Modern Gretsch Guitars

Modern Gretsch Streamliners = Fender

1

I just realized after watching a couple of videos that the Broadtron pickups don't sound like Gretsch or Gibson pickups. They sound like Fender humbuckers!

Do you think that FMIC is being stealthy by calling these guitars Gretsch instead of Fender?

2

The Broad'tron pickups were designed specifically by Gretsch for the Streamliner models. They didn't adapt existing pickups or borrow from anything else which existed. They were designed and developed from the ground up.

3

I don't have a clue what you're talking about. is there such a thing as a typical "fender humbucker sound"?

4

If the "Fender Humbuckers" you're referring to are the in-house 'buckers that FMIC was putting in Guild Electrics once they stopped using Duncans that definitly ain't the case. The 'buckers in the Streamliners are far superior in tone than those awful generic sounding Fender 'buckers that were the achilles heal of those beautifully made Fender USA Guilds.

5

If the "Fender Humbuckers" you're referring to are the in-house 'buckers that FMIC was putting in Guild Electrics once they stopped using Duncans that definitly ain't the case. The 'buckers in the Streamliners are far superior in tone than those awful generic sounding Fender 'buckers that were the achilles heal of those beautifully made Fender USA Guilds.

– Gretschadelphia

I'm confused. Which Guild USA humbuckers are you talking of? When did Fender actually take over? Haven't many later U.S. Guilds been Duncan equipped?

6

This is from my post in the 2016 NAMM Show coverage here on the Gretsch Pages. I interviewed the man who developed these pickups, so I know that they were not adapted from something else.

Streamliners feature Broad’Tron AlNiCo V pickups. These are not the Gretschbucker pickups of years gone by; rather, they represent an entirely new pickup which was designed by Chris Fleming, formerly of the Gretsch Custom Shop. I spoke at some length with Chris and it was clear from the beginning that the instruction given to him was to create a pickup with a new voice, yet one which retained the clarity, articulartion, openness and jangle that Gretsch guitars are known for. They possess a broad dynamic range; hence, the name “Broad’Tron”. Chris states that, if one imagines a tonal spectrum with PAF humbuckers on one end and Filter’tron humbuckers on the other end, the Broad’Tron would be about in the middle. They are designed to easily take pedals and increased levels of gain.

The Broad’Trons were not something which was hurriedly slammed out; rather, they represent a lengthy process in which three or more R&D iterations were produced and extensively tested and evaluated before a final design decision was reached. Chris Fleming seemed to be quite pleased with the final result, which tells me something because Chris struck me as a real guitar “geek” in the finest sense that that term connotes. He loves guitars and all of the details and nuances about them. For Chris to have reached a result with which he was satisfied is meaningful to me.

7

Specifically the Broadtrons remind me of the Shawbucker that comes in the HSS American Strats at least from the video clips. I have a Fender Blacktop humbucker in a Jazzmaster I built and it also has a similar sonic quality. Fender humbuckers in general from my experience are a bit snappier and have more sizzle than Gibson PAFs which I feel is a good thing. I like most Fender pickups.

Your post mentions that Chris used to work for the Gretsch Custom Shop. Where does he work now?

8

Specifically the Broadtrons remind me of the Shawbucker that comes in the HSS American Strats at least from the video clips. I have a Fender Blacktop humbucker in a Jazzmaster I built and it also has a similar sonic quality. Fender humbuckers in general from my experience are a bit snappier and have more sizzle than Gibson PAFs which I feel is a good thing. I like most Fender pickups.

Your post mentions that Chris used to work for the Gretsch Custom Shop. Where does he work now?

– BuddyHollywood

He continues (at least at that time, he did) to work for FMIC. I am not sure in exactly what capacity, but probably in R&D.

EDIT: It is interesting to me that I just found a post on another guitar forum in which the poster was stating that he had seen on Chris Fleming's FB page that he was leaving Fender. That post, however, was from May 2015; yet, I saw him at the NAMM Show in January 2016 and he was still working for FMIC at that time. So, I am not really sure what trajectory his career has taken.

9

Listen to the dirt at 4:10 in this video. The player even says on the video during this part, "basically playing the least Gretsch-sounding ways I can think of".

These pickups and guitars are versatile.

10

Putting a Telecaster pickup into a 6120 will not turn a 6120 into a Tele! A humbucker will sound snappier and clearer in a Fender because a Fender sounds snappier and clearer than a Gibson.

I recently built a Tele with Filter'trons. Does it sound like a Duo Jet? No, it still sounds like a Tele, but a little fatter. The tone is in the guitar, and pickups can only reproduce that tone. Different pickup designs will modify or filter that tone in different ways, but the pickup itself does not generate tone. It just interprets it.

11

Putting a Telecaster pickup into a 6120 will not turn a 6120 into a Tele! A humbucker will sound snappier and clearer in a Fender because a Fender sounds snappier and clearer than a Gibson.

I recently built a Tele with Filter'trons. Does it sound like a Duo Jet? No, it still sounds like a Tele, but a little fatter. The tone is in the guitar, and pickups can only reproduce that tone. Different pickup designs will modify or filter that tone in different ways, but the pickup itself does not generate tone. It just interprets it.

– JimmyR

Very true.

However, these are humbuckers in a hollow body or hollow body guitars with a center block. I've heard Gibson pickups in Gibson and Epiphone hollow bodies and these Broadtron pickups do not sound like Gibson or even Gretsch Filtertron pickups. They have more of a Fender tone to my ears. If you were to put a Fender Shawbucker in a Streamliner I'm thinking they would be very similar sounding. If you put a Gibson PAF in a Streamliner it would not sound like a Broadtron pickup.

12

I'm confused. Which Guild USA humbuckers are you talking of? When did Fender actually take over? Haven't many later U.S. Guilds been Duncan equipped?

– sascha

OK, I'm no expert on Guild history (check out Hans Moust's book for that) but I'll take a stab at a snapshot of the humbucking pu history. Prior to Fender buying Guild in 1995, Guild used fullsized humbuckers called HB1's that were built in-house. They look different and are a different size (a bit larger) than Gibson fullsize 'buckers. The Guild produced HB1's are generally considered great sounding pu's that have more chime and definition than typical Gibson type 'buckers. After Fender took over in 1995, Fender contracted with Seymour Duncan to produce pu's for Guild electrics. The Duncan made fullsized humbuckers were known as SD-1's and the covers resemble the original Guild HB-1's but the size of the pu is different. The Duncan made SD-1's while not sounding exactly like the original Guild HB-1's were still considered very good sounding pu's. Around the late 90's /2000 Fender decided to produce their own fullsize humbuckers for Guild electrics. Once again these pu's resembled the HB-1's and SD-1's cosmetically but also had different dimensions than the others. The knock on the Fender produced 'buckers used in these Guild electrics is that they sound very dull and generic and while they were manufactured in the USA they sound more like generic Asian import pu's . If you want the entire story with more details, pictures and accuracy check this out www.gad.net/Blog/2011/11/25...

13

Thanks, Gretschadelphia. Not that this massive info helped curing my confusion, though. :)

I once came across a blonde '90s U.S. made Starfire with Dogears and from time to time I still think of this excellent guitar. I should've bought it.

14

Basically I have a feeling these Streamliners with the Broadtron pickups were an FMIC idea pitched to Gretsch rather than a Gretsch idea pitched to FMIC. I have a feeling FMIC realizes that the Gretsch brand is known for hollow and now semi hollow guitars and that these guitars would be better received by guitar players as Gretsch guitars rather than Fender guitars. I'm just speculating of course and just to clarify I'm supportive of it all. The lines are bound to get blurred with the long and fruitful relationship FMIC has had with Gretsch.

15

You are partially correct and partially incorrect. The idea originated with the Gretsch team at FMIC. But, you are correct that the design was intended to address beginning guitarists who would otherwise buy a cheap slab guitar as their entry-level instrument. This now gives them a real Gretsch guitar in their price range.

16

One thing is for sure, the Streamliners I have played in shops are really amazing playing and sounding guitars for the $$$.

17

I have the golden one and the one in SB, too. After changing the pickups to T-Armond and installing a B6 on the SB one, it's my main guitar for band rehearsal and delivers the typical Gretsch sound.The playability of these guitars are unbelieveable!!!!

19

Big thumbs up , VoodooHolly . That looks perfect!

20

Thank you eC. These guitars are just wonderful and these of mine are definely keepers. Wonderful acoustic that's really balanced.I always wondering, what's the secret with Gretsch, that others don't find.

21

The Broadtrons are more 'Gibson PAF like' output about 8.3ohms about double the standard Filtertron at around 4 ish.

I had a Streamliner for a while it was good value for money it was a 2420T, traded it to get a Hot rod 6120

22

SB

– Voodooholly

Wow, Voodooholly your streamliner is AWESOME...definitely how I'd like to mod mine. Can you tell me how you got the Dyansonics in the humbucker routes? Any close ups?

23

OK, I'm no expert on Guild history (check out Hans Moust's book for that) but I'll take a stab at a snapshot of the humbucking pu history. Prior to Fender buying Guild in 1995, Guild used fullsized humbuckers called HB1's that were built in-house. They look different and are a different size (a bit larger) than Gibson fullsize 'buckers. The Guild produced HB1's are generally considered great sounding pu's that have more chime and definition than typical Gibson type 'buckers. After Fender took over in 1995, Fender contracted with Seymour Duncan to produce pu's for Guild electrics. The Duncan made fullsized humbuckers were known as SD-1's and the covers resemble the original Guild HB-1's but the size of the pu is different. The Duncan made SD-1's while not sounding exactly like the original Guild HB-1's were still considered very good sounding pu's. Around the late 90's /2000 Fender decided to produce their own fullsize humbuckers for Guild electrics. Once again these pu's resembled the HB-1's and SD-1's cosmetically but also had different dimensions than the others. The knock on the Fender produced 'buckers used in these Guild electrics is that they sound very dull and generic and while they were manufactured in the USA they sound more like generic Asian import pu's . If you want the entire story with more details, pictures and accuracy check this out www.gad.net/Blog/2011/11/25...

– Gretschadelphia

The part missing from that history is at some point (late 70s) Guild went from the "slightly smaller than Gibson sized" HB1 to a pickup that was full-Gibson sized and offered Dimarzios - mostly PAFs and Super Distortions as an option. I think this happened with the introduction of the S-300 "Bell Bottom" guitars.

c. 1985 or so, with the purchase of Guild by a group of folks including George Gruhn, Guild experimented with a number of different pickups from Dimarzio, EMG, and a handful of Semour Duncans prior to Kramer getting an exclusive on them. After that, they used some horrible epoxy potted Kent Armstrongs.

24

Wow, Voodooholly your streamliner is AWESOME...definitely how I'd like to mod mine. Can you tell me how you got the Dyansonics in the humbucker routes? Any close ups?

– PanhandleRagged68

I've made some foam spacers out of mousepad material.It's routed like the original plastic frames.


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