Upgrade my G5230T Jet? People who have upgraded please also respond

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by yoshiii, Nov 28, 2021.

  1. yoshiii

    yoshiii Electromatic

    Oct 25, 2019

    I am deciding wither or not to upgrade the pickups in the Electromatic 5230T Jet I have.

    After getting the Tennessee Rose I have, I like the HS filtertrons better than the black tops. I havent really played the guitar much for over a year after I bought it, its still sitting in the box.

    I have havent played it much mostly because working lots, and when I do play, I usually grabbed the tele I have or the semi hollow I have. The guitar is good, made good, but the pickups dont really sound like Gretsch Filtertrons.

    Is it a good idea to upgrade the guitar? If I put TV Jones in the Tennessee Rose, I think maybe I will put the HS filtertrons in the Jet. Or would TV Jones fit the guitar better?

    I am thinking of maybe selling it and saving up for a Pro Jet.

    What are some suggestions? Give the blacktops another chance? Change? Sell the guitar?

    What are opinions about the 5230T?
  2. Pine Apple Slim

    Pine Apple Slim Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2011
    North Alabama
    Just my take for what its worth, limited experience. I replaced the Gretchbuckers in my 5120 with Blacktops essentially turning it into a 5420, and comparing them to the TV Classics in my White Falcon:
    If you ever play with a lot of gain you may want to keep the Blacktops. That's their strong suit. They can take a lot of gain before they get muddy. Played clean to mild breakup, they aren't as nice as TV Classics, just not as much harmonic richness there. Yes they are Filtertrons and deliver a decent Gretsch sound, not a bad sound at all, but the TVs are better.
    But..... get on up into distortion and fuzz territory and the Blacktops start to sound really good, just might be my favorite pickup for higher gain applications.

    But if its been in the box that long, selling it and saving for a Duo Jet ain't a bad idea at all.
    section2 and Mr Twangy like this.
  3. Lacking Talent

    Lacking Talent Country Gent

    Aug 5, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Gretsch HS Filter'Trons are a great idea, but as I wanted maximum flexibility out of my Electromatic Pro Jet (in addition to having "that" sound), I went with these instead...

    Off Kiltertrons.jpg

    ...https://alamedaguitars.com/#pickups. You might want to check 'em out!

    Addendum: New harness, pots, caps, toggle, and jack, too.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2021
    Outlaw likes this.
  4. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Country Gent

    Feb 17, 2020
    That's not an expensive model. I wouldn't put a lot of money into upgrades. Financially, upgrades sometimes don't make sense.

    Do you love everything about it and just want to improve the sound? Then upgrade. That's the key, if you love that one then upgrade it, if you don't bond with it then try another.
    So you might be better off selling it and buying one that doesn't need upgrading. Your choice.

    I do like the trickle-down upgrades, like installing Classic 57s in the LP let me use the 490s to upgrade the SG, etc.
    Stefan87 likes this.
  5. kdm1218

    kdm1218 Electromatic

    Jun 17, 2021
    I have a 5435. I went from blacktops you TVJ Classic/Classic+ and love them. They’re great for clean to low/medium gain. Past that I wouldn’t know, don’t play that style.

    FWIW about a year after pups I also swapped out pots and wiring and felt that made the guitar even more clear. If you plan to keep it, it’s worth a little extra money and effort. But if not or you’re not sure, then don’t bother.
  6. Jeremiah_S

    Jeremiah_S Electromatic

    Oct 19, 2018
    New England
    Personally I think if you upgraded the harness it would go a longer way than pickups. You might find that those pickups aren't as bad as you thought when you've upgraded the wiring. If you're wrong, new pickups will still benefit from the upgraded wiring.

    All of the above is true, but sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants. Look inside yourself and decide if a Professional Series is really want you want. If it is, perfect, sell the Electromatic rather than upgrading. If you are OK with the Electromatic you have, then do the upgrades.
    xtcclassic and capnhiho like this.
  7. Stefan87

    Stefan87 Country Gent

    May 20, 2019
    Brisbane, Australia
    If you want a proline jet then just sell and get a proline jet, no matter how much you mod the G5230T it still won't be a proline, and that is more of a phycological comment, I am the same with things where the imitation or the modded step below won't replace the desire to own the item I want.

    No doubt that the 5230T will be great with upgrades and if it was me I would more incline to upgrade the TR and put the 'hand me downs' in the 5230T, that way your upgrading 2 guitars for the price of one, or just play with the pick up heights and stuff like that on the 5230T to see if that can improve anything, if you do decide to modify the 5230T I would hang on to the old parts in case it still just doesn't give you the feeling you want, that way you can revert it back to standard when you sell it.

    Let us know how you go.
    kdm1218 likes this.
  8. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Upgrades never make sense financially, but they actually make more sense on a less expensive guitar imo as it is more likely to improve the guitar and its value than on a more expensive guitar. Tvj in an electro jet would add some value though less than the cost of the pickups. Added to a Pro line it probably would add less value and certainly less as a percentage of cost. On a custom shop it might lose value!
    Outlaw and Stefan87 like this.
  9. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Been very curious about these and would love to hear a review and your thoughts in comparison to other filtertron pickups.
  10. Stefan87

    Stefan87 Country Gent

    May 20, 2019
    Brisbane, Australia
    I see your point, I look at it like this though, TVJ pickups cost around $450AUD, a new 5230T here cost $950, even at 15% off on the guitar at a sale then I'm at $1257.50 on parts so I'm paying more then list, where if I buy a proline here for near $4000.00 and get the same 15% off then I could upgrade the pick ups and still be under list price, so to me I'd upgrade the dearer guitar and not paying anymore then what I would at full retail..... of course I am ignoring the fact I'm spending 4x the price lol :D.
  11. Lacking Talent

    Lacking Talent Country Gent

    Aug 5, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Full thread about that Alameda Guitars Off Kiltertron pickup set and a host of other mods
    to my Pro Jet (in addition to the electronic ones cited above) coming soon. Appreciate your interest!
    Henry and Outlaw like this.
  12. Outlaw

    Outlaw Country Gent

    Jul 13, 2011
    Kiltertron pickups!!

    Are they made in Scotland??
    ZackyDog and Mr Twangy like this.
  13. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
  14. Mr Twangy

    Mr Twangy Gretschie

    Dec 27, 2020
    I upgraded the pickups in my Jet Club from Gretschbuckers to Blacktop Filter'trons, along with a new wiring harness, switches and pots. For me, this was a massive upgrade for a reasonable amount of money. The BTs really are fantastic with gain. I don't think the HS filters would make me as happy as the Blacktops for what I do with the guitar, having tried both.
    section2 likes this.
  15. 64ChevSS

    64ChevSS Gretschie

    Dec 24, 2016
    Innisfil, Ontario
    Mr. Twangy - how much work was involved in swapping Blacktops into you Jet Club?
    The Gretschbuckers really do suck as far as I am concerned. I can pick up a set of BT's for $85CDN.
    Mr Twangy likes this.
  16. capnhiho

    capnhiho Country Gent

    Feb 16, 2013
    I like the BTFT’s in my G5245 Double Jet, but I did replace the wiring with a TVJ harness. This model is a FSR and features a single master volume and single tone control, which probably contribute to the excellence of the available tones. I would try replacing the wiring in your 5230 before replacing the pickups. Then, if you’re not satisfied, you’ll be ready for a pickup swap.
    Mr Twangy likes this.
  17. Alaska Mike

    Alaska Mike Electromatic

    Apr 12, 2021
    I have a G5230T.

    I replaced the harness with a TV Jones harness with treble bleeds. Woke the entire guitar up. It was a bit dark and muddy, but now it sparkles without being shrill. Kept the original pickups and consider it done (well, I also replaced the tuners/bridge). Love that guitar and the unique place it holds in my collection.

    If I was to do it again, I would have just ordered new wire, CTS pots, orange drop caps, and a Switchcraft jack. The switch is fine, and I ended up putting it into a PRS SE that needed one. For $50 US I could have had the same thing as the TV Jones harness. Love their stuff, but... You're going to have the iron hot anyway, and it isn't rocket science.

    I would do this before I spent a bunch of money on new pickups. That will give you a sound platform to evaluate any changes, rather than rely on what were cost-saving measures when the guitar was built.
    capnhiho and Randy99CL like this.
  18. Mr Twangy

    Mr Twangy Gretschie

    Dec 27, 2020
    It wasn't hard at all. If your Blacktops come with the pickup rings you will be able to screw them down covering all the screw holes from the Gretschbucker rings. It fits just perfect. Then the wiring is straightforward - where the Gretschbucker wires went so go the wires from the BTs. A tip: I've found that the Blacktops sound best 5/16 of an inch from the bottom of the strings. Good luck, I'm sure you're going to like these pickups better!
    64ChevSS likes this.
  19. Hickeroar

    Hickeroar Gretschie

    Oct 4, 2020
    I think the G5230T is one of the best guitars for modding on the planet. It's a high quality guitar with some areas for easy improvement. Very few guitars I've found have as naturally "good bones" as the 5230s do.

    I completely overhauled my 5230 and you can see the result here: https://www.gretsch-talk.com/threads/my-g5230t-“g6230t”-mod-project.213050/

    IMHO, it's not hard to take a 5230 and improve it to be nearly in-line with the 6000 series. My total investment, guitar included, was $1035, and it's definitely a much better guitar than you can typically outright buy for that money.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2021
    xtcclassic, section2 and Paulie26 like this.
  20. 64ChevSS

    64ChevSS Gretschie

    Dec 24, 2016
    Innisfil, Ontario
    Thanks Mr Twangy - is the 5/16" to the top of the pole pieces or the pickup cover?
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