Detailed view of FilterTron Black Top

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by hcsterg, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Hello All,

    While I was installing a B-5 Bigsby on my G5435LH BK Pro-Jet, I removed the pickups in order to see how they were built and mounted, and I took some pictures. Here they are :

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the FilterTron Black Tops seems to have nothing different externally from the standard FilterTron, with the exception of the cover. So a swap is probably possible... But let me say that I find the Black Top very good sounding, probably having "that great Gretsch Sound" kind of tone, so eventually I wonder if a swap is worth (?).

    A+!
     
    JCarno, benjwri, Waxhead and 3 others like this.
  2. Dirtymug666

    Dirtymug666 Synchromatic

    Age:
    29
    612
    Mar 10, 2011
    Muskogee, Oklahoma
    Thats pretty cool! I've never tried the blacktops, or regular filtertrons for that matter, but people around here seem to be very pleased with them. I did recently round up a set of tv classic pups, and they are absolutely amazing, especially compared to the stock gretschbuckers. But it took a lot of patience to wait around and find them in my price range. As far as your blacktop filtertrons go, I'd say if it isn't broke don't fix it. But nodding sure is fun...
     
  3. Anni_Lover

    Anni_Lover Synchromatic

    794
    Jul 17, 2009
    New Zealand
    Don't forget that they have different magnets. The Black Top Filter 'Trons have Ceramic Magnets whereas all the other variants have Alinco V magnets.
     
  4. The Marlin

    The Marlin Friend of Fred

    Feb 2, 2011
    London...ish
    How difficult is it to swap the magnets over?

    Also, anyone compared the Blacktops to Megatrons? I suspect that they're very closely related.
     
  5. NickGretsch

    NickGretsch Synchromatic

    894
    Aug 30, 2011
    Cornwall, England
    Hey Marlin...you just blocked my post and I lost it....:D? We've got to stop posting at the same time ;)

    Anyway, I'll start again.

    Bit confused Sterg, in first shot there's shielding in the pick up cavities and in the second there isn't.
     
  6. Henrytwang

    Henrytwang Synchromatic

    704
    Feb 28, 2010
    teignmouth uk
    Interesting pictures, I wonder why they used that complicated and expensive mounting system when the simple two screw mount is used on top line Jets.
     
  7. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Unfortunately I didn't found any "official" information about the magnet technology used in the Black Top FilterTrons... But what you say about the FilterTrons is of interest : are the HS FilterTron alnico-equiped too ?

    I confirm that there's no shielding in any of the cavities (PU, pots...). The black shinig color you see is the table paint color and the final coating traces, which doesn't cover all the cavity by the way.

    I suppose that it would allow a pickup swap more easily for non-Gretsch models, like Humbuckers "PAF"... Nonetheless, it seems to me that a swap to HS FilterTron or TV Jones Classic would be very easy to do with that mounting. Is it worth is another question, indeed...
     
  8. HHudson

    HHudson Synchromatic

    Age:
    56
    635
    Jan 10, 2010
    'Yurp, pro tempore Germany
    .. except for the "Black Tops" in the Gents :) modern ones are a TV Classic+ in a Hilo case....

    Interesting, the mounting system is pretty much the same as some members here and on the GP have fashioned for mounting FilterTrons in 5120s.
     
  9. Michiel

    Michiel Friend of Fred

    Age:
    46
    Jul 29, 2009
    The Netherlands
    Here are some pictures of a vintage ('70s) blacktop Filtertron.

    image-4263789497.jpg

    image-1669687672.jpg

    image-3477245809.jpg
     
  10. Michiel

    Michiel Friend of Fred

    Age:
    46
    Jul 29, 2009
    The Netherlands
    And after taking it apart:

    image-2603141092.jpg

    image-2610686921.jpg

    image-2111959438.jpg

    As you can see, it's very easy to take apart (and a paun to put back together with all those loose parts).

    The magnet is a simple bar magnet thats slapped to the underside of the bobbins. It's probably ceramic.
    I didn't test wether I could take it off easily.
    On the supertrons of my Viking, the bars and blades are held in place just by their own magnetism. I suspect on this filtertron it's stuck there with some glee, as the pickup poles probably won't procide enough magnetic pull.

    Nether this filtertron, nor my supertrons. Are waxpotted.

    BTW, this filtertron must've been taken apart before; the two washers that are used to mount it to the alu bar are not identical. One is a pertinax bus, the other looks like a bus taken off of something else.
     
  11. Michiel

    Michiel Friend of Fred

    Age:
    46
    Jul 29, 2009
    The Netherlands
    Soundwise, that blacktop makes my '70 Viking sound like my '09 Country Gentleman.
    I don't have the feeling there is much difference between the two (vintage blacktop vs. modern HS).

    What differences I -could- hear were more related to the differences in bracing (parallel tonebars vs waffle bracing on the Gent) and bridges (space control vs TI compton on the Gent).
     
  12. HHudson

    HHudson Synchromatic

    Age:
    56
    635
    Jan 10, 2010
    'Yurp, pro tempore Germany
    cool pics I've never opened one :D ...similar mounting system again.

    I've read Baldwin often used ceramic magnets between 70-81 and many of the modern pre FMIC PUs also sport ceramics. I prolly should have said 6122-59 :D
     
  13. NickGretsch

    NickGretsch Synchromatic

    894
    Aug 30, 2011
    Cornwall, England
    Some greats shots here, thanks, really interesting.

    Hope I can find his thread again in future time
     
  14. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Thanks Michiel for the Vintage Black Top Filtertron details +++

    A+!
     
  15. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Thanks for the pics Michiel, better than porn...
     
  16. acousticplays

    acousticplays Gretschie

    385
    Jan 31, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    reviving this old thread!

    I've been curious as to changing out those chrome pickup surrounds with the regular silver Gretsch ones, such as on the Duo Jet.

    looks like different screws need to be fit, but look like it will fit :)
     
  17. mike fried

    mike fried Gretschie

    131
    Aug 23, 2011
    Nashville
    The regular Gretsch filter surrounds are smaller and won't cover the holes completely. I believe they used that mounting because it was already tooled for the BT-equipped Electromatic Jets, and also to differentiate them from the prolines.
     
  18. Henrytwang

    Henrytwang Synchromatic

    704
    Feb 28, 2010
    teignmouth uk
    That's interesting. The old Gretschbucker mounting plate holes on the 5120 could be covered with Filterton bezels.
     
    JonasSweden1 likes this.
  19. mike fried

    mike fried Gretschie

    131
    Aug 23, 2011
    Nashville
    Yeah, they had a smaller footprint.
     
  20. bmills

    bmills Gretschie

    112
    Jul 28, 2012
    Australia
    If anyone is changing the Chrome/metal pickup rings on these for traditional Gretsch plastic bezels or nothing at all please be in touch.

    I am looking for a pair of the metal pickup rings for a project, and Gretsch don't sell these as after-market parts. So I would buy them off you in an instant.
     
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