Modern Gretsch Guitars

First FilterTron advise.

1

Hi, I am a lifelong P90 fanatic. I do like some telecaster pick up but I have largely focused on P 90s for the last 20 something years. Well, I also like the old Drēm ends that were on straight at all guitars too.

anyway, I recently broke down and bought my first Gretsch hollow body. I had avoided them for years because I never found a neck that wasn’t ridiculously skinny. I also like big necks, which doesn’t seem to be a Gretsch thing. It’s one of the setzer smoke guitars. It’s also hard to find newer great guitars with a lacquer finish, so that’s why I settled on this one. Plus I like the overall appearance and body depth. The neck is still pretty skinny and if it weren’t a V shape it would be a lot better. But I’m slowly getting used to it.

My hangup is the pick ups. They are the Butts Ful Fidelity pick ups from TV Jones. Really nice sounding pick ups, I like the clarity. Unfortunately they are a little too bright for me and my rig so I try to figure out what to use next and that guitar. I know TV Jones makes P 90s so that’s a great option. But I would really like to stick with filter Tron style pick ups if possible.

Can anyone make a suggestion for the right FilterTron pick up that a guy who loves P 90s might like?

I prefer lower output P90’s usually in the 7.6 to 8.5 K range. I don’t play Psychobilly or like Billy Duffy. I do like a more traditional but slightly raucous tone. Rockabilly, sir, 1950s rock ‘n’ roll sound. I love clarity with some throating us. Would also love to stick with Filtertrons instead of P 90s to manage hum on stage.

any suggestions?

2

Try a TVJones Classic. They are a bit less aggro than the Butts, which are identical (warts'n'all) to the earliest vintage Filtertrons.

3

I put the TV Jones P90s in my Setzer 6120, they’re great!

But it sounds like you probably have plenty of guitars with P90s.

4

For less bright Filter’Trons, Super’Tron, though I wouldn’t say it’s P90ish. Classic Plus is a great bridgepup choice, a bit pushier and not quite as twinkly as your usual ‘tron. Power’Trons, dunno. They’re usually represented as somewhere between the Classic and a PAF. Which doesn’t sound P90ish either.

Actually, though it be heresy, the stock Gretsch High Sensitive F’Trons are a bit rawer and looser than TV’s offerings (though he consulted in their design.) They’re not hot pickups by any means, but they’re a bit middier, warmer, and less polite than TV’s ultra-refined range. There’s a bit of raunch and P90 readiness to rumble in them.

BUT - if you’re a P90 guy and we’re talking about 50s classicbilly... why aren’t we talking about DynaSonics? Have you played them? While they have a supremely and infectiously unique character all their own, they’re often compared to P90s. Both big fat bold single-coils that don’t know how to take prisoners. Not that my experience should be instructive, but P90s became my second favorite pickups after I got a load of good DynaSonics.

Based on your self-description, I think you need to go to some effort to prove to yourself that DynaSonics aren’t the right Gretsch voice for you. (And TV will put his T-Armonds in F’Tron housing.) (And if you sell the Buttseseses, let me know.)

5

For less bright Filter’Trons, Super’Tron, though I wouldn’t say it’s P90ish. Classic Plus is a great bridgepup choice, a bit pushier and not quite as twinkly as your usual ‘tron. Power’Trons, dunno. They’re usually represented as somewhere between the Classic and a PAF. Which doesn’t sound P90ish either.

Actually, though it be heresy, the stock Gretsch High Sensitive F’Trons are a bit rawer and looser than TV’s offerings (though he consulted in their design.) They’re not hot pickups by any means, but they’re a bit middier, warmer, and less polite than TV’s ultra-refined range. There’s a bit of raunch and P90 readiness to rumble in them.

BUT - if you’re a P90 guy and we’re talking about 50s classicbilly... why aren’t we talking about DynaSonics? Have you played them? While they have a supremely and infectiously unique character all their own, they’re often compared to P90s. Both big fat bold single-coils that don’t know how to take prisoners. Not that my experience should be instructive, but P90s became my second favorite pickups after I got a load of good DynaSonics.

Based on your self-description, I think you need to go to some effort to prove to yourself that DynaSonics aren’t the right Gretsch voice for you. (And TV will put his T-Armonds in F’Tron housing.) (And if you sell the Buttseseses, let me know.)

– Proteus

Couldn't agree more about Dynasonics.

6

For less bright Filter’Trons, Super’Tron, though I wouldn’t say it’s P90ish. Classic Plus is a great bridgepup choice, a bit pushier and not quite as twinkly as your usual ‘tron. Power’Trons, dunno. They’re usually represented as somewhere between the Classic and a PAF. Which doesn’t sound P90ish either.

Actually, though it be heresy, the stock Gretsch High Sensitive F’Trons are a bit rawer and looser than TV’s offerings (though he consulted in their design.) They’re not hot pickups by any means, but they’re a bit middier, warmer, and less polite than TV’s ultra-refined range. There’s a bit of raunch and P90 readiness to rumble in them.

BUT - if you’re a P90 guy and we’re talking about 50s classicbilly... why aren’t we talking about DynaSonics? Have you played them? While they have a supremely and infectiously unique character all their own, they’re often compared to P90s. Both big fat bold single-coils that don’t know how to take prisoners. Not that my experience should be instructive, but P90s became my second favorite pickups after I got a load of good DynaSonics.

Based on your self-description, I think you need to go to some effort to prove to yourself that DynaSonics aren’t the right Gretsch voice for you. (And TV will put his T-Armonds in F’Tron housing.) (And if you sell the Buttseseses, let me know.)

– Proteus

Well, this might be a great idea. I don’t know anything about the Dynasonics but I will investigate. Thanks for the recommendations I really appreciate it.

7

I recently compared my Epiphone Casino with Gibson P90s to a Gretsch Tennessee Rose with stock Gretsch HS Filtertrons at a music store. Overall to my surprise the tones were in the same ballpark, especially with the P90s in the middle position where they are hum cancelling and with the neck pickup volume down on the Casino. The P90s were more raunchy and the Filtertrons were more chimey. Both produced sounds I love.

I have a TV Jones Power'Tron installed in the bridge of my Strat and it's perfect there. It has a bit of that push in the mids that you are probably used to with P90s. If you are going for Filtertrons I would also suggest to check out the stock Gretsch HS Filtertrons or the TV Jones Power'Trons. TV Classics are great pickups but like the Ray Butts they are very clean and are faithful reproductions of vintage, low wind pickups. The bridge pickups are wound around 4.8 K or something. The Power'Tron bridge pickup is wound at 7.8 K.

You may like the Gretsch Dynasonics or the TV Jones T'Armonds. They have a P90-ish vibe in that they are fat sounding single coil pickups but they are constructed with alnico pole slugs for magnets like Fender pickups instead of the magnet underneath with screws as pickup poles. They have the same kind of spanky, slap attack as a Telecaster or a Stratocaster but follow up with more body. I have Gretsch Dynasonics in my Duo Jet. I always loved the inherent tone of them but the balance was off because Gretsch wound them the same just like they would have in the 1950s. Yeah they are faithful reproductions but not very practical for me. I was thinking of swapping them out for T'Armonds but instead I chose to have them rewound with the bridge at 9.7 K and the neck at 7.21 K by a friend of mine named Sayoko Kuwabara who is a Master Jedi pickup guru. They are as close to perfect now as I could imagine. I hear the same reaction from people who choose T'Armonds.

One of my favorite sounds of all time is hearing my Gretsch Duo Jet with Dynasonics on one side and my Epiphone Casino with Gibson P90s on the other side of a recording. They compliment each other perfectly.

8

There should be a tone control on you guitar that will take away brightness.

If that doesn't do it, I'd recommend Powertrons.

9

Another vote for DArmonds. Filtertrons are bright, chirpy chimey pickups and they tend to lack what P90's have in spades : big fat midrange.

If you like low-ish wind P90's, DeArmonds will feel a little closer to home, and they make perfect sense for 50's Rockabilly - Filtertrons came out when Rockabilly was almost over.

Brighter and more percussive than a P90, more like the bastard child of a p90 and a fat tele pickup.

10

There should be a tone control on you guitar that will take away brightness.

If that doesn't do it, I'd recommend Powertrons.

– Otter

Just the One tone switch. No tone knob. I had considered that if it had a tone knob I could probably control it better. But right now there isn’t much control.

11

I recently compared my Epiphone Casino with Gibson P90s to a Gretsch Tennessee Rose with stock Gretsch HS Filtertrons at a music store. Overall to my surprise the tones were in the same ballpark, especially with the P90s in the middle position where they are hum cancelling and with the neck pickup volume down on the Casino. The P90s were more raunchy and the Filtertrons were more chimey. Both produced sounds I love.

I have a TV Jones Power'Tron installed in the bridge of my Strat and it's perfect there. It has a bit of that push in the mids that you are probably used to with P90s. If you are going for Filtertrons I would also suggest to check out the stock Gretsch HS Filtertrons or the TV Jones Power'Trons. TV Classics are great pickups but like the Ray Butts they are very clean and are faithful reproductions of vintage, low wind pickups. The bridge pickups are wound around 4.8 K or something. The Power'Tron bridge pickup is wound at 7.8 K.

You may like the Gretsch Dynasonics or the TV Jones T'Armonds. They have a P90-ish vibe in that they are fat sounding single coil pickups but they are constructed with alnico pole slugs for magnets like Fender pickups instead of the magnet underneath with screws as pickup poles. They have the same kind of spanky, slap attack as a Telecaster or a Stratocaster but follow up with more body. I have Gretsch Dynasonics in my Duo Jet. I always loved the inherent tone of them but the balance was off because Gretsch wound them the same just like they would have in the 1950s. Yeah they are faithful reproductions but not very practical for me. I was thinking of swapping them out for T'Armonds but instead I chose to have them rewound with the bridge at 9.7 K and the neck at 7.21 K by a friend of mine named Sayoko Kuwabara who is a Master Jedi pickup guru. They are as close to perfect now as I could imagine. I hear the same reaction from people who choose T'Armonds.

One of my favorite sounds of all time is hearing my Gretsch Duo Jet with Dynasonics on one side and my Epiphone Casino with Gibson P90s on the other side of a recording. They compliment each other perfectly.

– BuddyHollywood

Thanks for the good advice. I’ve been scoping out the T armands so maybe I should give them a shot. They seem to be the top recommendation. Or powertrons.

I have a feeling that the lack of a tone knob is probably going to be the most difficult thing for me to deal with. Regardless of the pick ups. We’ll see.

13

After extended and deep contemplation, I’m going to give the TV Jones Setzers a shot. I think that’s the next logical step for Dewey. Before i abandon the FilterTrons I’m going to give them a shot. Hopefully the sensors with a different total balance will be a step in the right direction.

I guess I have to learn how to change the pick ups out myself to save a little money with the guitar tech.

14

You can replace that tone switch with a tone pot & knob. Many people have done it, and it looks kinda cool too.

Here’s another vote for Dynasonics


Register Sign in to join the conversation