Modern Gretsch Guitars

New Off-Kiltertrons

1

Enjoying Sunday morning playing thru my new pickups. Mel Waldorf made a set of his Off-Kiltertrons for my Double Jet and I'm loving em. Freaking genius. How lucky can one guy get?

2

If unfamiliar, there is a rotary knob that selects between six combinations of single coil and humbucking pickups, all with no loss of volume or output in any position.

3

Ahh never knew Mr. Waldorf had pickups going on. Plus, he's a Thomas Vox person, so has it covered on the both guitar and amp ends.

4

Where's the switching?

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The knob closest the Bigsby. Now the guitar has one master tone and one master volume.

6

Wouldn't that be two master volume controls?

7

Looks like six rod magnets, and a blade, which I'm guessing is magnet-loaded.

8

The extra volume control was rewired for attitude.

10

Here's a photo of Ethan and I after we finished loading the Off Kiltertrons into his guitar. You can we used a chicken head knob for the rotary temporarily. Usually I use the stock knob and replace the set screw with a partial thread socket head cap screw which doubles as a position indicator.

Kap'n, I use six rods and a custom bar magnet. Makes for a really punchy pickup.

I need to do a proper video demo of the pickups; have to wait until I'm far enough along after this stupid concussion I got to play guitar half decently. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

DCBirdman, you'll be pleased to know that once we got the pickups were loaded, we plugged Ethan's guitar into my V1032 Cambridge Reverb. We've also been discussing a project to revitalize the carcass of a V1241 Kengsington with a Cave Valley soul. Bwhwahahahaha!

11

Bryan, the toggles on the pickguard are cumbersome, but have the benefit of having independent pickup selection and require no modification to the guitar. I've since replaced that with a 4P6T rotary which I find much easier to use but does require reaming the mounting hole to 3/8" and sets both pickups to the same configuration.

Here's how I've got it on my 5420, with the socket cap screw lever/indicator.

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Powdog: are you getting "classic" Filter'Tron tones -- "That Great Gretsch Sound" -- from these pickups? Assuming so, what other tones are you getting?

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I think Mel's descriptives are pretty hard to beat.

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A loose translation of sonic territory covered:

Jangle - HiLo/Rickenbacker Twangle - Tele Wrangle - Dynasonic Tangle - Filtertron Mangle - Gibson HB CRUSH: RRRRAAAAWWWERRRR!!!!

Ric12 - my "new look" is my inability to shave due to still limited control of my left/razor hand. I miss my sideburns.

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The Telecaster and Ric tones are very convincing. Today I was really having fun with the Gibson HB position. Really thick and meaty while still very quiet.

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I saw the coolest chicken-head knob on a Gibson bass. It was clear with gold underneath. Hmmm....

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It's a cool idea but the video demo above, has to be one of the most boring demos I've seen / heard.

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Ha! Hipbone, that video is far from my finest work. It's not that interesting to hear the same passage over and over again, but I thought it would show the range of pickup tones most clearly. More pedantic than informative, I readily admit.

20

It's a cool idea but the video demo above, has to be one of the most boring demos I've seen / heard.

– Hipbone

Ouch, Hipbone. That is a tad harsh. Mel is one of the sweetest (in a masculine sort of way, Mel!) guys you will meet in this entire world.

What I found with the video is that, to hear any differences in the tones, I am probably going to have to put on some headphones. Through my iPad, it was just too compressed and too tiny a speaker.

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Ha! Hipbone, that video is far from my finest work. It's not that interesting to hear the same passage over and over again, but I thought it would show the range of pickup tones most clearly. More pedantic than informative, I readily admit.

– Mel Waldorf

It's a great idea! Just not a riveting way to demo pickups. I'd love to hear these within the context of how each configuration would be used / sound best. Perhaps in the context of a song or maybe a full band.
I get why you would want to play the same passage while selecting different options, but it doesn't come across on video. They all sound about the same in this demo. I believe they are not the same, but those differences need to be brought out to let each of them shine.

23

Sport of like a Gretsch /PRS with the switching.. I had a few PRS's in 1990 and the 5-way switch drove me nuts. Not really practical in a live situation and the Bigsby makes it even tougher to work. Probably some cool sounds but knowing which position you are in can really blow. I just converted mine to a 3-way Gibson type. Then sold all 4 of the ones I've had..

BTW, having worked on Vox amps for decades, the Thomas Organ Solid State ones are such a pain in the arse to work on. I got to a point where I'll only work on the Valve ones.

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I've been using Alameda pickups so long, I remember when their rotary switches only had 5 poisitions. But they're 5 really good ones. This project will have a 6-position switch, though, along with some other goodies that will be shown as it progresses.

StewMac has the 4-pole, 6-position rotary switches at: http://www.stewmac.com/Pick...

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Toneman, there's no question, my pickups aren't for everyone. That's why they're "Off Kilter"! I designed them to suit my needs and interests, to cover a wide range of sonic territory and character. I play surf and 60's rock and roll, and that's very helpful to me. Plus, it just makes me happy. :)


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