Replacing Pickups in a Grestch G5422TG - what’s involved?


Hello all - I'm a first-time poster, a bit shy about online forums, and about to ask a variation of a question asked in other threads, so I apologize in advance.

I recently bought a Gretsch G5422TG special edition in the Midnight Sapphire finish. It is a beautiful instrument and I love it very much. While the stock Blacktop Filter'trons are certainly fine pickups, I'm beginning to think I want to swap them out with Gretsch HS Filter'trons. I like the darker, thicker sound of the HS Filter'trons, and I think they get me closer to a "poor man's Country Gentleman" sound.

I'm looking to emulate - to the degree possible without breaking the bank - the sound of Terry Clements, Gordon Lightfoot's late and beloved lead guitarist. Clements played a '76 Country Gentleman with what - at the time - were Blacktop Filter'trons, although these older '70s pickups sound more like the modern HS Filter'trons in my opinion. (I read elsewhere on the forum that the '70s Blacktops were merely a cosmetic change in the Baldwin era, but that the overall recipe remained the same; I am assuming that's correct).

Sorry this is taking so long. Let me get to the point.

I have read on a few threads on this forum that the modern Blacktop Filter'trons don't neatly swap out with the HS Filter'trons due to some mounting differences. My understanding is that, while the rings are the same size, there's an issue of mounting adapters to enable proper pickup adjustment. There was also something about "English" mounts. Is that correct?

Also, is this only major issue I may encounter in swapping these pickups out?

My hope is to be sure that when I bring the guitar to my repair/mod shop folks for work, I also bring them all the correct components so they can just do their thing (pickup swap-outs are above my pay grade at this time).

So can anyone who's done a swap in a G5422TG or who knows how it would work weigh in to help me out? I would be very grateful for your time and consideration.

I also include a photo of the newest member of my guitar family - I assume many of you, like me, spend perhaps more time than is healthy looking at guitar photos on the web.


Welcome and Congratulations! You have a beautiful guitar. If I had a 5422 I would probably do the same thing as you so I'll be watching this thread out of interest.


Welcome, and that git is a beauty.

HS Filters are a very good pup, but the install could be a challenge.

One reason is that the neck pup has a larger baseplate that sticks out farther from the pup cover. This will be in the way of one of the adjustment screws on the blacktop type of mounting.

You could cut these off, but make sure that no ground material gets into the pup. (Magnetics in action)

It's then a matter of mounting the HS's to that bottom mounting plate. Some tweeking may be needed.

Your best friend will be to search on line for info on this swap out. There's a fair amount of folks that have done it in various ways.

The easiest swap, would be to get a pair of universal mount TV Jones Classics, with the mounting kits that are available. Check out his website for all the details on this.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the pup mounting system on these guitars. Just too many screws and springs.

I'm planning on putting some HS that I have, in my 5422T also, but I'm going to use a completely different method that is not commonly used.

I'm planning on gluing wood blocks to the pup cut outs on the body. This will allow the traditional two Filtertron screws to screw into the blocks, and the pups to sit on these.

Depending on your skill level, or even wanting to do either type of swap out, the universal mount TV Classics will be the easiest.

Best of luck with this project.


Thank you both for your replies - very helpful! Interested in additional thoughts too.


P-Finns- Go to the Electromatic section , the first thread is "DIY English Mounts". Paul Setzer makes these adapters so you can mount HS filtertrons, which are surface mount, to your English mount rings. You will probably have to buy some Gretsch EM rings from tv jones so you only have one adjustment screw per side. The modern Electromatics have 2 adjustment screws on the bass side of their rings. Welcome, and I love the Sapphire Blue!


Welcome to getting around to posting! Blue looks good on this model. FYI, your info on the '70's is partially correct. When Gretsch made the 'Baldwin' changes in early '72, the pups remained the same F'tron's, just the covers were changed. At some time in the mid/late '70's - ewk ewk will know - the pup output was increased. I suspect Terry's guitar was an earlier '70's issue so it would've probably had the sound of the earlier gents you're looking to emulate.

In addition to changing the pups, a bone nut and a Chet arm would finish off this beauty. No mud switch is already an upgrade to me!


Am I missing something here?

You want a '70s Baldwin FT sounding pickup? That is the blacktop pickup in the Electromatic guitars. They were designed to emulate a particularly good sounding pair of Baldwin pickups. If that is the sound you want, you probably already have it. If not, adding one of Tavo's preamps will get you the rest of the way there. Good luck.

I loved Terry's sound too and was fortunate enough to hear them in a great hall when Gordon was at his peak. Terry was playing a 6120 that night.


I first saw this color last night and am in love. Congrats. I agree with Don above that the blacktop is designed to replicate the 1970s pickup. This leads me to wonder if maybe all you need is an adjustment of the pickup poles. Maybe try this before trying new pickups. I say this as someone who tried a 5422 and was underwhelmed with the blacktops but have heard others that sound great. I think the one I tried simply needed an adjustment.


Hello all - thanks for weighing in. I appreciate all the replies. My understanding of the new Blacktops is that they are designed to look like the '70s-era pickups, but sound-wise, they seem closer to a single-coil Strat sound than to a humbucker filter'tron. What I've read elsewhere seems to fit with what Windsordave was saying. I've looked up some video demos of '76 Country Gentlemen (as well as some videos of Terry playing with Lightfoot) and they sound more full than my modern stock Blacktops.

That said, however, your point about adjustment is well taken. I've been playing with adjustments, in fact, which has led to some improvement, but it's not quite there.

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