Pickups

TV Jones T-Armond Tone Transformation

1

Hi all. I just installed my new TV Jones T-Armonds into my 6120 DSW FSR guitar, swapping them for the stock Dynasonics. I thought I'd provide some photos of the process, since my old thread about the Powertron swap on my 6120N is missing (a casualty of the great database disaster ).

Here's the guitar on the operating table. No, I wasn't nervous doing a pickup swap on a $2000 guitar! .

2

First step was to remove the pickguard and knobs. I then attached some wire to the control pot shafts and lowered them into the body. Actually, you only need to remove the two pickup volume controls since the pickup wires are attached to those pots alone. The control pots can fortunately be lifted through the f-hole for the soldering phase.

3

I used a solder sucker (from Radio Shack) and a hot soldering iron to remove the wires from the pot. Note that the white wire from the pickup goes to the lug and ground wires to the back of the pot.

Once the wires are desoldered, you can unscrew the pickup and pull the pickup and wire completely out of the mounting hole.

4

Here's a comparison of the Dynas (still installed) and the T-Armonds. Look pretty much the same, eh??

5

Well, they look the same until you look at the magnets (these are the neck pickups). Wow! Those Dynas have huge, long magnets compared to the T-Armonds. Something tells me the T-Armonds are going to sound a little different...

By the way, for those interested in the pickup resistances, here's what I measured for each:

Dyna (neck): 7.6K ohms Dyna (bridge): 7.6K ohms

T-A (neck): 8.2K ohms T-A (bridge): 11.5K ohms

6

Here's the neck T-Armond in place. The wires were soldered to the pot and the pot put back in place using the thin wire tied previously to help get the shaft through the top mounting hole (that can be a bit fiddly) . I use the foam spacer supplied by TV Jones as it gave a perfect pickup height with respect to the strings (about 3/16" from the casing to the E strings). I noted that the T-Armond surrounds were about 1/32" shallower than the Dynas.

7

Repeating the process for the bridge pickup and then reassembling the hardware, the job was done. Took about two hours or so. I decided to try a tune-o-matic bridge, which works well with this guitar.

So, the million dollar question is "how do they sound"???

First, my experience with the Dynas after playing them for several months was that they were good pickups, but the bridge was a bit weak and the neck was a little unfocused. But the big thing for me is that they squealed(!) when even a little overdrive was used. I wanted to use this guitar for some higher gain rock and roll, and the T-Armonds offered the promise of wax potting to help reduce the squeal. After looking at the Dynasonics upon removing them from the guitar, I can see why they squealed. The magnets are long and skinny, and there is only a thin plastic band protecting the coil.

With the T-Armonds installed, I immediately noticed that the note separation was incredible, especially with the neck pickup! I literally lost track of time playing the neck pickup - it was THAT good. The bridge pickup was fat and ballsy, and perfectly balanced with the neck. I think I will slightly raise the height or adjust the magnets a little on the bridge pickup to get a tiny bit more output, but that's is a very minor issue. And they are both pretty quiet for single coils.

But here's the kicker. To test the high gain performance, I ran my 6120 DSW into a Tube Screamer then into my Roland BC-60 amp (both clean and with some preamp crunch added). With the TS on full gain - NO SQUEALING. PERIOD! I was getting Led Zeppelin type overdrive/distortion sounds from the bridge pickup (imagine a Tele bridge pickup on steriods). And with the neck pickup, I could cop some SRV-style single coil blues sounds (e.g. "Pride and Joy").

One more point - the DSW has a tone post under the bridge, and I was able to get some very controllable, musical feedback going. At gigging concert volumes, I will need to be mindful of feedback a bit more, but I had my amp cranked pretty high and it was not a problem.

In summary, the T-Armond pickups are beyond what I could have imagined, but given my experience with the Powertrons, entirely in line with TV Jones' reputation - he is a pickup master, without a doubt. If you are contemplating a Dynasonic pickup change and are on the fence about switching to T-Armonds, don't give it a second thought and just do it - you won't regret it.

8

Well done Frank. I'm dreaming of a T-Armond equipped Double Jet.

9

Frank, that's a beautiful guitar you got there.

10

T-Armonds are simply phenomenal pickups. If I could only have one guitar, it would very likely have T-Armonds. Actually, at the moment, I really do have only one guitar. It has T-Armonds.

11

I love every of my T-Armond- equipped Guitars

12

The more I play the T-Armonds, the more I'm becoming a fan of their unique single coil sound. And they really are quiet pickups individually, though they come as a RWRP pair and thus humbucking in the middle position.

Because I was concerned about squealing, I ALMOST went with Magnatrons in a Dearmond mount. I'm really glad I chose the T-Armonds instead (nothing against Magnatrons).

I would like to make a YouTube video so I can demonstrate the T-Armonds with overdrive. They're just phenomenal! We'll see...

13

I love every of my T-Armond- equipped Guitars

– Voodooholly

Nice Voodooholly! Do you play your guitars with overdrive? Just wondering what your opinion is of the T-Armonds with high gain. I can get mine to only slightly squeal if I turn the master volume up on my amp to ear bleeding levels!

14

No Frank, I play Rockabilly with the natural slight tube- breakup. But I like the reaction of the T-Armonds.It´s direct and dynamic

15

No Frank, I play Rockabilly with the natural slight tube- breakup. But I like the reaction of the T-Armonds.It´s direct and dynamic

– Voodooholly

Thanks. Though I like high gain sounds, like you I usually play with a modest amount of gain to give that crisp, edge of break up tube amp sound. The T-Armonds work very well for that. I have also noticed that i can back off on the guitar's master volume and the pickups still sound rich and full (I don't have a treble bleed mod on the master volume). There have been several occasions where I was playing away happily and later discovered my master volume was rolled down by a third!

16

Thanks for posting this, Frank. I love the Dynas in my DSW but don't really use the bridge pickup that much. I'm tempted to make the switch...

17

So cool! Thanks, Frank. You may have just cost me $300+.

18

Now go find a set of NOS DeArmonds and prepare to really be blown away

19

So cool! Thanks, Frank. You may have just cost me $300+.

– Bob Howard

Yes the T-Armonds are some of TV Jones' more expensive pickups, but they are worth every penny. For me, the difference in tone is magical. And why have a $2000 guitar and not love the tone?

The only bad thing is that I won't be playing my 6120N as much. Of course, the Powertrons in the 6120N give me my "Les Paul" humbucker sound, whereas the T-Armonds in the DSW give me my Tele (on steroids) single coil sound. I have all the bases covered - well, except for P90s. But TV Jones does make a P90 pickup...hmmmmm.

20

I have a Billy Bo with a T90 in the bridge position and it is everything you would want a P90 type pickup to be and more.

21

Now go find a set of NOS DeArmonds and prepare to really be blown away

– Billy D Light

True. As great as the T-Armonds are (and they really are!), the originals I have and others I've played somehow seem a little more balsy and gutsy, the T-Armonds are a little polite and refined in comparison.

22

True. As great as the T-Armonds are (and they really are!), the originals I have and others I've played somehow seem a little more balsy and gutsy, the T-Armonds are a little polite and refined in comparison.

– WB

Well, I am generally more polite and refined than balsy and gutsy, so...

23

Me too Bob, but I like my guitars a little more on the rude side..

24

Black guitars, especially Gretsch Jets and Hollow Bodies look great.

25

I swapped out the stock Dyna's on my DE with TVJ-TA's...sounds way better...made an already great guitar insane...worth every $ IMO...


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