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School Me on Gretsch Pickups

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

  1. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Someone on Gretsch pages did a deep dive on HS, Fidelitrons and Classics - TV Jones if he doesn't make them consulted on them. The Fidelitron has no mounting ears on the cover, but the winds, magnet gauss and resonant peak on all three is very close. The Fidelitron has different longer Filister pole screws which might account for a slight difference noticed - but they're very close in every measurable.

    It's another pickup that it's worth playing with heights - very sensitive to position and proximity to strings.
     
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  2. TX_Slinger

    TX_Slinger Tele-Meister

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    I just picked up a set of the Gretschbuckers off Reverb that are either totally hated by Gretsch owners or loved because they are more gibson-ish. Either way, I got them for a tele build and was looking for something more WRHB than PAF so I should be good. They are fulll size HB with filtertron looking covers and they were OEM on G5120's and Electromatic Jet Clubs. They sound dark on the hollowbody G5120 but sound great on the Jet Club.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Ronzo

    Ronzo Tele-Holic

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    I’d be interested to hear about how Filtertrons compare to the DeArmond GoldTones that were used in the 2000 era DeArmond M72. Lots more Filtertron knowledge here than elsewhere. Thanks in advance.
     
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  4. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/tv-classics-vs-gretsch-filtertrons-vs-fender-fidelitrons.678399/
     
  5. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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  6. Dan R

    Dan R Poster Extraordinaire

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    Two barriers for me on Gretsch is I'm not particularly fond of big hollow bodies or Bigsbys. I could get on with a solid body and fixed tailpiece though.
     
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  7. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Buy two...they're small.
     
  8. Dan R

    Dan R Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't know, those hollow bodies look pretty big to me. ;) The Jet type is more my speed, I think.
     
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  9. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Solid body/fixed tailpiece can be had in some models. I ended up with Bigsbys on most of mine, but am keeping an eye out for a double cut solid body with a fixed tail...because I want one.

    IMG_7714.JPG
     
  10. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I really like my Jet.
     
  11. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Consider a Cabronita. Gretsch type sounds in a Tele package.
     
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  12. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    It seems the Gretsch pickup selections are about as complicated as any guitar pickups out there, so many.... good info above though.
    I find no discernable difference in TV Jones standard 'trons than the Gretsch offerings. But there are other TVJ's that are are great and different.
     
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  13. Vermoulian

    Vermoulian Tele-Meister

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    I put a pair of TV Jones Classics in a parts Strat build I did last year, and for just general purpose pickups, I think they're the best I've heard. They're not quite as bright as a Fender single coil or quite as thick as a Gibson-style humbucker, but they sound great and can do just about anything. They were an experiment when I got them, but I am a convert. They are the real deal and I would recommend them to just about anybody. They don't have to be in a Gretsch hollowbody to sound great.
     
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  14. gtroates

    gtroates Tele-Holic

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    I have a Duojet (6128 TDS) which is basically a George Harrison Cavern Club model. I switched out the frets to medium jumbo, put an allen screw locking Tuneomatic in place of the rocking bar bridge and put in TV Jones T-armond pickups. None of that is necessary to make it a good guitar because it was already one on the day I bought it new, I just developed personal preferences for all of the mods. I love it as it can do almost any style of music I need it to. The TV version of DeArmonds are made to handle higher gain without squealing where the stock FMIC DeArmonds are a little closer to the rockabilly Clean to edge of distortion sound and get problematic with squealing at high gain. The T-armonds have shorter magnets than the reissues do, but the rest of the mechanism looks the same. DeArmonds are interesting looking under the cover, they have individual magnet raising platforms, so each screw in the top lifts one magnet.
     
  15. DHart

    DHart Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Wes (BorderRadio), and others above, have given a good run down on Gretsch-design pickups.

    Dan... have no worries, my man! I can totally relate to your position. With my Cabronita Thinline having Fideli'tron pickups, I too became very interested in Gretsch-style pickups.

    I came to realize how great the Filter'tron, DeArmond, and Hilo'tron pickups sound, but I didn't necessarily want to buy multiple Gretsch guitars. I tend to prefer Gibsons, Fenders, D'Angelico, Epiphone... and I'm not a really big fan of Bigsby/tremolos. I have also become less enamored with the somewhat murky-clarity that many of the Gibson-style "humbucker" pickups display.

    So, what I did was buy a set of Gretsch HS Filter'trons, a set of TV Jones Classics (which are a Filter'tron-design), a set of TV Jones T-Armonds (Dynasonic/DeArmond-design single-coil pickups), a set of TV Jones TV-HT Hilo'trons, and a set of Gretsch Hilo'trons.

    I proceeded to install these pickups in some of my Gibsons, Fenders, D'Angelico, and Epiphone guitars. RESULT? I could not be more thrilled with the resulting tones!

    Then, once I experienced the T-Armonds, I loved their rich, detailed single-coil tones so much that I more than doubled up on T-Armonds - going into other guitars. As you will see...

    Fender Cabronita Thinline with Fender Fideli'tron pickups: (These are Filter'tron design, with slightly higher winds. These Fideli'trons REALLY came to life when I installed an 880k volume pot! They sound absolutely terrific with the 880k volume pot in this Cab Thinline - better, in fact, to my ears, than Filter'trons. :eek:) This is the guitar that introduced me to Gretsch-style pickup tone, and I'm so glad that it did.
    [​IMG]

    Gibson ES-339 with TV-HT Hilo'trons: (Hilo'trons are single coil pickups with low wind count, producing a very clean, detailed, beautifully articulate tone quality. Nice change from the Gibson Classic '57 humbuckers, which aren't bad though, as far as PAF humbuckers go.)
    [​IMG]

    Fender FSR Tele HH with TV Jones Classic pickups: (TV Jones Classics are essentially Filter'trons, and to my ears seem to offer a little bit more high-end sparkle. I have plenty of more traditional Teles, so this one offers a wonderful tonal change of pace from typical Teles. A Gretschy tone in a Tele package is a nice thing to enjoy!)
    [​IMG]

    D'Angelico Excel EX-SS with TV Jones T-Armond pickups: (T-Armonds are DeArmond-style pickups delivering rich, detailed, sparkly and full-range single-coil tone quality, with good output. These are really fantastic-sounding pickups. The neck position T-Armond is wonderfully "hi-fi" in full-tone quality. The bridge position T-Armond has a bump in winds, increasing output from the bridge position, and providing a mid-range boost in tone quality. The neck and bridge are great individually - and combined, as well.)
    [​IMG]

    Fender Strat Player with Gretsch HS Filter'trons: (I have other, more conventional Strats, so I wanted this one to give me more of a Gretsch solid-body tone, with the playing quality and ergonomics of a Strat. The HS (high-sensitivity) Filter'trons, in this body, do pick up a hint of Stratty tone-quality, added to their characteristic Gretsch sound. It's a sweet combination, for sure, with Strat feel and playability.)
    [​IMG]

    Epiphone ES-Les Paul with TV Jones T-Armond pickups: (The ES-Les Paul is technically a semi-hollow guitar, but these have a huge amount of open space inside the body - center block is heavily sculpted - not uniformly wide - lending a good bit of "air" to the tone. So that, combined with the T-Armond sound quality, yields a rich, full, somewhat hollow body tone. I typically go with higher resistance volume pots and no-load tone pots to allow more highs from the pickups to come through. Epiphone's ES-Les Paul model, along with their ES-339, are truly awesome guitars and great platforms for modding if you wish to do so.)
    [​IMG]

    Fender Telecaster Standard (remember the 'Standard'? what a great guitar) with Gretsch Hilo'tron neck pickup: (The single-coil Hilo'tron is clear, detailed, articulate - similar to a Tele neck pickup, but a bit fuller, perhaps. The pickup design has a massive side-mounted AlNiCo magnet which is quite unique among pickup designs. This gives the Tele a slightly different character than the usual Tele neck pickup offers. Wonderful tones, as you would expect.)
    [​IMG]

    Gibson Les Paul Special with TV Jones T-Armond neck pickup (P90 format): (TV Jones produce their wonderful sounding T-Armond pickup design in a variety of different formats - here in the P90 format, they are a direct replacement for P90 pickups. I've come to prefer the detailed clarity of T-Armond vs. P90, so that's why I did the substitution with the neck pickup. The Gibson P90 bridge pickup is very 'middy', which is nicely balanced out with the hi-fi quality of the T-Armond neck pickup.)
    [​IMG]


    I did decide to pickup a Gretsch guitar, as well. Gretsch MIJ G6119T Tennessee Rose "Player Edition" with Gretsch HS Filter'trons - I replaced the Bigsby with a standard tailpiece. The Filter'trons in this guitar have a warmer, rounder tone quality than the Filter'trons in my other guitars - in part due to the body design and Gretsch's choice of electronics specifications. This is a really fine-quality, exquisitely-made guitar. Easily rivals the best Gibsons made. That said, I tend to play my Gibson, Epiphone, and D'Angelico semi-hollow and full hollow guitars more. I do love how easily I can coax feedback from this hollow body, though. I've been running 11's with this, treating it like a jazz-box, but I think I would prefer to go with 10's or 9.5's on it. I may wind up really loving it with lighter gauge strings on it - we shall see. With the trap tailpiece and the locking tuners, there are no tuning issues with this Gretsch.
    [​IMG]

    I think it can be safely said that Gretsch-type pickups and I get along REALLY well! :lol:

    I love how the Gretsch-type pickups sound in Gibsons, Fenders, D'Angelico, and EPI ES-Les Paul! If you're interested in doing so, I can highly recommend trying some of these pickups in your guitars that are not Gretsch!

    I hope this helps illuminate the qualities of the different Gretsch-style pickups.

    Get a Gretsch if you want to - they're excellent guitars! But if you prefer Gibsons, Epis, Fenders, D'Angelicos, or other guitars, you don't have to play a Gretsch to get "that great Gretsch sound". ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
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  16. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    Nice to see some love out there for the Hilo'trons. I had them in a Gretsch Tennessean in the late 60s playing in a soul top 40 cover band. Great sounding guitar.

    I've always wanted a Gretsch Corvette from the 60s. That's a mahogany solid body with two Hilo'trons. Very cool guitar if you ever get a chance to check one out.
     
  17. CalebAaron666

    CalebAaron666 Tele-Holic

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    I put a set of TV Jones “Ray Butts Ful-Fidelity Filter’Trons” in my 1995 Gretsch 6120 along with a new TVJ wiring harness.
    2D36D0A7-4455-4F37-980C-3C3FEC4F107C.jpeg
    Of all of the Filtertrons on the market I’ve been lead to believe these are the most faithful to the real deal late 50’s Gretsch Filter'Trons because TVJ makes them based on Ray Butts’s original design.
    (Look them up on the youtubes)
    They are low output and are not wax potted.
    They sound incredible!

    I’ve kept the stock “High Sensitive” Filtertrons in my White Falcon. I adore them, and find them to be much more practical for regular use.
    9C184D24-D470-4082-AF2C-6A44BDB45D9F.jpeg
     
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