Pickups

Rio Grande BBQ’Tron set

1

I have this thinline Cab that I love, and I have tried all kinds of pickups in it. It's been fun.

I've gone through:
Fidelitrons.
Classics.
Powertrons.
Setzer Sigs.
T-90s.
T-Armonds.
...and I really liked the T-90s, LOVED the T-Armonds. But these BBQ'Trons were a different beast, and I wanted to give them a shot... I'd like ONE humbucking tele, for my band gigs, if I can find a Filtertron I like in it....

I've lived with the BBQ Trons in my Thinline Cabronita for a little while now. So I'll post my observations:

They are like marrying a Filtertron and a PAF. They are clear, but very thick. Midrange thick. The plain strings have NO stridency at all. I don't think you'd be able to get "Chet" out of these pickups if you tried. But I didn't buy them for that. I was looking to make the Cab more of a blues/rock/Gibbons machine, and the BBQs do that in spades.

I don't think I'd like them in my 6120, UNLESS I wanted it to sound like a Gibson. The scooped-mids clarity of Classics/Setzers goes better with the big hollow body, IMO (and did not go well with the Cabronita, also IMO). I can understand how the BBQs would make a tone switch unusable. Interestingly, the tone switch in the "lesser high cut" position (6120 with Setzers) is similar to the BBQtron tone... altho the BBQs are alot louder.

I've had Powertrons, and I prefer the BBQs to those (the TVJs have a "hi-fi-ness" or something, that I don't like in a solid body. It's great in the 6120). I did buy a Ptron+ to try, but I never did, and sold it, so I can't compare the BBQs to that one.

Another comparison I can give is to T90s and T-Armonds. The BBQs are closer, tonally/EQ, to both of these pickups than the Classic Filtertrons. they are FAT. Which, again, is what I wanted for this guitar. I actually think of them as a humbucking "version" of the TAs and T90s, because that's where they sit, tonally. They are more in that "family" tonally than in the Filter Classic family.

I still prefer the T-Armonds overall, because I love rod magnets, there's just something about them... it's a feel thing I think? TAs have GORGEOUS clean tones, and great dirty tones (altho with some hum), while the BBQs would not be my first choice for clean tones (altho they a nice sounding), but really come alive when gain is thrown at them. If the TAs had been humbucking, I would have stopped with them. FANTASTIC tone and feel.

For this crowd, which is of course alot of big hollow body players, I'd say this: if you've always wanted more of a Gibson sound out of your Gretsch (blasphemy!), give the BBQs a try. For the Jet owners, my Cab thinline isn't a Jet of course, but I can tell you if you want a healthy dose of midrange to fatten up your Jet, the BBQs will git 'er done.

So, for now, they are staying. I'm not selling my T-Armonds yet, I love those pickups in this guitar, and may return to them someday. But having a tele with hum-cancelling pickups will be good for my band gigs (already rehearsed with it twice). It's turned the Cabronita into a Gibbons-like machine...

2

They sound perfect for a Cabronita. I had Classics in mine at first, but eventually switched to the Powertrons to get a little more midrange. Even the Powertrons never got me what I wanted and I eventually sold that guitar.

I have a Dimarzio Chopper T in my B16ed Tele now, and it's a lot closer to what I wanted. Having a hell of a time setting that guitar up now, B16 and all.

3

Yes, the BBQs are thicker than Powertrons even. I'd have to say, they lean more towards the PAF side of the tracks than the Filtertron side of the tracks (and I'd say exactly the opposite about Powertrons).

I had been playing mostly clean, to really hear the pickups' characteristics, but this evening I put some gain to them (I have a Bad Cat Hot Cat) and holy moly.... the BBQs are fantastic. TOTAL Billy Gibbons. Gainy/juicy, punchy, just huge sounding. Exactly what I was after for this guitar.

4

I'm also a big fan of Rio Grande pickups. My favorite R-G pickup is the Twangbucker. I have one installed in my homemade Telecaster shown here. Basically it is a R-G Muy Grande + a Vintage Tallboy (both single coils with alnico magnet pole pieces) which are configured as a Tele bridge humbucker. Very beefy tone and just sustains for days. Here I have it wired with a push-pull coil split switch for the Twangbucker to give me either the full humbucker or just the Muy Grande if desired.

5

Would be cool if they actually smoked and smelled like burning hickory... or ribs! Maybe a beef scented bridge and a pork scented neck pick up. Yummm!

6

I'm also a big fan of Rio Grande pickups. My favorite R-G pickup is the Twangbucker. I have one installed in my homemade Telecaster shown here. Basically it is a R-G Muy Grande + a Vintage Tallboy (both single coils with alnico magnet pole pieces) which are configured as a Tele bridge humbucker. Very beefy tone and just sustains for days. Here I have it wired with a push-pull coil split switch for the Twangbucker to give me either the full humbucker or just the Muy Grande if desired.

– Frank_NH

I've had a Muy Grande bridge in my #1 tele for something like 26 years. I had tried their regular BBQ Buckers in a Les Paul copy once, wasn't much a fan... but I had a hunch the BBQ Trons might be "something different", and the review on the website (along with a review on the other Gretsch forum), I thought it was worth the chance... because I love this Cabronita, just haven't found THE pickups for it yet... but I think the BBQ Trons might very well be it.

I wanted a FAT, raunchy, but not bloated (like PAFs can get) tele, something that could do Tab Benoit style blues as well as rock, the BBQ Trons really deliver. I think while they ARE humbuckers (PAF style, bar magnet), and overwound (by vintage PAF standards), the narrower magnetic field of the Filtertron design keeps the bass from getting too bloated and woofy (which is a common symptom with real wide range humbuckers as well as overwound PAFS). That was my hunch, and I think it's proving right.

To be honest, I've NEVER been a Filtertron fan. I love Brian Setzer's tone, and bought a Hot Rod (and put Setzer Sigs in it) just to get that tone, but until recently, I've never liked Filters,... just never been totally happy with them. (I am now, in the Hot Rod, but that's a long story).

These BBQ Trons, I just love. They don't sound or FEEL like Filtertrons to me. They sound more like a wide range humbucker. TONS of mids. But tighter bass than a PAF (or WRHB), as well as thicker trebles (plain strings). Just FAT and ballsy. Not a distortion pickup- they are clear, just very fat.


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