Pickups

Dynasonic vs Hilotron pickups

1

I'm looking to add a single coil equipped Gretsch to my lineup and was looking for advice on the differences tonally between Dynasonics and Hilotrons. I've already got 3 with Filtertrons so I'm looking for something different and I don't have a hollow body with single coils so it's a color I'd like to add, especially for recording.

2

Dynos. I’ve had both. HiLos are ok and interesting but Dynasonics changed my life. Everyone who loves Gretsch should have a Dyno equipped Gretsch.

3

They are completely different from each other.

HiLotrons are very pure sounding low output pickups. They don't really have a signature tone. They will amplify whatever the guitar is giving you without adding much color of their own. When I use my Corvette with HiLotrons I have to add some juice to my amp to compensate for the low output.

Dynasonics are higher output and excel in the highs and lows without sacrificing the mids. They basically sound like a P90 with pole piece magnets instead of bar magnets. I've found this type of construction gives you the top end Fender style spank and clear and growly lows compared to the smoother high end and low end of a standard P90.

4

George knew how to rock those Hi Lo Trons

5

They are completely different from each other.

HiLotrons are very pure sounding low output pickups. They don't really have a signature tone. They will amplify whatever the guitar is giving you without adding much color of their own. When I use my Corvette with HiLotrons I have to add some juice to my amp to compensate for the low output.

Dynasonics are higher output and excel in the highs and lows without sacrificing the mids. They basically sound like a P90 with pole piece magnets instead of bar magnets. I've found this type of construction gives you the top end Fender style spank and clear and growly lows compared to the smoother high end and low end of a standard P90.

– BuddyHollywood

Sounds like I want Dynasonics then. I've been torn mostly because I've never had a chance to play a guitar with HiLotrons but I had heard they were kind of weak sounding. Wish there was a store around here that had both types but we don't have anybody with Proline guitars around here to try.

I guess Dynasonics would suit my rockabilly/americana needs more. I love the tones of Cliff Gallup and Duane Eddy and they both used Dynas but I also love the sound of George Harrison's Tenneseean with HiLo's.

6

Hilos are the pickup that changed MY life. Nice bright highs and full lows without the mid bump that a lot of pickups add. I prefer the lower output and clarity it brings out, and that they allow the amp to break up on it's own rather than being pushed by the pickup output. I could be all wrong in my descriptions and assumptions, but that's my idea of them anyway.

7

I was thinking about starting out with a used G5129 Electromatic to see how I like the single coils. Are the Dearmond 2000's very accurate Dynasonics?

8

They are completely different from each other.

HiLotrons are very pure sounding low output pickups. They don't really have a signature tone. They will amplify whatever the guitar is giving you without adding much color of their own. When I use my Corvette with HiLotrons I have to add some juice to my amp to compensate for the low output.

Dynasonics are higher output and excel in the highs and lows without sacrificing the mids. They basically sound like a P90 with pole piece magnets instead of bar magnets. I've found this type of construction gives you the top end Fender style spank and clear and growly lows compared to the smoother high end and low end of a standard P90.

– BuddyHollywood

I completely disagree that hilotrons don't have a sound of their own. They're hands down my favourite Gretsch pickup and I've been using them for many years of professional and semi-professional playing. They have a beautiful top end, the bass strings sound piano-like, very chimey and sweet. Ver articulate. They can be middy if you want but lean towards scooped. They make excellent rock pickups and sound great distorted. One doesn't need high output pickups to rock, That's a common misconception inherited from the 70s and hair metal 80s. I did have a 50s single anniversary that I added another vintage dynasonic too. It was a nice guitar but I ALWAYS preferred playing my Tennessean because it sounded better and I sold the Anniversary. An old bass player said my guitar always sounded like the Elly May theme from the Beverly hillblies...which I'll admit i just listened to now. I don't think that's a hilotron equipped guitar but I could probably get very close with my Tennessean no problem (except for the #$&45 Les Paul fast bits whew!). I think you can get tonnes of great sounds out of ANY pickups. You can do tonnes with the amp itself and most importantly it's your playing.

9

Go try both in a store through the same amp and decide for yourself.

10

I was thinking about starting out with a used G5129 Electromatic to see how I like the single coils. Are the Dearmond 2000's very accurate Dynasonics?

– LuckyOne

I love them also in my 5126 but the DA 2000s are also low output while the Dynas are hot in comparison. They look the same but very different in many ways.

11

I was thinking about starting out with a used G5129 Electromatic to see how I like the single coils. Are the Dearmond 2000's very accurate Dynasonics?

That's how I started with Gretsch single coils. And I liked the 2000s very much. Having previously had archtops with humbuckers and P90s, when I heard the 2000s I was struck by their unique tone. But I knew they were kinda Dynasonic Lite - which isn't a bad thing; the 2000s can absolutely stand on their own with a distinctive texture.

Still, I was curious: if these are that good, just how good is a Dynasonic. Within a month I had a 6120 DSV and the 5126 was for sale. The Dynasonics just have more authority and punch, especially in the low end. It took me a long time to learn to use them properly, or how to fit them into my playing. Or, rather, they fit my playing perfectly - it just took awhile to train my ear to their singular voice.

And that led to a Country Club with Dynas, to a Jet with Dynas, to a custom Gent with Dynas. Dyna this, Dyna that. Stock Dynas, Seymour Dynas, TV Jones T-Armond Dynas. It became a marvel to me: if you could get Dynas on a hollowbody or a Jet in 1956...why did anyone ever bother to continue developing the electric guitar? Nothing since has been an improvement. Some great stuff, no doubt. But nothing "better."

I guess Dynasonics kinda changed my life too.

That's not to dump on HiLoTrons. They very much have their own sweet, versatile, distinctive tone. So what they're not high output - that's why amps have volume knobs. Crank it up one more number and you're good to go.

I say if you're doing this Gretsch thing, you gotta have both. They're that different. Still, it says something that Gretsch makes a slew of models with Dynasonics, in every body style from Jet/Penguin to 16" hollows to 17" hollows, across most Gretsch model lines - and only one guitar with HiLos.

There aren't many guitars I don't like - but I think if I could only have one electric, it would be something with Dynas. Don't know how I could choose, but yeah.

Guy in another thread has a Duane Eddy model for sale. Go for that.

12

Ah Proteus! I did ask a while back about your lovely sounding jet but I think that was just before you slid off to the Misty Mountains.

So prey tell us, is that a Duncan in yer Jet or are you just pleased to see me?

Plus do you raise the poles so they're all toothy or keep them flush? I wish there were an easier way to adjust the pup height but guess that's the nature of the beast.

I think I've got my poles and pickup body where I want them but maybe they're sinfully high as I like a bright sound.

13

Ah Proteus! I did ask a while back about your lovely sounding jet but I think that was just before you slid off to the Misty Mountains.

So prey tell us, is that a Duncan in yer Jet or are you just pleased to see me?

Plus do you raise the poles so they're all toothy or keep them flush? I wish there were an easier way to adjust the pup height but guess that's the nature of the beast.

I think I've got my poles and pickup body where I want them but maybe they're sinfully high as I like a bright sound.

14

Pole cranking makes the dynalikes sound meaner with less sustain. Body cranking makes them sound more balanced over the spectrum.

In the image are 4 Season pickups. Danny Vera told me they sound like a HiLo with more output and no hum. They sound high with a lot of push for cutting through a mix.

15

I did try the recommended thing of higher position and lower poles. But my ears said they were a bit dull, boomy and a little overweight. Higher poles give me more gritty twang, less middle age spread.

16

They seem to be duller on a hollow body. Higher poles do make them scream more for sure.

17

I completely disagree that hilotrons don't have a sound of their own. They're hands down my favourite Gretsch pickup and I've been using them for many years of professional and semi-professional playing. They have a beautiful top end, the bass strings sound piano-like, very chimey and sweet. Ver articulate. They can be middy if you want but lean towards scooped. They make excellent rock pickups and sound great distorted. One doesn't need high output pickups to rock, That's a common misconception inherited from the 70s and hair metal 80s. I did have a 50s single anniversary that I added another vintage dynasonic too. It was a nice guitar but I ALWAYS preferred playing my Tennessean because it sounded better and I sold the Anniversary. An old bass player said my guitar always sounded like the Elly May theme from the Beverly hillblies...which I'll admit i just listened to now. I don't think that's a hilotron equipped guitar but I could probably get very close with my Tennessean no problem (except for the #$&45 Les Paul fast bits whew!). I think you can get tonnes of great sounds out of ANY pickups. You can do tonnes with the amp itself and most importantly it's your playing.

– Toxophilite

amen

18

I was thinking about starting out with a used G5129 Electromatic to see how I like the single coils. Are the Dearmond 2000's very accurate Dynasonics?

– LuckyOne

No.

19

Vince, those are Duncans in my Jet, AND I'm glad to see you.

Truthfully, I've been so enthralled with the tone of Dynas in most of my guitars that I've rarely had to adjust them in any way. I know from experimentation that I can tweak the balance of body and brightness by raising/lowering the body of the pickup and/or the pole pieces - but mine all sound pretty balanced to me as they are, perfectly responsive to adjustments at the amp and/or playing dynamics, so I just haven't messed with them.

I'd be more analytical if I had problems, but as it is I can't even tell you how they're set up. I'd have to measure. (And I'm 500 miles away from them at the moment.)

I guess I WAS dissatisfied with the stock Tokiwa Dynas that came in my Jet, which was why I Seymoured up. But since then, pure Dyna satisfaction.

20

Tim, how’d you feel about the stock Dynas that came on my Sparkle Jet? It was passed around the Roundup like the only girl on a pirate ship. Everyone seemed to like them.

21

Bob, I didn't get a shot at it, so I can't say. While output measurements capture only one dimension of a pickup's performance, I have found that with Dynas, pups with numbers in a certain range are more satisfying to me than those with numbers to either side of that range.

Maybe you could meter yours and we could compare notes.

22

Hilotrons probably wouldn't mix with Filtertrons on the same guitar as well as a Dynasonic would due to the difference in output.

You MIGHT get away with a Hilotron at the neck and a Filtertron at the Bridge...but not the opposite. And mixing them would be hard because the Hilotron would get overpowered by the Filtertron.

Hilotrons are low output but bright and articulate. They bring out the acoustic sound of the guitar more by not coloring the signal with electromagnetic output.... and in my opinion they are PERFECT for that woody jazz tone that a low output single coil at the neck has traditionally given to archtop guitars.

In a solid body guitar and at the bridge? Not as perfect a tool for the job. With a solid body you need more output from the pickup to compensate for the lack of tone from the guitar itself. There's also less risk of feedback with a solid body so you can go with higher output pickups easier.

That being said, I find the thin reedy tone of my 1964 Corvette with two Hilotrons really useful with pedals. I will never sell that guitar because it simply can shine in areas that other guitars can't. Like when I want to crank the amp more and don't want the guitar's output overwhelming things.

If you want greasy rockabilly twang, go for Dynasonics. If you want more tame woody jazzy sounds go with Hilotrons..How's that for an over-simplification?

23

All good til the last paragraph...which IS a bit oversimplified. HiLos also for jangle, chime, texture that doesn't get in the way. And they can be great with pedals.

And Dynas go way beyond rockability (or "to other places" if "beyond" sounds judgmental). They work for about 95% of what I use an electric guitar for, from clean to crunchy and creamy screamy dirty. (And really not so much rockabilly.)

We'll grant that I'm one of The Dyna Afflicted, however, and you can round down from there to 85% for the more mildly infected.

24

Did I hear that hilotrons are the same, or similar to filtertrons with one row of screws removed? Or did a bloke in a pub tell me that?

25

Did I hear that hilotrons are the same, or similar to filtertrons with one row of screws removed? Or did a bloke in a pub tell me that?

– Vince_Ray

I think that's the recently concocted Super HiloTron that is basically a FilterTron with one row of screws removed, but still has two coils. An actual HiloTron is like a FilterTron with one whole coil removed. And the magnet moved from the underside to the empty spot where the second coil was.

I can't add much to the discussion other than saying you really have to try them for yourself. There's obviously more love for DeArmonds, but HiloTrons may be exactly what you're looking for. I feel like I might be the only person on earth that doesn't love P-90s. Popular opinion says I'm completely wrong on that, but I like what I like.


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