Just another Electromatic Upgrades Thread

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by MicrowaveMan, Jan 14, 2022 at 5:32 AM.

  1. MicrowaveMan

    MicrowaveMan Electromatic

    Jan 10, 2022
    Hi All,

    Newbie to the forum.

    I own a G5220, had it all properly set up by my local tech and it plays like a dream so now I'm willing to throw some cash at it. I've read in some of the threads here that it's worth just upgrading the harness before possibly upgrading the pickups. I've looked on the TV Jones website but they state that harnesses are all for hollow body guitars, can I still use this for the G5220.

    Duo Slinger and Trash Kidd like this.
  2. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Welcome friend . I had a guitar with the harness installed in it , but I don't think it will work with your guitar . But hopefully someone can prove me wrong :)
  3. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Friend of Fred

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    If you have questions, the TVJ folks are pretty good about answering questions if you send an email.

    From personal experience of modding several Electros, you can get away with just swapping pickups. Maybe replace the switch if your feeling cheeky.
    Waxhead likes this.
  4. Ricochet

    Ricochet Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Sort of. I suspect if you want to use it on a G5220 you have to de- and re-solder some parts.
    Can’t your tech upgrade the wiring with some Belden cable and install a Switchcraft switch and CTS pots?
    rake_ether likes this.
  5. Jeff67

    Jeff67 Country Gent

    Nov 3, 2019
    Crockett, Texas
    920D makes a nice harness, too. Nice 500K pots, treble bleed on the master volume, Switchcraft toggle, Pure Tone jack, and .022 orange drop cap. Plus, it has the quick- connects, if you need those. I got one on Reverb a while back for my G2622T.
    MrWookiee likes this.
  6. kdm1218

    kdm1218 Electromatic

    Jun 17, 2021
    @MicrowaveMan you'd have to desolder/disassemble parts of it to get it into that guitar, and you may have more or less wire than you need based on where the control cavities are routed inside. Pots won’t fit through the wire routing holes inside a Jet- I did my own last fall. Have your tech assemble and do a new wiring job if you want to invest there. Also another thing to be aware of is if you upgrade your pots to USA made ones they will be imperial and not metric, and you’ll have to have holes reamed larger and new USA spec knobs or drill out your others with a drill press.
  7. navigate40

    navigate40 Gretschie

    Jul 18, 2020
    I had a G5220, Jet. What a great guitar. I read some threads about changing out the wiring...was not sure it was worth the trouble, quite frankly. I think the guitar sounded great on its own.

    I did change the neck pup to a TV jones, and that sounded great. Simple and easy. Kept the bridge...it was fine.

    Locking tuners are always a very worth while upgrade, though the tuners on the 5220 may be really good...I forget (don't have it now, have a G5655...no changes to that, except for locking tuners, roller bridge).
    Tele295 likes this.
  8. kdm1218

    kdm1218 Electromatic

    Jun 17, 2021
    I’ll also add for the OP, I have a 5435 which is at least similar style. First I swapped out the blacktops for TVJ Classic neck, Classic+ bridge. Then a few months later I did the switch, pots, and wiring. The more noticeable change was the pickups. I play typically low gain/edge of breakup stuff with a little full clean and a little mid gain mixed in. The TVJ pickups added clarity the blacktops didn’t have especially with the increased gain. But if you don’t have a specific complaint about the tone of the guitar that you’re looking to upgrade, then IMO try just playing and enjoying it for a while and after a few months see if you still think it needs upgrades.

    I also did locking tuners but did that more because I’ve just become accustomed to having them on all my guitars, and my Gretsch also has a Bigsby so it does make the string changes easier with locking ones.
    navigate40 and section2 like this.
  9. jvin248

    jvin248 Electromatic

    May 16, 2017
    Near Detroit

    Before 'throwing money at it' ... spend a few days adjusting pickup heights and screw pole heights. Look at old Hendrix videos and you'll see he didn't leave them 'set to stock', he used his ears to get the most tone from those pickups. Pickups provide large and small EQ adjustments.

    My method, and there are a million different methods out there, is to lower both pickups flush with the trim rings (or pickguard if the pickups are suspended from the pickguard like say a Strat).

    Raise the neck screw poles, neck side bobbin (since you have two bobbins to choose from), between 1/8th and 3/16ths inch. I'll put them in a Strat-Stagger pattern (look up pictures if you don't have a Strat) just because that tone often 'sounds right' due to so many famous songs performed on stagger-poled-Stats.

    Then I raise the bridge screw poles 1/8th to 3/16ths inch but I keep them level to each other (a little 'mid-scoop'). Most standard humbuckers have the screw poles on the outer bridge side bobbin but I have a couple I have rotated the pickup so the screws are on the 'inside' and get more of a P90 tone from the humbucker. Your pickup has two rows of screw poles so you can try the inner set just with a screwdriver.

    Switching between neck and bridge pickups while playing on the guitar I raise the bridge pickup just until volume parity neck to bridge.

    I finally tweak the neck pickup by raising the treble side slightly and the bridge pickup by raising the bass side slightly on their elevator screws. Check volume balance again.

    Because your pickups have two rows of screw poles, you can selectively raise poles on each bobbin, such as three on one and three on the other like the WRHBs that Fender makes.

    Try that for a while.

    Then go after the Pots 'n Caps. But know what you are chasing for tone moves, such as measure the actual readings of your parts and then measure actual readings of new ones you select. Two pots may say "500k" but one could measure "450kohm" and the other close to "550kohm" and your guitar will sound different with each selected even when "dimed".

  10. MicrowaveMan

    MicrowaveMan Electromatic

    Jan 10, 2022
    Thanks, I'm going to give this a try. I like the way the current pickups sound and if this makes it better then that's a plus.
  11. wabash slim

    wabash slim I Bleed Orange

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Welcome aboard!
    We have a saying in the US, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
    Upgrading pickups is one thing. Upgrading a harness in a Jet is another.
    ColoCoug, hcsterg and kdm1218 like this.
  12. Gregor

    Gregor Country Gent

    My recommendation as well. I have the same guitar(2 years now) and have done zero mods. It stays in tune extremely well and have had no problem with the stock Tom bridge. If I wanted to change anything, it would be the volume pot as it's slow to roll off but no biggie for me. The switch might be another...it's loud imo but who cares.
    section2 likes this.
  13. BuddyHollywood

    BuddyHollywood Gretschie

    Sep 11, 2009
    Venice, CA
    Use your ears when determining whether to switch out the pickups. Every player has a different attack, feel and approach. Listen for the inherent tone of the guitar and figure out if you hear what you think different pickups may bring out of it that the current pickups are not achieving for you. TV Jones pickups are amazing but they may not provide the sound you are chasing. Not everyone likes the same flavors. Even TV Jones makes a ton of different pickups including Filtertron style, Dynasonic style, humbucker, P90 and single coil pickups. Gretsch pickups are high quality pickups too. The Blacktop Filtertrons in the current Electromatics are based on previous Filtertrons that Gretsch used to install in their Pro-Line guitars a few decades ago. Blacktops have a bit more power than Gretsch HS Filtertrons or TV Jones Classics and have their own distinct sound that just may work in your favor depending on what you're playing and hearing.
    new6659, kdm1218 and section2 like this.
  14. capnhiho

    capnhiho Country Gent

    Feb 16, 2013
    My G5245T Double Jet came wired similar to Hot Rod wiring with an added master tone control (master volume + master tone). I liked the BTFT tone but upgraded the harness with one custom made by TVJ. I had to unsolder and resolder the selector switch in order to install it but it was worth the trouble. IMO this wiring really brings out the best of BTFT’s!

    Of course YMMV.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022 at 7:12 PM
  15. Waxhead

    Waxhead Friend of Fred

    Aug 30, 2014
    Suggest you Email TV Jones.
    He's always answered me within a few days :)

    Upgrading the electrics in an Electromatic with the TV Jones harness is $$ well spent imo. I did it on my 5422 and it improved tone and adjustability of the dials.
    Made the controls much more usable
  16. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    Hi @MicrowaveMan

    I also own a G5220 but LH, and yes :
    It's an excellent modding platform :cool: :

    Before, "stock, right out of the box" :


    After, "Custom Jet" :



    Depending on how you are tooled and confident in your skills, I'll recommend you to rewire your instrument by yourself, if you can... o_O;)


  17. MicrowaveMan

    MicrowaveMan Electromatic

    Jan 10, 2022
    This is class!!
  18. ColoCoug

    ColoCoug Electromatic

    Dec 9, 2011
    Fort Collins CO
    I suggest the OP focus on the process in post #9 for a while. It's good to live with what you have and get thoroughly familiar with it. An "upgrade" should be done to correct a problem or shortcoming. If you don't have problems or shortcomings, why mess with things??

    If after the process outlined in #9 you perceive that upgrades are needed, focus on pickups and/or pots and electronics. Skip messing with the harness; wire is wire, and what's in the harness should be fine. I wouldn't worry about "upgrading" wire that's already doing its job just fine.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2022 at 1:09 PM
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