Modern Gretsch Guitars

The Verdict: Tenny Rose is a Winner!

1

After purchasing my 2005 Tenny Rose from a fellow GDPer a few weeks ago (thanks Fretz!) and making a few adjustments, I finally had a chance to do a couple of live gigs. And the verdict is: I love this guitar! Played through a Blackface Pro Reverb, this is a different sounding and incredible sounding combination. The Hilotrons produce a very unique sound than any other pickups and really have a chunky and woody tone and crystal clear tones, especially the highs. I play with the tone switch pointed down all the time, and can’t get a bad sound! The guitar itself is comfortable to play, had great action when I got it, has a fantastic neck I love, and the thin Electrotone body is very comfortable to play. Working with the Hilotrons just means turning the amp up a notch, and down a notch if I switch guitars. Not a problem.

So it would seem I have drunk the Tenny/Hilotron Koolaid. The world is now a better place!

If you have been holding off on Hilotrons, I suggest giving them a try. Maybe they’re not a wholesale substitution for Dynas and Filters, but they’re pretty damn cool any way you slice it! YMMV, but I thought I’d share the love.

2

Awesome! Tennys are great!

3

Great review! Thanks for sharing. You're right about everything you said regarding HiLotrons. They seem to let the guitar's natural tone come through.

4

A shot of Shadrach and the Tongues of Fire in action on a hot fall afternoon two weeks ago (and a shot of our new mascot Little Homey). Not sure where he came from!

5

Welcome to the club, Hoot Owl! HiLo Tenny love is like no other . . .

6

Cool. I tried a Tenny Rose with HiLoTrons a few years ago and really enjoyed the comfort and sound of the pick-ups. I've got the "comfort" part covered with a Gretsch Spectra Sonic ... but I would like to get some HiLoTrons into my inventory at some point.

What type of music do you all play?

7

Mostly old guy music! - classic rock, R and B, Neil Young, Beatles, etc.

8

This sounds like a great fit, for your sound, Dave. Congrats!

10

I prefer the looks of the Tennessean Hi-Lo'Tron model to just about any other Gretsch. Part of that is that I used to have one that I bought new in '67. Tempted to get another one if I get a really good deal.

11

I need one myself,don't have any Hi-Lo's in the collection at the moment.

And its the HELP guitar!

12

This is excellent news, Dave. Good to see you playing out with those "old guys".

A HiLo Tenny is still on my bucket list, along with a 58-59 style Gent.

13

Not a surprise. I've been playing a Tennessean for the past 25 years and I have a disturbing tendency to install hilotrons on all my other Gretschs... Lovely guitars with lovely sounding pickups I also play through a super reverb but one of the reviled late 70s ones.

I'm I right in understanding you play with the mud switch engaged?

I never use mine as it's just too dead, But I have a 64 Tennessean. I've heard the modern ones have more usable filters (cap choices) on the switches.

14

Nice review, Dave! Tennys are awesome.

15

Usually I hate mud switches but in the down position, it is much brighter and seems to have more presence ("balls").

The other cool thing about this guitar is showing everyone the fake f-holes. People can't get over that!

16

Usually I hate mud switches but in the down position, it is much brighter and seems to have more presence ("balls").

errr...that doesn't seem right. Brightest position is always center.

17

My experience too. I'm probably not explaining it correctly, but it just sounds more present to me with the down position. Maybe it is just taking off some of the sharp edges to the sound to give it a more clear or chunky sound. On the other hand, these are old ears making these statements!

I defer to others with better ears than me!

18

Usually I hate mud switches but in the down position, it is much brighter and seems to have more presence ("balls").

errr...that doesn't seem right. Brightest position is always center.

– Charlie Vegas

That seems odd to me Charlie. I don't have any Gretsches these days that have a mud switch as I don't like them....I prefer the gradual adjustment of a tone pot. I did have a '64 Gent that had the mud switch and the upper position gave for those days, the darkest tone, good for those wanting that jazz tone. The centre position that I always used gave a nice mix of tone - not too dark or bright, best for Chet's type tone. The down position gave the brightest tone. The difference between the center position and either of the upper or lower positions was dramatic, not the more subtle difference in today's guitars.

19

On every modern mudswitch Gretsch I've played, center position is wide open, no cap, brightest tone. Down is the milder mud setting, highs somewhat attenuated. Up is full mud, highs severely attenuated.

The switch could be rotated to any position in a 360deg arc, but wide-open brightest would still be center.

Tone-switch-down (half-mud) IS a great tone on the modern Tenny, both chunky and articulate.

It's probably more psycho-acoustic than oscilloscopographic: reducing the extreme highs lets the ear focus more on the mids, and better hear the detail there. It's the relative balance of the two ranges, rather than the absolute energy in either one, that shapes the perceived tone.

20

I've discovered the sweet spot with HiLotrons at least in my Corvette is with the tone backed off some anyway. Perhaps the mud switch in the down position is capturing this sweet spot.

21

Been preaching Hi Los for 10 years now on this site -- and glad they did a Hi Lo Tennesean, atlhough it took a few years to get around to it. Of course they are a different scene on solidbodies-- takes some tweakin'.

Hi Los = better than a '51 Broadcaster bridge pickup, better than a 59 PAF in neck position.

22

Amen, DC! Fie on the Hi-Lo naysayers!

23

"It's probably more psycho-acoustic than oscilloscopographic: reducing the extreme highs lets the ear focus more on the mids, and better hear the detail there." - Proteus

"Perhaps the mud switch in the down position is capturing this sweet spot." - Buddy Hollywood

I've been called plenty of names in my life, but none as endearing as "psycho-acoustic!"

Great explanations that "resonate" with me. I think taking the sharp treble off makes it sound more mid rangey or chunky to me. I believe with Hilotrons you have to experiment more to find that sweet spot. I was a little discouraged at first, but now it's all good. Well worth the effort.

Who else has drunk the Hilotron Kool Aid? Let's hear about your experiences.

24

I know that people have posted this before, but what are the values of the capacitors on the Tennessean/Tennessee Rose mud switch? Vintage and current? Does anyone change them further? What does that do to your tone?

EDIT: Never mind. Found the answer here: http://www.theguitarmagazin...

25

I wonder what HiLotrons would sound like on a Duo Jet? I bet it would be an awesome, inspiring combination.

If I ever get the opportunity I would love to try this. I would have to buy a husk though to experiment with this. I couldn't in good conscience swap out Dynasonics or Filter'trons to experiment with HiLotrons.


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