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FDP Forum / The Gretsch Forum / New G5120


B.C. Canada

Do your best, fake the rest
Jan 24th, 2012 04:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

Picked up a new G5120. I really like it. It feels great and plays well. So far, I've spent a fair amount of time adjusting the pickups. They seem to sound best lower down with the pole screws raised up to 5/32" beneath each string. This gives a nice open chime that is not too bright. Set them too high, and it sounds like cheap Gibson pickups. Too low, with pole pieces down, and there is no punch.
I've ordered a Compton brass bridge. The stock bridge is a complete POS with some of the adjustment screws frozen with fake chrome coating. I quickly swapped it out for an old Nashville TOM from a Les Paul. At least I can adjust for intonation now. The pots and switches seem good with a good range of control. The workmanship is flawless. Overall, a great guitar for low $$$ and it looks like a million $$$.

Contributing Member

That chicken

is WRONG, baby.
Jan 24th, 2012 09:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

They are great guitars. A really good set of pickups *will* transform the guitar into a real tone machine. The stock mudbuckers work, but they really lack the dynamics and punch a decent set of units provide.

Contributing Member


Genetically modified since 4.8billion BC
Jan 27th, 2012 09:55 PM   Edit   Profile  

I just picked up one too - today in fact. There were five in the store. The first one down on a floor stand played just awful, and sounded real plinkety and cardboardy. Way over priced I thought. Played the Epi's for a while and much better playability. But that's not the style I wanted. Back to the 5120s. Tried remaining four and each was very very different in terms of feel and surprisingly tone. Much better than the one on the floor- really strange. I wanted the orange but the wine one was better sounding than the rest. So much so I'm convinced these pickups are not all the same internally despite outward appearances. The two best ones were really different in tone - bright and jangly vs. deep and sweet. Like completely different models. I went with the sweet. Neither had the mud I hear about, but I need to spend time with her tomorrow to get to know and maybe I'll hear it in spades? So... with those two screw on one side pup brackets, what aftermarket pup can you get to fit?

(This message was last edited by CheapShoes at 05:31 AM, Jan 28th, 2012)

Contributing Member


Genetically modified since 4.8billion BC
Jan 28th, 2012 05:37 AM   Edit   Profile  

PappaRay: How did you go about setting the intonation? I mean removing the foam and moving the bridge assembly? Seems like that would potentially be a whole lot of string loosening-adjust-tightening repeated to get there. Oh- and what flavor did you get?


B.C. Canada

Do your best, fake the rest
Jan 30th, 2012 02:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

Well, Cheapshoes
Mine didn't have the foam under the brdige as I got it from a music store, not online.To adjust the intonation, I first tossed the stock Gretsch bridge per my post above. I then put on new strings. Never intonate a guitar with old strings especially the ones that come with it when you get it. I adjusted the height of the bridge till the action height was good for me. I then made sure there was adjustment each way for each string on the saddles and, hooking up my Peterson Strobostomp, I slid the wood bridge back and forth till it was pretty close. I compared the open string to the fretted string at the 12th fret. If the fretted string is sharp - move the bridge a little more away from the neck, if it is flat, move the bridge a little closer to the neck. The bridge should be parallel to the pickup ring, not at an angle. I then fine tuned each saddle with the adjustment screws.

I have a Compton coming. All I can do then is slide the whole bridge around.

Contributing Member


Feb 26th, 2012 11:40 AM   Edit   Profile  

Congrats, PappaRay!

You'll like the Compton Bridge, I'm sure - I have a couple (AL).


B.C. Canada

Do your best, fake the rest
Mar 7th, 2012 08:57 AM   Edit   Profile  

The brass Compton was a great improvement. Better tone and sustain, feels better, and keeps the Bigsby in tune perfectly. Best $60 I ever spent.

Contributing Member


Mar 7th, 2012 08:06 PM   Edit   Profile  

My favorite guitar, my mods include all new wiring, tv jones classics, new pots, vintage Gretch bridge ,and painted pick guard. Great playing and sounding guitar.

Contributing Member

Midwest USA

Ride, shoot straight, speak the truth
Jun 16th, 2012 01:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

My 5120 from January is still stock. A couple of comments.
The tuning probems from the Bigsby went away after a little intense use - as I'd hoped they would. Just needed the burrs worked in on the nut and bridge by doing the whammy. The bad: overall I'd like the action to be looser and smoother. It's always been stiff. I had attributed that to the 11s or 12s that were on it when I purchased her, but I've used my usual 10s since and it's really on the stiff side. Hard to pull a full step bend except in the middle fret zone. Maybe the frets aren't polished very well, but I suspect it is just the neck shape and material. Lastly, I'm fine with existing pups. Just hit the bright switch on the amp if I need sc sparkle and sizzle on a tune. Do adjust those PUP pole screws upward though.

Contributing Member


Jul 13th, 2012 06:48 PM   Edit   Profile  

I had one, modded it with TV Jones pups, then sold it. Definitely regret that sale...I will one day do it all over again. They are great guitars. With upgraded pickups, they are as good as the high end Gretsch guitars.

FDP Forum / The Gretsch Forum / New G5120

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