Blacktop Filtertrons vs ?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Charlie westside, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    I really like the BTs also but TVJ Filtertrons are simply THE best pickups ever made imo. TVJ Classic plus / classic combo are the most versatile and articulate pups I've ever played. The Setzers are great also imo.

    So nothing can compete with em imo.
    A close 2nd for me are the Gretsch HS Filters.

    So BTs come in 3rd for me and still better than the Lollartrons and others.
     
    T Bone, Charlie westside and audept like this.
  2. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Age:
    71
    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    I have to agree with you on the TVJ Classic+ bridge/Classic neck combo, and the Setzer Sigs.
     
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  3. Charlie westside

    Charlie westside Synchromatic

    843
    Jul 27, 2018
    Sylmar Califirnia
    there's so much to consider. I think I'll try the BTs in a live performance
    and see what kind of a reception they get.
     
    Waxhead and T Bone like this.
  4. unknownfan

    unknownfan Electromatic

    Age:
    48
    61
    Jul 25, 2010
    tn
    This is a great thread with lots of wisdom. I'm looking at a set of Setzers hard. Don't know the first thing about the mods required for the swap though, so I got a lot to learn...
     
  5. Aymara

    Aymara Friend of Fred

    Jul 6, 2013
    Germany
    Tom V. Jones explains on Youtube how to put TVJ Classics in a G5120 ... that might be a nice first start with your journey:



     
    unknownfan likes this.
  6. ponca

    ponca Gretschie

    270
    Nov 27, 2017
    Pennsylvania
    That's all you need to know. :)
     
    Charlie westside likes this.
  7. unknownfan

    unknownfan Electromatic

    Age:
    48
    61
    Jul 25, 2010
    tn
    Thank you very much!
     
  8. Pine Apple Slim

    Pine Apple Slim Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2011
    North Alabama
    Blacktops were a big upgrade from the PAF sounding Gretschbuckers in my 5120. They are twangy and punchy, and sound even better with distortion.
    But I have to concur that the TVJ Classics in my G6136T-59 are the best sounding most versatile pickups ever.
     
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  9. Charlie westside

    Charlie westside Synchromatic

    843
    Jul 27, 2018
    Sylmar Califirnia
    Thank you so much. I think I will eventually upgrade. I think I'll keep these for a bit. I need to 1st purchase
    a new acoustic guitar amp. Which I'm in desperate need of. It seems like The TV Classics are unanimously the pickup of choice
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
    Waxhead likes this.
  10. T Bone

    T Bone Country Gent

    Just had an experience that opened my eyes a bit. I have Black Tops in a 5420 and a 5435 Pro Jet. While I've never disliked their sound, I have always thought the HS Filtertrons in my 6129 Silver Jet and 6118 Anniversary were a step up. And in many ways they are.

    But today I was revisting (re-learning) the Link Wray classic Rumble. Playing through my Vox AC15 C1 TV, with both reverb and tremolo engaged. Tried with the Silver Jet earlier. Just now tried with the Pro Jet, and actually preferred the sound of the Pro Jet.

    This was the first time I've preferred the sound of one of my Electromatics over a Pro Line. And certainly it varies with the song being played, and no doubt amp settings too. But I found this surprising and interesting anyway.

    Now the one thing I still am not crazy about is the cosmetics, the open covers of the Black Tops. I wonder if covers for the HS Filters would work on the Black Tops (does not look like it), and if so, if they'd affect the sound?
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
    Charlie westside likes this.
  11. Charlie westside

    Charlie westside Synchromatic

    843
    Jul 27, 2018
    Sylmar Califirnia
    yes I'm more torn now than ever. o_O
    That's Good question regarding the pick up covers and a good idea for a new thread question. Maybe someone on the forum has tried it.
     
    T Bone likes this.
  12. turbo2000

    turbo2000 Gretschie

    169
    Aug 18, 2015
    Sweden
    I have been wondering the opposite. :)
    I'm replacing the Blacktops for HS Filtertrons in my G5191 Tim Armstrong, but I've been thinking about using the Blacktop covers (if they fit) to keep the Baldwin era look.
    But I agree, the HS Filtertrons looks better than the Blacktops but for the G5191 I want the look of the Blacktops.
     
    T Bone likes this.
  13. T Bone

    T Bone Country Gent

    My usual thoughts are, if there is any doubt, the mod is not necessary. But some people love to mod, I prefer to leave things pretty much as they came.
     
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  14. somebodyelseuk

    somebodyelseuk Country Gent

    Jan 22, 2013
    Birmingham, UK
    First things first, if YOU are happy with the sound of your pickups, it doesn't matter what the rest of the internet says, regardless of whether they're 60 yo PAFs that you paid £5k+ for or £20 Chinese knockoffs from 'Crap-Parts-R-Us'.

    I was under the impression that Blacktops had ceramic magnets in them, I'm pretty sure mine do, but again, if you like how they sound it's irrelevant.

    Now, changing pickups can be a hit and miss thing - less so that it used to be, thanks to youtube - but at the end of the day, it's unlikely anyone else plays exactly the same gear in exactly the same room as you do, so before blowing hundreds of dollars/pounds/euros/groats on pickups/amps/parts chasing 'a sound', it may be worth trying an EQ pedal. It's amazing the difference even a cheap (£20) Behringer EQ pedal can make.
     
    ponca likes this.
  15. ponca

    ponca Gretschie

    270
    Nov 27, 2017
    Pennsylvania
    Not exactly. If Classics were the unanimous favorite, TV Jones wouldn't make anything else. What's (almost) unanimous is that Classics are the pickup of choice for trying to recapture an accurate fifties Gretsch sound. Which is cool, but that's not necessarily the best thing for everybody. Here's an example: you say you play a lot of kinds of music including rock, which I assume also means you play with some drive/distortion some of the time. A lot of people aren't exactly thrilled with the way Classics sound with substantial dirt on them, whereas Blacktops are almost universally praised for their rich driven sound. It's very possible that you could change your pickups to Classics, hit your favorite drive, play an E chord that you expect to sound huge, and actually find that it sounds worse to your ears than before.

    My advice is to just leave it as-is for now. You know you like the stock Blacktop pickups, so why trade them in for an unknown factor that *other* people like? If you get to a point where they no longer sound good to you, or where your musical focus has shifted in a way that means they aren't getting the job done for whatever reason, then sure, look at changing them. But in the meantime if you like how the guitar sounds, why mess with it?
     
  16. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    61
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    Just to be a dissenting voice, my fave TV Jones are the Powertron and Powertron plus combo.


    Blacktops are a shade larger than HS Filters so there's a good chance it will fit. And yeah, it will sound different without the metal tops on.

    They are for sure AlNiCo, we've had several threads on the subject here.
     
  17. b80_

    b80_ Electromatic

    54
    Jun 21, 2018
    Mississippi, USA
    Just went through this myself. Was going to upgrade my G5420T with a Classic +.

    I kept saying "I really like the sound of the Blacktops but I wonder if upgraded pickups would be better."

    Then I realized that I kept saying how much I liked them. So I decided to keep them.

    They're awesome! Clean, distorted... whatever. I have a great guitar with some great pickups!
     
  18. somebodyelseuk

    somebodyelseuk Country Gent

    Jan 22, 2013
    Birmingham, UK
    Groovy. Like I say, it doesn't matter either way.
     
    Charlie westside likes this.
  19. Charlie westside

    Charlie westside Synchromatic

    843
    Jul 27, 2018
    Sylmar Califirnia
    I like too. Crunchy and clean.
     
  20. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    The radius at the angles are different : they are a bit larger on the BT FT. I took the measurements but sorry, I forgot them :oops:

    As stated by englishman, the magnets are AlNiCo.

    A+!
     
    T Bone likes this.
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