Pickups

This vintage p/u sounds great, but I wanna know more.

1

Hey all:

this pick-up came in a donor guitar I'm using to make a new vintage custom with Curt Wilson.

Can anyone tell me more about it?

4

Looks like the old hi-lo that came in the 1961 Clipper I got from SuperDave. Careful. The magnet is what was holding the innards together in mine.

5

Looks like a hilotron to me too - Looks like you can still make out a bit of the gold lettering on the left hand side where the G in Gretsch would have been.

6

Yes, it's a normal HiLotron. I have never seen one with the tape around it like that but that doesn't mean that it never was done that way.... Very low powered and bright. Some people like them.

7

HiLo Tron -- better than a '51 Nocaster bridge, better than a '59 PAF.

8

Yeah hilotron wrapped in tape. Of course it sounds great! You can sell it to me, I need a second one.

9

I don't think I've ever been one of those people who likes variety when it comes to instruments. I certainly appreciate variety, but when pressed I'd prefer to have two guitars that sounds the same versus ones that are different.

We plugged in the p/u at the shop and it sounds pretty amazing...but i didn't have a second thought about pulling it out to put a PAF in.

10

That pickup doesn’t sound anything like a HIlo, it’s fat and funky, kinda like a baby P90. Maybe call it’s p45.

11

Stop me if I'm wrong but it looks exactly like every hilotron I own, except for being wound in masking tape(They can fall apart easily). The 1/4 magnet on it's side, the tall narrow half a filtertron coil. Exactly. In the neck position a hilotron can certainly sound fat and funky. I find they have more bottom (and top) than filtertrons. What does it measure with a meter on it? There is nothing 'thin' about hilotrons, it's more like there's something 'thick' about most high gain and humbucker pickups. To me a hilotron sounds more like a guitar actually does sound.

12

That pickup doesn’t sound anything like a HIlo, it’s fat and funky, kinda like a baby P90. Maybe call it’s p45.

– Curt Wilson

Interesting, since it obviously is a HiloTron. I wonder what's been done to it?

13

I've rewound a couple of vintage hilotrons. It's not like you can make them hugely hotter by doing so. It's a pretty small bobbin. Is there an extra magnet or something?? Is there a measurement on this pickup's DC resistance?

15

I don't know the specifics but it definitely is possible to make them more powerful.
One of the HiLos on a Tennie of someone I know was broken so he sent it to a pick up builder in Holland to be rewound.
When he got the pick up back he put it in the guitar and expected a normal HiLo but it was like a DeArmond on steroids. It sounded great but ridiculously powerful. So he measured it and it came out to 12 k.

Apparently this builder didn't know anything about Gretsch pick ups but when he got the pick up he probably googled Gretsch single coil and found DeArmonds. He must have found somewhere that they can get up to 12k so that's what he wound it to. Ridiculous. He sent it back and got it wound correctly afterwards. I still don't know exactly what the guy did....

16

He must've used some ridiculously thin wire.

17

2.782

– Curt Wilson

That's sounds like a hilotron, on the lower side for a hilotron but definitely in the ballpark. I've used a hilotron equipped Tennessean for Jazzy stuff no problem. Nice big warm sound.

18

He must've used some ridiculously thin wire.

– Toxophilite

Yes, that's most likely the only way he could have pulled it off. Strange because he could have measured the wire that was on the pick up....

19

The Hilotron that was in the Clipper I sold Bob Howard had a really low thump on the bass side, so I can see them being a good pick up for lows. Certainly under powered, when compared to other pickups but they have their own voice, as well. It LOOKS like a Hilotron.

20

One of the HiLos on a Tennie of someone I know was broken so he sent it to a pick up builder in Holland to be rewound. When he got the pick up back he put it in the guitar and expected a normal HiLo but it was like a DeArmond on steroids. It sounded great but ridiculously powerful. So he measured it and it came out to 12 k.

So...kind of a Hotro’Tron?

21

That pickup doesn’t sound anything like a HIlo, it’s fat and funky, kinda like a baby P90. Maybe call it’s p45.

– Curt Wilson

What do you think it is then? It really looks like a HiLo'tron to me.

22

The Hilotron that was in the Clipper I sold Bob Howard had a really low thump on the bass side, so I can see them being a good pick up for lows. Certainly under powered, when compared to other pickups but they have their own voice, as well. It LOOKS like a Hilotron.

– Suprdave

I wouldn't call a hilotron underpowered at all, unless you're trying to drive your preamp into distortion. To me they're an all around versatile pickup, clean, dirty you name it. They especially sound pretty very clean though.

There are a lot of negative preconceived notions about hilotrons, spawned I believe, mostly during the time when higher gain pickups were all the rage. At the time I didn't know they were supposed to be inferior so I always enjoyed them a lot... Lower gain pickups are generally clearer and more articulate. Like most pickups, they sound drastically different, depending upon where you put them and how they're set up.

23

Yeah, I can see where "under powered" would come of as a negative connotation. I really meant lower gain, which is how you described them. That would be more correct. I guess I meant that they aren't as HOT as other pickups. I do love their unique sound.

24

One of the HiLos on a Tennie of someone I know was broken so he sent it to a pick up builder in Holland to be rewound. When he got the pick up back he put it in the guitar and expected a normal HiLo but it was like a DeArmond on steroids. It sounded great but ridiculously powerful. So he measured it and it came out to 12 k.

So...kind of a Hotro’Tron?

– Proteus

It was hot, that's true. But I think he tried to make a Dyna so Dyna'Tron? Although it mostly was mids so perhaps Midro'tron? But that doesn't say anything about it's power. Ok, Hotro'Tron it is!

Makes me wonder about the name HiLoTron. Is it called HiLo because it has no mids?

25

Probably because they have extended range in the highs and lows with the mids being more balanced, not unlike an acoustic instrument.


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