Gretsch 5120 Modification
Posted by Thomas Jones on 29th Jun 2016
One of the most popular Gretsch modifications that we get daily phone calls about is upgrading the G5120 Electromatic from the stock Gretsch humbuckers to TV Jones TV Classic Filter'tron™ pickups. We'll answer a lot of questions here.
First, you'll need to choose the pickups you want to install. Be sure to select Universal Mount® (or English Mount for T-Armonds and T-90s) as the mounting option. The most common plating choice is chrome. You will also need a pair of EM2 mounting rings and one pack of three Ring Risers. We've tried to make it easy by offering the EM2 rings and Ring Risers as a recommended item on each of the pickup pages in our shopping cart. We recommend two Risers for underneath the bridge pickup and one for underneath the neck pickup due to the high neck angles of these guitars. The pickups will suspend from the EM2 rings.
Second, a new wiring harness is not totally necessary, but if you want 10% better fidelity you can go with our all-American-made Tone Pot harness which uses high-quality CTS pots and a Switchcraft switch. We recommend split-shaft pots so you can use your stock control knobs and a standard long switch. You may should also order a new Switch-Tip - the stock switch-tip is metric and won't thread onto the new switch. The Tone Pot Tube Kit is very helpful and makes the installation much easier.
Please note: The stock pot and switch holes may be slightly smaller to fit the smaller metric components. No worries, Just open them up slightly with a reamer or small sanding drum. Below is a two-part video tutorial on how to swap out your stock Gretsch 5120 humbuckers with TV Classic Filtertron™ pickups. Here's how to really get That Great Gretsch Sound in your 5120/5122.
Now for some cool photos from the Gretsch 5120 / TV Jones club!
Here's a really nice example from "Jimmy H". Jimmy says:
"Here are some pictures of my Gretsch Electromatic 5120. I've tried to make it sound like Chet Atkins. He had the same pickup configuration in his Country Gentleman guitar. "Now the guitar is totally different. You really have something to look forward to if you're about to put TV Jones pickups in it."
"TV Jones Supertron neck and a Classic for the bridge. I put in a new wiring harness, knobs, switch/tip, strapholders, Chet-Bigsby, Sperzel locking tuners and a Nashville signpost pick guard."
Larry Guzik's Beautiful 5120:
"I recently upgraded my Gretsch G5120 with TV classics and a Hot Rod pickguard. This axe now has a real killer sound ! Great job Tom, thanks for enabling electromatic owners like me to have the real Great Gretsch Sound!"
Another nice job by Scotteads: