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.
“Remember, with Gretsch hollowbody guitars, there’s no access to the rear of the guitar through a cavity, so everything has to be fed through the bridge pickup hole. We’d highly recommend for a small price, the Tube Kit for Tone Pot Harness to assist”
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 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.
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 want to order a new Switch-Tip though. 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.