Bass Number 92 Gretsch G5123

Gretsch G5123 Bass Guitar

Gretsch G5123 Bass Guitar

When I started writing this article, I was surprised that this was only the second Gretsch bass that I’d reviewed.  I certainly have played a few over the years.

This one is a bit of an oddball (oddbass?) to me.  It’s a Gretsch G5123B

The classic 1960’s Gretsch bass models where the 6070/6072 and the 6071/6073.  The 6070/6072 were the long scale, double cutaway bass versions of the Country Gentleman guitar.  The 6070 was a single pickup and the 6072 was a two pickup version.  The 6071/6073 were short scale basses, with single cutaway and a slightly smaller body.  (16″ over 17″ on the 6070/6072)  The 6071/6073 models also featured a 4-inline headstock instead of the 2 + 2 on the Country Gentleman.  A Gretsch G6072 was reviewed in a previous article on 101 Basses.  The 6073 is probably most famous as being played by Peter Tork of the Monkees. (See Vintages Guitars and Basses)

Gretsch G5123 Headstock

Gretsch G5123 Headstock

In the current Gretsch catalogue the only similar 6072 style bass is the 6136 White Falcon, which appears to be the same model and list for $4700.00USD.  (Yikes!)  There is also a modern version of the 6073, but with a slightly longer scale and a 2 + 2 headstock.  The 4-inline was rather ugly anyways.

What’s interesting about the Gretsch catalogue is that they have a number of cheap basses and a number of expensive ones, but no mid line instruments.

It seems that Eastwood may have filled that gap by producing there Classic 4 bass.  Which is of course modelled after the G6072.  The Classic 4 had been retailing for about $800.00, but I’ve seen them for about $500.00 lately.

So here I am in Guitar Center in Kirkland WA and I come across this new Gretsch bass.  Which is not listed in the Gretsch catalogue.

Gretsch G5123 Bass Guitar - Price at Guitar Center

Gretsch G5123 Bass Guitar - Price at Guitar Center

I did a bit of searching and found, “A limited edition model originally offered at Guitar Center for a doorbuster special in 2010. There was only one per store, and not every store got one. For the folks who managed to get their hands on one, they picked up a big hollow orange bass with two TV Jones ThunderTron pickups for well under $1,000. But the response to this limited edition was pretty good, so they made a …“.  So it seems that this is a limited edition Gretsch bass that just happens to see in that mid price range, retailing for about $800.00 USD.

This is actually a pretty cool bass.  A 16″ body like the smaller 6073, single cutaway, 2 + 2 headstock.  And, it has a mid range 32″ scale.  This is cool, because if you’ve ever played the original 6072 you know it’s a monster.  And, to get over the stigma of the 30″ scale, the 32” scale is a good compromise.

One thing that really comes out in the picture here is the bright orange finish.  It’s beautiful and I think a few years ago it would have made me barf.  But there’s something really sixties about this, and for me, when I think of hollowbody basses, I think sixties sound.

While I was in the store I ended up talking to another bass player that owns one of these.  He seemed to think it was absolutely awesome and had been using it as his main bass for sometime.

One think about Gretsch’s that I do need to figure out is what all the knobs are for.  One day I’ll have to sit down a read the manual.  It’s always a guessing game for me, twist controls until I get a sound I like.  And no idea how I got there.

I do actually like this bass a lot.  So much that I think I’ll put it up there on my top ten GAS list.  It was a really nice bass to play and has a really cool vibe to it.  And just like owning a Ric, there’s some mystique to playing a Gretsch isn’t there?

“Stay Tuned!”


Gretsch – The Guitars of the Fred Gretsch Companyby Jay Scott.  This is an amazing book on the history of Gretsch guitars.  There’s piles of information about everything Gretsch here.  With maybe a bit of an exception to basses.  Only four pages of the book and a few short paragraphs are dedicated to Gretsch basses.  Lots of great colour photos as well, but again, not one colour bass photo.Regardless this is a great book for anybody interested in Gretsch.  There are forwards by a number of greats including George Harrison and Randy Bachman.  Bachman is a self proclaimed “Gretsch-A-Holic”, owning 260 Gretsch’s.  (Must be catchy!)A must own for any true Guitar-A-Aholic.
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