Modern Gretsch Guitars

Gretsch Dynasonics or T-Armonds for authentic 50s sound?

1

I'm now playing my White Falcon with Dynasonics through a Fender Bassman or my Peavey Classic 30. A very nice jazz sound if not in overdrive. I have been reading about the differences between T-Armonds and Dynas. However, the differences don't fit: the bass on my neck Dyna is weak not booming, and all the reviews say the T-Armonds have a "tighter bass" ...........What? --I'm running the amp's bass at 6 and the treble at 3.5.

Not looking for a "Tele on steroids" sound.

Question: do the T-Armonds sound more like the 1950 original --OR-- are something unique with a Dynasonic vibe --or --designed for distortion?

I really don't want to spend the money is they don't capture the clean 50s sound I'm looking for.

2

Regarding the weak bass on your neck pickup, How are your pickup pole pieces adjusted? What gauge strings are you using? Wound G string or plain? Do you have your pole pieces properly staggered? Cause you can adjust the bass string pole pieces up super easily. THat's part of the inherent design of those pickups. Adjustable magnetic pole pieces.

I've never used T-Armonds but I have a falcon sized vintage gretsch with original vintage Dearmonds and I've compared them to the modern ones. Both had the potential for strong bass if adjusted properly. On the old ones, with nickle plated strings you have to sink the bass pole pieces into the pickup to establish an even balance.

Both sound great however the older ones are definitely a little thicker sounding than the new ones which seem to be a bit crisper and a little thinner(in a good way I think)

T Armonds are supposed to be a little darker and mid focused than the modern dynasonics so maybe closer to the old ones though there bridge pickup is wound way hotter.

If you like bright clear and clean I would stick with what you have and adjust them accordingly to achieve more bass. (simply raise the bass side pole pieces in small increments until you get the sound you want.)

Really light strings produce a lot less bottom end. In the 5os they would've had 12-52 or heavier on the dynasonic guitars

I wouldn't spend the $$

3

I'm running 12-52 DR Pure Blues (Nickle), 2 spacers and staggered poles to my ears satisfaction. I might have overstated the bass issue so that it sounded like a problem...but it's really like this: that Dynas are not a bassy pickup, so why would TVJ taming the bass be needed or better?

I like the sound I'm getting now, but TVJ is usually just a bit better on my other Gretsch guitars. I'm trying to avoid regrets if the T-Armonds sound "great, but different" than a true DeArmond sound.

4

Sounds like you have it all covered Taste is subjective and it's impossible to give advice or suggestions on.

Pure nickel strings give you a LOT less bass response as the wound strings have much less ferrous content. Though I imagine you know that already

The vintage ones I have have A LOT of potential for bass. They are very crisp but can also produce a tonne of bottom end. I like a big bass sound but my low E string pole piece is sunk about 1/8" into the pickup

You should do whatever you feel is best though 'I like the sound I'm getting now' would seem to be a telling statement.

good luck.

5

I believe Duane uses stock Dynas.

7

What was on a '50s Gretsch?

Not T-Armonds!

8

What was on a '50s Gretsch?

– wabash slim

Pre 1957 I believe it was all the original DeArmond 2000s like my Electro 2

9

'58 and earlier (he said, not to be too snarky). The last Dynasonic equipped Gretsches were the '58 Clippers. The Duncans are alleged to be closest to vintage, but there are a lot of adjustments that can be made on other versions to get you closest to vintage. If you go into the Pickups section and go into past Dynasonic postings there is a wealth of info, including excellent side-by-side comparisons. As far as "taming" the bass, Chet famously thought the Dyna's were too bass-y and was happier with Filtertrons, which to be fair, are a more balanced pickup. But they aren't Dynasonics.

10

What was on a '50s Gretsch?

– wabash slim

No. Its a 2012, 6136DS. But I bought it for an alternative single coil 50s sound. My ES-175 w/P-90 has a feedback problem at stage volume. ---The Falcon doesn't!

11

'58 and earlier (he said, not to be too snarky). The last Dynasonic equipped Gretsches were the '58 Clippers. The Duncans are alleged to be closest to vintage, but there are a lot of adjustments that can be made on other versions to get you closest to vintage. If you go into the Pickups section and go into past Dynasonic postings there is a wealth of info, including excellent side-by-side comparisons. As far as "taming" the bass, Chet famously thought the Dyna's were too bass-y and was happier with Filtertrons, which to be fair, are a more balanced pickup. But they aren't Dynasonics.

– lx

Good catch! I was guessing. I really don't have the knowledge of the Gretsch minutiae many here have. 58 was the transition year right? I had a filtertron equipped 58 club briefly.

12

My take: full-depth guitars are fine with the stock DeArmonds, which are made in Japan by Tokiwa for Gretsch/Terada. They tend to be wound to lower values than at least some vintage Dynasonics, which (to be fair) could vary in output, but were often considerably "hotter."

In a guitar with more enclosed airspace, I guess the top gets moving more and you get more out of the "weaker" stock pickups. (Which of course can be adjusted for height, and their polepieces run up and down, etc, to change these equations.)

I believe Duane does use the current stock Tokiwa Dynas. I've also left those alone in all my full hollowbodies, because I don't hear or feel anything missing, or deficient. I don't know if they sound like 50s guitars, but they sound great.

The stock Dynas in a Jet - a chambered solidbody with less enclosed resonant space - however, seemed "weak" to me. They sounded good, with a very distinctive tone, and it's not that they sounded quite thin, but I found myself constantly overplaying the guitar, trying somehow to get more out of it, to push it harder.

I replaced those with Seymour Duncan Dynas (around 11-13k output), and the guitar turned into the last electric I'd ever part with. Juicy and dripping with effortless response. Everything it had hinted it could be, it became.

T-Armonds weren't available yet when I did this; when they were, I put a pair in a thin hollowbody - and since their output is roughly comparable to the Seymours (either builder will wind the pickups to any spec you want), it also sounds magnificent.

For what it's worth, sometimes-GDPeer Scott Rust and I did a side-by-side demo of the Seymours vs the T-Armonds in completely identical Jets, playing both guitars through both amps. There are three parts to the whole thing, the first of which is on ütube, RIGHT HERE.

My personal rule of thumb, based on my experience: at 2.5" deep or more, a hollowbody is fine with the stock Tokiwas. The thinner and solider it gets, the more the guitar benefits from Seymours or T-Armonds. I'm afraid if I put upgrade pickups in any of my full-deep Dyna guitars, they'd sound so good I wouldn't be able to stand it.

13

Good catch! I was guessing. I really don't have the knowledge of the Gretsch minutiae many here have. 58 was the transition year right? I had a filtertron equipped 58 club briefly.

– Toxophilite

'58 was a transition year for sure. My '58 Dyna Clipper has a rounded-cut Filtertron guard and my '58 Filtertron Streamliner has a low-mounted square-cut Dyna guard.

14

'58 was a transition year for sure. My '58 Dyna Clipper has a rounded-cut Filtertron guard and my '58 Filtertron Streamliner has a low-mounted square-cut Dyna guard.

– lx

Yes my 58 club had the dynasonic square cut pickguard too

15

What Proteus said.

FWIW, a Gretsch owning Australian player was so amazed by the low end “growl” of the stock DeArmonds in a friend’s ‘53 Electro II that he played it for nearly an hour at a sound check and borrowed it for a few numbers in the gig.

Perhaps the 6193 just happens to have a pair of extra hot pickups and my (Fender era) DSW rather weak ones but it’s chalk and cheese. There is no way we can make the newer guitar sound like the older one but the vintage one can be made to sound similar to the new.

One other thing: the 6193 is very clear. There is almost an acoustic guitar sound to the mid an upper register which the DSW doesn’t have at all.

I guess that without swapping the pickups we will never know the impact of other variables: old v new wood, deep v less deep body, Melita bridge etc. etc.

First off, play with the pole pieces: you might easily find the balance you’re looking for.

16

T-Armonds are a well made, clever update of the 50's DeArmonds. They're slightly less agressive and intense sounding (the old ones are not always as easy to keep clean and can get crazy bright into a brighter amp), they're more resistant to microphonic squeal, and they have much better neck - to - bridge volume balance, which is super handy if/when you switch between pickups a lot. The magnets are shorter too, so you get less string pull than on an old DeArmond, which is a good thing.

The stock (new, current) Gretsch Dynasonics can be hard to balance between neck and bridge position, and are a little underwound - great for a neck pickup, not so much for a bridge pickup. Also, the bobbins are not glued into the pickup rings all that well, they have the annoying tendency to come apart.

17

"T Armonds are supposed to be a little darker and mid focused than the modern dynasonics "

I hear the opposite in the videos where Proteus compares the SD Dyna and the TVJ T-A...

I hear more mids and less hi-fi in the SDs.

Unfortunately, due to a TERRIBLE experience with the SD custom shop, I will never deal with them again (the CS, I will still buy SD off-the-rack)

18

my 2005 duo jet with stock dynasonics sound great. I can't think of a reason to swap them out. Captures tele sounds plus a lot more. But easy enough to swap back out if you want to try something different.

19

T-armonds are at one w the gretsch-universe. I abide

20

"T Armonds are supposed to be a little darker and mid focused than the modern dynasonics "

I hear the opposite in the videos where Proteus compares the SD Dyna and the TVJ T-A...

I hear more mids and less hi-fi in the SDs.

Unfortunately, due to a TERRIBLE experience with the SD custom shop, I will never deal with them again (the CS, I will still buy SD off-the-rack)

– ruger9

I was repeating what I'd read comparing T-Armonds to the modern Gretsch Dynasonics. Not to Seymour Duncans iteration.

Basically these are all modern 'dynasonics' really But I meant the stock ones that gretsch mostly supplies

21

T-armonds have something about them that sounds and responds like the old DeArmonds. Dynas.. nah. I've even drank the koolaid on custom shop seymour dynas.. smooth, refined.. but tepid.

22

I have a set of Seymour Duncan custom Dynas on my 6120 DSV and use 10-49 Nickel wound, play through a Deluxe Reverb, the front pick up bass response is a wow and rear pick up has a great high range without harshness and full, middle position just great for anything. Pole pieces as set by Seymour and height to TV spec.

23

Man, this just re-ignited my GAS to get a set of T-A's for my Cabronita Thinline.... I love the T-90s in there, but ....

24

Man, this just re-ignited my GAS to get a set of T-A's for my Cabronita Thinline.... I love the T-90s in there, but ....

– ruger9

I have a projet that I put the TA's in, then picked up another to drop the t90's in. I sold the guitar with the T90 pups. Do it! You'll love the TA pup!

25

To the op, I can't give you a comparison, do to the fact that the '05 projet pups just sucked. I can tell you that I do not regret the purchase of the T'armonds, and get some really nice tones out of the neck(clean or dirty). So all I can offer is that the TVJ pups sound good....


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