Replacement switch on 5420

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by adauria, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. adauria

    adauria Gretschie

    105
    Dec 22, 2016
    Wake Forest, NC
    Anyone know where I can get a (drop in) replacement pickup selector switch for a 2017 Electromatic 5420 in gold finish? Mine doesn't always work correctly and the audio sometimes drops out completely until I fiddle with it a bit. Happened both before and after pickup swap, so I'm pretty sure it's the switch.

    I can solder well enough, and have replaced switches on solidbodies. I've never done it with a hollowbody, but I assume the only difference is tethering the switch to a string or something before removing the nut, shaking it around until I can grab it out of the F hole, replace it, test it, and then pull it back into place with the string I used to tether before loosening it. Sounds like a PITA, but nothing I can't handle. I just need to find the part.

    -Andrew
     
    GlenP, rob batz and section2 like this.
  2. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    usa
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2020
    Scott, benjwri and section2 like this.
  3. Groutsch

    Groutsch Gretschie

    233
    Jun 9, 2018
    Maryland, US
    You could search for Gretsch Switch on Ebay. That's where I got my latest OEM replacement part, a strap knob.
     
    Outlaw and benjwri like this.
  4. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    You've got the procedure down pat. I like to guide the switch with a length of clear plastic tubing rather than a string. TV Jones sells a kit with the tubing, or you can buy aquarium tubing if it's easy to come by in your neck of the woods.
     
    Outlaw likes this.
  5. nrw_guitar

    nrw_guitar Gretschie

    188
    Aug 19, 2012
    kettwig
    Darren Riley has both the stock replacement Electromatic Switch, as well as the Switchcraft one used on the Prolines.

    https://darrenriley.com/product-category/gretsch-parts/pots-switches-jacks/

    In my case, it turns out that the switch itself was not the problem, but that the signal was shorting out on the ground lug on the back side of the switch, causing intermittent signal loss. I had to replace the wires to the neck pickup and then I was back in business.
     
    section2 and adauria like this.
  6. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    I second getting a Switchcraft Gretsch switch. Those Electromatic switches are the weak link, always giving me trouble. Thankfully, no reaming is necessary, they drop right in.

    It’s also easy to do, no need to pull the harness out, unless you’re uncomfortable soldering on the guitar top. On most big hollowbodies, nothing needs to be done through the F-hole except holding pots steady and soldering the ground lead to the output jack.

    Steps:
    1. Remove the strings and neck pickup
    2. Lay a towel down on the guitar top
    3. Unscrew the switch nut and pull the original switch out. Clip the wires after noting the color codes. IIRC yellow goes to the MV, blue is the bridge pickup, red the neck.
    4. Strip and pre-tin each lead
    5. Attach it to the Switchcraft, use the TV Jones diagram to check, solder it.
    6. Plug in and test the switch. I use a screwdriver and tap the pickups.
    7. Feed a string or correct size tubing through the hole, and attach it to the switch (don’t forget to buy a tip)
    8. Pull it back to it’s hole, feed the nut on the other side of the tubing. Tighten up the nut.
    9. Put it all back together.

    Hope that helps and good luck!
     
    nrw_guitar and Groutsch like this.
  7. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Also, there is some logic attached to how you lead out the wires on a genuine Gretsch Switchcraft switch, in accordance to the to the common ground lug. You feed the three wires to the switch on the ground lug side. This means you strip back the leads a bit longer than most, so the core leads will reach the other side of the switch. You’ll have three shield wires, all too long. Once you twist them together, they might be too thick to feed in the switch ground lug, so you might have to peel back some wire and clip at the insulation. You’ll also have to trim them in length, but I wait to do that until after I finish soldering the joint.

    The ground lug on the switch should face the rear of the guitar, the Bigsby side.
     
    Groutsch likes this.
  8. adauria

    adauria Gretschie

    105
    Dec 22, 2016
    Wake Forest, NC
    Wow, thank you all for the great responses and information. As it turns out, Darren Riley's shop is about 15 minutes from my house (though I'd be surprised if it was open these days). If he's got them, I'll source them there.

    Does anyone know if the Proline version fits without reaming in the Electromatic? I don't mind paying a few more bucks for a better product, but I am loathe to try and ream the beautiful top of this guitar.

    I will keep all the procedure and tips you've generously provided here handy when I actually go to operate on the patient.

    Thanks again!
    -Andrew
     
  9. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Yes, no reaming needed on the Electro, the Proline will fit.
     
    adauria likes this.
  10. rob batz

    rob batz Synchromatic

    988
    Apr 17, 2014
    Bristol ct.
    With what u know already and advice here , u got this
     
    adauria likes this.
  11. nrw_guitar

    nrw_guitar Gretschie

    188
    Aug 19, 2012
    kettwig
    What a small world this is, I learned about Darren Riley's shop on this forum and have had positive experiences ordering from them, and you are local to the shop. Unreal. (I live in Germany).
     
    adauria likes this.
  12. michelb

    michelb Gretschie

    Age:
    29
    310
    Mar 27, 2020
    Belgium
    Aight, gonna add that to the mod list. I also noticed that if you touch the switch, not actually do a pickup switch, the output crackles and loses volume a bit.
     
  13. adauria

    adauria Gretschie

    105
    Dec 22, 2016
    Wake Forest, NC
    Glad that it's not just me, then :)

    -Andrew
     
  14. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz

    There is no need to worry about enlarging the hole, if it is even necessary. It makes no sense to replace a faulty component with a another substandard one.

    You could enlarge the hole yourself very slowly and safely by putting tape over the hole and using sandpaper wrapped around a dowel to enlarge it if you did not want to use a stepped drill bit.

    I have enlarged holes in guitars a few times, it is really easy. I have a 5420 also, it will be getting a Switchcraft switch when the time comes.
     
  15. snakestretcher

    snakestretcher Gretschie

    Age:
    67
    257
    Sep 7, 2009
    England
    Have you tried a squirt of electronic contact cleaner (not WD40)? It might be just dirt on the contacts. Just guessing. I've had intermittent signal drop-out from jack sockets which something like Electrolube sorts out.
     
    Groutsch likes this.
  16. adauria

    adauria Gretschie

    105
    Dec 22, 2016
    Wake Forest, NC
    I could certainly try the contact cleaner... can't hurt! Thanks for the idea.

    -Andrew
     
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