, you tighten the button around your strap to prevent the strap from falling off. Given that it would be very difficult to install typical strap-locks on this guitar, the addition of a more secure strap system is a very well though out and appreciated feature. As much as this guitar is extremely reliable, I would not use it without a backup because things do go awry at gigs sometimes. That being said, I have played many gigs where my backups (often more expensive instruments) haven't gotten touched. The 9 is only because the thinness of the body leads me to suspect that it wont tolerate a fall as well as a solid-body guitar. // 9

Overall Impression: This guitar serves as my go-to clean/crunch rhythm guitar. Certainly, it is capable of far more than that, but I have other guitars that are better suited to other tasks. That being said, this is one of the more comfortable all-night guitars I have ever used. Even after 4 hours of banging out song after song, I hardly feel any fatigue. On top of that, the guitar has a rhythm sound that fills a mix really nicely without necessarily needing to sit on-top of the mix, though it can certainly do that too. My only quip about the guitar is the Bigsby vibrato. Though it works quite well for a cheaper unit, I would probably have passed on the unit in hindsight because it is simply a complexity that doesn't add enough to my playing to necessitate itself. Overall, this is one of my favorite guitars to play for jazz, country, rock and just general fooling around. It is comfortable and it sounds very good. Definitely worth a look for anybody searching for a serious guitar that wont break the bank completely. // 8

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overall: 7.8
G5120 Reviewed by: unregistered, on september 30, 2011
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 699.99

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: When I bought this guitar from Guitar Center in Winter Park Florida, it had to be ordered, per none on the store floor. However, that month there wasw a sale, and they gave me a 15% discount, plus free shipping and handling (UPS), and free delivered to my home. It came in perfect factory condition. However, the foam under the bridge had to be removed, and I then had to set the intonation. For anyone getting this guitar, there are free lessons on YouTube how to set the intonation. I also read a lot of reviews that were positive, but a few negative features. Such as: if you put a straight guitar cable plug in the guitar jack receptical, and while you are sitting on a chair or couch, and you lean on that plug while sitting, or just knock the plug - you will serious crack the guitar wood. You may even knock in the jack plug receptical inside the guitar. So, I went on eBay and bought a $3.00 oval jack plate. Note, that the Gretsch 5120 does not have a jack plate, nor does it have any reinforcement on the inside to protect this area. All you have is the thin guitar body with the hole for your guitar to plug in. I also bought a guitar cable with an L-shape plug at one end, so I would no lean on it like the straight plug. Now I can lean on this area with no fear of damaging my guitar. If you do not know how to put an oval plate on, have a guitar tech do it, per the receptical may fall inside. But, do not have him put the two little screws in the oval jack plate, per it will just add more holes in your guitar, and may weaken that area. The oval jack plate can be tighened in place like a big washer - done deal. What I also did was to add some rubber glue, which will not hurt the finish. By the way, the cable I bought was Monster Jazz cable at $48.00. It gives my guitar a warmer clean tone. Amazing sound difference form a cheap cable. You will notice right away that it is thicker diameter cable than any other cable you have seen. It filters out a most static (check it out). I also bought an Ibanez Wholetone Jazz amp ($279.00) with a 15" speaker, 80W. Also check out the sound on YouTube - also amazing. If you like a really warm, cyrstal clean sound, then Monster Jazz cable and Wholetone amp will do that for you. // 8

Sound: With the Monster Jazz cable and the Ibanez Wholetone amp - the sound is warm, clear, and soooo sweet. But, I was not done yet with my modifications. I changes out the bridge with a bridge that looed exaftly the same, but each string sits on a little roller. The string rolls and does not bind when using the Bigsby. I bought it on eBay for under $20.00, and I love it. My guitar stays in tune a lot better now. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The finish was perfect. The fit? If you mean set-up, well it needed to be set-up by me, per I had to take the factory "packing foam" out from under the bridge, and the intation is lost. The store should set these guitars up before selling them, especially to beginners. And, advise beginners that the bridge will float or move, and the intonation will change, but it is an easy fix. It is not hard to set the intonation, just go to YouTube and there are free lessons how to messure from the nut to the 12 fret, then use that same distance from the 12th fret to the bridge - basically done. The YouTube visuals are more detailed. As for the pick Ups (PU). Well I have read a lot of complaints that there is little to no adjustment for the two PU, and that is true. My guitar neck PU is twice as load as the bridge PU. So, I will need a warranted tech to look at it. I do not think a minor adjustment will fix it for me. Therefore, I hope yours is more volume balanced then mine is right now. I read some tips how to fix this, and yes - I went to YouTube for advice and Gretsch Discussion Forum. All-in-all, I still like the guitar. But, I also like to fix and tinker with new modifications too. // 5

Reliability & Durability: I do not know yet, per I only had my guitar a month. However, since I understand the weakness areas of this guitar, and I can fix them myself, without running to an expensive Luther or Guitar Technician every week, then I feel it will last me a long time. But, like any hollow body guitar, it can be damaged (cracked), if you are not careful. Solid body guitars can take a real beating and still work fine. Just be gentle with it, and it will last. // 8

Overall Impression: Overall, I would say you will need to be someone, who loves to fix and tinker with his guitars, and has a working knowledge of how to put on a oval jack plate, and setup the neck (string action), and set the intonation on a regular basis, and also adjust the pick ups for a balance tone. If you are just a beginner, buy a more user friendly guitar without a tremolo. Fender has some really good ones a lot cheaper too. For me this guitar is an "8" but if you are a beginner, it would be less than a "5" per you will be frustrated tinkering with it's adjustments, and soon dislike it. // 8

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overall: 7.6
G5120 Reviewed by: jamesmickanen, on january 18, 2016
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 480

Purchased from: Craigslist

Features: Hello Ultimate Guitar audience! Like you, I am a guitar enthusiast. If I am not playing guitar, chances are I am looking at guitars online. Perhaps unlike you, I like writing. So here I am back at the helm behind the keyboard to submit another review. This time I am reviewing another guitar from my small and humble collection; an Orange Gretsch G5120 Elecrtomatic hollow body made at the Samick Plant in South Korea back in August 2011.

Let's begin with a list of this models specifications from top to bottom. Vintage style, open-back, non-locking, chrome-plated, die-cast tuners adorn the headstock atop a laminated, slim-tapered profile, maple neck featuring a 24-¾" scale rosewood fingerboard outfitted with a 1-11/16" wide nut followed by 21 medium jumbo frets.

Continuing down we find the 2. 75" deep, single-cut, maple hollow body which is 16" wide at its lower bout. The guitar is covered with a transparent urethane gloss finish highlighted by its fully bound neck and body.

Electronics for the G5120 include 2 redesigned, chrome covered, Gretsch Dual-Coil pickups, and 3-position toggle. G-Arrow Control knobs for master tone, master volume, neck pickup volume, and bridge pickup volume. Other hardware on the guitar's body include Gretsch knurled strap knobs, an Adjusto-Matic bridge atop a floating rosewood base, and Bigsby B60 vibrato tailpiece.

I also received a generic, non-padded gig bag containing the guitar's Gretsch quality control department O.K. Card, and Gretsch instrument limited lifetime warranty card from the original owner. Later, I upgraded to the Gretsch G6241FT hard case for better protection when transporting or not in use. // 8

Sound: "That great Gretsch sound." What is that great Gretsch sound?" The more I think about it the more I think it's simply a clever marketing slogan. Moving on, the Gretsch G5120 Electromatic hollow body suits my punk and rockabilly music styles perfectly. This is perhaps best evident by the number of artist in the punk/alternative rock genres that use Gretsch hollow body guitars as their primary choice.

I enjoy playing along while listening to my favorite bands Rancid and The Cramps; who both feature guitarist playing Gretsch hollow body guitars. The Gretsch G5191 Electromatic hollow body honors punk rock legend Tim Armstrong (Rancid) as his signature model. Likewise, rockabilly guitarist Reverend Horton Heat and Brian Setzer have Gretsch G6120 signature models available on the market. Although psychobilly guitarist Poison Ivy Rorschach (The Cramps) has yet to be immortalized through her own Gretsch signature model, she is known for playing an iconic Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120 hollow body most of her career.

Gretsch hollow body guitars are not just for punk and rockabilly genres. Like the Les Paul, these guitars can be used across a wide variety of genres. Bono of U2 has a signature model, of course Bill Duffy from The Cult, Bo Didley, the Animals' "House of the Rising Sun" was recorded with a Gretsch and The Beatles' George Harrison used a Gretsch when recording "Your Gonna Loss That Girl." I think I even saw Katy Perry playing a Gretsch!

I have used my G5120 with a Roland Cube 20X and found the JC clean channel fit this guitar best. The distortion and overdrive replicated through the amp's modeling features were kinda corny, cheesy, and stereotypical sounding in my opinion. Among the onboard effects available on board I enjoyed messing around with the tremolo, and the delay. Achieving a slap-back echo was not too hard but the effect itself needed more volume or presence to be rockabilly worthy.

Playing the Gretsch through a Peavey 5150 4x10 straight cabinet and Crate Excalibur head was fun! Turning the low, high, and both gain knobs all the way up, and the mods all the way down is what dreams are made of. Playing through four ten inch speakers puts a different feel on the overall sound produced. The Gain was adequate on the Excalibur series head but the reverb onboard was rather unimpressive and better saved for the clean channel or someone who knows what they're doing. You are not going to get any surf guitar reverb on this thing that's for sure.

Mostly, I play my guitars through my humble sized Fender Mustang I, which I am almost certain can make any guitar sound awesome. I think Fender did a great job when they dialed in all the presets. All three Twin Reverb presets are superb with Twin Surf as my favorite clean option. But ultimately, I am a high gain kind of guy and I rarely use the clean settings. Once again, I'm my humble opinion I think Fender nailed it with the numerous high gain, overdrive, and distortion presets onboard reproducing Marshall, Mesa Boogie, and Crate models. I believe you are primarily hearing the amplifier and its nuances rather than the guitar, thus I have not described much of "That Great Gretsch Sound" in this section.

When playing a hollow body guitar through an amplifier you have to be mindful of your proximity to the amplifier and its volume setting or you will encounter feedback. If you are not playing the guitar, but the volume is turned on for both the amp and guitar, when you face the amplifier you are likely to get some feedback. This can be avoided by simply turning the volume on the guitar down when not in use.

Aside from that, the Gretsch G5120 has a buzz to it when played as an acoustic. I have not investigated too deeply since tools, guitar, and myself are not a good combination. However, I suspect the buzzing is due to the pickguard and electronic components attached to the guitar. Other than ensuring the screws on the pickguard are tight I am leaving the buzz phenomenon alone. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: I cannot speak on how well the guitar was set-up at the factory since I bought this guitar used from the original owner. But, whoever set it up did a fine job as I have not found it necessary to make any adjustments. The action is comfortable to my my liking, not too high and not too low. Overall, it feels like playing an acoustic guitar. I have not found it necessary to make any adjustments to the pickups either. Once again, I have the pickups set the same way the factory or previous owner set them. The only flaw I encountered was a loose nut on the vibrato arm for the Bigsby which I remedied with a couple drops of loctite. // 7

Reliability & Durability: I am sure this guitar can withstand live playing considering it is categorized as a professional level guitar but it will have to be tuned frequently if the Bigsby is used. I have recently added graphite to the nut to see if that helps keep the strings stay in tune after the Bigsby stretches and slacks them. I do not foresee and problems concerning the hardware, and the strap buttons are pretty neat. To add a strap to the guitar you unscrew the knurled knobs and tighten them back down once the strap is in place. The guitar's knurled knobs are too big for the hole on the strap to pass through without considerable force. As I wrote in my last review, as a general rule of thumb I would never perform live without a backup guitar, unless I wanted to demonstrate how I change a broken guitar string. With regards to the finish, I believe it will withstand the test of time. I don't foresee it wearing off although it is susceptible to nicks, dings, and cracks like any other. // 7

Overall Impression: I have been playing guitar for some twenty years now with my other two guitars being an Epiphone Les Paul Standard, and a 3 pickup Black Beauty. The only thing I wish I had asked about prior to buying the Gretsch would be about the floating bridge. However, prior to owning this guitar I was completely ignorant to what a floating bridge was. If this guitar was stolen I would likely buy the Tim Armstrong signature model Gretsch G5191, there are just too many guitars out there I have yet to own or try (says the guy who owns two Epiphone Les Pauls). I love how the G5120 looks and most anyone else seems to like it too because this guitar draws a lot of attention. The fact that Poison Ivy Rorschach and the Reverend Horton Heat both play a Gretsch G6120 is what persuaded me to buy the more affordable G5120 alternative. Although I intend on keeping this guitar stock, I think a pinned bridge with rolling saddles would be an improvement in addition to block mother of pearl fingerboard inlays and a pair of TV Jones pickups. // 8

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overall: 7.8
G5120 Reviewed by: Blompcube, on january 05, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 500

Purchased from: Trevor Davies Music

Features: My G5120 is made in Korea, I think it was made around 2009 or 2010 (I'm not sure, really). Single cutaway, full-size archtop body with a laminate maple top and back, and a maple set-neck with a rosewood fingerboard. It has 22 frets with fairly small Vintage style fretwire, and a relatively short 24.5" scale length. It features white binding on the front and back of the body and on the neck. now on to the hardware: The bridge is a tune-o-matic style mounted onto a rosewood base that is held in place by the string tension, and it has a licensed bigsby B60 vibrato tailpiece. The tuners are Vintage style open-gear tuners. For pickups it has two regular sized Gretsch humbuckers which feature adjustable polepieces for each coil, and classy looking "toaster" covers stamped with the Gretsch logo. The controls feature a 3 position toggle switch, separate volume and tone controls for each pickup, and a master tone control, as well as a master volume control - a slightly eccentric layout but classic Gretsch nonetheless. The guitar's features very primitive locking strap-buttons as standard - simply unscrew them, place the hole of the strap over the screw thread, and screw the buttons back on, to lock the strap in place. The only criticisms I have of the features are that I feel if they had the control layout like a Gibson the guitar may be a little more versatile, but actually these controls do work well in their own unique way, it's useful to be able to control the overall volume with one knob even in the middle position, even if that means you can't adjust the tone for each pickup individually. That and the guitar doesn't come with any sort of case - A guitar this nice deserves a good quality hardshell case. // 8

Sound: Well, it's a Gretsch - expect a twangy sound reminiscent of '50s and '60s rockabilly, rock 'n' roll and surf, with punchy cleans and raunchy overdriven tones. Now the sound of the G5120 has the correct vibe for a classic Gretsch tone, albeit a little lackluster in the top end. This can be remedied by boosting the treble or presence on the amp a fair bit, but this can easily make some amps sound very sharp and nasal - a bit more natural 'sparkle' can be extracted from them by raising the polepieces on one of the coils of each pickup, accentuating the sound of that coil more than the other, but they still don't really deliver the crisp, cutting twang you expect from a Gretsch, and are a little bit muddy, particularly the bridge position. I can't help but feel that most people who buy a G5120 will be wanting to upgrade the pickups soon enough. With a bit of careful tweaking the stock pickups can sound acceptable for the price you pay, but I think there's a lot more potential that the stock pickups aren't making the most of. // 6

Action, Fit & Finish: The factory setup of this guitar was actually one of the best I've ever had, despite the fact the truss rod was loose to the extent of not serving any purpose - the neck is firm enough to take the tension of the factory strings, though, so it didn't cause a problem. The pickups weren't really adjusted either, they were very low and delivered a very weak output, but were noticably improved when I raised them closer to the strings and adjusted the polepieces. For the money the build quality is superb - the guitar itself is flawless and feels like a much more expensive guitar than it is. The only shortcomings are the pickups as I mentioned before, and the bridge, the tune-o-matic isn't really an ideal choice for the shallow angle at which the strings pass over it, as it tends to rattle and buzz a lot, and also the contour of the rosewood base doesn't actually match that of the top of the guitar too well either. But I think if you replace the pickups and the bridge/base, you'll have a pro quality guitar for an excellent price. // 7

Reliability & Durability: This feels like a very sturdy, durable instrument, and I will gig with it as soon as a gig comes along that requires this kind of guitar. The hardware seems decent quality despite my criticisms of the bridge and the pickups. The strap buttons are solid and hold the strap in place very well thanks to their unique design, although the one on the upper bout of the body has a tendency to work itself loose on my G5120 and needs to be tightened from time to time. It definitely seems like a dependable guitar, I never gig without a backup incase of string breakages or any unforseen technical problems (it can happen at any time!), but I would trust this guitar to last a whole gig without any problems and wouldn't be too worried about using it without a backup if I had to. The finish seems bullet-proof like most modern polyeurethane finishes. // 9

Overall Impression: My overall impression of the G5120 is that it's a great guitar, but in order to sell something this good quality at such a good price they had to cut some corners. Fortunately the things that let the guitar down can be improved - since the pickups are standard size humbuckers there are a plethora of aftermarket options available, and the bridge, as well as the loose base it is mounted to, can be replaced very easily too, without making any non-reversible modifications to the guitar. It most certainly is worth upgrading the G5120, as even if you add the cost of the modifications to the total cost of the guitar, you still couldn't have done much better for the money you spent. There is great potential in the G5120, but potential unfortunately not realised with the factory hardware as the pickups and bridge simply hold the guitar back - but that doesn't mean to say it's not a good guitar without modifications. Without any upgrades the guitar is acceptable for the price, but it can be so much more for so little extra money. // 9

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overall: 10
G5120 Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 02, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 799

Purchased from: Fromagier Music

Features: Look up the definition of awesome in the dictionary, and you know what you'll find? The definition of awesome, which is what this Guitar is! I got this Guitar brand new from Fromager Music, I fell in love with it as soon as I started to play it, I knew it was perfect for me. It comes loaded with: 2 Humbuckers with a 3-way switch, a 22 fret neck and a bigsby tailpiece. I also chose one with a light gray pick guard instead of the clear one. I also bought a case, as it did not come with one. One thing that really impresses me on this is the stock pickups are amazing, no upgrades required. // 10

Sound: If gold had a sound, it would sound like this. It suits My playing style perfectly. I could be playing Elvis one minute and AC/D the next, and everything in-between, I can't believe how great the tone is on this baby. The neck pickup gives out a rich/deep/full sound while the bridge pickup gives a crisp/bright/light sound. The range is incredible. It works great with effects too, I have a pedal board that included whammy, wah, phase/flange, delay, trem, etc. And this guitar rocks it. It is fully compatible with heavy effect playing (like Tom Morello), it's freaking amazing! // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Words cannot describe the beauty of this guitar. (I got the Orange model) The wood used is very high quality (The space between the grains is less than 1mm.) and is blemish free. The Guitar is flawless. No finishing errors at all (And usually I'm the first to find these things). The guitar was setup at the store by a professional. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This Guitar is a Tank! I would be ready to ride it into battle at any time. It feels more solidly built than your average hollow body. I think the hardware will last forever on it and the strap buttons are very solid and tight. I still put a strap lock on it, just because I paid allot of money for this thing. But I feel that the buttons alone would have been fine, I'm just cautious. This guitar is perfect for live playing, without a backup even, this think is dependable and you shouldn't have a problem with it. The finish looks durable too. You can see where the neck meets the body, how thick the clear coat is on it (About 1.5 mm.) // 10

Overall Impression: I would recommend this guitar to everyone... In my 6 years of playing electric guitar, I haven't come across anything like it. I would definitely buy it again if I had to, but I plan on keeping it forever. You'll love it. It's Big, It's Beautiful, It's a Gretsch. // 10

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overall: 8
G5120 Reviewed by: the18thempire, on june 13, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 600

Purchased from: private seller

Features: Made in Korea unsure of year, full hollow body, two humbuckers, bigsby tail piece and a confusing at first combination of volume and tone controls, 3 way toggle. // 8

Sound: This is the first hollow bodied guitar that I have both played and owned and it was well worth the money. I bought this guitar on a whim and after getting one the first thing I did was crank the gain and throw on the fuzz pedal and it still sounded way better than a majority of the guitars I have owned in my life time. There is just a huge wall of sound behind every note regardless of what you are trying to play, which is refressing compared to solid bodies. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set up prior to me buying it, so I really ave no complaints in this section. The guitar had no flaws what so ever, the previous owner seemed to be just as anal as myself. // 8

Reliability & Durability: As far a durability goes I believe this ting will last as long as you treat it properly, being hollow means(in my mind)extra attention so be considered for live performances. Though in all honesty I am neurotic. The hardware was something I was actually very impressed with, from the "G" engraved knobs to the strap buttons, which are surprisingly thick. As for with or with out a back up, personal opinion, never go with out a back up. // 7

Overall Impression: Appearence wise, as beautiful as it is it really does gear towards a certain style, sounds wise in my opinion with a little bit of tweeking this thing can belt out some Lamb Of God with out any worries. Awesome guitar overall minus the clear yes clear pick guard, never understood that. Clear?. If it was stolen I'd be in jail. I can't really compare it to another guitar because it is my first hollow body, though I would recommend either trying it or buying it because you wont be disappointed. // 9

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