Gretsch pickup interchangeability?

Discussion in 'The Pickup Place' started by DHart, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. DHart

    DHart Gretschie

    253
    Jun 26, 2019
    Arizona
    I have a Fender Tele Cabronita Thinline, with Fender's Fideli'tron pickups in it. These pickups are mounted with one screw on each side of each pickup - without any trim rings.

    [​IMG]

    From Gretsch's current pickup offerings:

    Filter'tron
    Full'tron
    Broad'tron
    HiLo'tron
    Dynasonic

    which of these Gretsch pickups will cleanly and easily swap in as replacements for the Filter'trons? (I'm thinking about cleanly fitting in the space, and mounting similarly.)

    My preference would be Dynasonic or Hilo'tron, as Gretsch describes these two as being their most "detailed" sounding pickups.
     
    larryb likes this.
  2. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    A Gretsch Dyna wouldn’t be a direct fit, BUT the TV Jones version, the T-Armond, would fit if you buy the filtertron size. I have one, and it’s a powerhouse.
     
    DHart likes this.
  3. DHart

    DHart Gretschie

    253
    Jun 26, 2019
    Arizona
    OK... thanks calebaaron. I will consider the T-Armond. I've heard some good reports on that pickup.

    I'm not looking for a powerhouse, though. I'm trying for clean, clear, detailed, articulate, sparkle, sort of "hi-fi". I don't need "hot" output, or boosted mids.

    How about the other Gretsch pickups... the other four that end in 'tron? Are all the Gretsch pickups that end in 'tron sized the same and mount the same as the Fideli'tron?

    I'm thinking what would suit me best, if the Dynasonic isn't a direct replacement, would be the Hilo'tron - is that one a direct replacement for the Fideli'tron? (No bezel, no mounting ring, no dog-ears.)
     
  4. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Country Gent

    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    A T-Armond, or Dyna, is super clean and articulate. Think Duane Eddy. I added a tron sized T-Armond to my 5420 and it’s amazing.

    Yes, all of the ‘trons are the same size.
     
    DHart likes this.
  5. DennisC

    DennisC Gretschie

    Age:
    36
    337
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    I'm not sure on this ... Broad'trons are regular humbucker's (PAF's) size. I never saw them sold seperately as new items, but they may come up being sold used once in a while.

    To all Filter'trons this should apply as far as I know (same size).
     
  6. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    53
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    If you are really looking for hifi/low output the Hilotron is your kind of pickup.
     
    DHart and BorderRadio like this.
  7. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Of the pickups mentioned:

    HS Filtertron: Easy to get, a great repro of vintage FTs and a little hotter than a TVJ Classic set, especially in the bridge position. Not that different tone wise from what you already have (see the Antigua cross posts comparing all three).

    Full’tron: Not something you can get easily, no aftermarket source. I for one wouldn’t bother, as it it take the Gretsch out and ups the Gibson, blecch :)

    Broad’tron: See Full’tron above. These have Gibson coil spacing, they will not fit your FT routing.

    Hilotron: Mentioned before, a sweet underrated, usually hated pickup. I have a vintage Corvette with ‘em plus a G5420T with TV-HTs. Well rounded, low-output. Curtis Novak offers a HB version I want to try on my “Nashville body” Corvette Jr. build. Surface mounting these pickups might pose some challenges, considering which Hilo you go with, but otherwise they fit the routing shape.

    Dynasonic; My favorite pickup besides a Tele bridge or Strat neck. In all honesty, the tone is very similar to those pickups as well. Alnico A5 slugs, a wider coil, usually wound a little hot, but also remember a finer gauge wire is used. Gretsch Dynas are easy to get, I’ve bought and sold several right here. For brand new prices, you can do much better. Gretsch Dynas will require extensive modding and deep routing to install. I nearly routed clean through the back of my Tele when I installed a Dyna. Only the Filtertron sized T-As will drop in as Caleb mentioned. T-As will not be your “low output” pickup, at least the bridge pickup won’t be—it’s hot, a little middy. IME, it’s perfect if you can install the bridge pickup close to the bridge as on a vintage Jet, Chet, or Country Club. In the filtertron positions (closer to each other), I’m not as big a fan of T-As. Also note, a traditional Dyna with the giant slugs will pull on your strings and dampen vibrations. T-As adjust for this/correct the issue. Dyna types have a sweet spot, but because of the adjustable poles, they allow for infinite personal tweaking. My favorite Dyna set up is a late 50s vintage bridge pickup with a T-A neck—such a good sound, but the vintage pickup squeals with high gain (another reason to go T-A).
     
  8. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Yes, a HiLo will work. You will need to put foam or something under it to wedge it up but it will definitely fit those routs.
     
  9. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Friend of Fred

    Jan 19, 2012
    Maldon UK
    Not all the Filtertron range has the same footprint; some come with sticky-out flanges on the base. These come off with tin snips though.

    The Dynas, either Gretsch or TV Jones will need some routing as the pole lifters hang out the bottom.
     
  10. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Yes, forgot about the ears that need to be cut off sometimes.
     
  11. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    If you want low output buckers from TVJ, check out magnatrons and maybe the Ray Butts. But all these answers don't really address you main question, I believe: what fits in a FIDELItron space, which is not the same as a standard tron. Sorry, but I dont know.
     
  12. DHart

    DHart Gretschie

    253
    Jun 26, 2019
    Arizona
    Wow... seems like some conflicting information on the 'trons, from various sites on the web.

    Some sources have said that all of Gretch's 'trons share the same footprint (though some may have tabs). Other sources have said that the footprints are not the same on the various 'trons.

    Leaves me a little bewildered. :(

    I trust those on this site the most, though, when it comes to Gretsch pickups! Even here, though... some discrepancies, it seems?

    SO... Fideli'tron, Filter'tron, and Hilo'tron - these three DO all share the same footprint and side wood screw mounts?

    TV Jones site states that there is a "standard" Filter'tron footprint - which I believe this "standard" applies to Fender's Fideli'tron and Gretsch's Hilo'tron?

    In the end... there are only three options, appealing to me, that I might choose to replace my Fideli'trons:

    Gretsch Hilo'tron
    TVJ Dynasonic-in-a-Filter'tron format
    Dynasonic (which I must rule out, due to size/format differences)
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
  13. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    There’s no discrepancy, it’s just FMIC is trying to rope in more players who like Gibson style pickups, i.e. hotter pickups. In the process they mucked up what used to be the main 3 Gretsch pickups, in addition to TVJ’s offerings which come on certain Proline models. TVJ initially repro’d Gretsch’s Big 3–thats where the ‘standard’ FT comes in. I personally don’t consider Full’trons or Broadtrons (all 3 varieties) “Gretsch” pickups, but I’m a purist :) We haven’t even got into Electromatic pickup varieties :D

    Yes, Fidelitrons, HS Filtertrons, and Hilotrons are all similar in that they share the same size pickup casings. In fact, Hilos were initially made with Filtertron parts. They all mount through the cover with wood screws.

    The difference between Filtertron varieties occurs with the bottom brass cover and the length of the pole screws. HS Filtertrons have long screws and brass wings (like the original FT) which complicate installing in a Cab. Fidelitrons don’t have the brass tabs, but do have extended pole screws, which should be routed for in your guitar. Hilotrons generally lack both the tabs and the extended pole screws.

    The T-Armonds you are talking about mount through the coil bobbin, like a soapbar P-90. Not sure, but you might need extra long wood screws to get a good hold in your Cab routes. I’m going on my Squier Cab with Fidelitrons—that guitar had a deeper route in the center of the pickups to accommodate the longer pole screws.
     
    DHart likes this.
  14. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    First, Fidelitrons are not gretsch trons, they are Fender trons and I believe they do have a different footprint, but I dont know whether bigger, smaller or what.

    Second, Gretsch has come out with new trons, so some of the info may be stale. HS filters have been around for a long time. Current Blacktop filters have been around for a while, and are generally the same footprint but are mounted differently. However, TVJs universal mounts should fit either ok. Gretsch has since come out with full trons and broadtrons, and I don't know what the footprint on those are, they may be larger and more like a Gibson bucker.

    Third, your best bet is finding out which pickups you want now, and if they are TVJs, ask TVJ what mount you should get to replace fidelitrons. I'm sure you are not the first.
     
  15. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    DHart and Henry like this.
  16. DHart

    DHart Gretschie

    253
    Jun 26, 2019
    Arizona
    Thanks guys, especially BorderRadio... you really know your Gretsch pickups!

    Simplifying it all for me is that the only replacements I may want for my Cabronita would be Gretsch Hilo'trons or TVJ T-Armonds in Filter'Tron-size/format. Just clean, clear, detailed, and articulate is all I desire. And, it sounds like those options would be direct-fit replacements for the Fender Fideli'trons.
     
    BorderRadio likes this.
  17. DHart

    DHart Gretschie

    253
    Jun 26, 2019
    Arizona
    Speaking of Gretsch pickup interchangeability... let's move to the Jet Club. The (economy) pickups in that model mount to a trim ring, with two screws on each side of the pickup. Is that a standard Fideli'tron-Size pickup?

    Would the Jet Club be able to readily accept a pair of Hilo'tron pickups?

    Also, is the Jet Club a pretty nice-playing guitar? It is certainly priced low. I like the looks of the Silver one, the price, and that it does not have a Bigsby on it.
     
  18. larryb

    larryb Gretschified

    Age:
    50
    Oct 29, 2012
    Greenville, SC
    Love Cabs...Beautiful Git you have there....Good luck!
     
    DHart likes this.
  19. DHart

    DHart Gretschie

    253
    Jun 26, 2019
    Arizona
    Thank you Larry.... I'm with you - Cabronitas are awesome!
     
    larryb likes this.
  20. DHart

    DHart Gretschie

    253
    Jun 26, 2019
    Arizona
    I'm still wondering if the Jet Club model will accept Hilo'tron pickups in place of what looks to be Gretsch "humbuckers"?

    BR... is this something you are familiar with?
     
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