Blacktops added to my G2420!

Discussion in 'Streamliner Gretsch Forum' started by wademp, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. wademp

    wademp Electromatic

    Age:
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    75
    Jan 1, 2010
    Elizabethtown, Ky
    I had originally planned on putting some Surf 90’s in my Streamliner, but came across a great deal on a pair of Blacktops, so I went that route. I’m glad that I did for sure. It’s super Gretsch-y sounding now! I wired it like s Setzer Hot Rod. I’m liking the simplicity of that wiring.

     
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  2. wademp

    wademp Electromatic

    Age:
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    75
    Jan 1, 2010
    Elizabethtown, Ky
    Oh! I also added a Reverend Soft Spring. I don’t know how it’s taken me this long to add one to a bigsby. It’s a night and day difference!
     
  3. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Con-Grets, I can’t give enough love for the gold G2420s—just a great Gretsch. Looks ‘right’ now after your mods, and no doubt sounds ‘right’ too. Enjoy!
     
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  4. wademp

    wademp Electromatic

    Age:
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    Jan 1, 2010
    Elizabethtown, Ky
    Thank you! I love love love the gold. It’s perfect!
     
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  5. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Electromatic

    85
    Apr 25, 2016
    Maryland, USA
    Nice work. Did you have to mod the pickup rings, drill the guitar, grind down the ears? Curious because I'm about to drop FTs into a G2655 and have to do two or more of the above.
     
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  6. Willie D

    Willie D Gretschie

    392
    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    Yes. I'm planning on popping a set of BTs in my 2420 as well. Let us know what the procedure was like.
     
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  7. Sonny Strimple

    Sonny Strimple Country Gent

    Age:
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    May 8, 2011
    Western Maryland
    Bet it sounds as good as it looks!
     
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  8. Calula

    Calula Electromatic

    59
    Jul 28, 2017
    Portugal
    I did the same with my 2622. For those considering swapping pups, please mind that sometimes good deal blacktops come with insufficient wire length for full body hollows or semi-hollows. Which comes to be no major problem, since you can amend the wires with a portion of the broad'trons wires - if you solder and isolate them with tape it'll be perfect. Just don't expect to sell the broad'trons after that - your chances were never much good anyway.
     
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  9. wademp

    wademp Electromatic

    Age:
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    Jan 1, 2010
    Elizabethtown, Ky
    @Davis Sharp @Willie D
    Putting the blacktops in took a bit of work.

    I modified the body, rather than the pickups. Some of the body needed to be routed away to clear the ears of the blacktops. I didn’t want to risk using my router on it, so I marked the outline that I needed to cutout, then scored the paint with a razor blade, and then I used the same razor blade on a utility knife to slowly cut away the wood. It took a good while, but I didn’t have a chip out in the paint, and the pickups fit perfectly.

    I used the pickup rings that came with the blacktops, and they covered the route nicely. I did have to fill, and red till three of the holes on both of the mounting rings screw holes. Just a bit of wood glue and dowell rod did the trick perfectly.

    The reason that I chose not to grind or file the ears of the pickups was for two reasons; the bass side of the pickup has two adjustment height screws, and I for sure didn’t have a tap that small if I had ended up grinding into one of those holes. The second reason is that I think it’d be a major PITA to get all of the grinding dust off of the pickups magnets.

    I do recommend these pickups. They brought so much clarity to the guitar. I got mine, with all the mounting hardware from eBay for $60 shipped.
     
  10. Willie D

    Willie D Gretschie

    392
    Feb 11, 2018
    Seattle, WA
    Did your Blacktops come with the quick connect plugs?
    If so, did you have to extend the wires, or otherwise modify the connection?
     
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  11. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Electromatic

    85
    Apr 25, 2016
    Maryland, USA
    Thanks for the info. I have the same rings, but they don't go well (IMHO) with my red guitar. I have a pair of TVJ FilterTron-to-Gibson rings for humbucker-sized holes. They also don't line up with the existing mounting holes and don't completely cover the pickup holes. Sigh.

    You make a good point about the metal dust getting into the pups.
     
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  12. wademp

    wademp Electromatic

    Age:
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    75
    Jan 1, 2010
    Elizabethtown, Ky
    No, mine did not come with quick plug connectors. I stripped all of the wiring anyways, and wired it up to just the three-way toggle, and master volume control though ala The Brian Setzer Hot Rod Model.
     
  13. wademp

    wademp Electromatic

    Age:
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    Jan 1, 2010
    Elizabethtown, Ky
    You’re welcome!
    So it sounds like either way that you go, you’re going to have to fill the holes and redrill. I used a toothpick to fill the holes, and just made sure that I had a lot of wood glue on it. It worked perfectly.
    I’d guess that the stock Blacktop mounting rings are about all that will work with those pickups without having to modify some other ones.
    I’m curious as to why they added a second bass adjustment screw...

    Yeah, the grinder dust would be a super pain to keep off of the magnets. No matter how you tried, I think that it’d get in the pickup somehow.
     
  14. Calula

    Calula Electromatic

    59
    Jul 28, 2017
    Portugal
    Well, I adapted the backtrons' ears rather than touch the guitar wood - but for those considering to do the same, I would regard Wademp's method as better. In fact, I risked having metal grounds inserted into the pups, by sawing and punching the pups' ears as I did (with a manual metal saw and an electric metal drill). Another risk I took was having the wax drained off the pups, which could have made them microphonic. In the end, luck blessed the daring (if I could consider myself as such) and no such things came to pass. I have successfully installed a couple of blacktrons with PAF ears (kind of) in english mount (or suspended mount) and they sound really well; but it could have taken a turn for the worse. If course, I also had to drill a third hole in one side of the blacktop's mounting rings (2mm drill for wood, so sorry my Anglo-Saxon friends but I can't remember the exact conversion rate for inches right now). Regarding connections, I cut off the easy plugs, stripped the wires, amended them with a portion of the broadtron wires and soldered them onto the individual volume pots - which I took the chance to replace for logarithmic (and a trebble bleed circuit soldered onto the master volume pot). Oh! and yes, I also swapped the Bigsby spring for a soft Reverend. It costed the hell out of my pocket, since they more than double the price in Europe; but I'm close to forget about it, since they are completely apart.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
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  15. Calula

    Calula Electromatic

    59
    Jul 28, 2017
    Portugal
    That's the result:
    upload_2018-4-18_17-16-48.png

    upload_2018-4-18_17-17-49.png
     
  16. wademp

    wademp Electromatic

    Age:
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    75
    Jan 1, 2010
    Elizabethtown, Ky
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  17. claes

    claes Electromatic

    12
    Apr 4, 2018
    sweden
    I'm thinking of doing the same bt (played around with the red bono and liked them) switch in my Gretsch. Seems lika a reasonable option for such a cheap guitar. So far I havn't been able to convince a seller in the us to ship to sweden. I refuse to pay the prices european sellers want. Thomann has the hs filtertron for 88 euro. That's another option. Esp. the bridge sounds fantastic in the youtube clips i've seen.
    Where did you get a reverend spring in europe?
     
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  18. Calula

    Calula Electromatic

    59
    Jul 28, 2017
    Portugal
    Hi Claes, the BTs I bought them from here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/232502875395?ul_noapp=true. The seller is in the States; but it can be said that they pack wisely :) ; thus neither taxes nor other expenditure were added to my purchase, while the package was going through customs.
    As to the Reverend Soft Spring I bought it from some neighbours of yours, a Finnish online store; is expectable, therefore, that you can get low shipping rates there: https://en.customsounds.fi/reverend-soft-touch-spring.html. They're very efficient and reliable - something you Nordic people are renown for.
     
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  19. claes

    claes Electromatic

    12
    Apr 4, 2018
    sweden
    That's the seller that refuse to ship to sweden...can't track he says..hmm
    Thanks for the springtip
     
  20. RomanS

    RomanS Gretschie

    157
    May 26, 2010
    Vienna, Austria
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