DynaSonic, DeArmond, T-Armond... what glorious tones!

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by DHart, Apr 10, 2020.

  1. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    DynaSonic, DeArmond, T-Armond pickups were not on my radar, as a guitarist, for decades. It wasn't until I bought my Cabronita Thinline (with Fideli'tron pickups) that I had even played what many would consider to be "Gretsch-type" pickups.

    Once I realized how great the pickups in various Gretsch guitars are, I decided to try the TV Jones version of the DeArmond pickups: T-Armonds.

    For anyone who might be looking around for rich, very full-bodied, glorious single-coil tones... may I suggest considering T-Armonds?

    I have two guitars which previously housed PAF-style humbucker pickups, which I found to be less detailed, less articulate, less clear, and less sparkly than I preferred. I decided to try T-Armond pickups in them and I am blown away by how great these pickups sound. While this pickup design is not commonly found in Fender, Gibson, D'Angelico, Epiphone, et al guitars, they are most certainly fabulous sounding in all of these guitars.

    If you're looking for some new pickups to try, for a fat, full, rich, and sparkly single-coil tone, I heartily recommend giving them a try. TV Jones makes them in a wide variety of formats, so you should be able to find a format that will work in almost any guitar.

    ES-Les Paul (T-Armonds with Universal Mount)
    [​IMG]

    D'Angelico Excel EX-SS (T-Armonds with universal mount)
    [​IMG]

    Having been so impressed by the tone of these pickups, I also added a TV Jones T-Armond, this time in soapbar-form factor, to the neck position in this Gibson Les Paul Special, which to my taste was a nice improvement over the original P90.
    [​IMG]

    I have plans to add T-Armonds to one more of my guitars, this time... to a Tele! :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2020
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  2. Piotr

    Piotr Tele-Afflicted

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    Hey @DHart, I've done some digging about these recently. How do you feel it pairs with a P90 in the bridge, like in your Les Paul?
     
  3. Fretting out

    Fretting out Friend of Leo's

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    Yes! Yes! Yes!

    7849318E-19B5-476B-A17F-FF40D915FDB4.jpeg

    These are only factory pickups but sound nice and clear to me
     
  4. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    I must admit that my Les Paul Special is not a guitar that I play very much. Even with the change in neck pickup, I still haven't played it very much. While I like this guitar, I have so many other guitars that I'm madly in love with, that this one tends to sit idle quite a bit.

    This is a guitar that I could easily sell, and be content without, so I think I may move the T-Armond soapbar over to one of my Teles, neck position, and return the Les Paul Special to stock. I just enjoy playing Teles much more than I do Les Pauls, so I would enjoy this pickup MUCH more in one of my Teles. :rolleyes:

    I am pleased with the improvement in clarity and sparkly detail that I am hearing from the Les Paul - and in the middle position, the improvement is noticeable as well. I like where the guitar is now - tone-wise, with no motivation to replace the Gibson P90 at the bridge.

    Off hand, I'm happy with the pairing to the bridge P90, but I will have to do some more careful evaluation to better answer your question about pairing with the bridge P90.
     
  5. 50ShadesofOrange

    50ShadesofOrange Tele-Meister

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    I’ve got Seymour Duncan’s take on the Dynasonics in the Gretsch 6120 DSW in my profile picture.

    They’re excellent pickups, and the most surprising part is how incredible they are with overdrive.

    I have all manner of pickups: Tele, Strat, Gibson “PAF,” P-90, Gretsch Hilo and Filtertrons, a vintage Lipstick in a 50s Silvertone. That Dynasonic Gretsch beats them all, to my ear, when I’m pushing an amp.

    I always find myself grinning while playing it that way. One because of the fantastic sounds. Two because this “cowboyed-up” guitar is a case of not judging a book by its cover. Its countrified appearance, with pickups that were state-of-the-art 70-ish years ago, can roar better than any of my guitars/pickups that are more stereotypically associated with those tones.
     
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  6. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Tele-Afflicted

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    T-Armonds ; Middier than a Dyna, clangier than a P90, but still with a rich tone. I find the neck to be a bit like a Strat neck pickup, and the bridge is just rude and aggressive, but the real sweet spot is in the middle.

    rdsp.jpg
     
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  7. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    The closest I've ever got is a set of surf 90 gfs pickups they were ok, but not what I wanted in the end. Neck sounded ok, but bridge was ice-picky.
     
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  8. Bruxist

    Bruxist Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    My experience as well. And while there were lots of pickups I did not give a full chance to, the Surf 90 bridge I fiddled with extensively and could not get a sound I liked out of it.
     
  9. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Best not to confuse Surf 90s with true Dynasonic/T-Armonds, even though the Surf 90s were made to look like them. At minimum, there is a huge difference in the pole pieces, the construction is different, and there is no elevator mechanism in the Surf 90s. Kind of apples to oranges for comparison.

    As much as a lot of people seem love the Surf 90s, while they look like DynaSonics, they definitely are not built the same, nor do they have the same components as Dynasonics/T-Armonds.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2020
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  10. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Piotr... close comparison between the T-Armond soapbar at the neck and the Gibson P90 at the bridge:
    [​IMG]

    Output, when switching from neck to bridge is quite comparable.

    Middle position with both pickups on sounds fantastic.

    T-Armond at the neck is very clear, detailed, articulate, rich and full/bright. Love it!

    Gibson P90 at the bridge is very middy-sounding and much less detailed/articulate than the T-Armond.

    If I really loved this guitar, I'd probably replace the P90 at the bridge with another T-Armond soapbar. I'm just not a huge fan of P90s.
     
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  11. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    The heart of DeArmond Model 2000s are somewhat varied as another other more well known pickup. Take a look at the ones I’ve played below. The repros are not all alike, and likewise, peoples expectations aren’t met when they encounter them in the wild.

    T-Armonds are well researched and sound great, but the bridge is much more overwound than the neck, that never was the case with vintage pickups. Vintage models also varied over time in resistance, from the low 7s (IIRC) up to 10/11k. T-A magnets are also cut short, which is great, less string pull. But that rawness in the vintage model is tamed.

    Surf 90s are big Strat pickups, have no elevator mechanism, the screws are just for looks. The FMIC DeArmond 2000s (not 2ks) are Dyna lites, and the new Guild DeArmond Dynasonics are based off that design. Again, no big tall magnets.

    Closer still are the Gabajo Dynas, and I have a P90 neck thats killer. These only come in P90 and Gibson HB size, so not a true Dyna.

    The two modern, truest to original designs are the Gretsch Dynasonic, which is wound on the weak side, and the Seymour Duncan Dynos, which are definitely on the hot.

    95CEAF92-72FB-47F3-ADA3-B8C03C7B82EE.jpeg 232E0282-400E-4365-9642-28797F3A1401.jpeg 448DD16A-790C-4E98-A09F-FA1282F853F8.jpeg 9F15D18D-8CE5-4DDE-BEC8-E1D4DF350683.jpeg
     
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  12. 50ShadesofOrange

    50ShadesofOrange Tele-Meister

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    My Duncan Dynas are bordering on blistering.
     
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  13. glenlivet

    glenlivet Tele-Meister

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  14. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Wes... is the Gretsch Dynasonic deeper in size than a T-Armond? Might be too tall to fit in a Tele rout?

    I agree in wishing the T-Armond bridge pickup was a lower wind, but it does sound great in concert with the neck pickup, which is a moderate wind (mine are around 7.8k).

    Great thing about the T-Armond, in addition to the tone, is the wide variety of formats that TV Jones make them in - makes it easy to fit a T-Armond into different types of guitars! So if you want to install suspended from trim rings, no problem, or if you want a P90 soapbar format T-Armond, no problem. The guitar doesn't have to be originally designed for DeArmond's traditional mounting format.
     
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  15. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Yeah, it’s much deeper than a standard Tele route. I’ve done it, using a Squier CVC donor body that was already routed for a HB in the neck position. I cut a center channel to accommodate the magnet and elevator mechanism. The channel was less than 1/4” to nearly 1/8” from poking through the back. Piece of cake though, after I removed the Dyna cover and cut it down so I could put it close to the fretboard as possible ;)

    Nothing else sounds like it, because of the huge magnets and coil geometry. But in words, not sounds, it’s got a Strat vibe going on, and lots of output, and it can be boomy af. A lot of bass on tap in the neck position. While real Dynas are hard to adjust coil height, the individual pole height adjustment make up for it. I stress this the most, it’s the ability to dial in pole heights that make a Dyna unique. Running them high, and dropping the coil low is twang town. Move them back into the coil, and it’s more like a P90, but never loses that string to string articulation.

    As great as TVJ is in offering mounting options, it should be said that each pickup is a bit different. In a filter casing, there is a new coil geometry. Move the pickup location around? Slightly different sound. I’ve had T-Armonds/Filtertron casings in a Gretsch Filtertron location, sounds different than the T-Armonds in my Duo Jet in the more correct DeArmond pickup location. All these factors add up to success for a person using them, complete rejection, or no big deal for the others..

    I like the Gabajo offerings when it comes to going outside the old school mounting options, and they even offer the tall magnet Dyna version in a Gibson HB sized pickup, for easy mounting in countless hollowbodies. They don’t go crazy with the overwinding either, as they are on par with my late 50s DeArmond at 9.9k. You might want to try them out. Know they appear to be hand tooled. For example the P90 Dyna is smaller than a regular P90, leaves some gap, but otherwise very nice pickups. :)
     
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  16. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    I'm looking at Gabojo now. Several options are quite appealing. DCR is around 10k, but they are wound with 44AWG wire, so perhaps that's why - and they don't sound wound-high?

    I'm wondering if he would under-wind, a bit, by request?

    At 9.9k (neck pickup?) that's a good bit hotter (tone more middy?) than the T-Armond neck at between 7.8k to 8.1k? As much as I love the tone of the T-Armond neck pickup, how would you characterize the Gabajo neck pickup, in comparison?
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2020
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  17. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Yep, the Greeks. Remember, Most accurate Dynas are wound with 44 AWG wire (mostly), so a 9.9k pickup is kinda sorta almost the same as a Alnico slug pole pickup at 6.3k, 42AWG. This is not a fair comparison though because of the variables: the vintage Dyna at 9.9k, the gauge of wire used by TVJ for various permutations of his T-A coils, and the Gabajo, who openly say they use 44AWG.

    The Gabajo are bright and have more of the raw edge that TVJ kinda tamed (“got rid of the ice pick”). In looking up the Gabajo spec, I found out they offer a Filtertron sized variety. They have both the short magnet and long magnet variety. Guess who’s getting a set :D

    A5E2CFEB-E5E4-403E-92E5-ECD8514D1D58.png A9328FA6-7D2C-46EA-87C5-2B6DCC3CD8AA.png
     
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  18. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Here’s their sound sample in a Tele, neck pickup:

     
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  19. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Lol in hindsight, Gabojo does wind up high, but again, it’s at 44AWG.
     
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  20. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Guess who else is getting a set, too. ;)

    I'm thinking that the short-magnet version would be needed for a thin semi-hollow body with center-block, like an ES-339? And I could move them to a Tele, if desired, also.
     
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