Filtertron Question - Bridge w/ears?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Powerage, May 29, 2020.

  1. Powerage

    Powerage Electromatic

    9
    Jul 23, 2015
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I am currently gathering parts for a Malcolm Young G6131 conversion from an Electromatic Double Jet.
    Looking at Malcolm's Gretsch it clearly has a Filtertron with ears installed at the bridge mounted flat to the mahogany part of the body.
    After a some research it seems that Gretsch HS F'trons are made as follows:
    Bridge - No ears
    Neck - With ears

    Is it possible to get an HS FT with ears, and anyone recommend where from.
    I don't want a TV Jones or other brand.

    Hope someone can advise. This forum is a great resource.
    Thanks
     
  2. davenumber2

    davenumber2 Gretschie

    174
    Nov 1, 2019
    Columbia, MO
    You could use a neck pickup for the bridge. I have one setup that way in a Streamliner and it sounds good to me.
     
    audept and ZackyDog like this.
  3. sgarnett

    sgarnett Gretschie

    374
    Apr 14, 2020
    Kentucky
    The distinction between neck and bridge pickups is relatively modern. Several people on this site use neck Filterons in both positions.

    I go a step beyond than that in my Strat. I have a bridge pickup (DiMarzio’s FS-1) in the neck position, and 57/62 pickups at the middle and bridge. The latter are similar to pickups used in all three positions on early Strats. Knopfler used a similar setup in the early Dire Straits era. The Telecaster Deluxe takes that a step further with a humbucker at the neck and a single coil at the bridge.
     
    ZackyDog likes this.
  4. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    AFAIK, the neck and bridge casing height has always been different, but the internals were the same in the pre-Baldwin era (roughly speaking, that’s a Ed Ball question as to when that stopped). There are no modern bridge pickups with ears except those from TVJ, the Ful-fidelity Tron. However, those bottom plates are now offered as parts for winders, so with the numerous makers out there, I’m sure there is a guy not named Tom who can make one for you.

    If you can get away with the short casing (shims?), note using the HS Neck neck will lower the inductance, and that’s why vintage-minded folks like Zacky Dog say using two necks is a better representation of what a Filtertron Gretsch sounded like back in the day. I’m not into MY’s guitar that much, so I don’t know the details, but didn’t he have his Filtertron re-wound at some point, for a hotter response? Anyways, here’s some numbers that show the inductance differences, and construction details. Conceivably one could take the bottom plate off a bridge HS and replace it with the longs-ears base. There is a no-ears base plate too, FYI.

    http://www.gretsch-talk.com/threads/tv-classics-vs-gretsch-filtertrons-vs-fender-fidelitrons.154849/

    https://www.philadelphialuthiertool...parts/vintage-early-60s-filtertron-baseplate/

    9E39ACA2-38DD-4D95-B04C-1A49E6CF39E5.jpeg
     
    ZackyDog likes this.
  5. MikeSchindler

    MikeSchindler Synchromatic

    913
    Feb 3, 2014
    Pennsylvania
    Yes. Zacky uses two neck FT . I can see this as an answer to your issue. On the bridge cavity you’d have to probably use shins or mouse pad to increase the height a bit.. no big deal
     
    ZackyDog likes this.
  6. sgarnett

    sgarnett Gretschie

    374
    Apr 14, 2020
    Kentucky
    I the HS cover soldered? I think taller covers are available, though I don't know if they work with the ears.
     
  7. Powerage

    Powerage Electromatic

    9
    Jul 23, 2015
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Great info. Thanks Dave Sgarnet and Mike. I have read in these very pages about 2 x neck FT's being used by some and since Mal Youngs Firebird is a '63 ( I think) this would be acceptable. However, as you point out there is the height difference with the bridge PU being a bit taller and I am sure I need the height as I have a Space Control Bridge to go on and its quite tall so not sure if shims under a neck PU at the bridge position would work. they might even end up being visible above the guitar top.
     
  8. Powerage

    Powerage Electromatic

    9
    Jul 23, 2015
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Thanks BorderRadio. You have confirmed that there are no modern G FT bridge PU's with ears.
    You are right there is that story that MY had his pick up rewound to compete with how loud Angus was, but I have not seen any conclusive evidence as to what the resulting resistance was after the rewind. I tend to think that since he was mostly concerned with clarity and clean headroom from loud amps that competing with Angus for volume wasn't an issue and maybe his PU was just rewound / refreshed in keeping with its vintage.

    Interesting article about resistance and inductance and you say that using a neck FT would lower the inductance.
    Could you say how or if a lower inductance would affect tone?

    Thanks for the link to Phily Luthier for the base plate. That may be the way to go ...get one of those, remove the upstands from the long edges and solder to the bottom of a new G FT Bridge PU.

    I am located in Scotland and sourcing parts is not easy. However, I have dealt with Phily Luthier for small things previously (US imperial thread screws) and there a couple of supplier in England and Germany who stock some TV Jones mounting parts etc.
     
  9. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    Glad to help, I like the little details too :)

    Inductance is a better measure of output. Not necessarily tone, but it’s safe to say that the HS and Fidelitrons both have more ‘meat on the bone’—more mids, a little less highs. Having used all three of those pickups before, I definitely like the Classics best, they have the most clarity/high end. The HS are close, but the neck can get muddy low nots (not a problem for you!). I really liked the Gretsch HS bridge though, and I think you have all the right reasons to use a HS bridge and get respectable MY tone. Just my opinion.

    The breakdown shown in the analysis link is helpful too, you can see what you need to install the vintage style base plate. Cut the soldered plate off your HS bridge, fashion some risers out of wood, and press fit the base plate. You do not need to solder it, or cut back the up stands, the originals were pretty much the same way. I might be wrong but I think you need those stands to keep the coil assembly steady. The originals came apart once you pulled them off the guitar, I’m sure MYs did too. There’s some pressure on the pole screws that can be strengthened by bending those curved pole tabs inward a bit, and that’s all you need to keep it together once you install it back on the guitar.
     
  10. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Age:
    55
    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    Yes, HS Filtertron pickups do have ears:

    [​IMG]

    And unfortunately, some potential problems, like irritation and wax buildup :(
     
    Powerage, BorderRadio and sgarnett like this.
  11. Powerage

    Powerage Electromatic

    9
    Jul 23, 2015
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Thanks Border, all this is great info and between this and the other post that you have linked to with the tech spec an pics showing FT's with covers off answers all the questions I had and have been web searching for recently.

    Thanks everyone.
     
    BorderRadio likes this.
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