While we often focus on the acoustic side of things in our Repair Spotlight posts, the shop also specializes in all things electric. In this edition of the Repair Spotlight we’re talking electronics swap out…all of the electronics. Here Matt Street Luthier Matt H is taking a stock Gretsch G5420T and upgrading all of the pots and switches with gear from our friends at Emerson Custom and swapping out the pickups with TV Jones TV Classics. Get scrolling to check out the process!
For prep Matt disconnected and removed all of the stock components and electronics. Starting with a clean slate to soup-up this hollowbody Gretsch.
First step was soldering all the pieces/parts together. The Emmerson Custom parts and TV Jones pickups were all assembled, wired up and soldered together outside of the guitar.
Next began the complicated dance of sliding everything into the awkward internals of an archtop electric guitar. The electronics, including the pots and switches went through the pickup rout before being distributed to their respective locations.
If it’s good enough for a surgeon it’s good enough for our luthiers. Here Matt makes use of hemostat to properly align and move around the parts. Lutheiry is kind of like surgery, right?
Next up is pulling the new jack through the openning. By plugging a long cable into the jack before inserting it into the guitar it makes it easier to pull the jack through the opening.
On this guitar all the original parts were Metric based, and all of our replacement parts are USA Standard…so Matt reamed all of the holes for the switches and pots to accept the new parts.
Next the jack is installed and snugged up to ensure a good fit and easy operation.
On to the pickups. The customer went with a set of our absolute favorite Filter’Tron-style pickups, the TV Classics from TV Jones. These vintage-inspired pickups nail that Gretsch Archtop sound. Plus they fit perfectly in the original opening with new pickup rings.
The backside of a Tv Jones TV Classic.
Next up is sliding the pots and shafts through and installing them properly. The awkward shape of the F-holes always pose a challenge for getting in there and properly seating the pot.
Making use of the neck pickup rout to slide a pot into place.
Installing these can be a bit of an art.
All back together and looking gorgeous.
This sub-$1000 guitar has now been upgraded with the sort of pickups, pots and wiring that you’d expect to find in a similar $3000 model. Talk to our Repair Shop today about having the electronics and pickups upgraded in your favorite electric guitar. Check out our inventory of Gretsch Guitars!
5 thoughts on “Repair Spotlight: Gretsch Electronics Upgrade”
Would love to have this same upgrade on my 5240. Can you tell me the cost for this work?
Hi Greg, thanks for reaching out! Let me check with the repair shop and I’ll have them reach out to you with a quote directly.
Just found this article…could you do the same for me? I have 5420T and would like all the pots, toggle switches, etc. upgraded and can’t find anyone around me that knows how to take this guitar apart etc.
Any info on cost appreciated. I’m in FL so would have to be shipped to you.
Hi Tom, thanks for reaching out. Our repair shop will be in touch regarding pricing and details about the rewire via email. Thanks!
I would like to “convert” my 5420 into an Eddie Cochran model. Through research I have found that these are the pickups used DynaSonic™ single-coil bridge pickup and Lindy Fralin “Dogear” single-coil neck pickup.. I realize the fingerboard is a different radius but I can live with the 12” on the 5420. I’d just like to come away with as close to the 6120EC as I can because I don’t want to put $3250 in that model, can’t find them used .
Thanks for your input