upgrading the pickups in the G5220

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by polupusher, Jul 24, 2021.

  1. polupusher

    polupusher Electromatic

    11
    Jul 22, 2021
    Canada
    So I have had my 5220 for over a year now and the only thing that I don't always get along with is the neck pickup. The black top broadtrons I think is what is in there now.
    I find the neck pickup to be to bassy ( boomy) even if I drop the bass on the amp some times it just really bugs me. Then some days I think it's ok I just never think it's great.
    So I just upgraded all the pots and wiring and thought maybe it might be time to change out the pickups.
    I'm thinking of TV jones supertron in the neck and classic plus in the bridge. I watched some U tube videos and liked the sound although you can't really go by that the only thing is most are in hollow bodies.
    How does it affect the sound in chambered 5220?
    I read that the classic's are a little bright in solid bodies don't know if that is true. The supertron sounds more mellow but hopefully not boomy or to bassy.
    My amps are the 65 princeton reissue and the Marshall origin 20.
    What would be a good choice for the 5220.
    thanks
     
  2. jfassett

    jfassett Synchromatic

    745
    Dec 9, 2017
    Tucson
    If you can get your hands on a set of the BT 65 Broadtrons that come in the 6228 go for it, they are much clearer and brighter, I got a set and put them in my 5220 and absolutely love them!
     
  3. mike77rios

    mike77rios Gretschie

    262
    Nov 13, 2011
    san Diego
    Jack, any idea where one might get e set of the 65BTs?
     
  4. polupusher

    polupusher Electromatic

    11
    Jul 22, 2021
    Canada
    Yea I was looking for them but they don't sell them separately
     
  5. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    I put a set of Dual Coil Super HiloTron in my G5220 :

    [​IMG]

    That simply means that using Gretsch standard bezels, you can install BT FT, HS FT, HT or TVJ pickups easily.

    Below, a size comparison between Broad'Trons and normal size Gretsch pickup. You notice that the external dimensions of the bezels are identical (plastic film covered = Broad'Tron) :

    [​IMG]

    A+!
     
    Tele295 and polupusher like this.
  6. xtcclassic

    xtcclassic Gretschie

    186
    Jan 9, 2019
    Missouri
    I have a Super’Tron in the neck of one of my Jets. It’s very “big” sounding, quite a bit of lows but very clear and not muddy or flubby sounding at all.
     
  7. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Firenze, Italy
    I didn't want to spend too much time on it and I found a bargain on Ebay, so I dropped a set of Seymour Duncan Psyclones humbucker sized that fitted straight on.
    They're a bit hot compared to my other guitars (I got Hi-LoTrons and Ray Butts on my other Gretsch), but after some adjustment I really like it. Very TV Jones sounding pickups.
    If you play clean, they may be the best bet as you'll reach crunchy tones at lower volumes.
     
  8. DennisC

    DennisC Country Gent

    Age:
    38
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    Hm ... as you changed out a lot of electronic parts already, I guess you're safe with soldering and stuff.

    Have you changed any values while doing so? There are a few tricks you might try that might be able to spare you from changing pickups - like, disconnect the grond of the individual (neck-) volume = it only acts as a variable resistor then, decreases the load on the circuit.

    Chosing a larger value at the master volume also acts this way. If we start with individual and master volume all being 500 kOhm, your load equals 166.66 kOhm with both pickups, and 250 kOhm with each. Disconnected ground on the neck would mean it is 250 kOhm with both or bridge, and 500 kOhm with just the neck pickup. A 1 MOhm master = 1 MOhm at neck, 333,33 kOhm with both or bridge. Load of the tone circuit not taken into account, for that is dependent on the frequency. A No-Load pot might help a little here, too...

    While this doesn't do all that much, it certainly does a bit that may be what is desired.

    After all, adding a bass cut to the neck pickup wouldn't be that hard either ... I'd start with a 1 nF cap in line and a 1 M pot parallel to it to have it adjustable, and see if it helps. Changing the cap and resistance can adjust both the sensitivity to freqency and the total amount of what is taken away - generally, a large resistance and small capacity do the most. You could also try out fixed values right away, but something to be able to compare, I still see as required, like a simple switch that bypasses the entire lowcut arrangement. Likely, a resistor parallel to the cap will need to have a few hundred kOhm, the capacity will serve you best somewhere between o.1 nF and 10 nF, in line with the signal, upstrem of the neck volume. Will definitely need some try and correction, but is a lot cheaper than a new pickup is, and might serve just as well - a few € or $ for a bag of different capacitors and resistors is well invested money, a few hours of trying and playing and stuff ... if you're willing to invest the time, this might be totally worth it, even additionally to a new pickup. A lowcut is pretty easy ... cap and resistor in parallel, and that in line with the signal - costs next to a close neighbour of nothing, and ... well, works? Works.

    Or an EQ pedal that you set up to do nothing but reduce bass - and engage when changing pickups. EQ pedals are great for this purpose, and as they're pretty crammed inside, troubleshooting being a mess, and as there are cheap and flawless ones available ... but, I get that the approach of resolving the issue within the guitar is to be prefered. I'd prefer that, too.
     
  9. jfassett

    jfassett Synchromatic

    745
    Dec 9, 2017
    Tucson
    I got mine from a member on this forum, Facebook groups could be a resource as well....they are hard to find
     
  10. polupusher

    polupusher Electromatic

    11
    Jul 22, 2021
    Canada

    So what are super hilotron's ?
    They fit the pickup rings the same as the broadtrons?
     
    hcsterg likes this.
  11. polupusher

    polupusher Electromatic

    11
    Jul 22, 2021
    Canada
    Yes I bought a bunch of pots and sorted them so right now the tone is 530k both pickups are around 520k and the master is 505k
    That has made an improvement to the guitar. Brightened it up a bit.
    I also changed the treble bleed circuit to a 150-ohm resister and a .001 uF cap in parallel. I tried 100 ohm and a 220 ohm resister as well. I like the 150 and 220 the best I will play it for a few days and see if I might change it again
     
  12. DennisC

    DennisC Country Gent

    Age:
    38
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    That's good. Most pots are a bit below their namesake value, often even using up most of the 20 % tolerance. Increasing it further might still allow for some more treble to be conserved, as treble suffers most from any load the circuit burdens upon the source.

    But, tbh, I tried this out with a research wiring, allowing to change the pot value at maximum (both input and output on wiper, therefore only changing the resistance parallel to it instead of dialing in the volume), and found that with the bridge pickup in my Tele (a brandless one, a Bastardette), well below 200 k it starts being very audible, above that, it is pretty deep in the details, and above like 300 k Ohm, it changes a bit, but I cannot really say how much I hear because I know that, electrically, there is a difference, and how much I hear because it really sounded different. With the neck pickup, this was even less relevant, somewhere around 150 kOhm it got audibly darker than above - and both are even less sensitive if any kind of overdrive is involved. This may be disappointing a bit, but I found it useful to see the effect for what it is and adjust my expectations.

    So, as this indicates you're not one of those who happen to end up in hospital after soldering (I went there after soldering one time - I had let the iron lie on the ground to cool off, forgot this when someone rang the dorrbell and stepped on it and my tetanus shot was due then, and I don't have these at home), a bit of trying out different things may be the best way and ... like above - may even spare you the need for another pickup. In case you don't use the individual volumes all that often, you could turn one into a lowcut instead - diconnect ground and install a treble bleed, basically ... where I'd start with a capacity of like 0.5 nF, connecting the other two lugs. Turning it down then would mean that you have the 520 kOhm in line, parallel to this would be the capacity, which will let higher frequencies pass unmolested and block off the lower ones. That, actually, is a pretty promising approach I think - I'd certainly try this out at least, and then decide if individual volume or that is more useful.

    If it proves to be useful, but you don't want to sacrifice the individual volume, replacing both their pots by one balance pot, that decreases the volume of one pickup per direction could provide you with the same functionality as now, + the lowcut, and thereby may allow the dark pickup to brighten up a certain bit. I actually plan doing a similar thing to my 5420's wiring, when I find the time for surgery (time is pretty tight at the moment - too much to do, too short days, I'm already lucky if I can play a guitar half an hour a day, therefore, surgery isn't urgent), who has a set of Magnatrons and doesn't lack any twang, but has plenty of it in any setting the switches allow - but I like having even less load (ground won't be connected), and as I have a master volume, the individual volumes are only used to balance the pickups, not to adjust the overall output, similar to your guitar's circuit. A highcut, the usual tone circuit, already is on board, a low cut, I think, would be a nice addition, more or less in order to allow more severe overdrive in more neck-heavy balances without the sound getting too muddy. Removing a bit of mud beforehand, I until now do by an EQ pedal. Works fine, too.

    The seamless mixture provided by the two individual volumes actually is worth a lot more than many more tricky wiring shenenigans, it certainly is the most useful part exceeding a normal Tele-wiring in my Tele's wiring, and she has quite a bit on top of the usual, like serial connection of the pickups (not half as useful), parallel/serial within both pickups (stacked pseudosinglecoils, humbucking in both settings) and a tone pot, also a push pull (3 of them and a 4P5T - more doesn't fit in a Tele's electronic slot), to chose either 10 nF or 20 nF in line with 500 k for the tone. The smaller capacity allows a more sensitive treble removal, but I'll even decrease the capacity the next time she's on the bench.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
  13. polupusher

    polupusher Electromatic

    11
    Jul 22, 2021
    Canada
    That sounds like what I would like.
    Now that I have changed the pots to higher values as the originals were in the 450k range the guitar is brighter on the neck first impression is it sounds more detailed.
    I will leave it as is for awhile to get used to it again and see if I think it needs a pickup change.
     
    DennisC likes this.
  14. DennisC

    DennisC Country Gent

    Age:
    38
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    That's a plan who sense makes!
     
  15. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Dual Coill Super HiloTron are humbucker pickups that are intended to recreate the tone and feeling of a single coil pickup., without the drawback of the hum sensivity, meaning that you can go in the Hi-Gain territory.

    It's somewhere a "mix" between the HiloTron - which is a real SC - and the HS FT - which is the classic Gretsch humbucker.

    The tone of the DC SHT is less powerful, less "in your face" (if I can say so) than the HS FT, but it is more crisp and delicate, still retaining warmth. because or its width.

    The DC SHT could be found notably on Gretsch G5620 and G5622 (3-PU version), but they are now discontinued, too bad... :(

    Oh, Im sure other G-T members will describe the DC SHT better than me ! :rolleyes: I appreciate the DC SHT notably for Funk/Soul/Disco and Wah/Phasor 70s styles, with or without drive... But not only ! :cool:

    No : the DC SHT won't fit correctly the bezels supplied with Broad'Trons. You can see why below, showing at left a Broad'Tron, and at right a regular Gretsch bezel, suitable for DC SHT, HS FT, BT FT, HT :

    upload_2021-7-27_15-2-4.png

    You notice that the external dimensions of both bezels are identical, so are the mounting holes, but the pickup window is larger for the Broad'Tron bezel.

    A+!
     
    dokterbart, Tele295 and polupusher like this.
  16. Tele295

    Tele295 Country Gent

    I’m considering the Super Hilos for my 5220 Jet
     
  17. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Maybe things have changed, but they are not available as regular spare parts... You will have to search for used ones.

    A+!
     
  18. dokterbart

    dokterbart Electromatic

    7
    Aug 9, 2021
    Amsterdam
    Or severa buildersgive filtertron shaped alternatives. Could buy a filtertron for the bridge and a P90 for the neck both delivered with Gretsch compatible rings at Duesenberg
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.