The latest HS Filtertrons Are Great!


Yeah Krang! I would love to hear your tone through that gear you have pictured there.


So if I remove the wax potting, will the pickups get more glassy? Or just more clear? More dynamic maybe?


Yeah Krang! I would love to hear your tone through that gear you have pictured there.

– BuddyHollywood

Haha yeah BuddyH, it sounds Huge! My goldtop Electromatic is affectionately named "Krang" simply coz that's the kinda tone it's got through my Marshalls. It's fitted with 12-52's at the moment and open chords just hammer!! (Think Malcolm Young rhythm player from ACDC)

Unfortunately my new Duo Jet (Darth) came fitted with wimpy 10-46 strings which have a nice polite sound, but don't have the balls of Krangs heavy strings. And as I don't have nut files, nor easy access to a luthier I can't fit heavier strings on Darth so I'm stuck with wimpy light strings for a while.

Although that's not really such a bad thing coz I reckon the HS FilterTrons in Darth sound pretty damn good even with light strings. They ain't as "gritty" sounding as the BlackTops in Krang


I got one of these nut files from AxeMasters. It works!

– BuddyHollywood

G'day BuddyH. I'm a bit of a "hoarder" and have a whole tangled cluster of "old" guitar strings of varying gauges. I broke the high E string on "Darth" (my new Duo Jet) last night. I really don't like the feel of its standard 10-46 strings so I ordered a set of 11-49's a cuppa day's ago. Should be here tomorrow.

Anyway I wanted to keep playing Darth into the early hours of the morning so I scrounged through the rats nest of old strings I've saved and found a replacement to carry me through until the new ones arrive. As it turns our the High E string I found was from a previous set of 12-52's that I fit to "Krang" (my Electromatic double cut Jet)

The broken string was a 10 guage. And the "old" replacement is a 12 guage, and it fitted perfectly ok in the standard nut slot. So Im thinking I may be able to run heavier than stock strings on Darth without any nut mods.

And back on topic, I was originally informed on "the other" Gretsch forum that the BlackTop FilterTrons in my Electromatic are the same pickups as the high sensitivity FilterTrons in my Duo Jet, except for a different chrome cover.

I can 100% say that is BS because even though they sound a bit similar, they are most definitely NOT the same. My HS FT's sound smooth and chimy with a light touch and break up superbly when digging in. The Blacktops have a more grittier sound overall, but still sound fantastic in their own way.

My overall choice though is definitely the HS FT's. They are the very best pickups I've ever used in any guitar I've ever owned. So touch sensitive, and articulate!


Pickup guitar, CHECK

6 strings? CHECK

Plug it in, Makes Noise? CHECK

Go play it.

Everything will work itself out after that


I Love the Blacktops in my G5191BK. but I get along with Gretschbuckers too so maybe I'm more like Billy D. I don't own a pro line Gretsch but my Blacktops are about as close as you can get. Once Joe C. adjusted the height of these, they came alive. Gorgeous cleans and gritty, gainy, growling crunch when I need or want it. I think we all get a little too cork sniffy sometimes but I'm cool with that. I love to hear the way folks around here describe their sound or the sound of their pickups.


HS Filtertrons and Blacktop Filtertrons are not the same pickup. One difference is the HS Filtertrons use alnico magnets and the Blacktops use ceramic magnets. I'm not sure what other differences there are.

It appears that Josh McClorey, the guitar player in The Strypes swapped out the Blacktops for either HS Filtertrons or TV Jones pickups in his white Pro Jet. If they were the same he probably wouldn't have done that.


Both great pups - go with what moves you sonically


The Blacktops also have more output (e.g. they are hotter) than the HS Filtertrons.


Now I understand now why we have had a big increase in pickups coming back for wax dipping.

We also have many customers send their pickups back for Double Dipping - they play with higher gain. Billy Gibbons, Jack White, Chris Cheney, etc., order their pickups Double Dipped. We dip as usual, then re-dip and quickly freeze the pickup to help solidify the wax under the cover.
First of all, we do not pot our pickups. Many pickup manufactures vacuum pot their pickups. The wax is forced to the core of the bobbin. I do not like what it does to the pickups tone. We only saturate for a short period of time to hold everything together and take the ring out of the cover and backplate. I have personal guitars with no wax (nice sound), but they are useless (microphonic whistle) when I want to play with gain, or even a louder stage volume. Using a hair dryer will melt the wax on the inside of the pickup cover and backplate, but the wax residue remains in the coils (outer winds). Think of it like lowering your string action. Low action makes it easier to play easier with less resistance and more in tune. The draw back is String Buzz and Less Sustain. With a non dipped pickup you may gain a slight edge on the tone you're after, but there may be a squealing pig to deal with. But, TV Jones will consider all of your comments and see if there is a way to meet your needs.

btw: Brian Setzer's '59 pickups are waxed dipped.

High Sensitive pickups are great pickups. If you're happy, do not change them. But I must say, we have an overwhelming positive response, daily, from elated customers regarding our pickups (sorry, but I needed to mention this). And remember, the stock post 2004 (2003 transitionary period) MIJ Professional Line Gretsch wiring harnesses are excellent (CTS and Switchcraft equipped). Do not waist your money on a new wiring harness. Unless you are wiring something custom. Electromatics are a good candidate for a harness. Not that Gretsch is trying to be cheap. They are keeping the costs down so more of us can own a Gretsch. B.O.M. costs are saved on the guitars construction, wiring, pickups, and hardware.

TV Jones pickups are slightly taller than stock pickups. When they are installed they sit closer to the strings. Pickup set up is crucial. I would like to make a video dedicated to Filter'tron pickup adjustment. I came up with a cool discovery a few years back. More growl out of the bridge position and better clarity and less boom out of the neck position.


TVJ Classics and alnico HS Filtertrons are both excellent. Different flavors really. Had a set of the classics in a Washburn J9, and they transformed that guitar. Seemed to have elements of PAF sound and more single-coil, twang possibilities too. By contrast, the HS Filtertrons that came to me in a 5120 were a bit softer somehow, had really beautiful and warm tones. And transformed that guitar for sure.

Different guitars, different scale lengths, which factored into how those two sets sounded. Bottom line: I love 'em both! MD


Yes I have TV classics in a 5120 and HS filtertrons in a 6136 and I totally agree with your findings, but I love both setups.


I put a set of HS Filtertrons in my old Pro Jet and they sound fantastic. It was well worth ripping the cavity to shreds with a Dremel.


I recently played that Falcon with a center block that had HS Filtertrons and holy cow now I get what you guys mean about "sparkle" And I see why some use the TV Jones Classic plus in the bridge position, I suppose you can adjust the height to better level out the two pickups, but yeah the bridge does seem a little weak. Probably just a height issue

But dang they sound sweet. I finally made peace with my Blacktops, they are fine and I am satisfied with the tone I'm getting from them, but I see replacing them with HS Filtertrons one day just for that sparkle.

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