Pickups

I’m using two (2) neck HS Filtertron pickups

1

And I like the result. :)

Since they didn't distinguish between neck and bridge in the old days, I ordered another neck HS Filtertron to replace my bridge HS Filtertron (4.74k ohms). This way, the combined pickup sound and the bridge pickup sound should be closer to a vintage 50s/60s Gretsch Filtertron, which were about ~4.2k ohms. I realize that the output of the combined pickups and bridge is slightly "off". But, Chet and George got legendary tones with this configuration so....I went for it. :)

It really gives the combined pickup sound more clarity, jangle and dimension. The bridge pickup sounds a bit clearer too. The change in volume between pickups is nothing drastic. Just simply a step in the right direction for the most authentic 50s/60s Gretsch tones. By the way, I use the Top Boost channel of a VOX AC4HW1 with Celestion Blue alnico.

I used thick mouse pad on the bridge, and it didn't cause any issues for the pickup surround; it's pretty seamless. I ran a hair dryer over the pickup to dislodge most of the wax (if you want to be real thorough you can also dip the pickup in Naphtha for a few hours, without damaging it).

The pickup was a great deal and arrived in 2 days from Angela Instruments. Not too bad for a 2,300+ mile voyage.

Thanks for reading.

2

This is actually pretty cool. I wouldn't have thought of this. I'm glad you're happy with the results.

3

This is actually pretty cool. I wouldn't have thought of this. I'm glad you're happy with the results.

– BuddyHollywood

Thanks, BuddyHollywood.

4

Yah back then there wasn't all this tweaky pickup distinction going on. Dudes talking about '1950s Strat bridge pickup' when it was no damn different than the neck pickup or middle one.

5

Zacky has a great idea here! I'm a big fan of the TV Classic neck...I have an HS in the bridge on my 6122-Sp. sounds good

6

I use a hair dryer to pull the wax out of my pickups too. You get a less muddy humbucker that way.

7

I use a hair dryer to pull the wax out of my pickups too. You get a less muddy humbucker that way.

– guitarcapo

Do you save the wax and use it for chest hair peels? Just kidding.

8

I use a peanut.

It's a forest these days.

9

vintage or new hair dryer?

10

I love vintage guitars, too. But... haven't some of the changes made to instruments over the years been made to suit the needs of players? I'm thinking about things like: balance between bridge and neck pickups, string to string definition, etc. Aren't we kind of "uninventing" things here?

Not being difficult, just waxing philosophic. ("waxing"--see what I did there?

11

Well the idea behind wax potting is that it reduces feedback. But with most solutions there is a price to be paid. The fact is that wax potting cuts out the bloom and high end of a pickup's tone. Personally I think a lack of wax potting is why old pickups are so sought after. They just sound clearer and less muddy. Sure they might feed back more in high gain situations....but so will a highly sensitive $2,000 microphone. Wax potting isolates body vibration from the pickups...you can hear this easily by tapping on the pickups with your finger. A heavily potted pickup will "thud" and a non-potted pickup will ping. If you want the body vibrations to transmit to the pickup...you have to get rid of that wax.

12

Well the idea behind wax potting is that it reduces feedback. But with most solutions there is a price to be paid. The fact is that wax potting cuts out the bloom and high end of a pickup's tone. Personally I think a lack of wax potting is why old pickups are so sought after. They just sound clearer and less muddy. Sure they might feed back more in high gain situations....but so will a highly sensitive $2,000 microphone. Wax potting isolates body vibration from the pickups...you can hear this easily by tapping on the pickups with your finger. A heavily potted pickup will "thud" and a non-potted pickup will ping. If you want the body vibrations to transmit to the pickup...you have to get rid of that wax.

– guitarcapo

Good points.

13

I love vintage guitars, too. But... haven't some of the changes made to instruments over the years been made to suit the needs of players? I'm thinking about things like: balance between bridge and neck pickups, string to string definition, etc. Aren't we kind of "uninventing" things here?

Not being difficult, just waxing philosophic. ("waxing"--see what I did there?

– reverb11

My philosophy is to undo the modern changes. Vintage Filtertrons never needed any fixing, and I found that wider bridge pole spacing AND higher bridge output changed the sound for the worse. I really like what I am hearing.

14

Neat idea, do you put the pickups in different height casings?.are old filtertrons like that? like hilotrons? I think balancing the volume of the pickups is important if you use all the combinations and want them to be similar, which I do. I do it on my older gretschs generally by just using the pole pieces. Works fine. Hilotrons sets, were put in casings of different heights to compensate. Definitely a bridge pickup with more windings will generally be less bright/clear, be it single or double coil so I've not been too keen on that. I think proper string spacing is a good thing though. I don't see an advantage in the string spacing being too small for a bridge pickup. My Tennessean and anniversary are a little like that so I have to compromise a bit on both Es. I'm not going to change them as they work fine but if I had had the choice of old Hilotrons with better spacing i probably would've installed them as it looks like a cost saving measure and nothing else. From what I understand Chet Atkins was continually moving on to new and more refined gear and with gretsch was always looking to innovate and improve.

15

I use a shim in the bridge cavity for that (neck) pickup. I can't remember how my old 1962 G6120 was set up; the pickups probably had the same output, but the screws on the bridge pickup were probably turned a few times, counter-clockwise, to be close to the strings.

Having the output the same for all three (3) pickup settings is not a concern for me. I just want my Country Gentleman to sound like a 60s model. And it does. :)

16

I've been pretty set on replacing the bridge TV Classic in my SSLVO with a neck pickup so last night I pulled the bridge pickup and installed the Classic neck in its place. Ho lee chit! Not to sound overly dramatic but this is a total game changer. It has everything I love about the Classic neck (klang and natural compression) and cures everything I dislike about the Classic bridge - the high end is softer in a good way and very clear. I wouldn’t think of it as twang city but it has a very clear and musical snappiness. So much more character than the bridge pickup! Obviously I can't test the middle position but I really believe it will be an improvement as well. So I'll be ordering two Classic Neck pickups with no wax potting direct from TV. I don't want to mess with dewaxing my existing neck pickup plus I want matching brushed nickel covers.

17

I've been pretty set on replacing the bridge TV Classic in my SSLVO with a neck pickup so last night I pulled the bridge pickup and installed the Classic neck in its place. Ho lee chit! Not to sound overly dramatic but this is a total game changer. It has everything I love about the Classic neck (klang and natural compression) and cures everything I dislike about the Classic bridge - the high end is softer in a good way and very clear. I wouldn’t think of it as twang city but it has a very clear and musical snappiness. So much more character than the bridge pickup! Obviously I can't test the middle position but I really believe it will be an improvement as well. So I'll be ordering two Classic Neck pickups with no wax potting direct from TV. I don't want to mess with dewaxing my existing neck pickup plus I want matching brushed nickel covers.

– YourBlueRoom

Glad you like it, though I'm not surprised. I had very similar results to you. Yes, I love the clarity I have on the bridge pickup. The combined pickup sound is "clankier" (which I love) than previously. Please follow up when you get both neck pickups installed.

18

And I'm running with scissors...

Sorry it's really hot out.


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