Modern Gretsch Guitars

new german member, curious about pu-vol-pot-issues

1

Hey there! Greetings from Cologne, Germany - a place where we are very familiar wtih "SCH"..... so what else could i choose than a GretSCH

But before i make my purchase i have a couple of questions, concerning issues with the pickup-volume pots that i experienced while testing guitars in a showroom and of wich i read here too: It's that mysterious fading (or total loss) of volume, when dialing the pu-vol. pots down just a little, whilst selector-switch is in middle position.

After a little research i've found 3 frequently recommended fixes for this issue:

  1. Swap positions of two wires on each pu-vol-pot
  2. Change audio pots for linear pots
  3. Adjust pu-height

Others say "That's just GRETSCH - that's the way it got's to be!" And if i didn't know better, i'd say "I'll send it back until i get one that works properly!"

So before i become a REAL member of the GRETSCH-owners-club, i would really like to find out:

Is this volume-pot behaviour a malfunction that occurs frequently or is it a typical GRETSCH-feature?

If it is normal - what is the cleverest fix for it?

Since the guitar will be set-up by a technician in my local store anyways, i could order for an immediate pot change too. Is this necessary/recommended?

Did anyone with a G2655 Streamliner experience something like that?

Thanks in advance !

2

Welcome to the GDP jmkoeln, what you are referring to is the "treble bleed" circuit that is a part of all modern Gretsch guitars. A treble-bleed (high-pass) circuit allows the highs to “bleed” (or pass) through the volume pot even as it is turned down. ... A basic high-pass circuit consists of a 680pf - 1000pf capacitor and a 150kohm resistor that is soldered to the center and outside lugs of the volume control.

It's a very simple and easy modification, that can be performed by anyone who knows how to solder, on older guitars that do not have this circuit already.

I hope you stick around, we're a pretty good bunch of Gentlemen and Ladies. We're always happy to welcome new friends. I've visited Cologne many times, when I was stationed at SHAPE, in Mons Belgium for 3 and a half years, in the 1980's. Cologne is a beautiful historic city, with very friendly people. I was born in Wiesbaden in 1960, and enjoy visiting my birth country. I absolutely love the German people and the German culture, Fasching is my favorite holiday!

3

There shouldn't be any fading whatsoever. If it's a new Gretsch you should have no problems, but my friend who got a new 5420 3-4 years ago recently re-did the wiring as the pots were crapping out. My nephew recently got a Streamliner jr. double-cut centerblock and is having a blast with it. I visited Koln (can't find the umlaut key) many years ago and loved it. Cheers.

4

Do you know were i can find a correct wiring scheme for this modification, so i can hand it to the technician?

Just Google " Guitar Treble Bleed Circuit", and you will find schematics for the circuit.

5

Welcome to the GDP jmkoeln, what you are referring to is the "treble bleed" circuit that is a part of all modern Gretsch guitars. A treble-bleed (high-pass) circuit allows the highs to “bleed” (or pass) through the volume pot even as it is turned down. ... A basic high-pass circuit consists of a 680pf - 1000pf capacitor and a 150kohm resistor that is soldered to the center and outside lugs of the volume control.

It's a very simple and easy modification, that can be performed by anyone who knows how to solder, on older guitars that do not have this circuit already.

I hope you stick around, we're a pretty good bunch of Gentlemen and Ladies. We're always happy to welcome new friends. I've visited Cologne many times, when I was stationed at SHAPE, in Mons Belgium for 3 and a half years, in the 1980's. Cologne is a beautiful historic city, with very friendly people. I was born in Wiesbaden in 1960, and enjoy visiting my birth country. I absolutely love the German people and the German culture, Fasching is my favorite holiday!

– Wade H

Thank you for the warm welcome! Of course i will let you know how my journey continues. At least until my guitar is ready to play - then i suspect - i will be offline for a while, hugging and strumming my streamliner

Do you know were i can find a correct wiring scheme for this modification, so i can hand it to the technician? I assume this will save at least a bit of work/cost since he doesn't have to remove the entire pot. Since he recommended a change to linear pots he might not be familiar with this specific problem.

Oh - you were born in Germany? If you ever visit Cologne again let me know - i'll show you the best waterholes

But pssssst...... dont't say Fasching in Cologne......!!!! Over here it's KARNEVAL

6

There shouldn't be any fading whatsoever. If it's a new Gretsch you should have no problems, but my friend who got a new 5420 3-4 years ago recently re-did the wiring as the pots were crapping out. My nephew recently got a Streamliner jr. double-cut centerblock and is having a blast with it. I visited Koln (can't find the umlaut key) many years ago and loved it. Cheers.

– lx

Next time visit the Christmas-Market and i'll spend you some of our famous Champignons!

So you think i should insist to have the pots working like on any other guitar out-of-the box?

7

Champignons!

I have a funny story about Champignons. I was very new in Belgium, and I didn't speak Walloon (French) yet, all I had was a pocket dictionary. I wanted to buy some mushrooms at my local market. I stepped up to the counter and boldly stated "un killo Champignons SVP".

The young lady looked at me with surprise and said "Ohhhh beaucoup eh?" "oui un kilo SVP". She came back with an absolutely huge bag of mushrooms, that I was too embarrassed to refuse. So we had plenty of mushrooms that night for dinner!

8

What he's talking about is that on most Electromatic and Streamliner guitars, the individual pickup volume controls are wired in such a way that they have an interconnected common ground, which causes interactive volume reduction between the neck pickup volume and the bridge pickup volume whenever the pickup switch is in the middle (both pickups ON) position. This makes the pickup circuit function similar to some 4-potentiometer Gibson models.

The modification to fix this is not difficult, and just involves swapping the position of two wires at each pickup volume control. For some reason, on modern Electromatic and Streamliner models Gretsch has consistently wired the hot lead from the pickup to terminal #1 on the volume pots, and wiring the feed to the pickup switch to terminal #2 (the wiper terminal). However, Pro Line models have it wired reverse of this-- hot pickup lead to the wiper terminal (the middle terminal) and then have the feed to the pickup switch wired to terminal #1.

All you have to do is swap the position of the hot pickup lead and the feed wire to the switch-- so that the pickup feeds the wiper terminal and the switch wire is on terminal #1. You do not have to alter terminal #3, which is where the ground wire should be attached, and you do not have to alter the Master volume OR the Tone control at all.

Pro Line models are NOT wired this way, so many of you may have never experienced this.

In summary, just modify the wiring so that it looks like the wiring in the link below--

Gretsch Tone Pot Wiring

9

Champignons!

I have a funny story about Champignons. I was very new in Belgium, and I didn't speak Walloon (French) yet, all I had was a pocket dictionary. I wanted to buy some mushrooms at my local market. I stepped up to the counter and boldly stated "un killo Champignons SVP".

The young lady looked at me with surprise and said "Ohhhh beaucoup eh?" "oui un kilo SVP". She came back with an absolutely huge bag of mushrooms, that I was too embarrassed to refuse. So we had plenty of mushrooms that night for dinner!

– Wade H

I sell them on the Christmas-Market since 24 years...... believe me - the belgiums eat a Kg with ease - plus one Liter of garlic-sauce

10

What he's talking about is that on most Electromatic and Streamliner guitars, the individual pickup volume controls are wired in such a way that they have an interconnected common ground, which causes interactive volume reduction between the neck pickup volume and the bridge pickup volume whenever the pickup switch is in the middle (both pickups ON) position. This makes the pickup circuit function similar to some 4-potentiometer Gibson models.

The modification to fix this is not difficult, and just involves swapping the position of two wires at each pickup volume control. For some reason, on modern Electromatic and Streamliner models Gretsch has consistently wired the hot lead from the pickup to terminal #1 on the volume pots, and wiring the feed to the pickup switch to terminal #2 (the wiper terminal). However, Pro Line models have it wired reverse of this-- hot pickup lead to the wiper terminal (the middle terminal) and then have the feed to the pickup switch wired to terminal #1.

All you have to do is swap the position of the hot pickup lead and the feed wire to the switch-- so that the pickup feeds the wiper terminal and the switch wire is on terminal #1. You do not have to alter terminal #3, which is where the ground wire should be attached, and you do not have to alter the Master volume OR the Tone control at all.

Pro Line models are NOT wired this way, so many of you may have never experienced this.

In summary, just modify the wiring so that it looks like the wiring in the link below--

Gretsch Tone Pot Wiring

– Tartan Phantom

I stand corrected TP, thank you for catching my misunderstanding of the issue. Jmkoeln, please disregard my previous response about the volume control, and follow Tartan Phantom's instructions.

12

TP, you're a very useful resource. That's as succinct a summary of that wiring business as one could hope for, explaining its specificity to the Electromatic and Streamliner series.

The pro series, of course, has had its own weird wiring eccentricities (resolved on many models in the last few years) which involve not interactivity in the middle position, but severe drop in volume (or in tonal response) through the top few degrees of rotation of the knobs. That's a whole different animal, and used to trip up new Gretsch owners. (I just learned to accept it as part of the Gretsch thang.)

While it doesn't matter to the guy who wants his guitar to work the way he wants it, I suspect the reason Gretsch has gone with more Gibson-like wiring on Electros and Streamliners - is, duh, to make the control scheme more Gibson-like, so as not to unduly confuse the expectations of the new buyers they're attracting to the brand from the Gibson-and-everything-else domain.

It's probably also worth mentioning, jmkoeln, that the Streamliners - while incredible values for the money, with fundamentally sound Gretschy construction and fine fit, finish, and feel - are sometimes candidates for upgrades which make them either more pro-level or more conventionally Gretschy in tone.

Not anything you have to do right away - and in fact you shouldn't until you're dissatisfied (and don't expect to be dissatisfied). But the pickups, nut, bridge, and sometimes tuners come in for upgrade - with benefit to the tone and response of the guitar.

I have pro-line Gretschs, Electromatics, and a Streamliner 2420, so I've been able to compare the "standard" 16" (6120-like) hollowbody across all three series. While all have undoubted Gretschy character, they're surprisingly different. I've changed the bridges on mine to be identical; any remaining difference in tone has to be in the nut (some contribution), body build and bracing (more contribution) - or pickups. And I think pickups are probably the biggest factor. The traditional Filter'Trons (whether Gretsch "High Sensitive" or TV Jones models) on the pro-line 6120, the "Blacktops" in the Electromatic 5420, and the "Broad'Tron" humbuckers on the 2420 all have their own voices.

It's probably worth being aware that the size/shape/form-factor of the BroadTron humbuckers is the same as Gibson-esque 'buckers. Maybe Gretsch wants to break down possible purchase objections by reassuring shoppers coming from the Gibson/everything-else domain (who worry they won't like Gretsch's famously idiosyncratic pickups) that they'll be easy to swap out for standard industry models. (And I imagine they've voiced the Broad'Trons toward Gibsony tone to prevent those swap-outs.) In any case, the Electromatics and pro-liners have pickups (and thus pickup routs) with the slightly different Filter'Tron dimensions.

(After saying all that, I also say "don't worry about it." You CAN put perfectly Filter'Tron pickups in the Streamliner, with proper Gretsch pickup rings - whether you take a buy-used-parts/do-it-yourself approach or get upgrade parts from TV Jones.)

BUT. The point I'm making in a roundabout way is that it's possible to find the Broad'Trons don't deliver exactly the conventional Gretsch tone you may be expecting. If and when you discover that, just know that it's not the guitar - it's the pickups, and they can be changed.

Here's what particularly effusive reviewer (in Guitar Player) says about the sound of the Streamliner:

That the G2420 delivers awesome value for a relatively meek expenditure isn’t the only surprise this guitar offers. The tone is shocking in a very good way, because there is nothing retro about it at all. This thing screams like a rock machine. Use it to re-imagine supercharged rockabilly, stratospheric funk, aggro jazz, or any kind of music that snarls and roars but it can also downshift dynamically to caress and soothe. Every note you play—whether you choose the bridge pickup, the neck pickup, or the combined setting—produces an articulate snap that almost seems to pop off the fretboard. It’s as if the pickups are voiced to boost a low-midrange frequency that delivers articulation without sounding sharp or shrill, and still allows the lows and highs to be upfront. Click to the neck setting, and the taut bass seems powerful enough to move chairs across a hardwood floor if you were chunking muted chords.

Earlier in the article he's said "the Streamliner G2420 is one hell of a guitar for under $500. And, yes, it absolutely channels the Gretsch vibe." But phrases like "nothing retro about it at all", "this thing screams like a rock machine", and "the pickups are voiced to boost a low-midrange frequency" are all kinda code for what I'm talking about. In the spectrum of Gretsch pickups, Broad'Trons are at the mildly Gretschy end where it transitions into the mainstream.

(If I seem to be obsessing about the pickups, it's because in my experience the body construction and the pickups are the two-chambered heart of what makes a guitar sonically a Gretsch - with the pickups responsible for maybe 60-75% of the total. Putting Gretsch pickups in another brand's guitar of similar - if not identical - construction will yield a Gretschier-sounding guitar than putting humbuckers or P90s in a Gretsch.

Of course the tone and the response aren't the only reason guys buy Gretsch - there's the vibe, the history, the cosmetics, the feel, the quality - and there's no reason not to have a Gretsch with pickups that push its tone away from the Gretsch zone.)

So...if you should eventually find that the Streamliner doesn't deliver as Gretsch-specific tone as you'd like - well then it will be time to upgrade.

I'm as impressed and dumfounded as GP's reviewer by how good the Streamliners are, even taken on their own terms with stock components. I guess I'm just stressing how great a platform they are for upgrades as well.

And hey, welcome to the GDP. I haven't been to Germany like these other fellers - but I'm of German descent, and I live in a strongly German-ethnic town. Love to visit over there someday.

13

Welcome to the GDP and Gretschworld, jmkoeln!

Per your original question/concern, Tartan Phantom has the exact & proper solution.

In terms of future modifications you may want to consider, Proteus offers many excellent ideas. He did not mention his own brand of replacement bridges -- Tru-Arc Bridge Works, one of the sponsors here. Many here have tried and fallen in love with them. I have installed them on ALL my electric guitars including non-Gretsch products.

I agree with Proteus's thoughts on why Gretsch went with this wiring scheme for the Electromatic and Streamliner series -- to copy Gibson. In my opinion, Gretsch copied a bad idea by Gibson. My Gibson ES335 has this "feature" and I personally do NOT like it. I've never understood the logic behind it....

14

Are the Broad'trons in the Korean Gretsches different from the Broad'trons in the Proline Player Edition Jets? The Broad'trons in my Proline Jet are still very Gretschy. I am surprised actually at just how good - and similar to the TV Filter'tron Classic plus - they are. They sound way more like a Filter'tron than a Gibson PAF.

Maybe the Korean guitars have different Broad'trons.

15

Streamliners seem to have an updated version of the old 'Gretschbucker'. There are Electromatics with blacktop Broadtrons but I doubt they're the same as the pro line Broadtrons.

If I had a Streamliner I'd be tempted to swap the pickups for a pair of Dimarzio EJ customs.

16

Streamliners seem to have an updated version of the old 'Gretschbucker'. There are Electromatics with blacktop Broadtrons but I doubt they're the same as the pro line Broadtrons.

If I had a Streamliner I'd be tempted to swap the pickups for a pair of Dimarzio EJ customs.

– Gerry Ratrod

I agree.

Keep in mind that the Gibson-sized Broadtrons in the Electromatics were first introduced with the Streamliner series back in 2016.

However, the Pro-line version of Broadtrons are NOT housed in Gibson-sized covers--- they are the same size as modern Filtertrons. AND they were released a year or two later than the Streamliner version. While they may share some similarities in name, I would not call them the "same pickups".

17

While they may share some similarities in name, I would not call them the "same pickups".

They're definitely not the same. The Gretsch site identifies the Streamliner version as "Broad'Tron BT-2S." The pro-line Players Edition has "Broad'Tron™ BT65." Whether the different suffixes only refer to the difference in form factor or the spec changes go deeper, I don't know.

Can't tell from the website verbiage:

BT-2S for Streamliner

Designed specifically for the Streamliner Collection, the high-output Broad’Tron pickup spawns improved definition with tighter bass response for robust lows, pristine highs and a throaty midrange.

BT65 for Pro Players Edition

The BT65 meticulously captures the guitar's sonic palette and reproduces powerful mids, extended lows and an exceptionally clear, yet smooth high end.

The Streamliner's pickups look like good ol' dumbuckin' "Gretschbuckers" to me, and my ears can't prove sonically that they're significantly different from those old reliables. I haven't had a Players Edition in my hands or heard it in person, but I can't believe their BT65 is just the BT-2S in a FilterTron housing.

18

Wow! That's a whole lotta information! Thank you folks!!!!

Sorry for having left so abruptly this night - but i became uncle first time and had to rush to welcome little Nala .

TP & PROTEUS:

You are both great sources of knowledge and i really appreciate your helpful articles this was explained so much better than anywhere else.......

Not only that i can show-off with my newly increasd tech-knowledge .....now that i'm confident how to slove occurring issues, i really shiver with anticipation to get hold of the new guitar

of course i will send some pics and let you know how it plays.

cheers!

19

Mmmmm...Schwammeln.

– Ric12string

Schwammerl.....? You visited Bavaria.....they don't dig on chamignons - but have the worlds best porcinos and tons of wild mushrooms of all kinds

20

Schwammerl.....? You visited Bavaria.....they don't dig on chamignons - but have the worlds best porcinos and tons of wild mushrooms of all kinds

– jmkoeln

Echt. Ich hab in Bayern gewohnt. Schwammerl Brühe schmeckt unglaublich gut!

21

Echt. Ich hab in Bayern gewohnt. Schwammerl Brühe schmeckt unglaublich gut!

– Ric12string

cool Ein Bayer, ein Hesse und ich........ Ob wir hier alle Bundesländer zusammen bekommen ?

22

Gretsch wired their pots correctly. Most brands don't. Just connect your pickups to the wiper connections of the pots. Linear taper has nothing to do with this, but is more useful for guitar pots. Higher resistance sounds better. I use 1 meg linears, which was stock on 50's Gretsch guitars. Ignore anything else you find on the internet.

23

Also, I nominate PuVolPot as a new Gretsch feature name. I'm not sure what it does, but it's either a push-pull volume pot or a southeast Asian dictator.

24

Also, I nominate PuVolPot as a new Gretsch feature name. I'm not sure what it does, but it's either a push-pull volume pot or a southeast Asian dictator.

– Proteus

I second the nomination!

25

I apologize for misunderstanding your question jmkoeln, I nearly steered you in the wrong direction. My esteemed colleagues, TP and Proteus set things straight. Thanks guys for interpreting his question correctly.

I plugged in my 5422 and examined how the PuVolPots worked. The way mine is wired, in the middle position of the 3 way switch, if I roll off either volume, I get a reduced volume from that particular pickup. If either is zeroed, then no sound is produced. If I remember correctly, my Gibson guitars do pretty much the same thing. It's actually a good feature, as I don't have to zero both PuVolPots, to silence the guitar. It doesn't seem to have the symptoms that jmkoeln is writing about. Is mine somehow different than the Streamliner? I'm still a bit confused by reading his description of the problem, because I don't appear to have any guitar that exhibits those symptoms.


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