Modern Gretsch Guitars

Installed the new Ray Butts Full-Fidelity Filtertron last night…

1

I ordered a bridge Ray Butts filtertron for my SSLVO. I installed it last night, and left the TV Classic in the neck (I've no reason to swap it).

I haven't spent much time with it yet, but I have some initial impressions.

1) It measures about 4.28K and balances well with the neck Classic. 2) It is brighter, I think than the TV Classic bridge that I removed, but the brightness is somehow more musical to my ear than the top end of the Classic, which could sound a bit harsh. 3) The lack of potting doesn't seem to introduce any noise--granted, I was playing it through an 18 watt amp in my house, and not at Townshend levels.

I think I like it, but as with all things, time will tell.

2

and not at Townshend levels

This pick-up is supposed to be closer to what PT used than any current re-issue and he got some great sounds out of those. Keep us updated!

3

I was playing it through an 18 watt amp in my house, and not at Townshend levels.

Pete played his Gretsch thru a 26w Bandmaster.

4

look forward to the full volume review

5

I got a set yesterday from Tom. I installed them into my 2008 6136T-LTV. I had an original 66 FilterTron in the neck and a Setzer Sig. in the bridge. I did have another 66 FilterTron in the bridge. Observations; These are the closest in sound/tone to what was in my 58 6120 & a 60 6120 I use to own back in the70's & early 80's. I've also had two 1959 Anniversary's and a63 6122. I do own a couple of Country Clubs, both thinline's, a 62 & a 64. But.. these pickup actually sound better than CC's and pretty much like the original 6120's and the Anni.'s as all of those had PAF FilterTron's. These pickups have clarity, warmth, fullness as well as wonderful note detail and the string to string separation is better than most pickups I've owned & played thru! Most of the pickups in my guitars are vintage or as close as one can get. I played it thru my shop amp which is a 2007 Vox AC-15HW 50th Anni. that has all original type Wima Tropyfol caps and Mercury Magnetics transformers and NOS valves. You can't make that amp sound bad period! I like the fact that the notes don't smear even on a fast run. Very Articulate!! These are probably the best sounding FilterTron's since the first 4-5 years that Gretsch made them in Brooklyn. The longer polepieces help with the separation and note detail. Makes me wonder why Gretsch ever changed them..I know from 1958-1961 they weren't messed with, but some changes were done I'm guess for costs. When you buy screws in the thousands I'm guessing the short ones cost slightly less than the long version and that adds up.. But, Best FilterTron that's been made in the last 56 years that duplicates the original. I can hardly wait to hear what they sound like after they get broken-in.! I personally feel that TV makes the absolute best Gretsch pickups period. they're all great, but the Ful-Fidelity's are the ones. Made my 9 year old White Falcon sound like a vintage Falcon!

6

You said ya had the setzer sigs in before how do they compare to the Butts ?

8

Don, I defer to your experience in this case. My only long term experience with vintage Filters was with a '67 6120 that I owned for a while, and not pre-'61 pickups. Nice review, and I especially agree with your comments about note clarity.

BTW, gentlemen, my comment about Pete Townshend was made off the cuff in regards to legendary WHO volume levels; not the actual recordings--no need to get excited. I did get a chance to play these with the amp working a little harder, and I encountered no feedback (as long as I kept my body between guitar and speaker). Didn't even hear a squeal when facing the monitor. It should be noted that I play in bars, legions and rec halls, and not big stages, so I am usually struggling to keep my levels down, and not turn them up.

9

Thanks Toneman, I'm definitely going to pick up a set, from all of the reviews and sound clips I've seen , they appear to be the real deal, sure as heck beats trying to buy an original set these days, I know that for sure. And if Tom used the original specs in the construction, (which I believe he did), they'll just get better in time. Thanks ...and KUDOS to TVJones....again

10

Thank you for the review, mine arrived yesterday, can't wait to drop these pups in! Link

11

You said ya had the setzer sigs in before how do they compare to the Butts ?

– SLICKFASTER

The Setzer sig.'s are a bit more agressive in some aspects. But the Setzer's are a great sounding set in their own right. The Ray Butts just have that tone/sound that I know from having owned early 6120's and Anni.'s. They're clearer, warmer and just sort of tickle my soul...lol! Ray's family gave Tom all of Ray's old notebooks, parts, everything to do with his pickups and they've become close friends and believe in what Tom's doing! Pretty cool I think!

12

Wish I could hear these in person...obviously the amp/ settings have something to do with the sound...what I hear on the vids, and they are only videos, is that they are articulate and very bright to my ears...warm? I don't hear that at all , in fact, the opposite...they are very early Filtertron sounding..almost like Dynas to an extent....very trebly in a good way...again I'm only listening to clips and you have them...I'm missing that whole in person feel I think..they sound good but not enough to dump my TV Classics

13

It would be interesting to hear a pair of these, not just the bridge version, new Butts/TV's in person so I could A/B them with the pair of original built-by-Ray-personally pups I have in my Super Chet. Back in the '80's/'90's Ray made pairs of pups - matched sets as it were with the neck pup a Filter, based on but not visually identical to [avoid copyright infringement] his original design. The bridge pup is a single coil however. And these have the highest rating I've heard of at 14 & 14.5K, makin' their rating quite 'hot'.

You may think this would make them overly bright but they're not. They produce excellent clarity and richness. The single coil doesn't produce the darker tones of the humbucker but you sure can find a tremendous range of tone balancing with these two. For the 'Chet tone' I like, I have the neck pup up full and the bridge rolled back a tad. Use just the neck pup alone and you have a great setup for jazz.

Edit: sorry, did it again....mixed to two pups. Duh! I just corrected it to read neck pup for jazz.

14

I wish I could hear your original set in person Dave...... I don't think I've ever heard an original Butts set

15

I wish I could hear your original set in person Dave...... I don't think I've ever heard an original Butts set

– 949Norm

Hey Norm, I'm playing [mostly] through my Gretsch Executive and get a great tone. With the 15" Eminence speaker and i's very effective mid control for fine tuning, I get a very 'Gretsch' sound. Not dead perfect compared with a pair of original F'trons but mighty close.

In the SC, they make a great combination with the new [standard Gretsch] controls I had installed at the same time, when I gutted the pickguard's wheeled controls. They're a tad bigger than the Filters I took out but look great as this is a 17" wide guitar. They give a big sound to a big guitar.

16

I'm in awe of you guys.

I have no experience with TVJ s or original filters.

Way back in 1965 I played a 64 Jazz Bass, other band members played '62 Strats one of them still has his today.

I could not pick up any more modern instrument and honestly tell you whether they sound the same, brighter, clearer or darker than those instruments back in the day.

Whether the '62 strat sounds the same as it did in '64 none of us could say.

So to you guys with amazing tonal recall - I take my hat off to you.

18

The Setzer sig.'s are a bit more agressive in some aspects. But the Setzer's are a great sounding set in their own right. The Ray Butts just have that tone/sound that I know from having owned early 6120's and Anni.'s. They're clearer, warmer and just sort of tickle my soul...lol! Ray's family gave Tom all of Ray's old notebooks, parts, everything to do with his pickups and they've become close friends and believe in what Tom's doing! Pretty cool I think!

– Don Butler aka: Toneman

You did say when you got the Setzer Sigs they were the most authentic sounding pickups in production to your originals.. so now the Butts are more authentic? please eelabor-rate

19

Don, I defer to your experience in this case. My only long term experience with vintage Filters was with a '67 6120 that I owned for a while, and not pre-'61 pickups. Nice review, and I especially agree with your comments about note clarity.

BTW, gentlemen, my comment about Pete Townshend was made off the cuff in regards to legendary WHO volume levels; not the actual recordings--no need to get excited. I did get a chance to play these with the amp working a little harder, and I encountered no feedback (as long as I kept my body between guitar and speaker). Didn't even hear a squeal when facing the monitor. It should be noted that I play in bars, legions and rec halls, and not big stages, so I am usually struggling to keep my levels down, and not turn them up.

– reverb11

So glad to know that you dont play 4" plinky planker amps at 1watt late at night, but rather REALLY use a tube amp w these. I have some sets comin in, will put the butts in my SSU.

ps. Pete used a Blonde bassman..forget that bandmaster nonsense..only a bassman w filters crunches like Pete :)

22

Quadrophenia is almost entirely the 59 6120 through a bandmaster. That's what generated those slashing crunchy chords that give Can You Sea the Real Me its devastatingly enraged kick.

23

the 3X10 bandmaster thing is well documented, mentioned in plenty of interviews, etc....

24

A couple years back my wife bought me this whole "Amazing Journey" WHO DVD set, produced by The WHO, etc.

It was a Public TV promo when we were in NYC, they played through the entire thing over a couple nights, I even think Curbishely did the Telethon. NYC has been good to The WHO.

I also had a suspicion that there must have been a warehouse full after the initial marketing campaign, and how better to sell them all out and take the cash than to help Public TV!

Included in that is Pete talking through the 6120 rig, and just how F&$king LOUD AS HELL it was!!!

Pete's memory may not be what it once was, but mine is...


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