Modern Gretsch Guitars

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

76

the biggest improvement on bringing string separation and clarity to the low wound E-A-D would be the Setzer Sigs.. vastly improved in my opinion at least from the perspective of the tonepost 6120 body. --Tavo

Completely agree man and this was my assessment when we talked earlier.The Setz Sigs I just put in mine put it in another realm...the neck pup is the shitz.However I'd love to hear these Butts in my post body also...maybe soon but it'll be tough to pry the Setzers out. :)

77

the biggest improvement on bringing string separation and clarity to the low wound E-A-D would be the Setzer Sigs.. vastly improved in my opinion at least from the perspective of the tonepost 6120 body. I just installed the Buttz into my trestled 6120SSU-BK and I like them so much better than the Setzer Sigs that were in there. Yes I've lost the rock n rock chomp of the bridge and yes the balance of neck to bridge is back to that drop in the output on the low E and A, due in part to the strings and poles not matching up. Although there is a vintage vibe fullness to the instrument, like the body mass has been up'd in the mix and there is less of klang, twang n bang.. suave city and dare I say some chime in these for rhythm playing, as well at that early 50s bonk on the low strings is featured. I think I may go Thomastik 12g nickel flats w an unwound G..on this one. right now its 11g EHX rounds, my favorite gretsch strings overall.

I love these butts man, I really do.. honeymoon aint over yet though.

– TheNocturneBrain.com™

Less klang and twang?! Darn I was hoping the new butts would bring more. I know we use strange words to describe seemingly subjective sounds but the 'klang' and 'kerrang' to me is that great gretsch sound. Is the 50’s bonk you mention a tighter low end?

Maybe Setzers are a better fit for me than the Butts. I put a Setzer bridge (which I de-waxed) in my sslvo and did feel like there was a noticeably clearer, tighter low end but I switched back to the stock Classic out of curiosity and felt like the Setz was maybe not as much of an improvement as I initially thought. If I pick the low strings really close to my Compton aluminum bridge I seem to be able to get as much tight low end as the Setzer. I guess I’ll have to swap them a few more times before I make up my mind. And I have yet to try a Setzer neck- I really love the Classic neck for it’s musical, natural compression but the low end is annoyingly woofy when digging in. Another thing I was excited about with the Butts was the PAF covers. Prior to the Butts being announced I emailed TV Jones and asked if they’d put some PAF (or even Classic) covers on a Setzer Sig pickup for me if I ordered direct and they (kindly) said they would not.

Thanks for your review Tavo! All the info and reviews you and other members share is much appreciated.

78

I'm happy with the tone of the TV Classic and Classic Pus in my 6120 LTV but I've ordered a set of the new Ray Butts pickups based mainly on Don Butler who's ears I respect.

– richard douglas

Richard; Thanks! I hope I didn't disappoint you? I still love these Ful-Fidelity Butts pickups! I've done a few gigs with them..

79

the biggest improvement on bringing string separation and clarity to the low wound E-A-D would be the Setzer Sigs.. vastly improved in my opinion at least from the perspective of the tonepost 6120 body. --Tavo

Completely agree man and this was my assessment when we talked earlier.The Setz Sigs I just put in mine put it in another realm...the neck pup is the shitz.However I'd love to hear these Butts in my post body also...maybe soon but it'll be tough to pry the Setzers out. :)

– Michael Williams

The Setzers are the greatest pickups to hit the streets for Gretsch for exactly what you quoted me on, but I think too many guys think their modern Gretsch guitars sound like original 50s gretsch guitars. Look at the specs on the new Setzers, they are refined ultimate filtertrons. These ray butts pickups are recreations of the originals, the damn pole screws dont line up with the strings on the bridge, they arent supposed to because they are LIKE THE FIRST ONES right? Am I right?

ya.. The latest modern recreations of filtertrons (Setzer Sigs or even say Duotrons), not only line up and match the string spacing at the bridge, the body of the pickup is raised for better balance. The individual bobbins within each pickup are also wound differently to give an ultimate response from the guitar. It perfection FOR YOUR MODERN GRETSCH guitar to have the best possible sound after yrs of refining an already great product. Got that Great Gretsch sound though? OF COURSE!

..but if you want the vintage vintage absolutely dedicated recreation of the first ones Ray made, these Butts hit their mark. Makes me want to yank off the sperzel locking tuners on my SSU and put some old waverly tuners on it, I think I'll do it.. De-modernize my 2016 G6120SSU-BK. I'm already on my way w the Ray Butts Tvjones.

80

My 2008 6136T-LTV has a 1963 Gretsch-Brooklyn wiring harness, early "V" cutout Bigsby, 50's Grover Imperials. The bridge however, is a new machined Bell Brass ABR-1 type from ABM in Germany. It sounds almost exactly the same as the brass Compton I had on it. I do have a set of early Sixties "domed" Gibson Thumbwheels so when I use the Bigsby it stays in-tune, so the Ray Butts FilterTron's are just the crowning touch in getting that early "FilterTron-era" Gretsch tone/sound! People forget that until basically the late 80's, nobody made a "bridge" version or "neck" version pickup. It was a pickup and they were pretty much all the same. I think Gibson started the wider pole spacing in the late 80's. I had a62 SG Std. I bought in 1988 that had the wider spacing. All the Gretsch stuff was the same until Tom Jones(TV) started with the wider spacing for bridge pickups

81

My 2008 6136T-LTV has a 1963 Gretsch-Brooklyn wiring harness

Seriously?

83

My 2008 6136T-LTV has a 1963 Gretsch-Brooklyn wiring harness, early "V" cutout Bigsby, 50's Grover Imperials. The bridge however, is a new machined Bell Brass ABR-1 type from ABM in Germany. It sounds almost exactly the same as the brass Compton I had on it. I do have a set of early Sixties "domed" Gibson Thumbwheels so when I use the Bigsby it stays in-tune, so the Ray Butts FilterTron's are just the crowning touch in getting that early "FilterTron-era" Gretsch tone/sound! People forget that until basically the late 80's, nobody made a "bridge" version or "neck" version pickup. It was a pickup and they were pretty much all the same. I think Gibson started the wider pole spacing in the late 80's. I had a62 SG Std. I bought in 1988 that had the wider spacing. All the Gretsch stuff was the same until Tom Jones(TV) started with the wider spacing for bridge pickups

– Don Butler aka: Toneman

I get your point, but there have been different spaced pickups out there since the 50's. Guild's Franz pickups used to have different pole spacing for neck and bridge pickups even though they later changed to same spacing for both, and Kay's "Gold Kay" pickups, now usually referred to as "Kleenex Box" or "Kessel" pickups have a narrower spaced neck pickup. They're not different resistance readings for neck and bridge btw, but the pole spacing is different.

84

My 2008 6136T-LTV has a 1963 Gretsch-Brooklyn wiring harness

Seriously?

– Otter

I think its badass! :)

85

This bit of news crossing the wires to perhaps consider. from Syncho: "When Gibson came out with their Country Gent, back in the '90s, I looked into buying one and, after playing a couple of examples, I realized that I couldn't get the sound I was looking for from it. Somewhere, in my online journeys, I recall hearing that Chet had Butts pickups, under Gibson-Bucker covers, on his Gibson Gent, although he didn't advertise the fact.

I filed that factoid under "interesting" and didn't give it much thought, until today, when I chanced to see a YouTube video of Paul Yandell playing After You've Gone. The video was shot tight and it was obvious that something about his pickups was not as the factory intended. I froze the frame and, sure 'nuff, the pickups had two rows of screws, just like a Ray Butts made the first Filtertron, way back in '54.

Don't get me wrong, there are some dandy sounding guitars with full sized humbuckers. My Tele is so equipped and it sounds great. For the Chet sound, however, I find that a mini humbucker, such as the Filtertron is a great asset. FWIW, the mini humbuckers on Guilds are virtually identical, in size, to Filtertrons and add a slightly different seasoning to the sound. Of the six arch tops in my collection, five have smaller humbuckers, while the sixth has a floating single coil.

Anyhow, while this doesn't prove conclusively that Chet had disguised Filtertrons on his Gibson, it does lead a bit of credence to the rumor. I'm pretty certain that Yandell used pickups made by Ray Butts' own hand. All Fitlertrons are, essentially, a Ray Butts pickup and Butts personally wound all Filterons in the early years."

Richard Hudson.. what do you think about all this?

– TheNocturneBrain.com™

Thanks so much for posting this video of Paul. He was a great picker in his own right. My wife worked with his niece for a while. She said he was completely devastated by Chet's passing and remained in a severe state of depression until his own death.

86

the biggest improvement on bringing string separation and clarity to the low wound E-A-D would be the Setzer Sigs.. vastly improved in my opinion at least from the perspective of the tonepost 6120 body. I just installed the Buttz into my trestled 6120SSU-BK and I like them so much better than the Setzer Sigs that were in there. Yes I've lost the rock n rock chomp of the bridge and yes the balance of neck to bridge is back to that drop in the output on the low E and A, due in part to the strings and poles not matching up. Although there is a vintage vibe fullness to the instrument, like the body mass has been up'd in the mix and there is less of klang, twang n bang.. suave city and dare I say some chime in these for rhythm playing, as well at that early 50s bonk on the low strings is featured. I think I may go Thomastik 12g nickel flats w an unwound G..on this one. right now its 11g EHX rounds, my favorite gretsch strings overall.

I love these butts man, I really do.. honeymoon aint over yet though.

– TheNocturneBrain.com™

Tavo, I had my Butts pickups installed in my pre-Fender Brian Setzer Hot Rod, I'm having a "Hum" problem which only goes away when I touch the volume knob... I'm thinking its not grounded.. Any insight would be greatly appreciated... Thank You, Eddy~

87

Is your ground wire connected right...resolder the connection and make sure it's not disconnected from the bigsby plate.

88

Tavo, I had my Butts pickups installed in my pre-Fender Brian Setzer Hot Rod, I'm having a "Hum" problem which only goes away when I touch the volume knob... I'm thinking its not grounded.. Any insight would be greatly appreciated... Thank You, Eddy~

– Eddy Forsman

when installing you may have disconnected the ground wire that runs back to the bottom of the guitar where the strap pin/tailpiece attaches.

89

Isn't the tone you guys want from those surely great Butts pkups the tone you'll always get from a vintage Singlecoil?

90

Scotty Moore also replaced the pickups in his Gibson Country Gent with Ray Butts pickups. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I think they were originally called the Country I and Country II, but I may be wrong.

It is my understanding that TV Jones has all the info on these larger humbucking size pickups from the Butts' family. I'm not unhappy with the stock pickups in my Gibson CG, but I think I would be happier if TV Jones created some of these from the original recipe and they found their way into my guitar.

– jacodiego

Sorry that I somehow missed this conversation but I'll chime in now. This is directed to answer your inquiry and Afire's question regarding Paul Yandell's using Ray's pups. I'm not aware of what Scotty Moore did to his Gibson Gent but Chet and Paul used Ray's humbucker in the neck position only and used the standard Gibson bucker assigned for the Gent for the bridge pup.

When Chet got the first Gent from Gibson he wasn't happy with the standard pups so he installed one of Ray's, the bucker, in the neck position and used that until Gibson redesigned the pups to his liking, making them a tad hotter. At that point Chet took out Ray's Pup and went with the Gibson. Both he and Paul said Ray's pups were better but Ray wanted too much for the endorsement so Gibson said no thanks. Chet stayed with the Gibson pups to be loyal but Paul had no endorsement deal with Gibson so when he had his Gent made - and it's a deeper body too, he went with Ray's for the neck.

The set I have (I have a second pair, nickel or chrome plated that I haven't used yet) has a humbucker for the neck but a single coil for the bridge.

Now as to size, Ray's are only slightly bigger. Nicole had to increase the metal surrounds shorter dimension on my Super Chet to get them to clear. The standard Gretsch F'tron is 2.85" (72.5 mm) x 1.36" (34.6 mm). Both Butts' widths are slightly narrower at 2.74" (69.7 mm) but slightly deeper at 1.5" (38.2mm). Both these pups of Ray's are very hot at just over 14 ohms but they have a full range of tone from dark for jazz to very bright - Chet playing Hidden Charm - and everything in between.

Ray made these pups in the early '90's and they are what he termed improved over the originals he developed for and with Chet in the '50's. The originals were in the 4+ ohm range which suited Chet at the time and became the Filtertron.

No, unfortunately I don't have any sound samples of the SC but I do get pretty much the same sound as Paul has in the After You've Gone video except my tone has a bit more acoustic flavor to it. I have a Gibson Gent as well and these guitars are a center block design whereas the SC is trestle braced which probably accounts for the difference. My SC has an acoustic tone unplugged but the Gibson Gent not really....pretty much dead. Here's Chet playing a performance of East Tennessee Christmas where he's using Ray's pup. This is the same one I have and you can see it at the 12 sec mark.

Again, I'm sorry I didn't see this part of the thread sooner. Hope this info help.

91

Isn't the tone you guys want from those surely great Butts pkups the tone you'll always get from a vintage Singlecoil?

– Stefan

for starters we who play filtertrons in our GRETSCH guitars dont want single coils in our GRETSCH guitars, as Chet Atkins hated the Dynasonics, preferring Filtertrons.These have a fantastic Chet sound in them, unfortunately no talent booster though.

92

I think my Setzer sigs are the best I can get from F'trons. I was surprised how different they sound compared to Classics. Unfortunately I can't try the Butts here in germany, but I guess the Setzers and my Hot Rod are darn close to the tone I was searching for.

93

Very interesting thread....

I'm hoping to build a Chet machine one day... a Country Gent with Ray Butts TV's :)

94

Sounds like an interesting project. I have a suggestion though, why not build a Super Chet.....Gents are everywhere! You could get measurements from mine.

95

I think my Setzer sigs are the best I can get from F'trons. I was surprised how different they sound compared to Classics. Unfortunately I can't try the Butts here in germany, but I guess the Setzers and my Hot Rod are darn close to the tone I was searching for.

– Stefan

You cant go wrong w those setzers AT ALL! let me know if you want to get some ray butts sent to you, I can help.

96

The set I have (I have a second pair, nickel or chrome plated that I haven't used yet) has a humbucker for the neck but a single coil for the bridge.

Windsordave, are you saying you have a Ray Butts designed single-coil pickup for bridge and a Ray Butts designed humbucker for the neck or am I misreading this?

97

Sounds like an interesting project. I have a suggestion though, why not build a Super Chet.....Gents are everywhere! You could get measurements from mine.

– Windsordave

What exactly is a Super Chet?

98

The set I have (I have a second pair, nickel or chrome plated that I haven't used yet) has a humbucker for the neck but a single coil for the bridge.

Windsordave, are you saying you have a Ray Butts designed single-coil pickup for bridge and a Ray Butts designed humbucker for the neck or am I misreading this?

– lx

No, you aren't misreading Lx but there is a further explanation. This set of pups Ray was making in the '80's/'90's were this combination, humbucker and single coil. He labelled them Bridge and Neck too. Now the chrome/nickel set are two humbuckers, so he was making different sets as well, apparently. Here's a pic of them.

Edit: tried loading a pic but it won't work....again.

99

This bit of news crossing the wires to perhaps consider. from Syncho: "When Gibson came out with their Country Gent, back in the '90s, I looked into buying one and, after playing a couple of examples, I realized that I couldn't get the sound I was looking for from it. Somewhere, in my online journeys, I recall hearing that Chet had Butts pickups, under Gibson-Bucker covers, on his Gibson Gent, although he didn't advertise the fact.

I filed that factoid under "interesting" and didn't give it much thought, until today, when I chanced to see a YouTube video of Paul Yandell playing After You've Gone. The video was shot tight and it was obvious that something about his pickups was not as the factory intended. I froze the frame and, sure 'nuff, the pickups had two rows of screws, just like a Ray Butts made the first Filtertron, way back in '54.

Don't get me wrong, there are some dandy sounding guitars with full sized humbuckers. My Tele is so equipped and it sounds great. For the Chet sound, however, I find that a mini humbucker, such as the Filtertron is a great asset. FWIW, the mini humbuckers on Guilds are virtually identical, in size, to Filtertrons and add a slightly different seasoning to the sound. Of the six arch tops in my collection, five have smaller humbuckers, while the sixth has a floating single coil.

Anyhow, while this doesn't prove conclusively that Chet had disguised Filtertrons on his Gibson, it does lead a bit of credence to the rumor. I'm pretty certain that Yandell used pickups made by Ray Butts' own hand. All Fitlertrons are, essentially, a Ray Butts pickup and Butts personally wound all Filterons in the early years."

Richard Hudson.. what do you think about all this?

– TheNocturneBrain.com™

"...I recall hearing that Chet had Butts pickups, under Gibson-Bucker covers, on his Gibson Gent, although he didn't advertise the fact."

According Norm's book and this also jives with what I'd heard, Chet never did this. At Chet's suggestion when he came to Gibson, Gibson began negotiating with Ray to use his pups in the soon to come out Gibson Country Gent because Chet wasn't happy with the current pups they had. Ray wanted too much for the use of his pups so that's when Gibson tweaked their pups for Chet's Gent. In the meantime, he had Ray's bucker put in in the neck position, same as shown with Paul in the above video. As we know, he was very loyal to the brands he played so hiding a pup wasn't something he would've done. When Gibson produced a pup he was satisfied with - although admitting privately it wasn't as good as Ray's latest versions or the older F'tron on his '59 Gent - he began to use them.

Chet didn't hide the use of Ray's pup as evidenced by his early Gent in the video I show in post 90.

100

What exactly is a Super Chet?

– Chris-O-Matic

I'm assuming your being facetious. And of course! my suggestion to build one of these vs a Gent would be to build it like mine, with the normal control knobs and not that weird design with the controls on the edge of the [oversize] pickguard. Mind you you'd have to use TV's Ray Butts style pups and not the handmade Butts pair I have in mine, but still you'd have a unique guitar, assuming you could match the lovely abalone fretboard & headstock inlay work and the unique to SC's & DC's, Autumn Red finish.

Pics won't load for me today.


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