Gretsch Pickup Options - Bewildering, But Not Really Value Added?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by drmilktruck, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Synchromatic

    562
    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    I love the twang of a bridge filtertron. Well, I love the TVJ classic in my streamliner. Can’t speak on others since it’s the only one I’ve ever played extensively. But I really can’t dig on the neck. I like a neck pup that honk’s like a tele lipstick pick up. I’ve removed 6 poles from my TVJ neck pup, and I like the tone way more. I know it’s a knucklehead move, and I always end up putting them back. However, with this mod I actually use use the thing. When it’s in it’s full fatness, i just kinda hate it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
    drmilktruck likes this.
  2. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Country Gent

    Jan 19, 2012
    Maldon UK
    Here's a shout out for the humble Gretschbucker, without which Mr J would never have been able to afford his island in the Carribean.
     
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  3. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    In the end, a lot of different factors will contribute to your sound, but how much a given factor contributes is another matter all together. In electrical and acoustical terms, it frequently takes change by a factor of 2 just to make a perceptible difference. When I experimented with tone caps, this was born out. Keep in mind that our perception of sound works logarithmically. So a small change in pickup impedance is probably below the threshold of perception.

    But there’s another factor which makes all of this very difficult to track, and that’s the human playing the instrument. We are capable of varying our technique in real time and I suspect that we all subtly change our technique depending upon the instrument, the amp (and its settings), the room, how we feel at the moment and what sound we are seeking. If you wanted to make a true apples to apples comparison between two pickups, it would require that a machine be used to play the guitar. Not a likely scenario.

    For the sake of my own analysis, I find that I think of my different guitars in terms of responsiveness as much as a I do timbre. My long-scale Gent probably doesn’t sound all that different from a short-scale Tenny, but it feels different to play and responds differently. Ultimately, I think that the number of factors is quite high and the sum is unique for every instrument. That having been said, I usually can’t tell one of my guitars from another when I’m listening to recordings. I can tell my old Dynasonic Jet from a Filtertron/Supertron hollow body, but from one hollow-body to the other is a bit trickier.
     
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  4. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    You might want to try Magnatrons or a T-Armond in the neck position. I also don't really like FTs in the neck position of some guitars, just too muddy/compressed on the low notes.
     
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  5. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Country Gent

    Jan 19, 2012
    Maldon UK
    I'm finding T-Armonds too muddy, especially in the neck. Just not enough twang, so I'm planning on going back to Dynas.
     
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  6. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Did you try 1 Meg pots yet? T-Armonds still won't compress like a Filtertron, but a neck Gretsch Dyna is a tad brighter and more punchy than the T-A, IME.
     
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  7. calebaaron666

    calebaaron666 Synchromatic

    562
    Aug 15, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    I’ve considered this. I was just reading up in magnatrons and watched a youtube video. But as @drmilktruck pointed out earlier, reading the descriptions of pickups can be pretty futile cuz they’re all described as the 2nd coming.
    Truth be told, i just DON’T wanna invest another $200 in this guitar. At least not now. I took the 6 poles out again. I’ll just play it like this. image.jpg
     
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  8. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    52
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    That`s true. And don`t forget to buy a backup for each one so that you are able to use them for live performances.
     
  9. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Country Gent

    Age:
    55
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    I'll acknowledge your opinion and the right to have it, but I can say from experience that there is a world of difference tone-wise between a Filtertron and a TV Jones Powertron and a TV Jones Magnatron, and they are housed in identical packages. So yes, what's inside makes a huge difference. Everything from magnet type to coil wire gauge and number of turns to bobbin size and shape... Pickup design is two parts science, 1 part alchemy and 1 part luck, and in some cases, a smidge of magic fairy dust is added to the formula:D. And yes, the housing itself can make a difference, of course, but don't think for a moment that identical looking pickups will generally sound similar-- experience indicates otherwise.;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  10. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Age:
    54
    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    Well, for a purist like me, just one pickup suffices:

    upload_2018-11-9_9-52-28.jpeg
    The Gretsch HS Filtertron (Neck, both positions)

    I agree with the OP re: Gretsch Pickup Options - Bewildering, But Not Really Value Added?
     
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  11. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    My experience in Gretsch pickups is limited :

    1 - HS FT High Sensitivity FilterTron
    The "Standard", and a real good sounding pickup.

    2 - BT FT Black Top FilterTron
    A slightly more "PAF" version of the HS FT.

    3 - DC SHT Dual Coil Super HiloTron
    Less powerful than the BT FT and HS FT, with a delicate and crisp tone.

    4 - Dynasonic
    Powerful pickup, thumpy on the attacks, but not so "twangy" in my taste, conversely to what I read and make me buy them (2nd hand).

    5 - BroadTrons
    They came with my G5220LH. A quick test showed me them sounding similarly to BT FT.

    But it's me, OK ? :D

    A+!
     
    ZackyDog likes this.
  12. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Gretschified

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    I
    Forgot about the Super HiLoTron.
     
  13. Gretschmen65

    Gretschmen65 Gretschie

    460
    May 20, 2016
    Australia
    Absolutely agree with the OP's lead - no value added.

    I think many of the original offerings ( Dyna's, Hi Lo's, Supa's etc ) were
    discarded by the old stars who did most of their best work with Filtertrons.

    Most of the more recent additions are attempts to get into Gibson PAF territory IMO.

    Single coil territory is owned by Tele, Strat and P90 designs.
    The PAF has a mortgage on humbuckers.
    Gretsch has a great offering in the Filtertron.

    The rest is marketing something which ultimately missed or misses the boat.

    Love my Filters.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
    drmilktruck likes this.
  14. Jockabilly

    Jockabilly Gretschie

    214
    Sep 15, 2018
    Argyll
    @tartanphantom I guess that my ears just ain't that good as I don't hear much of an 'earth shattering', or even 'worth bothering about' difference between a lot of pickups when they are designed in a similar fashion. I don't doubt that this could be merely my personal experience rather than a 'truth' that can be attested to by others of a more sensitive aural disposition.

    I do know that I am getting far too old to worry about ever finding that sound that will make me a Rockabilly god, or at least different to every other reasonably competent guitar player :) and am trying to work to that point where I can make peace with my mind and the instruments I have and stop falling for all the "You really must have 'X' because it is so much better" spiel that is so effective on the human mind.
     
  15. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Yes. I would add Lipsticks.

    Absolutely !

    A+!
     
    Gretschmen65 likes this.
  16. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Country Gent

    Age:
    55
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Totally agree with the sentiment of your last paragraph... Too often we as guitar players tend to obsess over the latest gear fads while neglecting the process of self improvement as players... Myself included!
     
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  17. MartyT

    MartyT Gretschie

    306
    Apr 8, 2010
    Mount Laurel, NJ
    It's a classic case of "option anxiety". My personal antidote is to go basic. In my case, I went with a set of Ray Butts pickups for my 6120. The basic, original design. I couldn't be happier.
    If I start to overthink this stuff, I get crazier than I already am.....
     
  18. pmac11

    pmac11 Synchromatic

    Age:
    54
    741
    Mar 4, 2018
    Toronto, Ontario
    Forgive my impure thoughts here, but has anyone ever put in a PAF or other non-Gretschified pickup in one position and left the other stock? I read a lot of posts about pickup mods, but never seem to hear about a Bill Lawrence in the neck position and a Filter 'TRON at the bridge. (For instance). Or swapped out both for a set of Dimarzios. (For another instance). Just curious...the Broad'TRONs seem to be about the same size as a regular humbucker, so..,
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  19. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Gretschified

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    There was a You Tube video featuring Lace Alumitones playing Stray Cat Strut IIRC. Sounded damn good to my ears.
     
    pmac11 likes this.
  20. pmac11

    pmac11 Synchromatic

    Age:
    54
    741
    Mar 4, 2018
    Toronto, Ontario
    Alumitones in a Gretsch?

    Sent from my SM-T560NU using Tapatalk