To me, there are 4 guitars that are so iconic that, to me, they are what come to mind when I think "guitar." The first is a Martin acoustic, next would be a surf green Stratocaster, after that, a cherry red Gibson 335, and finally a big orange hollow body Gretsch. Not necessarily in that order, but pretty close. I think this so much that I have all 4 of them. Well, my 335 is wine red and not cherry, but close enough.
So back 8 years ago or so, rather than spending the money on a Gretsch 6120, I got a 5120. It's the MIK version of that guitar (the more budget-minded variant). They're not making the 5120 anymore (they've moved on to the 5420), but there were some differences in the 5120 and the 6120. I won't go into many of them, but I will mention 2 of them.
First, rather than Filtertron pups, it had what have come to be known as Gretschbuckers. Now these pups didn't sound bad at all, but they weren't Filtertrons. Lots of folks immediately replaced them with TV Jones Classics or some other pup. TV Jones has been a popular choice because they made a mount that allowed almost a direct swap for the Gretschbuckers. (The 5120 had a weird pup mount that had 2 screws on one side and 1 screw on the other.) If you wanted a regular pair of Filtertrons, the 5120 was not set up to handle them without making major modifications on the inside.
Second, the 5120 has a licensed Bigsby (the B60) rather than a MIA Bigsby (B6). Honestly, the location of manufacture or licensed/unlicensed didn't bother me. I do, however, really like the Bigsby with the "V" in it that says "Gretsch by Bigsby" on it.
Now, since I bought the guitar I have talked about putting a pair of TV Jones pups in it, and have almost pulled the trigger several times but haven't done it. Although, not Filtertrons and not super-Gretsch-y, the Gretschbuckers aren't bad pups, have a unique sound (kind of Gretsch-y), and I haven't really had a real problem with them. So they never got changed. Then, back 3 or 4 months ago, I heard the Ray Butts pups that TV Jones has started making. Those are the Gretschiest pups I have heard in my life, and I decided that I must put them in my 5120.
So I emailed TV Jones asking about them. I told them what I had, what I wanted to do, and asked if they would fit the 5120 like I hoped. I must confess that the response was kind of disappointing. Long and short of it was "they won't fit without major modifications to the guitar." So, at that moment, I set out to try and figure out what I needed to do to get those pups to fit.
That set into motion what I'll detail in the next post. Pretty much what that ended up doing is that most everything I have ever talked about doing to that guitar to upgrade it, was going to be done. I'll detail everything that I did next week. Until then, I'll leave you with a pic of a generic 5120 (because I couldn't find a before-pic of mine right off) and a pic of the Gretsch when I finally pulled her off the workbench last night...with all the work done that I'm doing at the moment completed.
Snarf is a wannabe musician who currently resides in the great state of Texas. His wife is his favorite. He believes chocolate milk made from milk that is anything less than whole milk is basically water and deserves to be dumped down the sink so nobody has to suffer through it. He hates having to shop for clothes. But he has a thing for really cool bags, and, consequently, has more gig bags than guitars and a closet full of messenger bags and backpacks. He still misses his dog who was taken by cancer 5 years ago. Check out his Reverb shop and see if he has any gear he's trying to get rid of.