Modern Gretsch Guitars

Just got a pair of HS Filtertrons.. Better, but…

1

Hi Twangers..

Just installed a pair of gold High-Sensitivity Filtertrons in my '74 Country Gent. (not a faint-hearted project, given the non-suppy of 8 x height screws, and the extreme difficulty of getting suitable gold screws at the correct pich in Europe.) It wouldn't be a deal-breaker to include screws for a few Euros more.. So many different screw pitches and threads !.

The guitar is in very good condition, and looks a million dollars better, without the old tarnished vintage Blacktop Trons.

I also installed a new gold Chet Bigsby arm and cleaned the gold paint that the Bigsby was covered in, (by the previous 'owner ' with diluted paint stripper and a piece of wood.. Then, a set of gold Wilkinson stairstep Imperial tuners.. (so much better than the old Grover kidneys.) Now I open the case, and go; WOW!.. VERY NICE !'

However, tonally, the top end is now spiky and cutting, rather than clear, compared to the old Trons...(but there's much more body now to the tone, which I wanted.)
Removing 'presence' on the amp/s closes the top end down, but changes the upper mids too much.

Might Gretsch at some point be persuaded to commission Alnico 5 or similar H/S Trons? I would imagine that the original Trons are Alnico?

ritchie bg

2

HS Filters are Alnico, I believe - but, yes, a bit strident in the highs. I would think TV Jones either has or can make pickups providing exactly the silky tone you seek.

Finding an existing or custom wind that makes you and your Gent happy: a project, but eminently feasible (especially for one who seeks and finds exactly the right small screws).

Convincing Gretsch/FMIC/Terada/Tokiwa (last I knew, their pickup subcontractor) to make exactly the FilterTron you want: well, probably not.

3

Thanks Proteus .. I would not seek to get HS Trons made for me specifically, of course, but I think the top end sounds like every ceramic I have (and I have a severe amount of guitars including very many with ceramics.) The casings are very well made,however, and look excellent and are wonderfully solid, not just pressed tin-plate..
I just think there might be a Gretsch market there, and I am no fan of existing TV Jones or Seymour Duncan Trons...

regards

ritchie

4

I concur with that sonic analysis, but a fairly big deal was made of it when modern Filters were returned to Alnico - after being ceramic for the first I-don’t-know-how-many years following the ~1990 resurrection of the brand.

I don’t suppose there’s any way you somehow got hold of Filters from the 90s?

Also, I can’t help being curious about what you find amiss in TV’s and SD’s offerings. Not challenging, just curious. Have you heard/tried all TV’s variants?

Also, there are more aftermarket variants of Filter‘Trons now than ever before. Guitar magazine recently published a shootout comparo of a bunch of them (executed by long-time GDP member Huw Price, known here as Shuggie). Have you seen that piece? Might provide some guidance.

5

How 'bout some photos? Love photos!

6

I concur with that sonic analysis, but a fairly big deal was made of it when modern Filters were returned to Alnico - after being ceramic for the first I-don’t-know-how-many years following the ~1990 resurrection of the brand.

I don’t suppose there’s any way you somehow got hold of Filters from the 90s?

Also, I can’t help being curious about what you find amiss in TV’s and SD’s offerings. Not challenging, just curious. Have you heard/tried all TV’s variants?

Also, there are more aftermarket variants of Filter‘Trons now than ever before. Guitar magazine recently published a shootout comparo of a bunch of them (executed by long-time GDP member Huw Price, known here as Shuggie). Have you seen that piece? Might provide some guidance.

– Proteus

Link

7

I'm a little surprised that you don't like TV Jones' pickups. I would imagine that if you don't like his Butts Filter'trons then you don't like Filter'trons in general. I find the regular TV Classics to sound just like the Filter'trons in all the old '60s 6120s i have owned.

Filter'trons have quirks. They don't sound like anything else and for me TV's Filter'trons capture all those quirks as well as could be.

The first Gretsch I ever owned was a '73 Streamliner - at least that's what I worked it out to be. There was little info around in the '80s when I had it. It was actually a beautiful guitar and very well finished in a deep cherry red. It was the '60s double-cut 6120 kinda shape, had a perfect neck (with too-small frets!) and played exceptionally well. It came with a pair of Super'trons. Like Filters but with laminated steel blade magnets instead of polepieces. So you would expect it to sound pretty rich, right? Oh it was so disappointing! Very thin and brittle sounding. I ended up selling it and got my first '64 6120 which sounded so much bigger.

8

I put H/S filters into my 90's Jet and the 90's 6120 that I don't own any more. I think they sound great.....although not a ton of clarity. I probably need to stick something else in the Jet, but it's not my primary guitar right now so it's fine with the H/S filters.

9

I think I'm not understanding something, you have a 74 Baldwin era Country gent that you are swapping modern parts into? In case you didn't know, your original blacktop filtertons are the same as 60s filtertrons albeit with gold hilotron covers. Some would say better quality and sound than the modern equivalents. I have a 72 deluxe Chet with the original 'blacktop' filtertrons and they are the same pickups as the 60s ones, I've compared them in person in and out of the guitar. I've also had someone test a set of 79 blacktops out of a Super Chet ,same readings,(4+ K ) same pickups.

So your guitar has original pickups and tuners of good quality and you're swapping them out for modern lesser quality parts because they're tarnished?. Have you ever considered just buying a reissue Gretsch if what you are looking for is a guitar that looks brand new? Or get someone to re-plate your original covers and tuners? I had some of the very Wilkinsons tuners you're referring to, they're good but I don't think as good quality as Grovers.. No offence meant but it sounds like you're downgrading your guitar quaility-wise to make it look new? Are you sure you want a vintage instrument? Part of the beauty of them is how they look like they've been played and enjoyed. They are full of their own history and wear it proudly. Just my two bits. Apologies if you've had this particular discussion already. (edit) I will also happily modify an older guitar to make it more enjoyable, but for me it's usually more about function...unless it involves one of those bendy Chet arms.


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