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Gretsch Thunder Jet?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Gyver, Dec 5, 2018.


  1. Howdy,

    I have been considering a Gretsch Thunder Jet for quite a while and am about ready to pull the trigger. There are a few short threads on Talkbass about them, but no sound samples anywhere online that I can find. Does anyone on here have one, and if so how would you describe the sound, ergonomics, positives, negatives etc. Also it would be great if anyone happens to have a link to audio/video of one in action.

    Thanks,
    Gyver
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
    PkFloydLvr likes this.
  2. Bump
     
  3. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    I've looked at those from time to time also, but could never find any sound clips either and wound up balking over the price (given so little sonic information to go on). They look cool and MIJ Gretschs are very well made (if a G-1622-JR guitar I had is any basis for judgement).

    That's all I got.
     
    Gyver likes this.
  4. I think I'm going to bite the bullet and go for it. Then I will post video / audio to appease the 11 people worldwide who are also interested in the Thunder Jet lol.
     
    outoftune, eottjake, berlihe and 2 others like this.
  5. PkFloydLvr

    PkFloydLvr

    Nov 27, 2018
    Central Ohio
    Gyver - I am also interested in the Thunder Jet and have the same reservations. I can not justify the cost when I've found none in stock (four shops that sell Gretsch basses), and no clips? I am intrigued ... but reality trumps.

    I am looking forward to your impressions.
     
    Gyver likes this.
  6. Yeah man, if I do get one it will be after Christmas, but for sure I will post sound clips and video if I do!
     
  7. I had one. Sorry, no sound clips it was a while back.
    The build quality was great, the bass played & sounded fine-I liked TV Jones pickups, nicie and deep.

    Deal-breakers for me were the short-scale (don't like them) and most of all- the bridge.
    I think someone made an aftermarket bridge for these, very limited production if they're even still around.

    It's a looker, and Gretsch has always been under the radar with their basses.

    Good luck!
     
    Gyver likes this.
  8. Thanks for the info, I appreciate it. What didn't you like about the bridge?
     
  9. a1.

    Unlike say, a Hipshot or Gotoh bridge, there are no individual saddle adjustments, only a 2-point system of lowering/raising the entire bridge on both sides.
    Also, IIRC, that assembly rests on the wooden bar which I believe moves when strings are removed, so intonation is not quite the same as with a more standard piece.

    I don't care much for a tailpiece either, even when I owned my Warwicks.

    Now all of those were my issues- If you play or have played the bass and it feels good, don't let any of that stop you!

    FWIW, I also had a Gretsch Spectrasonic (33" scale, also w/ TV Jones pups which I really like).
    Now that was an amazing bass I wish I still had.

    I will say again that the bass sounded good! At the time, I was running through an Ampeg rig, and the Thunderjet did just that...Thundered and Thumped.
    It's a very well-made instrument despite the quirks that I didn't like.
     
  10. The floating bridge is the main issue for me. I had a Gretsch Brian Setzer guitar for a while and that was only thing I didn't like about it.
     
  11. There was (still is?) a GRETSCH forum, and one member there fabricated aftermarket bridges; but I think he's long gone!
    I can't understand why- on a very cool bass like this- as well as the Billy Bo, Gretsch hasn't moved into the 21st Century and fabricated a Hipshot-type bridge for these guys. If they did, I bet they would be waaay more popular.
    A lot of players are trending towards short-scale, the quality of the Thunderjet absolutely SMASHES (IMO) the "competition" like the Huntington Supro and many others.
    TV Jones pups, excellent construction, etc. make these premium quality basses- except for the bridge!
     
  12. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    I'm not sure what the Gretsch tone is, or what the deal is with those pups, but people rave about them. I ended up buying an Epiphone Jack Casady 20th Anniversary in flame maple wine red a year and a half ago and never looked back. (Long scale only.)
     

  13. TV Jones:
    Bass Pickups

    I REALLY like these pups; I've had (2) basses, both Gretsch. that had them.
    IMO- they are way under the radar- So much talk about Nordstrand, Darkstar, etc. (justifiably so!) and others, but you rarely hear about these guys.

    I would totally spec these if I were to order a build. They have a solid output and a great definition for bass guitar.
     
    cubanz and B-Mac like this.
  14. GoLeafsGo

    GoLeafsGo Not Quite Right! Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2013
    Whitby Ontario
    That is my holy grail, but cannot yet justify the cost.
    You might want to try over at Gretsch-Talk, a really friendly forum.

    Or maybe @Pilgrim can chime in, I think he has one of these....
     
    Gyver likes this.
  15. B-Mac

    B-Mac Sorting Things Out Supporting Member

    I bought a 2017 model off of GC used for a real bargain.
    Professional level instrument.
    Probably one of the best SS basses out there.
    This is a chambered body.
    I do not regret my purchase.
    @Pilgrim also has one.
    IMG_7302.

    I own 3 other Gretsch basses. The 5442, the 5123 and the 6073
    The 5442 has the black top filter 'trons.
    The other three have the TV Jones Thunder 'trons and they are awesome. They are deeper sounding than the Gretsch Black Top Filter 'trons
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
  16. Andy235

    Andy235

    Dec 14, 2018
    Maryland
    I only currently have 2 basses. A MIM Fender J Bass and a short scale Gretsch 2202 Junior Jet. I have flats on both (I used to play rounds but I deeply regret that stage in my life!). I have to say, that short Gretsch with flats has a great deep thumping tone to it. Very vintage sounding. I love that bass. It punches way above it's weight class. Don't sleep on Gretsch basses, and this is a budget model.
     
  17. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    That Thunderjet is by far the most beautifully made bass I own, and I love the sound. It also can be set to incredibly low action.

    Gretsch has their Electromatic line, which i like very much, and their professional line, which includes the Thunderjet and the BillyBo. When I got mine - having never played one before - I found out what professional level means. Impeccable fit and finish, solid hardware, great ergonomics and balance. It's definitely a step up from the Electromatic line.

    I currently have two Electromatics and the Thunderjet, and they are the basses I play most often among the dozen I own. I prefer them even to my 1963 Precision, partly because of their sound and partly because I have grown fonder of short scale.

    Incidentally listed retail on the Thunderjet and BillyBo is both around $2800, but you can buy them all the time for $1800, and if you watch ebay for a while (took me nearly a year) you can buy one around $1300. Get the case, too.

    Last night I played a gig with my 5123, which is a medium scale. (This photo was taken right after I got it, and there was still a piece of foam under the bridge to avoid scratches while shipping. That's how Gretsch treats even their Electromatic line.)

    P1010122.JPG
     
    Andy235 and B-Mac like this.
  18. Excellent, thanks for info!
     
  19. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    "I think someone made an aftermarket bridge for these, very limited production if they're even still around"

    Tru-Arc. They are available in several different metal options and are radius-matched to the fingerboard:

    TRU-ARC BRIDGEWORKS

    I know for sure that Tru-Arc has made bridges for Gretsch basses in the past, but you'll have to contact them to make sure they still do. I had an aluminum one on a Gretsch guitar and it improved playability and tone over the stock, TOM-type. Intonation was fine.

    An outfit called Compton also used to make after-market bridges for Gretsch guitars, but I'm not sure if they're around and never heard about any Compton bass bridges.

    Floating bridge bases can be pinned. But I'd advise settling on the bridge type you want to use before pinning it. Exact bridge position is critical when using a Tru-Arc, for example, because there are no saddles to adjust.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018

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