Pickups

Does removing a row of pole pieces from a Filtertron make it sound …

1

Just curious if removing a row of pole pieces from a Filtertron would give you a sound approximating a HiloTron and if so does it matter which row ?

2

There has been the discussion here if 1/2 Filtertron = Hi Lo Tron and it sort of seems like a reasonable assumption Still most feel it would not sound the same. But I don't think anyone has tried your idea. Let us know?

3

There has been the discussion here if 1/2 Filtertron = Hi Lo Tron and it sort of seems like a reasonable assumption Still most feel it would not sound the same. But I don't think anyone has tried your idea. Let us know?

– DCBirdMan

yeah i suppose one difference sonically will be that it will still be hum-cancelling because of the second coil.

4

I've done this with a standard PAF-type humbucker and it made it sound like a single-coil, so you might be onto something. However, I think the coils in Filtertrons and PAFs are wired differently (one is in series, the other in parallel) so who knows what the result might be....

5

Did a quick experiment on the low E. I removed the pole piece nearer the neck (on a bridge filtertron) and it just sounded weaker but not brighter as I hoped it would. Put the pole piece back and took out the one nearer the bridge...same result more or less.

I used to have a guitar with a HiloTron years ago and I'm sure it was quite a bit brighter sounding than this so I guess there is a bit more to it than I thought.

6

I don't know how technically accurate the following is, but there's a point in here somewhere. If you removed all the pole pieces from a FilterTron, you'd still have a functioning pickup. What makes a pickup tick is the coils and magnets. On bar magnet pickups, the pole pieces basically amplify the signal the pickup is receiving from the strings. So, by removing one set of poles, you're not really removing the coil itself, which is what would be necessary to make a FilterTron into a HiloTron.

7

Probably sound closer by splitting the pickup with a switch.

8

I've added coil splitting to a set of HS Filtertrons; the split coil tone is definitely in the Hilotron ballpark - bright, jangly and low output.

9

IIRC, Toxo experimented with this and started a thread about his experiences awhile ago. Perhaps he'll chime in here.

10

I've added coil splitting to a set of HS Filtertrons; the split coil tone is definitely in the Hilotron ballpark - bright, jangly and low output.

– Mel Waldorf

How did you do this? I think the HS Filtertrons in my Gretsch are 2-wire.

11

Stratman, you need a strong soldering iron to remove the chrome cover of the Filtertron. Then you can see the point where the two coils meet - there's two wires with the connection covered in heat shrink tubing. Pull the heat shrink, solder on a wire, shrink wrap the new connection and resolder the cover. Not exactly simple, but not difficult with the right tools.

12

Did a quick experiment on the low E. I removed the pole piece nearer the neck (on a bridge filtertron) and it just sounded weaker but not brighter as I hoped it would. Put the pole piece back and took out the one nearer the bridge...same result more or less.

I used to have a guitar with a HiloTron years ago and I'm sure it was quite a bit brighter sounding than this so I guess there is a bit more to it than I thought.

– tabletop

Might try getting the pickup body really low, removing one set of pole piece screws, then raising the remaining ones up closer to the strings. Easier with pups that mount inside the body than a surface mount filter...

13

Might try getting the pickup body really low, removing one set of pole piece screws, then raising the remaining ones up closer to the strings. Easier with pups that mount inside the body than a surface mount filter...

– Rhythmisking

Yeah unfortunately it’s a surface mounted one but never mind.

14

I carefully chiseled the wood under the pickups in my 6120 Nashville so I could raise the pole screws. It gave me a cleaner/brighter tone and less thick/loud mids. I wanted a bit more of the Hilo'tron sound too. It still sounds like a Filtertron, but closer to what I wanted. My Gretsch with Hilos is still my go-to though.

15

If you remove the screws from one side....the signal still goes through the second coil....so you get the same hum canceling effect (some pickup manufacturers call this a "dummy coil".

Why aren't dummy coils used more often? Because the pickup has the same "inductance" with reduced output. It ends up sounding weaker than a Filtertron (but still hum canceling) and muddier....and nothing like a true "single coil" Hilotron.

Coil SPLITTING on the other hand....removes the second coil from the signal and is a bit more like you are going after. Reduced output.... but not as muddy because no added inductance of that second coil....but not exactly the same as a Hilotron because the polepieces still add magnetism to the strings. And of course it doesn't hum cancel as much.

Now if you removed the polepieces AND split the coil....you might get closer to a Hilotron sound....but things like the metal case and base plate play a little role as well.


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