General tech questions

Changing pickups in a Hollowbody. Step by Step


I just changed the Black Top Filtertrons in my Country Gent to Entwhistle Nashvilles. I had to take the Entwistles out of their chrome casings and also remove the Filtertrons Baldwin casings and retaining bars etc.

Because of the heights of the Entwistles, I had to take the black plastic covers off them, to get the new polepieces high enough to the strings, and so now the two coils have a visible thin space of a few mil. between them. Total pickup re-builds took half a day, and now the only really visible difference in the guitar are the new chrome polepieces, (compared to the rusted and tarnished and 'screwdrivered' old gold-plated ones) and a thin space between the coils... However, I can live with these.

Now I play my Gent all the time, and I love the tone. I never ever played the guitar much before, as I find Filtertrons weedy, and dull mids, with a thin top end, and totally uninteresting. Being dependent on amp settings to get a few useable sounds is not my idea of guitar 'tone'..

Now the pickups' top ends are far more clear, and a lot hotter, the bass is extended, the mids are pokey and respond much better to overdrive, and the articulation and string separation is just fine.. The new pickups respond to different amp settings much better, and so now I have a much wider choice of useable tones. With a bit of reverb and vibrato, and a clean 'Twin' setting, I can still get a classic Gretsch sound, (or very close)

Now I just need to do something creative with those terrible and useless 'mud' switch positions..
Maybe a choke and a dual Varitone -type network will be next, because I find the limitations of only 3 pickup positions and a 'mud switch' as a fixed tone control very annoying. For me, the guitar should be much more versatile, whilst still achieving those classic Gretsch 'Chet sounds', or 'Doyle Dykes' sounds or 'Setzer sounds' if I want them.

I would estimate that I'm now about 80% happy with the sound of my re-pickup'ed C.G. Before the change, less than 20%. The Entwistles are not expensive, and IMO, well worth the investment and the time.

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