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Gretsch Electromatic G5420T Review in 2021 – Before You Buy

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Gretsch G5420T Electromatic – Best Hollow-Body Under $1000

Sound
Playability
Overall Quality
Value for Money
Versatility

Summary

My favorite hollow body for 90% of the players out there…

The Tone?

This Electromatic is outfitted with powerful Black Top FilterTron humbuckers. These kick out a big tone that boosts your bottom end.

Even with this low-end drive, you get a lot of treble definition thanks to the maple body. So the tone is not muddy and you can hear all the notes played clearly.

What about the playability?

It’s got a standard “U”-shaped neck profile that adds to the vintage feel and medium jumbo frets perfect for gripping strong chords.

With the right setup, playing is comfortable, and hitting the right strings and frets is effortless. But because it’s big size (both neck & body), this Gretsch is not the best fit for really small hands.

And the looks…

Just beautiful. Plus there are several color options to choose from!

If all this sounds good, click the buttons below to see if this fits your budget(and to see more photos), and then come back here to learn more!

4.6

How G5420T Electromatic sounds:

Compare prices:


Gretsch was one of the first big names in hollow body guitars. They’ve carried their legacy well and continue to make great semi-acoustics with 1930’s looks and sound. 

And Gretsch Electromatic G5420T is my favorite hollow-body choice under 1000 price range, it’s not perfect, but I still love it. Lemme tell you why…

If you want to see more great hollow-body guitars and reviews of alternative options, check this Buyer’s Guide I made with Tommy: 5 Best Hollow Body Guitars Under $1000 – Buyer’s Guide

Gretsch Electromatic G5420T specs:

Body type: Hollow Body

Body wood: 5-Ply Maple

Neck wood: Maple

Neck Shape: Standard “U”

Scale length: 24.6″ (625 mm)

Truss rod: Yes

Fretboard material: Rosewood

Fretboard radius: 12″ (305 mm)

Number of frets: 22 Medium frets

Nut width:1.6875″ (42.86 mm)

Pickups: 2 Black Top Filter’Tron™

Pickup switch: 3-Position Toggle

Bridge: Adjusto-Matic™

Who crafted this Review:

reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Author & Reviewer: Teemu Suomala

Playing guitar since 2009. Mainly focused on electric guitars, although plays acoustics too. Started this blog in January 2020.

Use the table of content to jump to the section you want:

Gretsch Electromatic G5420T Review

Sound

Hear how this axe sounds:

This one comes with 2 Blacktop™ Filter’Tron™ humbuckers. These kick out big tone that boosts your bottom end. The sound is really gentle and warm(even without the amp). It handles clean tones really well, and the overall sound is really detailed in my opinion. I really enjoy listening to this guitar.

Maple body adds nice punch and brightness into the tonality, so leads and catchy solos sound great with this axe.

This guitar handles low-gain tones really well too, so classic rock songs sound a great fit for this axe. But when you start to crank up the gain, you quickly notice why metal guitarists don’t use them with their headbangers.

It’s an all-around smooth-sounding hollow body that takes you back in time to the first days of the electric guitar. In my opinion, the sound is where Gretsch G5420T Electromatic shines the most.

Playability

The neck shape is U, the fretboard has a slight curve with a 12-inch radius. It feels good to wrap your hand around it and start playing some classic riff or chords. Really comfortable neck.

Medium jumbo frets are also great for gripping strong chords.

For me, medium and medium jumbo frets are the most comfortable to play with.

The neck of the G5420T is finished with gloss urethane. If you’ve got sweaty hands, this can feel a bit sticky at times, but in most circumstances, the neck doesn’t feel too sticky.

A 24.6-inch scale length makes the strings relatively easy to press down and improves overall playability. I have been favoring guitars with a shorter scale than 25inches for a while now, these axes just are so much more enjoyable to play.

In my opinion, this neck is not the easiest to play, but it still manages to be really comfortable.

As usual with hollow-body guitars, the overall size of this guitar and especially the body are quite big.

The body of the guitar is big and the depth of the guitar is deep. If you are used to playing a big acoustic or other big hollow-body guitars, this is not a problem for you.

But people like me, who usually play normal-sized electric guitars, it can take some time to get used to Gretsch G5420T Electromatic.

So this axe might not be ideal for small players, but of course, you can learn to rock with this no matter how small you are.

Also, I would make the action slightly lower(easy with the truss rod and saddle adjustments), but this guitar is usually really playable out of the box.

Quality

When I have played this one in music stores, the quality has been very good in my opinion.

  • No rough edges
  • flaws in paint-job
  • or anything else.

Body build quality is great, along with the construction of most other parts. Tuning seems to usually be one of the strongest aspects of this guitar quality-wise.

My personal experiences with Gretsch G5420T Electromatic have always been really pleasant, nothing to complain about the quality. But…

Users have reported that sometimes tuning machines have not been as durable you would wish when paying this much for a guitar. They generally hold stable but have been causing problems for some users in the long run. Users have said that sometimes tuning machines wear out after a few months and could stand to be replaced out the gate.

In some cases, there have also been some cracks in the paint job. In the neck and in the body. And some setup problems too. These are rare but possible. Of course, you can usually return the guitar for a refund if there are some flaws out of the box, but these quality issues definitely are a small minus.

Looks

About the looks…in my opinion, this guitar looks amazing and sophisticated at the same time. It has many different color options, and my favorite is the black one.

The finish of Gretsch guitars I have seen has always been spot on, and usually, you see heads turning when Gretsch Electromatic is in the room.

Summary

Pros:

  • Sounds beautiful
  • Looks great
  • Maple body adds snap to the tone
  • FilterTron pickups deliver powerful tones
  • Bigsby vibrato tailpiece so you can personalize your riffs
  • Comfortable neck
  • Does what it should do
  • Quality(most of the time)

Cons:

  • Not the easiest to play(U-neck feels thick and bigger body)
  • In some rare cases, there have been issues with the quality
  • It can take some time to get used to the big body
  • Unreliable tuning machines in some cases

When first I laid my hands on Gretsch G5420T Electromatic, I noticed how comfortably the neck is and how gentle the sound is.

Gretsch G5420T Electromatic does what it should do almost perfectly. If you are looking for a versatile, comfortable, and great-sounding hollowed-body electric guitar, this is a great option for you.

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Alternatives

Modern Runner-UpPRS SE Hollowbody Standard

Pros

  • Warm and full tones
  • Really good with blues, country, and classic rock
  • Good grip and control because of chunky wide-fat neck
  • Medium frets and comfortable neck make playing really effortless with the right setup
  • Build and finish quality are spot-on
  • Stable and durable PRS bridge
  • Great Value for Money

Cons

  • If you want bright tones, not the best option
  • Big body and chunky neck not suitable for everyone
  • Setup is sometimes poor out of the box(easy to fix tho)
  • You can get better tuners for this price

It’s a PRS SE, and it has the quality you would expect from one.

It can’t beat up Original PRS’s, but for the price, it’s a great pick.

It’s one of the best options if you are looking for a chunky body and neck, but also want smooth playability and full tones.


Best Budget (and for Distorted Genres) – Ibanez Artcore Expressionist AG95QA

This is the lowest cost option and one of my favorite hollow body models. It’s versatile and fun to play, but it’s just a little bit cheaper in some of the finer construction details.

It’s easier to play than most hollow-bodies and it offers versatile tones, that’s why it’s a great budget option.

Check Price on:


Best for Vintage Experience – Gretsch G100CE Synchromatic Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar

I’ve included this guitar simply because it gives you the closest experience you can get to old-timey hollow body musicianship. It plays like a true classic, but that’s not exactly a perk. The guitar design has come a long way since the 1940s.

So, if you want a versatile, great-sounding hollow body, you can do better than this G100CE. But for folks looking for a vintage experience, this guitar is a great choice.

Check Price on:


FAQ

Are Gretsch Electromatic guitars good?

Gretsch Electromatic guitars usually offer you a great bang for your buck.

They’re

  • versatile
  • good quality
  • comfortable to play instruments…
  • great for players looking for an axe with a classic vibe’s.

I don’t personally own one, but I have been playing Gretsch Electromatic several times in music stores and my friend also owns one. I personally have nothing to complain about.

But I have heard that some people have not been satisfied with Electromatics. Usually, there is no issues with sound and playability, but in some cases, the quality has not been there.

To be more specific, there have been issues with a paint job and tuning machines. Of course, you could have these problems with any guitar, but at this price range, quality control should catch guitars with issues like these. This is definitely a minus.

But my own and about 97% of other player’s experiences with Gretsch Electromatic have been so positive that I definitely feel comfortable recommending Electromatic for players who want to buy a high value for money hollow-body guitar.

Where are the Gretsch Electromatic g5420t guitars made?

The back of the headstock reveals that Gretsch Electromatic g5420t guitars are made in Korea.

Conclusion

If someone asks ”what is the best hollow-body guitar under 1000”? Gretsch Electromatic G5420T is my answer. I just love how it sounds, the comfortable playability and quality has always been good when I have laid my hands on Electromatic.

As I said, this is not a perfect guitar, it’s bigger than most, not super-easy to play, and in some cases, bad apples seem to slip through the quality check. That’s unfortunate and a minus for sure, but for me, these things don’t stain the magic of Gretsch Electromatic G5420T.

Note: I recommend that you check out the alternative options I mentioned above.

I hope that this review helped you out! I wish you all the best and keep rocking!

Teemu Suomala

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