1 Proteus 1 week ago The Strat, debuting in 1954, wasn't the first 3-pickup electric guitar; Gibson had got there first with the hollow-body ES-5 jazzer in 1949. But, arguably, the Strat (and its zillions of descendants and copycats) is more sonically successful.Like our buddy Cameron, I've had a life-long fascination with the triple configuration. My admiration for it, though, may be more conflicted than his: I don't think it works equally well on all body types, with all pickups, and I've heard (and seen) many triple-pup experiments which...weren't for me.My own observations are that the fatter the body (or the more air it contains) and the fatter the pickups, the less distinctive - and even useful - are the pickup positions featuring the middle pickup. I theorize that either the thin body (usually a slab) or the narrow-bobbin pickups are responsible for this.But in any case, my experience has been that the bigger-bodied, bigger-pickupped triple-pup brethren tend to get woofier and muddier in the neck-middle and middle-bridge positions than the Strattier designs. The distinctive "out-of-phase" quack is still there, but it's neither as evident nor as fascinating - at least to my ear.(I'm not impugning the ES-5 and its derivatives - that middle pickup certainly brings more guitorchestration possibilities - and I enjoy bigger triples. But they don't seem as perfectly realized as the Strat formula.)I do have representatives from most branches of the triple-pup family in my stable, from a nice Korean ES-5 sort to numerous Strat and 2-1-2 configs (with bodies varying from solid to centerblock to hollow) to f-hole centerblock 335-sorts. So when I got a 6119-HT Tennessee Rose in 2006, and gradually got acquainted with it, it didn't take long to observe that the HiLoTrons are the Strattiest of Gretsch's pickups: single coil, lower output, narrower in profile. Why not stick one in the middle of the T Rose and see what happens?The sealed-body Tenny (mostly hollow inside) seemed promising from an acoustic standpoint: thin enough to keep a focused tone, resonant enough for a woodier/airier tone than the solid Strat.By early 2008, the deed was done. I didn't cut the hole myself - one of my "guitar guys" did all the work - but I did specify the wiring scheme, which employs no more than the usual count and configuration of knobs and switches, but provides access to all 7 possible pickup configurations. (Details can be seen and tones tested from the pics below.)I take the experiment as a success; the guitar looks as clean as a factory model might have, the traditional Tenny tone is of course available, and the additional tonal options just provide more range. The 1-2 and 2-3 positions are not quite as distinctive or Stratlike to my ear as they are on a solidbody Strat, but they're not as woolymuddled as on a full hollowbody. I've enjoyed the guitar for nine years (hard to believe it's been so long), and I'm not sorry I did it.There was a thread devoted to this guitar on the GDP "back in the day," lost in the crash of 2014, so for most of you this will be a re-run. (As I recall, that one was more cleverly written, with the phrase "yearning to be three" in it.)So this may be a blast from the past - but it might also be a useful sonic resource for HiLoTron questers. The guitar has D'Addario Chrome flatwounds in the linked sound clips (rounds would make it snappier and bring it closer to Strat territory). I don't recall which amp I used.In case it isn't obvious, clicking on the images (all but the first) takes you to a sound clip of the configuration highlighted in the pics. (Note shading of controls and pickups, showing switching for all 7 combinations.) The Triple TennyThree "normal" Tenny pickup combinations Middle pickup deployed All together now!