HiLo Vs Dyna


Howdy, The only experience I've had with Dynas' are the Korean built Electromatic DeArmond 2000. Didn't like them. Too much quack and no love.

Love my HiLo's in the Tenny but there seems to be alot of Dyna love. How would you characterise a REAL Dyna vs a HiLo?

Can you mount a Dyna over a Filter cavity?


Your last ?

Anything is possible!

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Howdy, The only experience I've had with Dynas' are the Korean built Electromatic DeArmond 2000. Didn't like them. Too much quack and no love.

Love my HiLo's in the Tenny but there seems to be alot of Dyna love. How would you characterise a REAL Dyna vs a HiLo?

Can you mount a Dyna over a Filter cavity?

– Rob Williams

Howdy, The only experience I've had with Dynas' are the Korean built Electromatic DeArmond 2000. Didn't like them. Too much quack and no love.

Love my HiLo's in the Tenny but there seems to be alot of Dyna love. How would you characterise a REAL Dyna vs a HiLo?

Can you mount a Dyna over a Filter cavity?

– Rob Williams

Dynas have a lot more presence and useful range than HiLos. They require a lot of dialing in, but when you're there it's great.

HiLos get a lot of love here, but they're the only single coil pickup I've played that I don't like. There's a narrow window of volume & tone settings where they sound OK, but other than that they just sound like bad Strat pickups to me.


I was in love with HiLos but I must admit that it's gotten a bit tarnished for me. Will consider a dyna swap maybe...managed to find a ceramic filter that will slot in there for now :P There's no cavity under the pups I found, just enough of a hole for the wiring.


Well, need I say it? A Hilotron is a wonderful pickup, with its own special purpose for being, and much more versatile than it's given credit for (because amps can be turned up). (It *is worth acknowledging that, without giving a HiLo special consideration in gain and EQ - it may well sound like a bad Strat pickup).

However, a Dynasonic is the majestic, all-powerful king of the pickup universe. I've said it before: I don't know why anyone else bothered to design a pickup after 1953. It was done.

(I'm willing to accept P90s as co-regents. Sometimes.)

The 2000s are not Dynas. They're like the love-child of a Dyna and a HiloTron. The fruit didn't fall far from the tree - but that distance makes all the difference.

A real Dyna has loads more low end and even warmth, and allows for considerably more dynamic range. You want to try them.


Hi-lo's sound thin when I play them, though there are guys who use them very musically.

Real Dynasonics (as opposed to 2000's or even 2K's) can be challenging to get balanced for a person's particular style, but are well worth the research. They have a LOT more life and character than H-Lo's (sorry Hi-Lo fans, just my $0.02 and again: for how I play and what I'm looking for).


Well I wasn't happy with the ceramic filter so the Hi Lo is back in...may have to spring for a set of dynas so I can see for myself. But this particular is giving me the sh!ts at the moment. Real love/hate relationship with it!!


I mostly could not stand the sound of Hi-Los, until I played Proteus' triple Hi-Lo Tenny. That guitar sounded incredible. Now I'm just confused.


It's all in the setup. ;-)


Or possibly in being Proteus. Or George Harrison.


So how do Dynas and P90's compare in sound?


Gosh, that's a wonderful question.

You'll want to wait for Walter, Billy Z, and some of the major vintage P90 guys to respond.

But I'll waste bandwidth anyway.

Bearing in mind that there are P90s and there are P90s - both great and less great (and probably some lousy), some hotter and some dryer, some emphasizing particular frequencies perhaps more than others - still, I think of P90s as the ultimate hi-fidelity pickup. EVERYthing is there, low to high, through the mids, and nothing overstated.

I find they really make the most of construction differences among guitars, bring out the character. Humbuckers, for instance, sound like humbuckers first - and whatever guitar they're on, second. P90s reveal the guitar, then show their tone. They sound VERY different on a maple-top/mahog solidbody, a maple hollowbody, a thin mahogany slab, a semi.

They're also very responsive to volume and tone knob twisting, EQ at the amp, etc. Whereas many pickups sound best at some particular tone-vol-knob combination (and like dog at most others), P90s somehow respond throughout the whole range. You can actually turn them down and get great, musical tone. The tone pot will actually take you from dark to bright without passing through mud.

When I found P90s, after years of playing humbuckers and Strat/Tele pups, I thought I'd found the missing link, or the king papa ancestor all pickups. I believe P90s will do anything.

Dynasonics are also "fat" singlecoils - but to my ear they have more emphasis on low end and high end. It's not that the midrange is missing (as in, coughcough, Hilos), it's just that there's some boost on the ends. They're usually as rich and meaty as P90s, but with a little something extra. Also, their polepieces are also magnets - which means they exert a strong pull on the strings. This can damp string orbit and inhibit sustain, which to me is part of the charm. You get a smackin' wallop of thunkthunk attack - then the note decays naturally and gets out of the way of the next one (which the player is dying to deliver, because the last one sounded so great).

For the same reason, in chords you arguably get better string-to-string/note-to-note separation.

No one questions the versatility and adaptability of P90s - they almost always work. Dynas can also be applied in most musical contexts, and are more versatile and adaptable than some guys think. BUT they always carry a distinct Dynasonic signature (traditionally associated with Gretsch). It's not that P90s don't have personalities - they do. But the Dyna personality is a little quirkier, and harder to hide. There are times you can't tell a P90's sound from a Strat or Tele pickup, and times you'd swear you were hearing humbuckers. Dynasonics pretty much always let their freak flags fly.


The sound of the triple-HiLo Tenny doesn't have much to do with me. It's probably the flatwound strings.

You must try meaty flatwounds with Hilos.


Hmmm.... Cheers Proteus. About to try a copper TruArc I have here [ ;) ] maybe that'll take the edge off the HiLo's. I can't stand big flats but maybe I should try them again... I'm torn between keeping it original for resale and carving the smurf out of it for 3xP90's. As always appreciate the advice!


Well...I don't agree with the description of P90's as "hi-fi".

Like Proteus says above, depending on the magnets in them, and the resistance of the coil, there are many shades of P90's, but they almost always have a "honk" to them. A very obvious midrange bump that you get to recognize if you've spent some time with them.

And the combination of a fairly fat, wide coil and two big magnets makes for a powerful, loud, big sounding pickup with thick trebles that overdrives a tube amp fairly fast.

Instrumentals-era Freddie King, ES-5 Era T-Bone Walker, a lot of Mickey Baker (yes, on those Big Maybelle sessions Tim!), Chuck Berry, Scotty Moore, 50's Carl Perkins, 50's BB King and Jimmy Nolen, Grant Green, Pete Townsend on "Live at Leeds",......

50's style P90's (lower resistance and less powerful Alnico II or III magnets) can get surprisingly twangy, but there's always that fat midrange honk somehow. What people think of as "Gibson sounding", I guess. Fat and punchy.

DeArmonds to me are in a lot of ways very similar, but twangier and stringier and more percussive because of the magnet poles, more like an extremely fat and powerful telecaster lead pickup, if that makes sense. They push an amp about as hard, and to my ears there's an awful lot of midrange as well, but more upper mids to my ears than P90's, and a bigger, cleaner low end.

Pfff...lots of silly wine tasting adjectives again. Go play some of both if you get a chance. They both rock, they're both just about the ultimate rock and roll pickup, and what's funny is that both were there pre-rock and roll. After the late 40's/early 50's, it's pretty much all downhill as far as guitar pickups go, as far as I'm concerned.


Cheers! Main problem is there's nothing around here in the shops with either. They're all strat squiers or pointy 7 strings. So wine and cheese adjectives will have to do :) and muchly appreciated!



Maybe I hear the honk as filling in the midrange which is by comparison more subdued in Dynas - and that deludes me into thinking the P90s are flatter in response.

Or the honk provided Gibson continuity when I first started playing with P90s - as well as the fatter-than-Fender-singles effect.

They seemed, by comparison to either humbuckers or Stratpups, to offer a wider tonal spectrum.

And Walter's point about their overdriviness dovetails with my observation about how responsive they are to volume controls: on a P90 guitar where all-the-way-up is hairier than you want at the moment, backing them down a little yields a fat glassy clean that doesn't seem to lose definition in the highs (unlike turning down a 'bucker and getting mud).


A question was brought up earlier about how is a Dyna different, than a Dyna 2000. That's easy, Dynas have more windings on them than a Dyna 2000. As a result, to me, they sound a bit darker.

As for the P-90 vs Dyna comparison - I have always found P90s, to be a little quacky sounding clean. Distorted, they're rounder sounding than Dynas. Dynas, can sound pretty percussive and brash, when the gain is cranked. As others have mentioned, Dynas sound punchy compared to a P-90. Like a P-90, Dynas have plenty of output for overdriving an amp. A good Dyna, is one of my favorite pickups. :)


I can't believe no one is talkin' up the HiLo's...... I love the Dyna's but I always go back to the HiLos when I want that jingly, jangly, chime of a Gretsch.... :) :)


HiLo supporter here! Yep, Joe . . . there are times where nothing but a HiLo will do.

Btw . . . I'm not a HiLo supporter in opposition to P-90's or Dynas, because there are times where nothing will do but P-90's and Dyna's (or TV Classics or DeArmond 2000's) Rather I am a HiLo supporter in conjunction with the other p'ups mentioned.

Each has it's place and are my favorite p'up when I'm playing 'em. Conjunction junction, what's your function?

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