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School Me on Gretsch Pickups

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Dan R, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. Dan R

    Dan R Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have always been fascinated by electric guitar pickups. I'd like to thank everyone for their kind indulgence on various pickups like MFD, Lace Sensor, etc. I appreciate the info.

    Please educate me on the famous Gretsch pickups. They have so many different types it hard to keep track. Hi Lo tron, BroadTron, FilterTron, etc. Then there's TV Jones types. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
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  2. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    IMO Filtertrons and Dearmonds are all you really need to know about
    Just youtube both and you'll get a real good idea what they're about.
    TV Jones=overinflated hype to me
     
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  3. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I believe TV Jones replicates the vintage pickup specs. They are well made, but kind of expensive.
     
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  4. Suproman

    Suproman Tele-Meister

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    As far as I know there are only 3 basic types: Filtertrons, Dynasonics and Hilotrons, the others are just variations on those.
     
  5. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    The Gretsch pickup Trifecta are Filter’trons, DeArmond/Dynasonics, and HiLo’trons.

    Everything that Gretsch puts out now is either a replica of these, or a some cross breeding with Gibson to make it more whatever that market wants to think it is. Broadtrons, Mini-HB, ceramic Filtertrons, Baldwin-era Blacktop Filtertrons, DeArmond 2000s, let’s call those the pickups for the advanced class for Gretsch nerds.

    Filtertron - the original humbucker, created by Ray Butts, before Seth Lover made that other one. 4K resistance, coils in series, one tall A5 magnet. Poles screws for both coils. This is what most people think as the “Gretsch sound”. It’s a bright humbucker sound, lots of articulation and a mid-scoop clank to it.

    DeArmond Model 2000 (Gretsch Dynasonic) - Some of Gretsch’s first electric guitars were equipped with these pickups. A big fat coil set around tall AlNiCo magnets that were individually adjustable. A powerful, thumpy Strat-ish sounding pickup. Replaced by 1958 with the in-house made Filtertrons.

    HiLo’trons - Found on budget models, this single coil is classic Gretsch to me. Low-output, clanky, but very clear sounding. Kind of like a single coil Filtertron in sound. Underdog in my opinion and I’d keep it that way. Unique construction, it’s a single coil pickup made with Filtertron parts, and fits a Filtertron sized route/opening. The magnet is offset, on the side of the coil. Found on Annies and Corvettes, along with others.

    TV Jones understands these pickups very well, and has done his homework. Yes it’s priced high but until the last 5 or 7 years, nobody else was really offering these pickups, except by a few makers. Combine that with high quality and many unique mounting options, it’s still a high value pickup for certain types, namely the T-Armond and the TV-HT. The TVJ derivatives are good too, unique spins on the Gretsch Trifecta.
     
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  6. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I’m a Filtertron devotee.
    I like, use and recommend TV Jones pickups.
    I have three guitars with them, and they are my “workhorse” guitars.
    They sound clear and full.
    I greatly prefer them to both PAF type humbuckers, or single coils.
    I can’t opine much on HiLoTrons or DeArmonds, I need my pickups to be hum-cancelling.
    Old Gretsch Filtertrons sound great too, but for new builds, I like TV Jones.
     
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  7. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Filtertrons are a low-DCr humbucker. They use small bobbins that in.series measure 4kohm roughly. But compared to a Gibson PAF they use a magnet twice as thick, to pull that twangy, jangly tone. Sort of Tele-like but hum cancelling. HiLoTrons could unfairly be described as half a Filtertron, as it's the same housing, magnet and baseplate but only one coil. But it's got a bit higher wind count. They are nice but sorta like a Gibson Melody Maker pickup.

    The Dynosonic was a Rowe Dearmond 2000, a big single coil with magnetic poles that extend through the coil. The problem is, theres vintage, 2k and Rowe Dearmond 2000s and they sound different. The 90s Korean 2K one that came in Fender-sold Dearmond brand guitars and the setneck Telesonic are made like a P90 with bar magnets in the base. They don't sound like a true vintage Gretsch Dynosonic - but Gretsch used them in the Historic series pre-Fender. Not a bad pickup at all but P90ish.

    Fender then recreated a more accurate Dearmond 2000 version with magnetic poles for the Guild X-line, which is also used in the newer 2004+ Gretsches like the Duoonics. They sound very nice - clean but bitey, nice vibe going on.

    TV Jones and Seymour Duncan both make very good vintage style Dynas. TV Jones's is based on Setzers real 50s Silverjet.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
  8. Dan R

    Dan R Poster Extraordinaire

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    My mind is already blown. I knew it was going to get complicated. ;)
     
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  9. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

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    Please... :rolleyes:
     
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  10. hotraman

    hotraman Tele-Afflicted

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    Filtertrons are what most Gretsch models are known for.
    I have them on my Black Falcon and love them.
    @Dacious explains the differences well.
    All I know, is that the combination of Filtertrons and Gretsch semi hollow body guitar, can stand out well, with whatever other electric guitars are in the band.
     
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  11. davidge1

    davidge1 Friend of Leo's

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    LIke someone said, Filtertrons are the Gretsch sound. I'd describe them as twangy, but softer sounding than Fender pickups – not as hard edged. The Brian Setzer sound. It's ironic that this is commonly thought of as the quintessential "rockabilly" sound, but they didn't come out until the early '60s, after rockabilly had died. Gretsch came out with them because Chet Atkins didn't like the sound of D'armond pickups. He thought they had too much bass response.

    The problem is that the new ones that Gretsch makes and has been putting on their guitars ever since they revived the brand in the early '90s (or late 80s?) don't sound like the old Filtertrons, in my opinion – they don't have the sound. The TV Jones Filtertrons sound just like the old ones and are worth the money. That's why Gretsch buys them from him and puts them on some of their guitars now. Brian Setzer himself used TV Jones Filtertrons
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
  12. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Please what? o_O
     
  13. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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  14. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    The new High-Sensitivity pickups that come in 2003+ Gretschs are basically a TV Jones classic. As are the Fidelitron pickups that came in Cabronita Teles.

    I have a 97 Setzer Hotrod, I changed the ceramic bars myself to alnico - it sounds dead like Filtertrons in new ones. They measure at 3.9kohm which is bang on.
     
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  15. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I did not realize that the HS Filtertrons are TVJ Classics. Interesting.
     
  16. Dan R

    Dan R Poster Extraordinaire

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    After reading this all I know is I need a Gretsch guitar.
     
  17. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Can't have this one
    [​IMG]

    Do try to get out of the Electromarket line though, if you can swing it
     
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  18. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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  19. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Mine's a Double Annie, too. I took the guard off and slapped a bigs on it (originally had the G-cutout tailpiece), and chopped out that awful mudswitch circuit.
    Dick Dale was kind enough to sign it, while groping my date and informing me the Fender Stratocaster was THE ultimate guitar :cool:
     
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  20. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Everyone needs a Gretsch with Bigsby. Pinned bridge, rollers.

    IMG_20191221_103216.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
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