Gretsch Super HiLo'tron Analysis

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Antigua Tele, Apr 4, 2020.

  1. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    [​IMG]

    I bought a Gretsch GT5622T a few months back when there was a crazy sale on Adorama, like this one. The quality is really high, for an $800 guitar, or the $500 I paid for it. It looks and feels even more premium than a comparably priced Epiphone. It's essentially an 335 type guitar, but the center block only extends around the bridge, the area in and around the pickups is completely hollow, so it retains a lot of hollow body character and is very light weight.

    upload_2020-4-4_15-48-58.png

    The GT5622T is an imported guitar, and the HiLo Supers are the typical "BHK" type pickups found in other FMIC imports. Supposedly BHK stands for "BooHeung Precision Machinery in Korea" , who make musical instrument and automotive parts. They tend to be high quality pickups, with real AlNiCo magnets and attention to details where it counts.

    I didn't really love the look of the Super HiLo trons though, and I had some Fireli'trons sitting around, so I put them in and took the Supers out, which gives me a chance to see what they're all about. I analyzed standard HiLo'Trons here http://www.gretsch-talk.com/threads/gretsch-hilotron-analysis-and-review.159653/ , those are true single coil pickups with an massive AlNiCo magnet beside the coil.

    These Super HiLo'trons are actually humbuckers, a lot like a PAF style humbucker, with one row of screws and one with slugs, and a slim sized AlNiCo 5 bar. That's the end of the similarity though, the inductance of the Super HiLo'tron is very low, less than half of a PAF, and very much like a typical Filter'tron. The coil bobbins are much smaller than PAF bobbins and can only hold a fraction of the wire by mass.

    The main difference between the Super and a Filter'tron, aside from the appearance, is just that the Super has a much weaker magnetic profile, in terms of the completeness of the magnetic circuit and the strength of the magnetic field. If you take a standard Filter'tron and lower it a few millimetres and raise one row of the screws, it should sound identical to a Super HiLo'tron.

    Interestingly, where as a PAF has screws that stop at the base plate, the Super HiLo's slugs are more like rivets, with a flat head at the top, and a long shaft that protrudes out the bottom, also similar to the shape of a screw. The extra steel that sticks out of the bottom causes the overall magnetic field to be weaker, the output would increase slightly if they were snipped off with wire cutters.

    The bridge and neck pickups are nearly identical spec-wise, and physically. The bridge pickup is taller, as is tradition, but only because the cover is taller and the legs are longer. Even though the base plate leg length is neck and bridge specific, they nevertheless put lead wire holes at either end of the base plate, so that it could be used easily in either spot.

    As far as the sound goes, I thought they sounded more single coil than humbucker, and that might be because the row of screws is so much closer to the strings than are the slugs. The Gretsch style filister screws sit a lot higher than PAF filister screws.


    Gretsch Super HiLo'Tron

    Bridge
    - DC Resistance: 4.450K ohms
    - Measured L: 1.8002H
    - Calculated C: 122.22pF
    - Gauss: 250G (AlNiCo 5?)

    Neck
    - DC Resistance: 4.254K ohms
    - Measured L: 1.7296H
    - Calculated C: 136.29pF
    - Gauss: 250G (AlNiCo 5?)


    Bridge unloaded: dV: 4.3dB f: 13.3kHz (black)
    Bridge loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 1.1dB f: 5.61kHz (blue)
    Neck unloaded: dV: 4.6dB f: 12.8kHz (red)
    Neck loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 1.7dB f: 5.61kHz (green)



    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    The G5622T with Filter'trons swapped in:

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 5, 2020
    Dan R, 6stringcowboy, DADGAD and 6 others like this.
  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Interesting, thanks!
     
  3. loco gringo

    loco gringo Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Cool! Those look nice on that guitar.

    I snagged one of those green ones on that Adorama sale, too. Killer deal on a great guitar. I like the stock pickups. I put .011 flat wounds on it and have played the crap out of it.
     
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  4. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I too grabbed one if these from Adorama for 450, great deal, as I was after the SHLTs pickups. I’m not disappointed, and in fact it has the least amount of mods that I typically run on Electromatics. I pulled my neck pickup apart when I was testing out GFS’s new Filtertron-sized pickups. It was basically a Blacktop Filtertron with a coil using slugs...El Oh El.

    Glad you did this write up because I’m that much more compelled to try Novak’s humbucking HiLo’trons. Maybe he used a bigger magnet, and a dummy coil? IDK, steep price to find out. Other than that, I kinda just want to put some regular HiLos or TV-HTs in this thing...

    31A4C991-9CFB-4B11-BE18-23D5ECF7093F.jpeg 0B4898F1-CB6F-4CF0-AF4A-B925C4291B22.jpeg
     
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  5. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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  6. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    I like that the Gretsch branded HiLo'Trons have the correct looking filister screws, where as the TV Joens have these funny looking little screws, but according to my info, the TV Jones HiLo has a hotter bridge, which probably sounds better.

    Single coils, I dig them with some drive, but they're kind of thin when they're 100% clean, and I like to pair a hollow body with a clean amp, so I was eager to get a humbucker in the Gretsch. It turns out it already had one, but the height difference between the screws and the slugs in the Super HiLo make it perform like a single coil.
     
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  7. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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  8. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    TVJ uses a screw that’s more correct in shape, and actually the Gretsch reproductions didn’t follow their own conventions. I also like the hotter TV-HT bridge, though. HiLo’s are some of my favorite single coils. You can see the funky details of the screw on my mid 60s Corvette. For me, it’s always single coils, HBs are ok if they sound like them...

    68E2AF86-8AE8-45B7-922A-3241264BB45C.jpeg
     
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  9. zeedoctour

    zeedoctour Tele-Meister

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  10. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    +1
     
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  11. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    And Filter'trons some of the best hummers.

    Really we're lucky we can still get versions of these plus PAFs, Dano lipsticks, Ric Toasters, WRHBs.
     
  12. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

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    That's interesting the bridge has a slightly higher inductance and resistance. Normally, you'd want that on the neck pickup, for more clarity, and a bit more girth in the bridge position.
     
  13. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    I got that backwards, but it's corrected now. Thanks for making that observation and sorry for the confusion.
     
  14. zeedoctour

    zeedoctour Tele-Meister

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    Neck - copy of a HiLo'Tron (internally not the cover)
    Middle - copy of a Danelectro lippy
    Bridge - copy of a Supro Clear Tone (internally not the cover)

    cancercaster.jpg
     
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  15. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Awesome!
     
  16. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Nice analysis, Antigua! I'm a big fan of Hilo'trons, TV-HTs, Super Hilo's, Filter'trons, TVJ Classics, and T-Armonds. I guess that means many of my favorite pickups are Gretsch-style. I have all of those, except the Super Hilo's, which I only had for the short time that I had a G5622T. I should have kept the Super Hilo's when I sold the guitar, except that it was a return, so no-no, no can do. :rolleyes: It was an impressive guitar and I liked the pickups, but it was a bit duplicative for me and I decided to let it go back.

    All of my Gretsch-style pickups are in Fenders and Gibsons, though, except for my one Gretsch G6119T. They are awesome pickups in Fenders and Gibsons (replacing humbuckers).

    Question for you... if one wishes to get more highs from a Filter'tron or a TVJ Classic, neck pickup, how would you set the pickup height and how would you set the different rows of screw height?
     
  17. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Pictures? :lol:

    This was the 5622 that I returned - loved the walnut color - looking at the photo, now I'm really regretting letting it go! Korean. Super Hilo's. JEEZ.
    [​IMG]


    TV Jones TV-HT Hilo'trons in my ES-339
    [​IMG]

    Gretsch Hilo'tron in my Jade Pearl American Standard
    [​IMG]

    I could go on, but should probably spare you from the deluge. :rolleyes:
     
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  18. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Aside from raising the pickup so that it's closer to the plain string and further from the wound ones, I don't think there is much to be done physically. The Filter'tron / TV Classic has a super high resonant peak, so the treble is there, the reason they aren't as bright as you'd expect is because the eddy currents caused by the large steel screws roll the high end off, and that gives them a bass quality they'd otherwise lack. The Magne'trons are basically Filter'trons without the eddy current losses, and they have quite a cutting high end. A member on here rigatele / stratotars experimented with replacing the Filter'tron's screws with ones of varying carbon content that don't cause as great of eddy currents https://www.strat-talk.com/threads/cap-screw-mod-for-fender-fidelitron.405461/ , that's an easy mod but it changes the appearance of the pickup.

    Electrically, putting a cap in series with the neck pickup also rolls the bass down, leaving treble more prominent. I think 22nF and 47nF tone caps work in that capacity. I'd also make sure the guitar has 500k pots, because of the high eddy current losses, I'd say they're a must. You could pair Filter'tron's with 1 meg and no-load and they'd still never be as bright as a Magen'tron.
     
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  19. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    So, you don't think that lowering the pickup, but raising the screws on the bridge side of the pickup would make much difference?

    Can you use screw heights on the bridge side, or on the neck side, of a Filter'tron, to shift the tone quality a bit brighter or warmer?

    Also, I've heard that Magnatrons do have a much brighter character than Filter'trons or Classics. I may need to try a Magnatron neck, just for sheets and giggles. ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2020
  20. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    I raised the pole pieces on my Setzer and it did make trebles more pronounced - but mostly by rebalancing lows and mods lower.

    Raising the pickups and dropping the poles pushed output up without reducing highs.
     
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