Can the Gretsch pick ups be straight swapped for Gibson humbucker type pick ups?

Discussion in 'Streamliner Gretsch Forum' started by Tomsaint28, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. Tomsaint28

    Tomsaint28 Electromatic

    5
    Jan 20, 2020
    England
    Hi I’m a new member/gretsch owner.
    Recently purchased the left handed green hollow body streamliner and (sorry if I offend any gretsch fans) I can’t stand the sound of the pick ups , I know people rave about em but I’m wanting a more les Paul sound as I’m in a rock band and pretty much going for the Chris Cornell signature ES-335 look and a slash sound.
    Was wondering if I could just straight swap the broadtrons for standard humbuckers?? If not what do I need to do ?

    Also very disappointed with the tuning of the guitar . Stays in tune for about 5 minutes

    Another question, can the V tailpiece be swapped for a standard straight one ?

    Thank you in advance for the replies , excited to mod the streamliner
     
  2. Lockupyourfatdog

    Lockupyourfatdog Synchromatic

    636
    Aug 8, 2016
    Everett wa
    Sorry to hear of your displeasure for the brand. The broadtrons are standard pickup size and the last set I swapped only had one set screw on each side so replacing them with a PAF shouldn’t be an issue.

    I haven’t really looked at the Chevy bar in person so I can’t be sure if you can easily swap it for a standard stop tail.
     
  3. Tomsaint28

    Tomsaint28 Electromatic

    5
    Jan 20, 2020
    England
    I’m just abit gutted that’s all.
    Being left handed you get ripped off and only have a select amount of guitars and they’re all black . When I saw this for sale I was so excited then after couple of days of
    Playing it I fell out of love with it due to the muddy sound and the tuning.

    In the long run I’m wanting to replace all the hardware for gold and replace the tuning pegs.
    but for now I just want to put some
    Better pick ups in.

    So you believe I could swap the pick ups straight out then and just throw some standard humbuckers in
     
  4. r0de0

    r0de0 Synchromatic

    Age:
    63
    523
    Jul 7, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    I work as an Administrator on another Gretsch forum and this is always a question that comes up, especially with new Gretsch owners.

    For those with Bigsbys and others with tuning stability issues, consider referring to the Gretsch Owners Manual:
    https://www.gretschguitars.com/support/owners-manual

    Page 5, and image on page 6 show you how to properly lock tie your strings. That along with lubing the nut and bridge will usually cure the going out-of-tune issue, especially with Bigsby use.
    https://www.bigbends.com/

    As far as the pups go, is why most people choose Gretsch however, there are models with P_90s that may appeal to you.

    Cheers and happy tuning!
     
    RoyClark and Merc like this.
  5. Tomsaint28

    Tomsaint28 Electromatic

    5
    Jan 20, 2020
    England
    cheers for the reply chap , I’m not a P90 guys either , want to put slash signature humbuckers in or Seymour Duncan JB’s.

    I’m gonna replace the plastic nut and tuners later down the line
     
    GlenP likes this.
  6. Lockupyourfatdog

    Lockupyourfatdog Synchromatic

    636
    Aug 8, 2016
    Everett wa
    Yeah they’re standard buckers. Shouldn’t be a problem. I used to be a tech so I’m not just blabbing. Well I am but have a little experience with them.
    I liked my first streamliner so much I but another one. They’re totally moded though Only the body is original.
    Good luck on your swap. There’s lots of people here to help
     
  7. Tomsaint28

    Tomsaint28 Electromatic

    5
    Jan 20, 2020
    England
    Cheers mate ,
    I’ll crack on with my project then!!! Thank you Mr Blabber You’re prob the guy to ask if you own 2 yourself and you’re a tech. Can the V bridge be swapped for a standard straight one ?
     
    Lockupyourfatdog likes this.
  8. Lockupyourfatdog

    Lockupyourfatdog Synchromatic

    636
    Aug 8, 2016
    Everett wa
    Unfortunately I haven’t dealt with the v bar. Mine are both the full hollowbodies with that jazz hard tail. I swapped them for bigsbys. They look like they would just swap out but I couldn’t say for sure. When I get back in town in a day or two I can check that out
     
  9. larryb

    larryb Gretschified

    Age:
    51
    Oct 29, 2012
    Greenville, SC
    Lockupyourfatdog likes this.
  10. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    I’m really wondering if you bought the right guitar?
    If you’re complaining about a muddy sound now, fitting a pair of SD Slash humbuckers is not gonna help.
     
  11. Aymara

    Aymara Friend of Fred

    Jul 6, 2013
    Germany
    Yep, my thought too. Maybe Blacktops might be the right choice ... more Gretschie, than the stock pups, and still nicely suited for much overdrive ;)

    Why copy Slash‘s sound, when you can be unique!
     
    Trash Kidd likes this.
  12. Trash Kidd

    Trash Kidd Country Gent

    Age:
    54
    Dec 14, 2015
    London U.K.
    To me the BroadTron pick ups fitted to Streamliners already sound more like a Les Paul humbucker than what you’d expect a Gretsch to sound like.
    I’m not keen on these BroadTrons to be honest.
    I much prefer a FilterTron Gretsch sound.
    With all due respect I wonder if you’ve bought the right guitar for what you’re wanting?
    Good luck...
     
    GOOBALL JEFF likes this.
  13. DennisC

    DennisC Country Gent

    Age:
    38
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    They're somewhere between the bright end of (Gibson) PAF and the dark end of Filtertron.

    Not as dark as both PAFfish pickups I had on my Tele's neck position, but clearly missing something compared to blacktops or other Filtertron-like pickups.

    If it is too muddy ... well, this is kinda the opposite direction. Depending on how much too muddy you find them to be, there may be other things to do before changing pickups - like reduce load, remove a row of polescrews and the like. Or just another amp setting, depending on what it is adjusted for. Have an EQ on your amp?
     
  14. benjwri

    benjwri Country Gent

    Age:
    82
    Oct 27, 2011
    Central ON Can
    Suggest you just buy a Gibson...
     
  15. Aymara

    Aymara Friend of Fred

    Jul 6, 2013
    Germany
    I forgot ... when talking about a specific sound, we need to consider the whole tone chain, so not just pickups, but also string choice, amp (incl. cab) & effects ;)
     
  16. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Welcome to the forum!

    If it's not staying in tune, the first thing to check is the nut. Chances are that the nut slots are poorly cut and the strings are binding there. A good luthier should be able to cure that problem in five minutes with a set of nut files. Alternatively, you can replace the nut with a pre-slotted GraphTec nut. The tuners themselves are probably fine as-is. If your nut is properly lubed and dressed, and you're using a locking wrap when you string up, you shouldn't have any more tuning issues.

    As for the pickups: I had a Streamliner and found that the stock pups were too muddy for me. You can replace them with standard-sized humbuckers, but as others have mentioned, they might leave your guitar sounding even darker. Before you swap pickups, you might try replacing the volume pots with 1Meg CTS pots, replacing the tone pot with a no-load pot, and adding a treble bleed circuit to the master volume pot. Those mods should eliminate a fair bit of mud without costing much. If you're still not finding the sound you want, you can always change the pickups later.
     
    Tomsaint28 and tartanphantom like this.
  17. DennisC

    DennisC Country Gent

    Age:
    38
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    @section2 : right!

    Also: disconnect the ground wire from the individual volumes (only there). They then are only adjustable resistors, still allowing to balance them the way you want, but no more will they contribute to the overall load - which will, everything else remaining as is, leave just the master volume and tone.

    You can also try out how she sounds with no pots connected at all - that's the maximum, it won't be any brighter than this without taking anything away (you reduce the taken away part of the highend - passive ... can't add).

    There's a lot you can do with the wiring that makes the sound a bit brighter with the given pickups, whatever kind they are.

    In middle position, you have three volume pots of 500 kOhm, equivalent to 166.66 kOhm of load (volumes only). No more ground on individual ones, 1 MOhm master, no-load tone, all this together does quite a bit. Expect it being noticable, but not being a miracle.

    Strings also can make a difference. I found that Elixirs sound a bit dull, compared to (uncoated) D'Addarios - with the exception of the green ones, they sound just as good. Optiweb or so, they're called.

    ... and try how your amp setting affects the sound. If you have an EQ, you might take away a little bass, add a little treble ... ah, just try around, in case you have one, as many amps do.

    However, if the pickups, in the end, are what keeps her muddy ... change them then. But not with a usual humbucker, with something else, like HB-sized P90 or something. I have a few in mind, like Surf 90s (some people around here use these and like them), ...
     
    ALS57 and section2 like this.
  18. jfassett

    jfassett Synchromatic

    663
    Dec 9, 2017
    Tucson
    These GFS Dream 90s were a easy drop in replacement. They sound amazing, however, not a Gretsch like tone, perhaps what you're looking for? IMG_20190525_104958_hdr.jpg
     
  19. Drifter

    Drifter Gretschie

    299
    Dec 27, 2012
    New Jersey
    Adjusting pickup height might just be the way to go to get rid of the muddy tone.
    Think about all the Les Paul owners who complain about the same thing when they get a brand new guitar. Then, amazingly after people chime in and pickups are adjusted properly, they LOVE the tone.
     
    jfassett likes this.
  20. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Of coarse “Slash-tone” is kinda dark and muddy to begin with... :)
     
    Trash Kidd likes this.
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