New Guy needing some advice on a G5420T

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Sybo, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. Sybo

    Sybo Electromatic

    Dec 2, 2019
    Hope all had a GREAT Turkey day. First post and hopefully I can pick a few brains. Picked up an Electromatic G5420T in Aspen Green and where have I been without a Gretsch? Is there any must do tweaks anyone can recommend to make this even a better score? What a cool forum here!!!Jim aka Sybo
  2. Sybo

    Sybo Electromatic

    Dec 2, 2019
  3. Floo

    Floo Country Gent

    Dec 16, 2012
    Elmshorn, Germany
    Welcome Sybo, and congratulations! You picked up a very fine guitar (and you followed the no 1 rule in this forum: pics or it didn't happen).
    This looks like a brand new 5420, so it should have the treble-bleed cap on the mastervolume (roll back the MV and you don't loose treble). You may have to look at the nut and see if the slots are cut deep enough, which should be done with every guitar. The strings should move freely when you use the Bigsby. If not, use some graphite.
    Some folks like to install strap-locks and a jackplate (@thunder58 will chime in on this I'm sure). Bridges are often changed (rollerbridge, barbridge, depending on taste).
    Whatever you decide to do, you'll find lots of info here, and helpful people to answer your questions.
    Have fun with this beauty and play it in good health!
  4. Zeek

    Zeek Synchromatic

    May 29, 2016
    Illinos USA
    Welcome and Congrads on the new ride. Enjoy
  5. Lockupyourfatdog

    Lockupyourfatdog Synchromatic

    Aug 8, 2016
    Everett wa
    Hola! I’ve had two 5420sand just bought a third. On both of them it wasn’t long before the bridge started rattling so I switched to a rockingbar bridge. Some people pull the pins out and make it a floating bridge for intonation adjustments but I must have got lucky because my intonation was spot on both times.
    The stock pickups I felt were too weak. I rased them up a bit and adjusted each pole piece to sound best to me. It took a while but it turned out to be a nice sounding guit. I also put on locking tuners and a v cut bigsby with a Chet handle but that was more for looks rather than functionality
    section2 likes this.
  6. nickurso

    nickurso Gretschified

    Dec 24, 2012
    New Orleans la.
    Welcome to GT. As mentioned already in your post the bridge is a big one. Stick gretsch bridges on all models are rattle traps. Check out Compton, true arc and D bridge. It makes a difference
    CaliforniaSlim, MKunie and Floo like this.
  7. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Friend of Fred

    Welcome to Gretsch-Talk, Jim!

    The 5420 is a great mid priced guitar in the Gretsch lineup. It's price point is one of the reasons that people love them - lower price means more price room for modding. In addition to what has already been mentioned, some folks (certainly not all folks) will swap out the Blacktop Filtertrons for a set of TV Jones pickups. There are a variety, and the choice of pickups is up to individual taste. Me? I'm fine with the stock Blacktops.
    Above Dimension, section2 and Floo like this.
  8. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    .... and a chime in I shall have Welcome friend . About me ..every guitar should come with a case and a jack plate , that's my #1 rule with guitars . But no jack plate on an SG , that would look silly :p Beautiful guitar @Sybo , and welcome again
    That's what I had said back in 2007
  9. xtcclassic

    xtcclassic Gretschie

    Jan 9, 2019
    The current Electromatic models are GREAT guitars as-is, but they can be upgraded to be fantastic guitars if you so choose. Make sure the nut is right and make sure the pickups are adjusted correctly as they are very sensitive to height adjustments. If you plan on using the Bigsby, you might want to consider a Reverend soft spring. These are all cheap tweaks that will make sure you’re getting the best out of the guitar in stock condition. I’d strongly consider upgrading the bridge, I have Tru-Arc bridges on my Gretsches and the upgrade in tone is substantial. Finally, if you want to go all-out and make your guitar all it can be, you can upgrade all the pots, capacitors, wiring, switch, and jack, and upgrade to the TV Jones pickups of your choice. A bit more of an investment but it will turn your GREAT guitar into an AWESOME guitar.
  10. JC higgy

    JC higgy Friend of Fred

    Jun 6, 2008
    Belfast Norn Iron
    Welcome to GT Jim!

    Congrats on the new geet !
  11. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Welcome to the forum, Jim!
    welcome mat 86.jpg
  12. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    Read about all the upgrades folks have done to theirs.

    Honestly, most 5420’s don’t need anything to be a very good guitar, they already are. Upgrades can make a good guitar even better and they are fun to do.

    Search around the forum and read about the different upgrades done to the 5420’s. Then play yours for awhile and see if any of the upgrades make sense for you.

    section2 and BrianW like this.
  13. BrianW

    BrianW Synchromatic

    Oct 21, 2014
    Vancouver Island
    Welcome and enjoy the new 5420!

    Probably the best advice imo.. play it for a while, play around with the setup, and "fix" any binding at the nut etc that is affecting tuning. By then you will have a much better idea what you want to mod for your tastes..

    Admittedly I don't always follow that advice myself, but that doesn't make it any less valuable :rolleyes:
    section2, radd and new6659 like this.
  14. Sybo

    Sybo Electromatic

    Dec 2, 2019
    Thanks all you guys are amazing!
  15. Jeff67

    Jeff67 Synchromatic

    Nov 3, 2019
    Crockett, Texas
  16. Jeff67

    Jeff67 Synchromatic

    Nov 3, 2019
    Crockett, Texas
    I'm right with you on both of those- yeah, a good case can be a significant extra expense, but very worth every penny. And a jackplate should be standard equipment on all guitars (except SGs). That $3 jackplate ain't gonna put the company out of business or make a guy at a guitar store say, "That one's way outta my price range- it's got a jackplate", and buy something else.
    thunder58 likes this.
  17. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Welcome! Congratulations on your beautiful new guitar.

    You've gotten some good advice above. The 5420 is a fine instrument right out of the box. The only upgrade that it really needs is a jack plate. (You'll step on your cable one of these days, and you don't want to tear the jack right out of the guitar.)

    Sometimes the nut needs a bit of work to ensure that it's properly cut and lubed. If you don't have nut-work experience and a set of proper nut files, it's a quick job for your local luthier. Have them give it a proper setup while you're at it, and you'll be in great shape.

    Aside from that, your guitar should sound and feel wonderful right from the start. Any other upgrades are optional. Play it for a while and see how you feel before making any changes. As others have mentioned, here are some popular optional upgrades:
    • Replace the Bigsby spring with a Brick's Super Squishy Spring or a Reverend Soft Touch Spring. It's a $10 upgrade that makes a big difference to the feel of the Bigsby.
    • Tweak the pickup heights if you're not thrilled with the sound. A little adjustment goes a long way with these.
    • Replace the stock bridge with a solid bridge. Compton, TruArc, and dBridge are the most popular, but they're expensive. I like Bigsby Rocker Bridges, which are similar in style but about 1/5 of the price. They do require some work to make them fit, though. You'd need to buy a Guild-spec Bigsby bridge, file down the post holes to make it fit your bridge base, and then file string slots into the bridge. If you want a drop-in replacement, a Compton or TruArc or dBridge is the way to go. If you do replace the bridge with a solid model, you may need to unpin your bridge base for proper intonation.
    • Add locking tuners. Not really necessary, but they make it less of a chore to string up the Bigsby.
    • Some people like to replace the pickups with TV Jones Classics (pricey but excellent) or Gretsch HS Filtertrons (less pricey and still excellent). Others love the stock Blacktop Filtertrons. I think the Blacktops are great.
    • I installed a Zero Glide nut on my 5620, and I'm very happy with it. But the stock nut on your guitar is much better than the stock nut on mine was, so you probably don't need to change yours.
    • You can replace the Bigsby with a V-cut B6C, but that's a purely cosmetic change.
    These mods are mostly done for the love of tinkering; you really don't need to do them. Have fun playing!
    rake_ether likes this.
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