Dan Duffy's Corner

Gretsch Streamliner Pickup comparrison


Is there a Gretsch pickup comparrison chart anywhere. Broadtron pickups are really too "honky" & I am looking to replace them with something a bit more authentic.




Welcome to our addiction, Showdoc. I've been hearing some great tones coming from those pickups, in videos. Gretsches are certainly Twangy and I haven't heard them referred to as honky but these pickups, I have no experience with. Have you tried adjusting them at all i.e. poles or entire pickup height? From what we're hearing so far about these guitars is that they're great. I hope someone else has a suggestion for you. Maybe some TVJones pickups for an upgrade but which ones to get, I couldn't say. What type of sound are you looking for, exactly and what type of music do you play?


TV Jones makes Filtertron style pickups in Filtertron size and also standard humbucker size that should drop right in a Streamliner if you don't want to use adapters.


Entwistle Nashvilles.. if they'll fit the frames.. Or even better, Entwistle Nemesis as a standard humbucker replacement.


If by “honky” you mean an unpleasant nasal emphasis in the midrange, the un-honkiest TV Jones pups, closest to vintage FilterTron spec, are TV Classics - since they share the relatively scooped mids which differentiate Filters from Gibsonesque humbuckers.

Out of the dual coil realm, any TVs which are - or approach - single-coil tone would also be safely unhonky: TArmonds (emulating DynaSonics), his HiloTron version, or MagnaTrons.

But I’m guessing you didn’t buy from Gretsch’s least expensive guitar line in order to put 300.00 worth of pickups in it. And I don’t know what to make of the “honky” description, as I don’t think I’ve ever heard any Gretsch pickup described in that way. A Streamliner is the only modern Gretsch model type - with the only Gretsch pickup type - I don’t have, so I can’t speak from experience. But demos I’ve listened to online don’t sound “honky” to me.

It’s also possible we don’t mean the same thing by honky. Can you describe what you’re hearing differently, in more detail?

Also, what strings are you using?

I know you’re also asking about using the Streamliner through your Boss GT-100 modeler, and wonder if that’s contributing. To eliminate that as a variable, you should plug the guitar straight into a “regular” guitar amp you’re familiar with, and hear how it sounds that way.

That said, I have several modeling/profiling devices, including the Boss MS-3 (I think is the model), and haven’t noticed that any of my Gretschs have a different tonal response through those than through an amp. But it’s worth doing the real-amp test anyway, because who knows...

In the end, the Broadtrons may have a presence rise in a frequency band that just hits your ears unpleasantly, and maybe it can’t be adjusted out either by tweaking the pickups (good suggestion from SuprDave) or twisting amp knobs or modeler settings. Then a pickup swap or a guitar swap are obvious - but not the only - options.

You could probably find the offending frequency with an eq pedal, and dial in exactly the Gretsch tone you’d like. Graphic EQ pedals can be had for well under 100.00 on Reverb - and if a graphic doesn’t get precise enough, parametrics are available under 200.00, and would surely do the trick. Also, any EQ pedal can also act as a clean boost.

Stuff to consider.


Thanks for the comments guys. I think the main problem is that my ears have been glued to a Strat for the best part of 30 years. I've always wanted a Gretsch for that "Setzer" sound. I now realize it's not just the guitar......... The "honky mids" I refer to are prominent around 750hz - 1.5k. With the pickup selector in the middle (both pickups), I can get a really nice 50s twang but when I flip onto the bridge pickup those mids just about take your head off. If I roll it off on the pedal I lose the clarity I started with in the middle position. I was thinking that the Broad-Tron pickups on these Streamliners are a cheaper substitute, so obviously you get what you pay for...

Still experimenting,


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