Sellers remorse? G5230T or G5220?

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by smuc, Apr 4, 2021.

Which one should I get?

  1. G5220

    4 vote(s)
    40.0%
  2. G5230T

    6 vote(s)
    60.0%
  1. smuc

    smuc Electromatic

    8
    Nov 22, 2020
    Austria
    Guys, need help here! (and sorry if it is going to be a bit of a read!)

    I am a big fan of the Gretsch brand and a few years back I pulled the trigger on the Electromatic G5230T. Loved the way the guitar looked and I "kinda" liked the sound. Why "kinda"? Well... I remember it did not leave such a big impression that I would not sell it. A few months after getting the Gretsch, I stumbled upon upon a nice (and my first) Les Paul. Having too many guitars and with the Les Paul and the Firebird studio around, Gretsch did not get a lot of air time so it went away soon after. But so did the Les Paul (too heavy) and the Firebird (odd shape). I miss the sound of the Firebird and I think I have nailed it now with my current non-oddly-shaped humbucker guitar. But, I also wonder if I have given the Gretsch the proper benefit of the doubt with those two Gibsons lying around...

    Now, coming to my question to the wizards of Gretsch on this forum.

    I already have the G5230T in my crosshairs, but going through the videos on YT, I actually noticed that the non-tremolo version (G5220) actually has different pickups in. To my ears, these Blacktop Broadtrons (G5220) actually sound more like "normal" humbuckers, while the Filtertrons (G5230T) sound more like an angry Telecaster?

    Which one should I get?
     
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  2. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa Cruz
    It sounds like you are after more of a humbucker sound. If that is correct and the 5220 sounds more humbuckerish (sure that is a word :D) to you, I think you may have your decision.
     
  3. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    The G5220 is an excellent modding platform

    Before (stock) and after (modded) :

    [​IMG]

    A more "artistic" view... :rolleyes:

    [​IMG]

    That said, I never had a G5230... :oops:

    A+!
     
    emitex, thunder58, Merc and 1 other person like this.
  4. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    Yep, get the hard tail and install your own B3 (I particularly like the V-cut)
     
    michelb and Archtops like this.
  5. Archtops

    Archtops Gretschie

    233
    Mar 4, 2021
    SoCal
    As long you find a place to demo both, on a good amp, you’ll be able to make the call. YouTube isn’t necessarily a good place to demo sound. IMHO.
     
  6. Intoamartian

    Intoamartian Electromatic

    11
    Feb 10, 2021
    Midwest
    I think your assessment was kind of on: if you want closer to traditional humbucker the 5220 is it. If you want more Gretsch Twang it’s a 5230.

    Either way you can mod though so maybe save some cash and 5220 for a mod platform?
     
  7. Stefan87

    Stefan87 Country Gent

    May 20, 2019
    Brisbane, Australia
    Blacktop filtertrons described as angry telecaster is very funny and i can see why you say that.
    From what you have qrote i would say the 5220 too, but like others have said give both a try and go from there.
     
  8. smuc

    smuc Electromatic

    8
    Nov 22, 2020
    Austria
    Ok ok... you've convinced me. I had a listen to this video:


    ...and concluded that soundwise, the Player series with the Gretsch Filtertrons might have that something that I missed in my G5230T. I pulled the trigger and ordered a G5220! If it will play nice as the G5230T I had previously, I will upgrade it to proper Gretsch Filtertrons. And maybe sometime in the future I put a Bigsby on it.

    Any other recommendations aside Gretsch Filtertrons for pickup upgrade? (I prefer a 65 strat to a 54, 64 Tele to a 52 and Pearly Gates to a standard PAF. So I guess, I'm after a low output, gritty and midrange-y pickups)

    And that Firestick red? My god it looks good on the photos, hope it will be at least as good in real life...
    [​IMG]
     
    new6659, Merc, jfassett and 1 other person like this.
  9. Dana Rudd

    Dana Rudd Country Gent

    Nov 26, 2019
    Greybull, WY
    Hello Smuc welcome to G-T.
    Congrats on the incoming G5220. Keep us posted when it arrives.
     
    smuc likes this.
  10. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    @smuc : If you speak about my pictures (G5220LH), the color is DCM : Dark Cherry Metallic

    [​IMG]

    Your Firestick Red one promises to as nice as you expect - like any Great Gretsch Color !

    A+!
     
    THS3171, new6659, Merc and 2 others like this.
  11. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    double posting mistake :mad::oops:
     
  12. new6659

    new6659 Country Gent

    @smuc - I'll suggest that you play your G5220 for a while before you decide to change the pickups. I have three Proline Jets and two Electromatics and I wouldn't change anything about any of them, especially the G5220. Mine sounds fantastic.
     
    hcsterg likes this.
  13. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    I agree @new6659 : the Broad'Trons installed on the G5220 are excellent pickups - Even if I momentarily replaced them by DC SHT.

    Since I mounted them with connectors, preset them on their respective bezels, I can swap from DC SHT or Broad'Tron quasi-instantly...

    The Broad'Trons are powerful, deep and clear sounding. Think of a "big" HS FT, if I can say so...

    [​IMG]

    They are larger than the usual Gretsch pickup format, but they come with compatible bezels, so a swap is easy. Below, under film protection : Broad'Trons, no film : BT FT.

    [​IMG]

    A+!
     
    new6659 and BCBlues55 like this.
  14. BCBlues55

    BCBlues55 Newbie

    1
    Mar 20, 2021
    Virginia
    T
    Thank you for posting this. I bought some “Blacktop Filtertrons” off the bay a couple of years ago and dropped them into a 5120 I was modding. Part of me always wondered whether the seller had sent me Broadtrons by mistake. This post helped me figure out that I did indeed get Filtertrons (which sound fantastic, BTW). I’m relatively new to Gretsch guitars, and as many have noted, there’s a lot of confusion around Blacktops. Your post helped a lot! Cheers!!
     
    hcsterg likes this.
  15. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    BCBlues55 likes this.
  16. smuc

    smuc Electromatic

    8
    Nov 22, 2020
    Austria
    Soo... the Gretsch is in!
    IMG_5765.JPG

    First immediate impression plugged into my 57 Champ at low volume (clean) was quite underwhelming to be honest. Also, the color looks quite a bit different in life than what I expected (less vivid than in this photo). Similarly, the binding is very white and looks cheap compared to what I remember was on the G5230T. I am short on guitar space in my apartment and I was seriously considering returning it. But...

    Then I decided to give it an another shot through my standard rig (Boss BD2 into Two Notes Torpedo CAB). Sounds vaaay better with a bit of dirt on. I also see that the neck PU is set very low, and so is the action for my taste so it should get even better after a proper setup. And then I plugged in my hybrid Fuzz Face, tuned it in and - bam! Just amazing how good does this thing sound with a Fuzz Face. I even plugged in my Troublemaker Tele with Wizz PAFs to compare them and Gretsch has some of that unholy in-your-face presence that's difficult to explain.

    I find it interesting that (if I remember correctly), the knobs are positioned differently than how they were on the G5230T (the tone and bridge knobs are the other way around!).

    @new6659 and @hcsterg, thanks for the tip. I was actually thinking the same, the pickups do sound quite good. It's just that on the video that I posted above (to my ears), the resonant peak seems to be somewhat higher on the Broadtrons. That's something I have successfully tuned with a capacitor on the Wizz neck PU, so I will give it a shot before ordering the Filtertrons.
     
    new6659 likes this.
  17. michelb

    michelb Synchromatic

    Age:
    30
    665
    Mar 27, 2020
    Belgium
    If you'd like to mod it and put a "higher" grade Bigsby in, I'd say go for the G5220.
    If you're gonna leave the Bigsby stock, go for the G5230T.

    Edit: And as I post this the thread updates and shows me you already chose one :p
    Let me be the first one to say gratz on an awesome guitar ;)
     
  18. smuc

    smuc Electromatic

    8
    Nov 22, 2020
    Austria
    Yup,I went for the G5220.

    I'm still thinking about a Bigsby. I am not a heavy vibrato user, but I did like the feel of the Bigsby on the G5230T!

    160€ for a Bigsby is a bit on the steep side for something that I am not sure I will use...
     
    michelb likes this.
  19. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Fine @smuc ! :)

    Firestick Red :
    [​IMG]
    Nice color :cool:, which looks like some kind of Clear Bordeaux Red, more "brownier" than my Dark Cherry Metallic, which tend to be more "purple-ier".

    Putting a Bigsby on a G5220 is not a "plug and play" operation o_O, if you want to do it "à la Jet" like I did on mine ;

    [​IMG]

    Yes, she looks like a "real Jet" wannabee...

    [​IMG]

    ... But you have to work (file and genly curve) the Bigsby B3 chassis to make it fit suitably the guitar top, in order to achieve the correct break-angle, simply because the G52xx do not have the same bridge height as the true Jets, that have floating bridges :

    [​IMG]

    But there's two other ways to go for a tremolo on a G5220. I mean : easier to install ! ;)

    1 - the Les Trem, by Göldo, available at thomann.de (you're in Austria, right ?) :
    [​IMG]
    2 - the Bigsby B3 plus a Towner bar :

    [​IMG]

    But it's me, OK ? :D

    A+!
     
    new6659 likes this.
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