TV JOnes classics vs vintage filterttrons


I'm betting this has been discussed here before but how do TV Jones classics compare to vintage filtertrons? Are they pretty well copies?


i hav a 58 gretsch filter and a tv jones classic. hardly a scientific comparison as i would expect the variations in the degradation of a 50s pickup may be wide and i don't know what the 58 sounded like new... but... they are close. to my ears tvclassic has more bite and wider dynamic range and 58 is a lil harmonically richer


I have several '60s Gretsches and numerous TV Jones Classic-equipped modern Gretsches, and I'd say elvis castro's assessment tracks what my ears hear, too. They're both great sounds, one not better than the other––only thinking makes it so.



To my ears the vintage ones are a bit smoother. Less output, less mids.


I think a crucial difference is wax potting.

Older Filtertrons don't have it.

This brings out more brightness and presence.

You can typically hear a difference by tapping on the pickup with your fingernail or pick.

A pickup that isn't potted makes a clear click...while a potted pickup makes more of a thud.

You can order a TV Jones pickup without potting. It will feed back more easily, but the sound has more clarity and brightness.

I liken it to a microphone that's more sensitive. Better sound but more prone to feedback.


I have an Anniversary 6118-LTV that came with TV classics. I also own a vintage 1959 6121 with original vintage filtertrons, and I've been able to spend quality time with a number of other old Gretsches from the late 50s and early 60s, including a 1960 6118 and a buddy's vintage 1960 6120. To my ears, the TV Classics have a little more brightness and clarity than the vintage pickups, but also feel/sound a little bit "harder," with less "give" when I dig into them--particularly the bridge pickup. Admittedly, I've been comparing TVs in a new guitar vs. vintage filters in old guitars, so it's not an apples to apple comparison.

A few years ago, I ordered a set of non-potted TV Classics for my Anniversary, and found that they had more of the character of vintage filters--but they were still a bit brighter/harder than the oldies.

Last year, after listening to a lot of online clips comparing various filtertron varieties against originals, I purchased a pair of the plain, run-of-the-mill High Sensitivity Filtertrons. I disassembled them, melted as much wax out of the coils as I could, and slapped them in my Anniversary. For me, in my particular Anniversary, they sound quite a bit more like vintage filtertrons.

Please don't take this as me putting down TV Jones pickups. Tom is a HUGE part of revitalizing the Gretsch brand. He makes great products that sound wonderful, and if you're looking for Brian Setzer tones, buying his pickups is a complete no-brainer. But for me, High Sensitivity Filtertrons were a noticeable step in my my tonal quest for tones like Pete Townshend's on Who's Next, and Neil Young / Stephen Stills' tones from Buffalo Springfield.


In your case you're looking for seriously overdriven sounds I mostly play clean clean clean. I don't even try to overdrive my amp at all That's interesting about the potting on the conventional gretsch filtertrons


I play my Gretsches from completely clean to pretty dirty and everywhere in between. I should clarify that the TV Classic neck pickup is actually pretty darn close to the sound of a vintage Filtertron neck pickup (just a smidgen brighter to my ears). It's mainly in the bridge pickups that I hear/feel more of a difference, with the originals having less of a hard edge when overdriven, and kind of a magical, liquid midrange when played clean.


Well my Super Chet has fitertrons and my LTV 59 has jones pickups. They sound great but never anywhere near my original SC.


Now it would be the Butts Ful Fidelity Filtertrons versus vintage Filtertrons...lol


Will the real vintage filtertron pickup copy please stand up?


The design, frequency center/response, medium output, and general smooth warm tonality of Gretsch Filtertrons are, of course, a huge and critical part of the legendary Gretsch mystique. There are variances from one era to another, and from one maker to another. While these variances are not always subtle, they are nevertheless, rarely deal breakers. IOW, there is a deep and central commonality to the sound of various incarnations of Gretsch Filtertrons, that keep them singing in the same choir. Personally, I've never met a F'tron I didn't like. In fact, I love 'em all. Love 'em. Having said that, I am greatly enjoying the TV Classics in my 6122. To my ear, these are the sweetest sounding f'trons currently extant in the Gretsch world. At once, both vintage and contemporary sounding. I've absolutely no desire to experiment with other available pups. Easily my personal gold star standard in that great wealth of Gretsch tonality. Just sayin...


I liked the TV Classic neck (very much like a vintage Filtertron), but not the TV Classic bridge (bridge has more output and wider pole spacing than a vintage Filtertron). I would get two TV Classic neck pickups, and put one in the bridge cavity. Or if you are on a budget, get two Gretsch HS Filtertron neck pickups, and install them like the above.

Register Sign in to join the conversation