That Great Gretsch Sound: The G5120 Electromatic Hollow Body

Gretsch G5120 Hollowbody Guitar

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Gretsch G5120 Hollowbody Guitar

Gretsch® electric guitars have been seen in the hands of many famed axe slingers, everyone from rockabilly innovators Duane Eddie and Edie Cochran to contemporary Stray Cat strutter Brian Setzer to Texas blues and boogiemeister, Billy Gibbons. Want a piece of what these famed players have? It’s not out of the question with the G5120 Electromatic Hollow Body guitar from Gretsch®.

A little bit about Gretsch®

Gretsch, which has been in the business of manufacturing and selling musical instruments since 1883, has had its financial ups and downs. Despite an illustrious legacy in drum and guitar manufacturing, Gretsch stopped production for a while in the mid 80s.

The famous Gretsch® name has regained favor with a number of present-day artists, as explained on the company’s website:

“With its emphasis on hand-craftsmanship and commitment to quality, Gretsch® has pioneered new designs and manufacturing techniques, winning endorsements from some of the music industry’s most respected artists, including Chet Atkins, Bono, Charlie Watts, Neil Young and Phil Collins.”

It’s a little known fact that Gretsch® is also the manufacturer of Bigsby® Vibratos.

An Electromatic Hollow Body

The G5120 is a member of Gretsch®’s Electromatic Collection of guitars. A single cutaway Nashville shape with laminated maple sides, back and top, this slick hollow body is available in a gloss urethane finish, black, orange or sunburst.

The bound top and dual f-holes add an element of style to the instrument’s twangy sound and conventional grace.

The sound is in the pick-ups

When it comes to the electronics of the G5120, it’s “HH” Gretsch® dual-coil Humbucker configuration falls somewhere between Epiphone’s Dot electric guitars and a hollow body Gibson model, though admittedly, that’s quite a wide swath.

The mixing and matching on the switching is done by way of a three position toggle switch, one master volume control, one master tone and two separate volume knobs, one for each pick-up.

The Neck

The Electromatic’s bound maple neck sports 22 frets with a rosewood fingerboard. Scale length is 24.5″ and a string nut is made of synthetic bone.


The G5120 has chrome-plated hardware, Die-Cast tuners, a Bigsby® B60 Vibrato tailpiece and a flat handle tremolo arm.

Special features

Pearloid “Thumbnail” position markers and headstock inlays along with the silver plexi pickguard adds a singular character to the G5120 hollow body.

Gretsch® offers a conditional warranty and an unusual disclaimer on its website regarding the parts used in its products:

Notice regarding use of historic patent numbers/markings: Some Gretsch® products are intentional recreations or reissues of vintage guitars and guitar components, and may therefore incorporate markings or text associated with original patents that have since expired.”

This may apply to the G5120.

“Specific examples of such models include patent numbers on certain FILTER’TRON™ pickups and patent numbers on BIGSBY® tailpieces. Such markings are included only for the sake of historical accuracy, and are not intended to denote or imply live patents or ongoing patent protection.”

The price

While a domestically based business, the Gretsch® G5120 is made outside of the United States. The notable guitar maker appears to address potential concerns of quality by reminding prospective customers about the corporation’s illustrious past:

“We invite you to join us in celebrating five generations of family and musical history as we look forward to another 125 years of ‘That Great Gretsch® Sound!’”

Gretsch®’s G5120 Electromatic Hollow Body guitar lists for $1,075; online it can be had for as low as $750. Not a high price to pay for a part of tradition.

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Paul Wolfle

As a vintage and contemporary music enthusiast, guitars dominate Paul’s life. He plays slide in open tunings on a National Steel Tricone resonator and electric blues, in standard tuning, on an assortment of other instruments including his white Fender Stratocaster.

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