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Gretsch basses - 5123 vs 5440

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AlexanderB, Aug 20, 2012.


  1. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

    Feb 25, 2007
    Sweden
    I have not found any direct comparison between these two basses. Has anyone here any experience?
    I spent a few minutes playing a 5440 in a shop some weeks ago and was not exactly overwhelmed. Will the different pickups and scale make the 5123 feel and sound like a different model?

    *edit*
    Added the 5442.
     
  2. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I have a 5123. I think, if you didn't like the 5440, you might not be into the whole Gretsch hollowbody thing. I like medium or short scale better for hollowbody basses, but, as much as I like my Gretsch, it isn't perfect. The TV Jones pickups are sigle pole pickups, and the pole spacing doesn't match the string spacing. So, string volume can be an issue. The bridge isn't attached, and lateral movement can help or hurt with the string volume issue. Also, the master voume is a weird and somewhat useless concept. On the other hand, it plays well and I like the way it sounds. The string volume thing is manageable. Plus, it just looks cool.
     
  3. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

    Feb 25, 2007
    Sweden
    I think the bass looks fine and there were no obvious flaws to finish or execution. I did not notive any outstanding string to string volume jumps.

    My main concerns were:
    A bit inconsistent volume and tone along the fretboard. (Going from open E step by step up to 15:th or so fret revealed some noticable jumps in output and sustain.)
    Some dead-ish spots, which normally seems to be less of a problem for shorter scale basses.
    And like you said, the control layout and controls... Well, one sure could get by with less knobs.
     
  4. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I think that is both the beauty and the curse of hollowbody basses. Certain spots on the neck are thumpier than others. It certainly affect where you grab a particular note - when you have a choice.
     
  5. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

    Feb 25, 2007
    Sweden
    I did spend a few minutes with the Epiphone Jack Casady bass in the same shop. The JC was definitely more balanced in volume and had a bit more "authority" to the tone. There was however a nasty buzzing through the pickup regardless of grounding the strings or not. Switching the impedance selector made the buzz change in volume.

    (The bass amp room in this shop has lots of aggressive electrical interference - much more so than I have encoutered at any gig, save one. It makes most amps and basses performmuch worse that they will do in real life. I am 100% sure they have lost a lot of potential sales due to this...)
     
  6. iamthebassman

    iamthebassman

    Feb 24, 2004
    Austin,Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    As an absolute lover of hollowbody basses, my advice: Be aware of the idiosyncrasies before diving into the hollowbody pool.
     
  7. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    LA
    iirc there was a cheap aria tab66 on the gc used site last night, might save you some cash over the gretsch
     
  8. AlexanderB

    AlexanderB

    Feb 25, 2007
    Sweden
    BUMP. Added the 5442.

    By the way - how loud can you play before getting feedback problems? Will it work for lighter rock and blues? I have no parametric cut options to fight feedback on any of my amps.
     

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