G5220 Jet - mods: tuners, output jack, master volume, master tone... bridge?

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by WalATX, May 3, 2021.

  1. WalATX

    WalATX Electromatic

    May 3, 2021
    Hello all,
    First post. Just bought my first Gretsch. If not against forum rules, I'll post a link to my thoughts over on TDPRI, should give you a sense of what I think of this guitar and what I compared it to when I bought it.

    TDPRI link

    tl;dr: this guitar is amazing -- questions below!

    Lots of good info on the forum about this guitar! I adore the BT pups. The FT were good too, I was probably 50/50 on a 5237 as well, but the balance on a strap felt better on a 5220 to me. The BT pups in these are real, real sweet.

    What I'd like to do is
    - replace the tuners with something better (these don't feel very accurate)
    - replace the output jack with a real one (this one looks and feels like a paper clip, you don't get that solid "snick" when you plug in)
    - master volume pot isn't to my taste, currently it is a "linear" B500k, would like to try an A500k log/audio pot in there to get more control over the range
    - same with master tone pot...
    - I've seen several people talk about a new bridge... is that really necessary?

    For the tuners, specifically, I want to make sure I'm not just doing a sideways replacement. I want better tuners. Since I don't know exactly what is OEM (they "look" like unbranded Grovers but they don't feel very accurate), if anyone has any insight I would appreciate it. I'm thinking these; they look like drop-in replacements to me:

    Grover 305 Rotomatic

    Also, bridges... is there something inadequate with the OEM tune-o-matic type? I've seen some of these thrown around. What improvement(s) does this give?

    Graph Tech Resomax Tune-O-Matic

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
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  2. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa Cruz

    My suggestion, if your tuners hold tune, and odds are they do, and your bridge does not rattle I would just play the heck out of the guitar and see what you think in a couple of months.
  3. Gregor

    Gregor Synchromatic

    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Welcome to the forum @WalATX. I have that guitar and find it keeps tune very well and am having no problems with the OEM bridge although lots of folks change them out but that's just me. Besides, it has a jack plate and our moderator would be proud(an inside joke around here). I agree with you on the master volume pot though...as is, it's really just an on/off switch.
    I would do as @radd says above. Good luck.
  4. WalATX

    WalATX Electromatic

    May 3, 2021
    Thanks to both of y'all. Regarding tuners, it's true that, once in tune, the guitar tends to stay in tune... which to my mind is an indication it's a quality piece. It's when I need to tune it I have an issue. I feel there are voids in the tuners where, much like the pots, I'll turn and turn and turn and get nothing, then an overcompensation.

    I.E. compared with my Mex Strat tuners and the open-gear tuners on my acoustic, these don't feel great.
  5. HypotenusLuvTriangle

    HypotenusLuvTriangle Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2010
    Whittier, Ca
    That’s a nut issue. The string snags on the nut and as you twist nothing happens and then you get that PING and the string has gotten sharp and you have to back it off. It happens on well cut nuts sometimes too. Solution, deal with it or swap the nut, I recommend ZeroGlide. The tuners for all intents and purposes are fine. The only reason to change out tuners in general are to put a different look or add locking functionality (which is what I do. I love locking tuners). If that’s what you want, go with Hipshot opened back tuners. Awesome.
    As for Bridges, we're pretty partial to Comptons around here. But others also LOVE the Tru-Arc or Serpentune. Also, a lot of love the ABM2400 Roller Tuner. But all those bridges are a significant price point above a nice TOM.
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
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  6. WalATX

    WalATX Electromatic

    May 3, 2021
    Could be! Thanks for the tip, I will make absolutely sure what it is before proceeding. That would be a big PITA to spend on new tuners and not resolve anything.

    Thanks also for the tips on bridges. I gather there's nothing really inadequate about this bridge, so I will probably hold off on upgrading that.
  7. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    Hi @WalATX !

    I reworked my G5220LH Jet to make her looking a "Wannabee Pro-Line Jet"...



    The tuners I installed on her are GOTOH SG-381.
    The nut is a TUSQ PQL-6060-L0 (Lefty).
    The bridge is a Göldo HW05C.
    The tremolo is a Bigsby B3LH that I bend and filed the chassis.
    The pickguard and plates are custom designed and made.
    The wiring is this one below - which will work for RH players as is, given that I wire my pots in the conventional RH sense :

  8. JC higgy

    JC higgy Gretschified

    Jun 6, 2008
    Belfast Norn Iron
    Welcome to GT Wal!
  9. BrianW

    BrianW Country Gent

    Oct 21, 2014
    Vancouver Island
    I can vouch for the circuit shown by @hcsterg; I "stole" the idea and put it in a G5230. Made all the difference in getting a good "sweep" vs the all or nothing of the original pots. A bit of work and expense, for me it was worth it. I also put a set of T-Armonds in it, which were great - but they have been moved to another guitar and now have a different set of TV Jones pickups in it. (All of which says I tend to tinker - take that under advisement :D)

    I would do as has been suggested however... play it for a while first before you decide what you want to change.

  10. HypotenusLuvTriangle

    HypotenusLuvTriangle Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2010
    Whittier, Ca
    Pretend I know nothing about electronics and reading schematics.... what's going on with this and how is it any different?
  11. WalATX

    WalATX Electromatic

    May 3, 2021
    Whew! You guys rock!

    Okay, I checked my pots, the Master Vol is a B500k; Master Tone is an A500k; looks like individual pup pots are each B500k.

    I'm used to Strat/Tele and use my Master Vol a lot, Tone no so much. I think what I'll do first is switch the Master Tone and Master Vol pots, such that Master Vol is A500k and Master Tone is B500k, and see what I think. The only thing I know for sure is I want better Master Vol.

    Already put in a new jack, much happier and more confident with that part.

    I'll take a shot at this. I hope this is accurate and isn't too dulled down for you.

    First and foremost, there are different "response curves" if you will, depending on which type of potentiometer you are using. We've been talking about audio/logarithmic ("A") vs linear ("B"). There are others, as hcsterg shows in the schematic, but let's stay with those two options for the moment.

    I stole this from the internet (edit: from Geofex), maybe it will help visualize:

    An "A" audio/log pot has a different response curve from a "B" linear pot, depending on how far the pot travels through its motion. Our ears perceive sound and volume on a non-linear scale, and so "A" pots are common in volume applications -- they tend to "sound" like a smooth taper of volume to our ears, even though they are not linear. The taper is logarithmic, hence "log."

    You'll see "A" type volume pots in Fender guitars, for example, and in volume and drive pots on many guitar pedals. An audio/log pot will slowly taper up at first, then crossover in the middle, and taper much more quickly at the top of its range.

    "B" type linear pots have a consistent response curve throughout the range, and so are useful in other applications where a "linear" response is called for. But in volume applications, they tend to not sound smooth and consistent to our hearing.

    The thing I have been annoyed with is that my Master Vol is a "B" linear pot, when (I personally feel) it should have been an "A" audio/log pot. I suppose this is a common complaint about these guitars, since other members have also chimed in, but it's one that is easily and cheaply changed.

    hcsterg has taken this idea and redesigned quantum mechanics and special relativity around the Gretsch volume-tone pot wiring harness. :D

    (if I am wrong, please send the cavalry - I'm just now trying to understand all this myself in the past few weeks, and explaining it to someone else could help me wrap my head around it)
    hcsterg likes this.
  12. Shock

    Shock Gretschie

    Sep 7, 2020
    Bridge choice depends on what you prefer. I prefer TOMs because they intonate best, which is the most important to me. And the only TOM I will install is a Nashville. They give a little extra to intonate with. And they don't have the retainer. But I don't generally replace things that are working. I wait till they start to fail. So if your current bridge is doing fine, I personally would leave it.
    WalATX likes this.
  13. MadKaw

    MadKaw Electromatic

    Apr 17, 2020
    Michigan, USA
    Before going radical, try a touch of graphite (or PTFE) on the nut. Sounds like it could be a bit sticky.
    WalATX likes this.
  14. Dana Rudd

    Dana Rudd Country Gent

    Nov 26, 2019
    Greybull, WY
    Hello and welcome to G-T, good to have you join us.
    Sounds like you have the experience to correct the pots nature on your G5220 so it will be an easy change for you.
    A little time spent on smoothing the nut can make a real difference in tuning stability.
    Enjoy your new guitar.
    WalATX likes this.
  15. WalATX

    WalATX Electromatic

    May 3, 2021
  16. WalATX

    WalATX Electromatic

    May 3, 2021
  17. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Looks like the button is stripped on the post or the button isn’t screwed down properly. Try tightening the button screw. If it’s still not working I’d ask the seller for a partial refund, assuming you really love the guitar and really dislike the idea of returning it for another. I’d seek out a healthy discount, with more than enough to cover the tuner upgrade of choice. This can happened to any guitar. It happened to my Thin Skin 55 Tele and Wildwood not only refunded me part of the purchase amount, but sent a replacement tuner. I don’t expect that level for an Electro but at least you can buy the tuners of choice if you lost your faith in the stock set :)
    WalATX likes this.
  18. HypotenusLuvTriangle

    HypotenusLuvTriangle Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2010
    Whittier, Ca
    Oh yea, that play in the tuner IS the tuner. tighten the screw up should work. If not, get money back or get some hipshots.

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  19. WalATX

    WalATX Electromatic

    May 3, 2021
    Bingo! That's what it was. I tried tightening the screw, didn't work, oh well, I got a discount so I suppose it's not the end of the world.

    Thanks for the looks.
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