More spank and jangle: Super HiLoTron or Blacktop Filtron


Looking at G5420T and 2017 G5622T, can't afford anything beyond that. Which pickups have more spank and jangle, the Blacktop Filtrons or the Super HiLoTrons? I don't want a metal guitar, but, the specs on the Super HiLos seem to be more Gretsch-ish. Anyone know first hand?


Isn't there anything with non 'super' Hilotrons. They're very jangly.


A friend got a 5420T recently and the blacktops are excellent Filtertrons; haven't a/b'd them with any higher end versions, but they're worthy of the name IMHO. What type of music are you playing?


my G5422 with blacktops sounds very Gretschy to me :)

when i bought it was comparing directly with a G5622T and liked the 5422 much better. but that's just me


I play a mix of country, rockabilly, blues, and rock. No metal, I don't hate it, just can't get my hands and ears to deal with it. I just love that Gretschy sound, perfect for the obvious tunes but is also awesome for songs like Sultans of Swing.

I can't find anything less than the G5622 price with anything othe PUs, like the TVJs. I can't afford an upgrade.

I played the G5422 and G5622 side by side at GC. The results were inconclusive because the G5622 had a wiring problem, tone kept coming in an out.

Thanks for the post. I may lean towards the BT FT based on your input.


I like the 'blackface' filtertrons too I think the difference between the BFs and normal filtertrons is pretty small.


@toxophilite: They're not, for sure. The HiLotrons are much more Gretsch compared to the BTFs.


The Blacktops are very jangly. Just get them up as close to the strings as possible.


That's a good suggestion, easy to try. Thanks


I've had guitars with both. BTs are OK and can jangle just fine. But I liked the Super HiLos much better.



While they are dual coil pickups, the Super HiLos are voiced to sound like single coils. As someone very familiar with them once told me, "like single coils on steroids." So, my guess is that the Super HiLos would be the most jangly. But, I have never owned a guitar equipped with them.


I finally decided on the G5422T with BTs, only because it was the best deal I could find for a used either. Can't wait to get it all setup the way I like and test drive.

Thank you all for chiming in with your great input and thoughts. :)


I'm currently gigging with both of these guitars -- I take the Strat (with two Filtertron type pickups) plus one or other of the Gretsches. Between the 5420 and the 5622 l couldn't say which one I prefer, but the Super Hilos really can jangle through the right amp -- I'm using a '69 Traynor head through a 1x12 cab (Eminence Wizard).


What is Jangle?


It's a word that somewhat describes that Gretsch sound. I like to think of it as a clean deep treble, crisp highs with some body. Just my perspective. I'm trying to thing of a tune that best demonstrates it.


Try removing a set of poles from your blacktop filtertrons that'll give you even more jangle


Jangle = Help and Rubber Soul, The Byrds, The Hollies, earlier REM (and lots of later as well), Smiths...


I tried a hilotron on a 61 clipper the other day and really liked it. Filtertons dont suit my playing but other ppl make them sound great. I guess I’m not adding anything of value here ....but the thread has made me want to check out a super hilotron


Rolled off dynas also get you some jangle. But I really think the jangliest pickup I've played is a Rickenbacker toaster.


Rolled off dynas also get you some jangle. But I really think the jangliest pickup I've played is a Rickenbacker toaster.

– Strummerson

But then again, good luck affording a Ric if you’re on a used Electromatic budget!


I hear other people sound great with blacktops in a 5420 (though the term that comes to my mind’s ear is “throaty”) - but I don’t feel the love so much when I play mine, so I don’t play mine. I should sell it.

I have SuperHiLos in the 56-whatever-the-3-pup-version-is, and get along well with them. I play that guitar often. “Jangle,” sure - but not limited to it in the way a regular HiLo specializes in it (and a Ric can’t do anything else if threatened with a bonfire).

They’re quite wide-ranging and useful for most anything a Gretsch is called upon to do.

The bridge pickup retains the bite and definition you expect from a singlecoil, with just enough body and push to remind you it’s a dual and to prevent its getting too thin and wiry. The neck pickup has the bloom and open-throated clarity I like in singlecoils at that position - but again with a bit of rounding from the additional coil. Never spiky. Together the neck and bridge nail a characteristic Gretsch jangletwangchimesparkle tone-n-texture that’s great clean or dirty. Definition and body, no mud, no ice picks.

Also, with the center pup it gets as close to a Strat as you’d expect from a centerblock hollerbody, which is a great bonus. Characteristic position 2 & 4 tones are spanky enough, and could be made more so by rolling out some of the warmth with EQ. Mine is modded to get all three pups at once - as close as this guitar gets to “muddy” - and middle pup alone, which provides a fabulous just-right soaring lead tone.

The guitar’s thinline centerblock construction lends its own particular dynamic envelope, which may or may not be what you’re after at any particular time - the guitar is not as richly resonant as a more open and/or deeper guitar - and it would be interesting to hear the Supers in that setting. I think they’d be pretty rewarding. But they’re great in this guitar. I’ve never even been tempted to swap them out.

My own tonal shorthand for them is that they’re a cross between HiLoTrons and a classic mini-humbucker.


This is my triple-hilo Gretsch and I'm very pleased with it, although I don't find the controls all that intuitive when playing live (especially if I'm trying to sing at the same time). So I tend to keep the cluster of four knobs (three pickup volumes and a master tone) full on, and just ride the master volume and the two switches. I keep the switch that activates the middle pickup off until I want to make some noise: flipping it in brings a nice boost in volume and high end. The main thing is I like the sound no matter which switch is where. Great guitar in my book.


Beautiful. How is the center block thing? Does it still sound Gretschy?


I’ve NEVER found a video of anyone using a filtertron with poles removed to get a hilotron sound. I’ve heard OF it though.

Any clues? Anyone here actually done it?


I'm with you on this, Vince. I've read this twice today now, on this site.

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