Reissue Blacktop filtertrons


I recently put a pair of those reissue Blacktop Filtertrons in my late 80s Yamaha AE-1200S in lieu of the original Humbuckers (they drop in and have the English mount) and they sound quite beautiful. They have the bright sweetness of hilotrons but a little more juicy or liquid sounding(for lack of a better expression) . A bit smoother too. I was very impressed. I always adjust the pole pieces to compensate for the wound/unwound strings and on these pair I just adjusted one row of poles on each pickup . The other row I mimicked the contour but kept them quite low. Gives a great sound. They measure around 4+ k each Much like regular filtertrons. THese are from one of the Tim Armstrng models. Anyone know if there's any difference between these and the current 5420 blacktop filtertrons? (I'm thinking of buying another pair for my other Yamaha)


I believe that all of the Blacktops are the same that they are putting out currently. I love mine. If they are adjusted as close to the strings as you can, they're a thing of beauty! Jangly and bright.


Do the new ones sound like originals?


HIlarious! A blast from my misspent youth BIlly Duffy is another good 70s white falcon and country club(his black one)

Frankly I'm beginning that the difference between all these pickups is pretty minimal and easily remedied or altered by EQ


I tried them in a 5420. Couldn't wait to get rid of it. They did absolutely nothing for me. If they are better than what you had before, I can only wonder what your originals sounded like. To me the neck pup was one of the worst I've heard.

I tried them in a pro jet and thought they were almost ok, in a Les Paul kinda way. But not Gretschy, whatever that is.


Tried a Gretsch with the blacktops. Great well built guitar. With that said I didn't care for the tone. I doubt these are built with the same design as the original Blacktops like the 70s White Falcons like Mathew Ashman's.


I'm sure they could be made to sound like that. Overdrive amp and or use distortion pedal, roll of most of the bass, turn up treble, add reverb, voila! Oh yes and most importantly play the part the fellow is playing as well as he does! I'm pretty sure you could get that sound with a variety of guitars if you played it right.

Uncle Daddy, you can wonder away about what my other pickups sounded like...because I wasn't trying to 'upgrade'. I was just trying them out for fun, and 'horrors' I liked them! I guess I was surprised because so many people heaped scorn on them.

I actually had vintage hilotrons on the guitar previously and as usual they sounded lovely as they have in all my other Gretsch for the past 25 years of playing professionally. People heaped scorn on HIlotrons all that time as a "wimpy,' low output pickup. When actually they are a beautiful articulate sweet sounding pickup. It's mostly the player though. Gear is only a small part of the equation. But fun! it was a relatively easy swap so I thought I'd give it a try for kicks. I might switch back but for now I'm enjoying them.


The G5422T i got 3 weeks ago has blacktop FilrterTrons and I'm on the fence right now. At first i was dead set on changing then, after a few weeks I'm getting some Gretsch goodnessand some really nice tones. It took me a while to dial it in but they are sounded much better to me that I originally though. That said I'm still strongly considering swapping for some TV's just based on the incredible sound clips I've heard. You know,,, the grass always looks greener on the other side kinda thing


TV Jones obviously makes great pickups but I feel all these variations are mild changes on a theme of a mini humbucker wound to relatively low output. They all have alnico magnets. The blacktop does have an 1/8" thick alnico magnet vs the 1/4 in the HS and TV Jones. I personally feel these 'differences' are over emphasized. So far of the HS filtertrons, the TV Jones filtertrons and the blacktop ones I have enjoyed the Blacktops most and so does my wallet! A lot of people buy guitars and instantly swap out parts because the internet tells them to.


A quetstion for youn guys, i read, i think on a couple of threads that the BlackTops sound best raised up closer to the strings?

What do you guys think?


'Best' is subjective and a matter of opinion really If you mean louder, then yes! On my Yamaha Ae1200S on the bass side I have the pickup casing about 1/4" from the E string poles adjusted to compensate for teh 12-52 strings I use. I like a nice big bright clean sound.


If you can adjust it on your own, then do so. I prefer it near the strings, I think it sounds best if you're a set and forget player.


Could some of you who have adjusted them provide some details about what exactly you did? Height adjustment like details? I have a 5420t and I have not yet started adjusting and playing with them yet so I'm looking for a starting point from someone who is digging the tone they have coaxed from theirs.

I like clean and sparkly and if I can get that from these pickups I will be one happy dude. I love the guitar.

I can easily just raise and lower the entire pickup, and plan to do that but I figured I might get some kind of a benchmark from what has worked from some of you as a starting point.

I have also read where some people removed a line of poles from each pickup. Any details on that?

Anyhow, I plan to try a little of everything in my quest to love these pickups.


Rather than removing a line of poles, you can achieve a similar effect by raising one row and lowering the other.


Remove the pickup and cut a third of the spring off. Re-attache and raise as high as possible.


Joe Carducci did this mod for me after I first got my new G5191BK. I'll admit I was a bit disappointed with the sound before he did this. Afterwards, all was wonderfully Gretschy.

Edit. the results were a higher jangly sounding guitar. I think if you do this, you'll be impressed. Some may still go the TVJones way but I haven't seen any reason too, yet, and I'm preparing to record some stuff on our new album with this guitar.


I just raised both pickups and it made a world of difference on the bridge pickup, I think I'll have to follow your suggestion and cut the springs to raise the neck pickup anymore than I have already.

I'll fiddle with it more later on in the weekend. Thanks!


I just raised the overall height of the Blacktop Filtertron bridge pickup on my new G5422TG and was nicely surprised by the improvement. Maybe I won't go to TV Jones just yet.


I'm tellin' ya. They just need to be given a chance. They're wonderful, when closer to the strings.


From clips I've heard it seems the Blacktops handle natural overdrive really well. I think I would love one as a bridge pickup.

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