Electromatics

Want to convert a 5120 to a Setzer Rockabilly machine!

1

Greetings from the Himalayan mountains!

I have a G5120 orange guitar. I would like to convert it to a killer Rockabilly axe. I'm particularly looking for that Brian Setzer 'Stray Cat Strut' kinda tone. I live in Kathmandu, Nepal and have a friend coming from the US (DC) end of this month. So I will have to do a bit of research before I hand him my final shopping list for this upgrade.

What model pickups do you recommend I should look out for? I'm guessing TV Jones? Any particular combination I should consider for that classic Setzer tone? If TVJ is the final verdict will I be able to have them ship it to my friend in DC by the last week of this month? I'd also like some input on whether a wiring harness is desirable and I've seen videos of people using some kind of pipe/tubings to install the TVJ's. Is that really necesary?

In the process I also want to do some other mods. Change the bridge, maybe upgrade the Bigsby vibrato and the spring, a bone nut perhaps and some aesthetic, purely visual mods (knobs, stickers, pickguard etc)

Any input on this would be much appreciated. Thank you!

2

If you're looking to get the sound of the album version STStrut you'll need a time machine. There's no pickup in the world that can duplicate that- only crappy 80's studio production can replicate that kind of sound!

Seriously though, you might get it close to having that tone, but it'll never be close to a 6120 Nashville. Trust me I've already been down this road and after all the mods, now that I own a Nashville I never get my 5120 out of the case. It just doesn't compare.

Not trying to discourage you, just sharing my personal experience. If you ain't got the clams for a Nashville, a modded 5120 will get you rockin just fine. I'm sure others will chime in soon.

Welcome by the way.

3

If you're looking to get the sound of the album version STStrut you'll need a time machine. There's no pickup in the world that can duplicate that- only crappy 80's studio production can replicate that kind of sound!

Seriously though, you might get it close to having that tone, but it'll never be close to a 6120 Nashville. Trust me I've already been down this road and after all the mods, now that I own a Nashville I never get my 5120 out of the case. It just doesn't compare.

Not trying to discourage you, just sharing my personal experience. If you ain't got the clams for a Nashville, a modded 5120 will get you rockin just fine. I'm sure others will chime in soon.

Welcome by the way.

– Judd

If you're looking to get the sound of the album version STStrut you'll need a time machine. There's no pickup in the world that can duplicate that- only crappy 80's studio production can replicate that kind of sound!

Seriously though, you might get it close to having that tone, but it'll never be close to a 6120 Nashville. Trust me I've already been down this road and after all the mods, now that I own a Nashville I never get my 5120 out of the case. It just doesn't compare.

Not trying to discourage you, just sharing my personal experience. If you ain't got the clams for a Nashville, a modded 5120 will get you rockin just fine. I'm sure others will chime in soon.

Welcome by the way.

– J-Rod(Judd)

why crappy sound studio ? The first lp of the stray cats was well produced by Dave Edmunds. I think you have a problem with your ears no ?

4

Get a Brain. Tavo TVJones pickups aren't a bad idea either.

5

Oh, Welcome to the pages as well.

7

If you're looking to get the sound of the album version STStrut you'll need a time machine. There's no pickup in the world that can duplicate that- only crappy 80's studio production can replicate that kind of sound!

Seriously though, you might get it close to having that tone, but it'll never be close to a 6120 Nashville. Trust me I've already been down this road and after all the mods, now that I own a Nashville I never get my 5120 out of the case. It just doesn't compare.

Not trying to discourage you, just sharing my personal experience. If you ain't got the clams for a Nashville, a modded 5120 will get you rockin just fine. I'm sure others will chime in soon.

Welcome by the way.

– J-Rod(Judd)

why crappy sound studio ? The first lp of the stray cats was well produced by Dave Edmunds. I think you have a problem with your ears no ?

– didier delcourt

If you're looking to get the sound of the album version STStrut you'll need a time machine. There's no pickup in the world that can duplicate that- only crappy 80's studio production can replicate that kind of sound!

Seriously though, you might get it close to having that tone, but it'll never be close to a 6120 Nashville. Trust me I've already been down this road and after all the mods, now that I own a Nashville I never get my 5120 out of the case. It just doesn't compare.

Not trying to discourage you, just sharing my personal experience. If you ain't got the clams for a Nashville, a modded 5120 will get you rockin just fine. I'm sure others will chime in soon.

Welcome by the way.

– J-Rod(Judd)

why crappy sound studio ? The first lp of the stray cats was well produced by Dave Edmunds. I think you have a problem with your ears no ?

– didier delcourt

Well first off you missed the fact that I was generalizing about the recordings. That's fine. Moreover, all music is subjective. STS sounds ok, and maybe Runaway Boys, but the rest of those early 80's Stray Cats recordings for the most part sound thin as hell. That's my opinion. You might like the sound of thin guitars and a very narrow fidelity range, and that's cool, but don't knock me for not liking it. To my ears(which work just fine) they didn't get it to sound full on a record until Original Cool. Again, one man's opinion.

8

Get a Brain. Tavo TVJones pickups aren't a bad idea either.

– Suprdave

Get a Brain. Tavo TVJones pickups aren't a bad idea either.

– Suprdave

+1. You'll get a lot of sparkle and chime with one of these babies.

9

To clarify the Brain references, it's a Nocturne Dyno Brain (or Atomic Brain) pedal.

The builder, Tavo Vega, spent many years trying to match the Brian Setzer tone and many of us are big fans of what he's done. You can find more details on the Nocturne Pedals website.

The pedals work really well with Filtertron pickups.

I have a 5122 with TV Jones Classics and my Dyno Brain is an "always on" pedal.

One other thing to consider while you have the opportunity is to upgrade the bridge. I'm a big fan of the Tru-Arc bridge made by TGP user Proteus. It's a bar bridge that matches the radius of the guitar. Eliminates buzzing and any tuning issues you might run into with the standard 5120 tune-o-matic bridge.

10

If you're looking to get the sound of the album version STStrut you'll need a time machine. There's no pickup in the world that can duplicate that- only crappy 80's studio production can replicate that kind of sound!

Seriously though, you might get it close to having that tone, but it'll never be close to a 6120 Nashville. Trust me I've already been down this road and after all the mods, now that I own a Nashville I never get my 5120 out of the case. It just doesn't compare.

Not trying to discourage you, just sharing my personal experience. If you ain't got the clams for a Nashville, a modded 5120 will get you rockin just fine. I'm sure others will chime in soon.

Welcome by the way.

– Judd

If you're looking to get the sound of the album version STStrut you'll need a time machine. There's no pickup in the world that can duplicate that- only crappy 80's studio production can replicate that kind of sound!

Seriously though, you might get it close to having that tone, but it'll never be close to a 6120 Nashville. Trust me I've already been down this road and after all the mods, now that I own a Nashville I never get my 5120 out of the case. It just doesn't compare.

Not trying to discourage you, just sharing my personal experience. If you ain't got the clams for a Nashville, a modded 5120 will get you rockin just fine. I'm sure others will chime in soon.

Welcome by the way.

– J-Rod(Judd)

Ok, so let's assume you have done all the mods -- the pickups, the pots, the bridge...and it still doesn't compare to a Nashville? What do you attribute that to? The superiority of American maple veneered plywood?

This ain't magic. It's metal, wire and wood. And as much as we revere the wood, the tone is 90% wire.

P

11

Yeah, stick a couple of Filtertrons in it and you will be happy enough and still have a lot in the budget for other stuff.

12

TV filters, Dyno brain, DM3, 6g6b wV30s. Anything less, will be.

AND, If you read it hear It is Necessary!

and
a Nailhead, HA

13

Check what MisterM did to his 5120 Tribute setzer

14

Welcome to the pages!

Setzer currently uses TV Jones Classics. I put some in my 5120 and I love the way they sound. I would definitely recommend them, they have great chime. However, It may be easier to get his current tone than his tone on Stray Cat Strut in the early 80s. TV Classics are his current sound, which I actually prefer.

I also agree on the Dyno Brain pedal. It is a preamp that will drive your tubes and was designed to replicate the Dirty Boogie era Setzer tone. So, again that is his more recent tone, but this pedal really gives your Gretsch tone some oomph. However, it does depend on what amp you're using.

I am sure Tavo or someone else with more knowledge will be along shortly.

One note though, just about any of the upgrades we've recommended here (TV Classics, Brain, Tru-Arc Bridge) while all great recommendations, may be a challenge to get shipped to your friend by the end of the month. Hopefully, you can make your choices and place orders soon.

Good luck!

15

I may get shot down for this but........ It's all in the fingers. It's not the gear. The Gear distracts us from the fact that we haven't practiced that lick or riff enough...I know this because it's what I do lol. Beware of snake-oil. Any guitar with an amp and a slap-back echo will go in the right direction if set-up properly. Hell, I even got a good rockabilly sound out of a mates line-6 and BC Rich BEAST. But if you want to shop, there's PLENTY of kool stuff to buy :)

16

Check what MisterM did to his 5120 Tribute setzer

– SLICKFASTER

Check what MisterM did to his 5120 Tribute setzer

– slickfaster

Thank you :) If you want to hear the sound of 5120 with filtertrons" HS "and just an analogical echo " artec " here is what it gives

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

17

If you're looking to get the sound of the album version STStrut you'll need a time machine. There's no pickup in the world that can duplicate that- only crappy 80's studio production can replicate that kind of sound!

Seriously though, you might get it close to having that tone, but it'll never be close to a 6120 Nashville. Trust me I've already been down this road and after all the mods, now that I own a Nashville I never get my 5120 out of the case. It just doesn't compare.

Not trying to discourage you, just sharing my personal experience. If you ain't got the clams for a Nashville, a modded 5120 will get you rockin just fine. I'm sure others will chime in soon.

Welcome by the way.

– J-Rod(Judd)

Ok, so let's assume you have done all the mods -- the pickups, the pots, the bridge...and it still doesn't compare to a Nashville? What do you attribute that to? The superiority of American maple veneered plywood?

This ain't magic. It's metal, wire and wood. And as much as we revere the wood, the tone is 90% wire.

P

– tim farney

If you're looking to get the sound of the album version STStrut you'll need a time machine. There's no pickup in the world that can duplicate that- only crappy 80's studio production can replicate that kind of sound!

Seriously though, you might get it close to having that tone, but it'll never be close to a 6120 Nashville. Trust me I've already been down this road and after all the mods, now that I own a Nashville I never get my 5120 out of the case. It just doesn't compare.

Not trying to discourage you, just sharing my personal experience. If you ain't got the clams for a Nashville, a modded 5120 will get you rockin just fine. I'm sure others will chime in soon.

Welcome by the way.

– J-Rod(Judd)

Ok, so let's assume you have done all the mods -- the pickups, the pots, the bridge...and it still doesn't compare to a Nashville? What do you attribute that to? The superiority of American maple veneered plywood?

This ain't magic. It's metal, wire and wood. And as much as we revere the wood, the tone is 90% wire.

P

– Phelonious Ponk

Yes, I've done all the mods, and own both models. Wood and wire yes, but they are not, and never will be the same thing. It's not about magic, it's simply about two different guitar lines. The Professional series which are built with better woods and more care, and the less expensive Electro Series built with cheaper woods and thick polyester finishes. I never said Electros are inferior, they just aren't Prolines. They just don't have the same feel or sound. Will my old 5120 allow me to rock out? Yeah, it will. But my Nashville sounds a helluva lot better!

18

@Deep- debates aside, toss in a pair of used Filters and you'll get it sounding pretty darned good. Look here roar a used set, you might find a good deal.

19

Save your money and buy a Pro Model. And I'd steer away from the Setzer Hot Rod models, those have an Electromatic feel to them. Cheap paint jobs. Never liked them.

Or if you want as near to a Pro Model guitar on an Electromatic budget, get an Epiphone Elitist series with Gibson USA P-90's. Now THERE is a top end entry level guitar.

I tried doing the mod/upgrade to Electromatics a few times, always ended up dumping them because once you pick up a Setzer, RHH, or Annie with a lacquer finish and real pickups, you can go back.

20

just beware

Tavo is a jackweed

but you can't go wrong with any of his pedals

21

Well, I don't know what to tell you. I've been playing for 45 years. I've had a whole lot of guitars; cheap, expensive, new and vintage. I hear picks, strings, setup, bridges, pots, and mostly...overwhelmingly, pickups. And amps. They might be even more important than pickups. But I don't hear grades of plywood and God knows I don't hear paint on an electric guitar.

YMMV, but if it does, I want some of what you're smoking.

P

22

Well ANY 5XXX series is a true POS without one of these:

Zager Electromatic mod

So if any of youse jackweeds don't have this upgrade, well, you're pretty much playing garbage. Zager sez so himself, and he has dead guitarists AND Steven Seagal repping his gear.

23

Thank you everyone! I really cannot afford a Pro line in the immediate future as I am saving up to buy a Gibby ES335. So I will have to do these mods on the 5120. I play a R8 Les Paul and a AVRI 52 RI Thinskin Telecaster but this cheaper 5120 doesnt feel as cheap as the price I paid for it and hopefully will sound fantastic with the planned mods.

Im ordering the TV Classic bridge and neck tomorrow and currently looking at the debates on Compton vs. Tru- arcs. Very confused about which bridge to get. Thanks again everyone! Keep em coming!

24

One more thing. I looked at the Compton site and it asks what radius is the neck 9.5 or 12, it even has a printable comparison diagram but I cant seem to figure out how to do this. What is the right way of measuring the radius? Thank you!


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