Electromatics

G5420T Pickups

1

After years of longing this Christmas I finally got my first Gretsch guitar. It's the new Electromatic G5420T in sunburst and it is absolutely beautiful. I do not like the Balwin blacktop pickups though. The neck pickup is good but I was very disappointed by the one in the bridge. The low strings sound like a blanket has been put over it and the high strings sound like an icepick to me. I don't know how that's possible but that's what it sounds like to my ears. Everything I've read online people only seem to have good things to say about the Baldwin blacktop Filtertrons. I'm wondering is it just me or has anyone else noticed this? I'm thinking about swapping the bridge pickup out for a TV Classic Plus.

2

Have you tried adjusting the pickup height? It sounds to me like the bridge pickup might be too low.

3

I do not like the blacktops in my Tim Armstrong either. Neck is ok, but bridge is weak. Thinking of switching to TV's as well.

4

I love the blactops in my 5422. You just have to adjust them and they need to be very close to the strings. Once you find the sweet spot, you'll hear the angels sing.

6

thanks for the advice. i'm going to try adjusting the bridge. if it doesn't help I'm going to change the bridge out for a Classic Plus. I don't look forward to changing that pickup out though.

7

After adjusting the pickup height I have come to the realization that it's the pickup. It just sucks. I don't know maybe it's me. All my guitars before this one have always had P-90's/P-94's so maybe I'm just not used to it but i just can't imagine that is how it is supposed to sound. I swear the low strings especially the low E sound completely muffled and almost farts out but the high strings sound like an icepick its really harsh. Maybe I just got a bad one. Either way I'm going to swap it out for a TV Classic Plus. I can't believe a $900 guitar sounds this bad. Between that and the terrible setup and the thick neck I am really disappointed with my first Gretsch. I expected so much better.

8

I'm not a huge fan either (Tim Armstrong model) - I'm replacing with Powertron & Powertron Plus - this is going to be my "high gain" Gretsch 8-)

The Blacktops are... fine... pickups, just not great. At least with my amp & pedal setup.

I'm in the process of modding the heck out of the TA anyway, so I figured it's a good time to switch pups.

9

If you're expecting a humbucker to sound similar to a P90 single coil, you're going to be changing bridge pickups on a regular basis. TV Classics are mid-range honkers. If you play with a lot of distortion and/or overdrive maybe it will work for you, but I doubt it.

All guitars regardless of price require a good setup so it will feel right to you. The factory setting is just a starting point.

Also, I have very large hands so the big neck is a blessing to me.

I play clean 98% of the time and I can get close to a Tele sound with my bridge pickup. Very clean and punchy bottom end and sparkly but not harsh or brittle highs.

Good luck in your pickup quest and I'm sorry your first Gretsch has been a disappointment.

10

the setup can make a good guitar sound terrible. I got a New (to me) Duo Jet with HS filtertrons sounded horrid till i set it up right.

11

like Bear i play also 99 % clean on my 5420 and i like the sound of the pickups. the first thing i've made when i've receveid the guitar was to change the strings on it. I've put a set of 10/46 Rotosound on it and the guitar sound excellent.

http://www.youtube.com/watc...

12

the setup can make a good guitar sound terrible. I got a New (to me) Duo Jet with HS filtertrons sounded horrid till i set it up right.

– Stephen

the setup can make a good guitar sound terrible. I got a New (to me) Duo Jet with HS filtertrons sounded horrid till i set it up right.

– Stephen

After I got past the "wow, they're so much better than the stock ones!" honeymoon with the Lollar Firehums in my Explorer, there was a lot I didn't like. I played around for ages with the damn thing to no avail. Finally I had the idea of trying to back the pickups way, way off from a thread I read somewhere on here, and suddenly! Angels! I tilted the treble ends further from the strings than the bass ends too. The guitar has muscle like an old Dodge now... I reckon I'm going to get custom R/T TRC and pickguard made now...

I reckon they're the closest a humbucker gets to more of a single coil palate, but I am mad keen to get some blacktops after hearing so many single coil fans rave about them!

13

thanks for the advice. I'm going to try messing with the pickups again. if I do change out the bridge pickup I was wondering if I could just cut the wires from the old pickup and solder the new pickup to the old wire? Would this work? I know it seems like a ghetto way to change the pickups but I seriously do not look forward to pulling all the wiring out on that guitar and possibly risk scratching up the finish while working on it.

14

like Bear i play also 99 % clean on my 5420 and i like the sound of the pickups. the first thing i've made when i've receveid the guitar was to change the strings on it. I've put a set of 10/46 Rotosound on it and the guitar sound excellent.

http://www.youtube.com/watc...

– didier delcourt

like Bear i play also 99 % clean on my 5420 and i like the sound of the pickups. the first thing i've made when i've receveid the guitar was to change the strings on it. I've put a set of 10/46 Rotosound on it and the guitar sound excellent.

http://www.youtube.com/watc...

– didier delcourt

Good point Didier.

I now use Thomastic-Infeld JS110 flatwounds on my 5422 and I like the sound even better that the Fender roundwounds I used at first. Strings are often overlooked as the reason for poor tone.

15

My personal experience, I was turned off by the first three guitars I played with BT Filtertrons. The past two days I've spent some time with a 5422 and experimented with raising the pickups closer to the strings and adjusting the pole pieces a little too. The big strings, closest to your nose, were weak in comparison to the others. (Playing clean tones here too.)

16

I went and started adjusting the pickups. I lowered them a bit and adjusted the angle. I'm not quite there but I do here very noticeable improvement. The treble side isn't as harsh and the bass side is a bit more articulate. I'm going to mess with them some more and see if I can't get it a little closer to where I will be happy. I still may change the bridge though. It just doesn't seem to have that "Gretsch" tone to it. The neck pickup does but the bridge doesn't have it.

17

jonathon, I failed to mention, I made all these adjustments with a Tru Arc stainless steel bridge installed. Your adjustments may be getting closer to what you want to hear, but a better bridge may be the vehicle that ultimately gets you there.

19

After years of longing this Christmas I finally got my first Gretsch guitar. It's the new Electromatic G5420T in sunburst and it is absolutely beautiful. I do not like the Balwin blacktop pickups though. The neck pickup is good but I was very disappointed by the one in the bridge. The low strings sound like a blanket has been put over it and the high strings sound like an icepick to me. I don't know how that's possible but that's what it sounds like to my ears. Everything I've read online people only seem to have good things to say about the Baldwin blacktop Filtertrons. I'm wondering is it just me or has anyone else noticed this? I'm thinking about swapping the bridge pickup out for a TV Classic Plus.

– jonathan p

After years of longing this Christmas I finally got my first Gretsch guitar. It's the new Electromatic G5420T in sunburst and it is absolutely beautiful. I do not like the Balwin blacktop pickups though. The neck pickup is good but I was very disappointed by the one in the bridge. The low strings sound like a blanket has been put over it and the high strings sound like an icepick to me. I don't know how that's possible but that's what it sounds like to my ears. Everything I've read online people only seem to have good things to say about the Baldwin blacktop Filtertrons. I'm wondering is it just me or has anyone else noticed this? I'm thinking about swapping the bridge pickup out for a TV Classic Plus.

– jonathan p

Just got mine also after Christmas and same thing the neck picksounds great I was thinking of the Magna'Trons any one know how they are?


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