Any Hi-Lo Love Around Here?

Discussion in 'The Pickup Place' started by G5422T, Jun 28, 2021.

  1. tonejam

    tonejam Electromatic

    Nov 3, 2019
    If you're taking issue only with recording technology, you might have a point, but you're clearly not, because you're talking about guitar pickups.

    I get that you don't like Hilotrons, and plenty of people don't.

    However, if there's no great recorded guitar tones prior to 68/69, why are so many big name amps currently in production (Fender and Mesa Boogie just for starters), based on, and trying to reproduce sounds of that era? The same applies to guitar makers, and pickup makers.

    The reason is that those old amps and guitars were NOT hi-fi. If guitarists wanted hi-fi, they'd all be playing through solid-state amps or more to the point, would be going directly into the PA.
    guitarzan50 likes this.
  2. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Firenze, Italy
    Another Hi-Lo lover here. The ‘65 in my Rally are really a Swiss-knife weapon in band situations while playing old blues or Americana. Cleaner than Filtertrons, rounder than Dynas. Sure you need to set them up properly and maybe a pedal to have some grind, but they’re no doubt my most versatile pickups by far.
    @Waxhead about no great guitar sound recorded with Hi-Los after ‘68, I strongly advice you to have a listen at The Sadies.
    One of the best Gent-Tele punch ever recorded. With a tone that you couldn’t have had with any other pickup but a 60s Hi-Los. ;)
    Marv666, Henry, new6659 and 5 others like this.
  3. hcsterg

    hcsterg Friend of Fred

    Feb 13, 2012
    No experience for me, except with Dual-Coil Super HiLoTrons (DC SHT) that I'm fond of :cool::cool::cool:... But these are not "true" HiLoTrons, we all know this... :oops:;)

    Waxhead likes this.
  4. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Firenze, Italy
    Enjoys the pure sheer of the Hi-Lo Trons folks.... meet The Sadies :)

    tonejam likes this.
  5. S.R.Cash

    S.R.Cash Gretschie

    Aug 29, 2019
    Ontario, Canada
    Whether a 'Great Gretsch Tone' or not, I love them! I went the TV-HT route for mounting sake, but with the right EQ'ing there's plenty of Gretchiness in there. I'm more into the Rockabilly, Hillbilly, Western sort of thing, and clean is my thing. My HI-LO's play along with Johnny Horton way better than the Filtertron's did. ... But to each their own. When I'm in the mood to get into that Eighties groove and dig out the grit and chorus, I've got a Streamliner with Surf 90's. The HI-LO's do grit quite well actually, but where they are best is squeaky clean Twang!
    Mark 6120 and guitarzan50 like this.
  6. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    We definitely have a difference in opinion. All those great guitar tones from TV and movie themes of the early 60s. All the awesome rockabilly tones from the 50s. Mid 60s recordings by the Beatles, Yardbirds, Byrds, etc. By 1968/69 the only thing different was the processing and addition of distortion into the mix. Maybe you don't know this but in major studios around the world they are largely using the same microphones, preamps and compressors that were available back in the late 50s-60s. That equipment had great sonic properties and that is why just about every VST software plugin company out there has modeled their own version of that classic gear. The Neuman U47 and AKG C12 microphones have been copied since they came out over 60 years ago. The only mic technology that has improved over the past 30 years is with ribbon mics. Able to take more sound pressure, higher output and wider frequency response.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2021
    TubeLife and tonejam like this.
  7. montereyjack66

    montereyjack66 Country Gent

    Feb 29, 2012
    LOVE HiLo-trons. Have a set for a double jet and one for a hollowbody. Sorry. I don't do model numbers this early in the day.
    G5422T likes this.
  8. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    Lot's of great input from you folks and much appreciated.
  9. afire

    afire Country Gent

    I don't want to pile on...but I can't help myself. If we're talking recording technology, as others have pointed out, nothing much changed in the late '60s, and leaving out digital, really hasn't much since either. And while there were certainly some lo-fi R&R recordings in the early days (often deliberately so), there were also plenty of beautifully rich and present recordings. And get out of R&R, and that's even more true. Guitars sure didn't change much either. And the trend in amps was bigger, louder, cleaner. If anything, guitarists in the late '60s were practically working against the technological trends.

    I don't really even know how to interpret that comment other than to assume that you don't particularly care for clean tones. Because recordings prior to 68/69 featured some of the best of them. But, you certainly wouldn't be alone in that opinion. Lots of guys have no interest in guitar tones before the age of distortion.
    Gretschtim1, TubeLife and G5422T like this.
  10. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck I Bleed Orange

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    Waxhead and G5422T like this.
  11. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    Hilos? Yes, but I am partial to vintage-spec hilos like on this vintage G6118.

    Last edited: Jun 30, 2021
    Marv666, new6659 and G5422T like this.
  12. Sid Nitzerglobin

    Sid Nitzerglobin Country Gent

    Jun 8, 2015
    I like 'em in my 6119-1962HT, but they do take more boosting than most other pickups I've got to get them to the happy, saturated clean/edge of breakup I usually use as my starting point:
    I've thought about trying a setup of the TVJ replacements, but haven't been able to convince myself to order a set yet.
  13. Groutsch

    Groutsch Synchromatic

    Jun 9, 2018
    Maryland, US
    From what I've read, the HiLo'Tron was Gretsch's low-end pickup in the early 60s, and the HiLo-equipped Tennesseean was Chet's budget model. The HiLos have a thinner sound than Filters, and less bass than Dynas. Still, the HiLo has a beautiful voice of its own, which stands out well in a mix. You know, a flute has a thinner sound than a trumpet, but it's nice to have flutes in an orchestra and not just trumpets.

    I just bought my first HiLo-equipped guitar, a '64 Tennesseean, and I dig it!

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2021
  14. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012

    That's a sweet old gal. Very nice.
    Groutsch likes this.
  15. Waxhead

    Waxhead Friend of Fred

    Aug 30, 2014
    I've taken issue with people posting 1960s recordings as examples of great guitar tone coming from a specific pup type, eg Hilotrons. And yes, the limiting issue then was rudimentary recording technology.

    Tones from amps made in 1960s is a different issue to the quality of the recordings made in 1960s.
    The 1960's recordings are poor quality reproductions of good clean amps imo - vintage Vox in case of the Beatles.
    A vintage AC30 sounds much better live than anything you'll hear on a 1960s recording.

    If any amp maker has tried to clone those 1960's Fender and Vox amps they've tried to clone the live amp tones - not the tones from their poor quality 1960s recordings.

    And if Fender and Vox have tried to clone their 1960's amps in their current re-issues they've done a poor job of it. Re-issue AC's, Princetons etc don't sound as good as the vintage models. Mesa Boogie certainly have not tried to clone a 1960's anything.

    I don't get the implied premise that there's anything great, or classic, about the quality of a 1960's recording.
    We have an emotional attachment to the songs, the great musicians, the style, the era, history etc. All great, but the recordings themselves are poor unfortunately.

    Take the Gretsch that was allegedly used in the Animals 1964 recording of HOTRS.
    Nothing great, or special, about the guitar tones in that recording - just ok clean - they could have used anything. Same with "Beatles for Sale".

    And I don't agree you get hi-fi sound by going to either solid state, or direct to PA.
    The best hi-fi guitar tones come from tube amps made after 1970 imo.
    And not just for clean tones either - 1960s amps couldn't even do overdrive :D
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2021
  16. Waxhead

    Waxhead Friend of Fred

    Aug 30, 2014
    Stiv - I'll have to find a CD of the Sadies.
    Youtube videos don't do anything justice imo :eek:
    stiv likes this.
  17. Waxhead

    Waxhead Friend of Fred

    Aug 30, 2014
    Yes I was aware that some gear from 1960s is still used today.
    And as we know mic's and compressors are just a small part of the gear required.
    I'm only judging the final recorded outcomes and to my ears I've not heard a single great guitar tone from the 1960s.

    There are 1000s of great songs, great musicians, style, history, nostalga etc.
    The recording quality started improving greatly in the 70s imo.

    And 1950s hahaha - the recordings from that era are sooooooo bad I can barely listen to them :eek::p
  18. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    Actually there's no such thing as hi-fi guitar tone. Guitar amps and speakers are made to roll off starting at between 1K and 5K. There's nothing hi-fi about that. That's AM car radio territory there buddy...:D. Plug the guitar directly into a Neve console and that gets you closer but a guitar pickup by nature is a lo-fi
    component...and Thank God for that!
  19. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    Their loss...clean sweet tones are some of the hardest to capture on a recording.
    Distortion on the other hand has been over done for years and it keeps getting worse. I can stand most of the grunge tones on today's so called rock recordings. No note separation just a wall of bad tone. And that coming from someone who loves a good driving guitar sound. It's just the buzzing bee tones that gets on my nerves.
    hcsterg likes this.
  20. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Oct 18, 2015
    My vintage Corvettes used to have Hilos in them. It is a brilliant clean pickup that sounds great when plugged into an amp with big crunch.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2021
    pesimax and drmilktruck like this.
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