My $10.00USD a set Gretsch Electromatic guitar strings arrived yesterday.  I immediately installed the slighted rusted .11-.49 “Rhythm – N – Blues” gauges on my Gretsch G5120 — even though the factory installed strings were D’Addario EXL115.  I wonder why Gretsch guitars don’t arrive installed with Gretsch stings?  Is it because the Electromatic strings cost twice as much as D’Addario?

I have no idea why the Gretsch strings are so expensive, especially since they come in non-hermetically sealed packaging that welcomes rusting.  If Gibson and Ernie Ball and D’Addarrio can all vacuum seal our guitar strings for rust-free freshness, why can’t Fender/Gretsch?

One thing I really do appreciate is the extra 1st and 2nd strings included in the pack.  I actually had two extra first strings included in addition to the single extra 2nd.  The extra strings don’t mean the strings are inferior — it just proves that Gretsch knows those lighter strings can break more readily if being played hard or they can even snap during the initial tuning process.  By having extra strings you don’t have to worry about losing one and then opening a second pack just to singly replace what was lost.

I don’t exactly know what “the low-pressure string with the ‘velvet touch'” means — it could be fancy PR newspeak — or it could mean Gretsch have found a way to manufacture guitar strings in Mexico with “U.S. Materials” that don’t cut your fingers as hard as traditional .11s.

I have been using .9s on all my guitars, but the Gretsch Electromatic strings are certainly nice and loud and non-finger cutting.  They sound bold and brazen on my G5120 and I now understand why that hollowbody guitar was made to sing with heavier strings.

Heavier strings do create a heavier tone — and I like that added sound weight — and I’m seriously considering moving up to .11-.49 strings on all my guitars just to get a another bite of that new, bulkier, driving, vibration gnawing in my ear.


  1. That’s a good point, Gordon. It would be easy enough to check for rust that way — unfortunately, many of us buy our strings via mail order to get the best bulk pricing.

  2. I am in Sydney Australia and have a Gretsch G5435T Electromatic Pro-jet. I found this article in a Google Search. I would like to be able to buy the Gretsch Electomatic strings but I can’t find anywhere that sells them in Sydney. Do you know where I could buy them online?

    Philip L

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