Gretsch Electromatic G5420T Review in 2020 – Before You Buy

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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…

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™

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Gretsch Electromatic G5420T Review

Sound

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 great fit for this axe. But you probably already knew this, heavy metal is not the ideal music for the Electromatic.

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

Hear how this axe sounds:

Playability

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

Medium jumbo frets are also great for gripping strong chords.

The neck of the G5420T is finished with gloss urethane. If you’ve got sweaty hands, this can feel a bit sticky at times.

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 guitar, 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 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 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 perfectly. If you are looking for a versatile, comfortable, and great-sounding hollowed-body electric guitar, this is a great option for you.

 

 

Alternatives

Best for Jazz – D’Angelico Premier EXL-1 Hollow-Body

I usually ask for more versatility from my instruments because I play many different genres. Since the Premier EXL-1 is specified for jazz, it’s not my favorite guitar. But, it’s still a great hollow body with a sweet tone and a great overall design.

If you’re a jazz enthusiast looking for the perfect hollow body, this is one of the best guitars you could go with.

>>Check Price on Amazon<<

 

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 detailss

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 Amazon<<

 

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 Amazon<<

 

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

 

FAQ

Are Gretsch Electromatic guitars good?

Gretsch Electromatic guitars usually offer you a great bang for your buck. They’re versatile, good quality and 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 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 experiences and 97% of other players with Gretsch Electromatic have been so positive that I definitely feel comfortable recommending Electromatic for players who want to buy an 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 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! If you have any questions, leave a comment down below. Feel free to share this post too.

I wish you all the best and keep rocking!

Teemu Suomala

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