Why aren’t filtertrons more popular?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by bdub415, Jul 28, 2020.

  1. CalicoSkies

    CalicoSkies Gretschie

    Nov 18, 2019
    Beaverton, OR, USA
    There are hum-canceling single coil pickups too (maybe I should say single coil style, as hum-canceling pickups usually involve a couple coils to cancel out hum). Some such pickups actually sound pretty good. I think the many pickup options in the market may have something to do with why some pickups (like filtertrons) tend to get overlooked sometimes.
  2. Pine Apple Slim

    Pine Apple Slim Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2011
    North Alabama
    The unique sizing, different mounting system than the standard Gibson or Fender style pickups. Plus Gretschs just weren’t around that much and the company was in decline under Baldwin during the heyday of classic rock in the 70s. The ones that were tended to get used in the studio more than onstage by the guitar heros of the day, Townshends 6120 for example. Until the Stray Cats and the rockabilly revival in the 80s you just never saw one. Until Electronatics started appearing(sorry my edit got interrupted) in the early 2000s I had only played 2 Gretsches in my life. I knew a guy in the early 80s who had an inherited Corvette that he rocked, and my college roommate in the late 70s had a beat to hell old Annie with rotten binding and only one Hilo that actually worked. When deciding I wanted a Pro Line model A couple of years ago I had to travel to Rocky’s in NYC just to be able to try out a nice variety.
    Went in thinking Annie, 6120, or Country Club, but a Falcon was the one that spoke to me. Believe me, to this day you ain’t gonna find many White Falcons, or any Pro Line for that matter in my neck of the woods, pretty rare even in Nashville or Atlanta shops.
    For me TV Classics are the best HBs and My T Armonds are the best SCs I’ve ever played.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2020
  3. sgarnett

    sgarnett Gretschie

    Apr 14, 2020
    I think part of it is that the guitar god icons happened to be playing Gibson or Fender. I think Gretsch was also just more difficult to buy in England during a formative period, though of course certain high profile bands did use them. Some guitarists, like Townshend, recorded with them but did not use them onstage.

    Also, I wanted an early orange 6120 for a long time, but when I started playing, Baldwin had already done their damage. At the time, I thought of Gretsches as junk still trading on a once-great name that no longer meant anything (like many other brands).

    I only recently played my first Gretsch, and discovered how great they really are.
  4. sgarnett

    sgarnett Gretschie

    Apr 14, 2020
    Doh! Once again, I type too slow, and then find someone else has already said it!:D
    Pine Apple Slim likes this.
  5. GlenP

    GlenP Country Gent

    Jul 23, 2019
    GearMannDude demos are awesome, I am just here for the Jack Black comments. One of the few videos that does not feature his snakeskin boots stomping on the pedals. That demo makes me think the stock neck and bridge magna would be a good combination, if they play/mix together in the middle position. This demo could have been perfect if only he used a looper.... umm, never mind.
    Marv666 likes this.
  6. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    so cal
    ,,,,bbut these arent filtertrons at all, haha. :) They are dual single coil pickups w slug mags in a humcanceling arrangement. Filtertrons have a bar mag w two bobbins on top.. awe jeeze, now I'm tilted. :) ....JK
    sgarnett, Outlaw, Wjensen and 2 others like this.
  7. sanhozay

    sanhozay Electromatic

    Mar 17, 2014
    popular with everyone i know

    choose your friends wisely

  8. Shadowy_Man

    Shadowy_Man Gretschie

    May 18, 2020
    I'm pretty sure it's the size. They don't just drop into most guitars. Other options are available of course, but it's easier to work with more standard size pickups if you're not a Gretschie
    emitex likes this.
  9. emitex

    emitex Synchromatic

    Aug 21, 2014
    I tend to think it’s because of their non-standard size and mounting. I love Filtertrons and would like to put them in a Tele thinline, but the mod is too complicated and not worth the aggravation or cost to have it done. If it was a simple “drop in” for folks, I think many more players would try ‘em.
  10. DennisC

    DennisC Synchromatic

    May 11, 2017
    ... die sind näher an einem klassischen Filtertron als Deutsch an Englisch. ....... line below!

    (they are closer to a classic filtertron than german is to english)

    The size is a minor issue here, as Filtertrons are a bit smaller, it's pretty easy to get them in a HB routing ... or even make a functionally narrow filtertron, as they're known and loved and stuff, in a larger housing to be mounted in a standard Gibson-sized routing - if the demand was there, someone would make such pickups.

    I guess the main issue is that many guitarists don't know much about them - whoever isn't into Gretsch, really not at all, will just see "some oldstyle looking humbucker" or so, and maybe not even notice the different size.

    Some simply don't like them - one or two years ago, I even saw a 6120 on ebay with a set of Gibson pickups. I didn't really get why someone would do that ... I don't get why someone might prefer a Gibson or their pickups, but I get that someone does ... so he should, I'm not to judge that, but the effort and money thrown into this leaves me bit puzzled ... each to his own...

    But, anyway, they are no secret or so, everybody is free to know, want, buy, use them. If information that is free to anyone isn't noticed by everyone, you can't do much about it. I have the impression that many people see them as some kind of odd-sized intermediate kind of pickup, between humbuckers (and these as Gibson's PAF or a derivative of these) and singlecoils and don't see them doing anything they crave ... or something...
    Wjensen and Shadowy_Man like this.
  11. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Friend of Fred

    I think there are a lot of people that are like I was, thinking that Gretsch guitars were niche guitars. After buying my first 2 Gretsch guitars (5120 and then a 5420 with true Filtertrons), I still thought of Gretsch being good for Beatles style of music. It wasn't until I'd played my 5420 for a while that I began to realize how versatile the Filtertrons can be. Now I pull out a Gretsch anytime, for many different styles. It doesn't mean I stopped playing my Strats, because I haven't, but I am not the least bit shy about grabbing a Gretsch. I even have a Pro Jet (think LPish) with Blacktop Filtertron and a Tennessee Rose with High Sensitive Filtertrons, and both are quite versatile, as well.

    Again, I don't think most people think the Filtertron is a versatile pickups, but the word is definitely getting out.
  12. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    This. Many guitar companies also copy or or riff on the trons, from Fender to Schechter.
  13. Marv666

    Marv666 Electromatic

    Jul 26, 2020
    Makes sense, i´m assuming lots of people only accociate them with rockabilly
    LivingMyDream likes this.
  14. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    Likewise; if Filtertrons are unpopular, I haven't received the memo. They are more popular than ever before and have shown up in a number of genres. I use Supertrons (a close relative) for just about everything.
    Waxhead likes this.
  15. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    so cal
    Das ist sehr wahr!
  16. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    ok good and you're in Germany so that's 2 of us on different continents.
    I don't know of anyone else in Australia that uses this combination :D
    Marv666 likes this.
  17. Marv666

    Marv666 Electromatic

    Jul 26, 2020
    The only one that comes to my mind right now who uses the gretsch and mesa combo is tim armstrong from rancid.
    he used a rectifier in the past and switched to mark Vs at some point.

    But yeah let´s keep it a secret hahaha :)
    Waxhead likes this.
  18. Wjensen

    Wjensen Gretschie

    May 25, 2019
    Raleigh, NC
    I suspect that the "Great Gretsch Sound" schtick is marketing hype, but there is a truth there none the less; namely that Filter'Trons occupy a different sonic territory than PAF type pickups. I happen to like the sound of the Filter'Trons, but I also like PAFs. To each his or her own.
    capnhiho likes this.
  19. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    yeah no reason why we can't can't like em all.

    I've got guitars with Filtertrons, PAF humbuckers and single coils.
    Dyna's are good too.
    P-90's sound great but are too noisy for me when playing with med/high gain as I often do.
    Hilotrons, other trons, are all good.
    Every pup TV Jones makes is great imo.

    Filtertrons are just my personal fav as they're the most versatile, sound great through the whole gain range and are low noise :D
    MTurner and Pine Apple Slim like this.
  20. bdub415

    bdub415 Electromatic

    Jun 29, 2020
    It seems like the PAF style humbucker routing became almost a standard at some point. Now that you can buy the filtertrons with kits that drop them in I think more people are figuring out how awesome they are. Plus youtube videos, etc.
    Waxhead likes this.
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