TVJ Classics…


Of all my guitars, the 6120 with TVJ Classics is the one I would single out as for always having to search for the best Amp setting. It's the ring, the chime...that Great Gretsch sound, whatever.

It's been a decade, still searching...

Is it my ears? Is there a generally accepted combination for FilterTrons?

I think I like the wide open Volume control sound the best versus dialing back. And I am amenable to the Mud Switch at higher volumes. I might like the center Pickup selection the most, too.

What are all your thoughts or experiences with Filters?




I prefer Filters over Dynas. Three guitars have TVJ Classics. They all arrived that way. (Did not realize it before purchase on one of them). I’m a big fan of the Supertron neck/Classic Plus bridge combo and have thought of putting that combo in one of the three. Then I heard Full’Trons in a Broadkaster at Nashville. Everyone seemed to really like them. “Great sparkle”, “Just what I was looking for”, etc. I might have to consider that set. Dynas are okay, but just don’t quite match the Filters. All my guitars are played with the volume wide open.


I've been a FilterTron guy for decades -- no question or hesitation. However..... in recent years I've come to really like the tones of "upgraded" Dynas like TB Jones's T-Armonds and Seymour Duncan's Custom Shop Dynas.

I've been using Tavo's Dyno Brain preamp for over 3 years. IMO, it is a MUST.... wouldn't leave home without it. The Dyno Brain is a pre-amp, not an effect. It enhances sound – it does not change sound. At unchanged volume levels it expands your sound. It creates the sense of a room full of sound rather than sound coming from a box in the corner of the room.

Some have said it is (sort of) the opposite of a compressor – it opens up notes rather than limiting of compressing them. However, it works very well with a compressor. I’m running mine through an Origin Effects Cali 76 – with great results.


My all-time favorite pickup. I just can’t get them to sound bad....even with my crappy playing. I love my Dynasonics, too, but when I think of Gretsch tone, I think of the TV Classics. Setzer Signatures rock, too, FWIW.


My only Gretsch currently with Filters is a 6122-62VS. Its a bit of a muddy sounding guitar even with the TJ Jones Classics. But I think that's due more to the body construction. It's probably my least favorite of my current stable of Gretsches.

Hilotrons would be my first choice these days.


For versatility I like Gretsch High Sensitive Filtertrons. Probably even better than TV Jones stuff which seems to more often be geared toward greasy rock-a-billy sounds. The trick is to remove the wax potting by blowing a hair drier in them. Removing wax potting gives you more sensitivity and high end...but they might feed back easier...then again so will a highly sensitive $5,000 microphone.


I'm with guitarcapo on this. I know this is heresy in many parts of the land, but I replaced the TV Classics in my 6118LTV with High Sensitive Filtertrons in order to get it to sound closer to my vintage Gretsches. Instead of a hairdryer, I used the oven to melt as much wax out of them as I could.

In all fairness, I think the Classic neck pickup does sound pretty close to a vintage Filtertron (if just a hair brighter), especially if you order them unpotted. The Classic bridge pickup is the one I struggle a with a little bit--to me, it sounds quite a bit brighter than vintage, and has a harder edge to it, kind of like it has a touch of Tele bridge pickup mixed in with it.

That's not to badmouth TV Jones. He make great pickups, and if you're looking for Brian Setzer's tone, you need look no farther. If you're looking for Neil Young or Pete Townshend tones, I prefer the HS Filters.


Ok guys, so getting the potting wax out of the "HS" Filters helps with the highs?


I dialed into a nice EQ late this afternoon using the CVR with the C15N...might be my ears are happier that time of day.

I'll play the same setting in the morning. Always a difference...


Ok guys, so getting the potting wax out of the "HS" Filters helps with the highs?

– J(ust an old Cowboy)D

Removing potting (by melting as much wax as you can out of the coils AND cleaning the baseplate, inside of cover, the magnet, and shims down to bare metal/wood) seems to give the sound more air, more liveliness, and more of an organic quality to me. I don't know if that's exactly the same thing as "helping with the highs", but it did make the highs a little clearer and a little less "hard" sounding" at the same time. Bear in mind that you'll never come close to getting all of the wax out of a wound coil--but I do think you can change a potted pickup into a "lightly potted" one. Yes, this is HIGHLY subjective, and I know there are a lot of people who would disagree with me.

It seems like almost all of my favorite old pickups on various guitars of various makes are either unpotted or lighltly potted, and they seem to have a sound quality that I don't hear in most modern pickups. Several years ago I bought a set of unpotted Classics from TV Jones, and I liked them much better than the stock, fully potted ones that came in my 6118LTV. In doing A/B comparisons of different pickups in that guitar vs. bone stock pickups in old Gretsches (including a 1959 6121, a 1960 6120, and a 1960 6118), the HS Filtertrons that had been "dewaxed" came the closest to the vintage sound to my ears.

But as a long-time guitar player and tweaker, I know that we all listen for different things.


In my experience, a wax potted pickup feeds back less...but the tone is more sterile. In my opinion what a lot of people are hearing that they prefer in a vintage pickup is that lack of wax potting. You know that guy with the cheap Japanese guitar from the 1960's who loves his guitar tone and can't understand why? It's the lack of wax potting on the pickups. Vibrations from the wood get through to the pickup more. Just tap on a pickup with a pencil that isn't wax potted and you can hear it compared to the potted one. Seymour Duncan's "Antiquity" and "Seth Lover" humbuckers do away with the wax potting as part of the recipe.

You will get more feedback issues in a guitar equipped with non-wax potted pickups. But an expensive sensitive Neumann microphone will feedback more than a cheap mic as well. What's the point? Are you playing out at clubs with a Marshall stack cranked to 11... or just at home recording or playing with friends in your garage? If it's the latter, you will sound better without the potting. All the vibrations from the guitar body are getting to the coils and shaking them without being muted by wax....and that's something you hear as well as the interaction of the string and the magnet. Frankly it is why you buy a quality guitar in the first place.

TV Jones sells their pickups with the option of not wax potting them. Old vintage Filtertrons don't usually have it. In a pinch you can melt it out with a hair drier. You don't have to go overboard. Just heat the thing and let the wax drip out and enjoy the sonic results. Be careful not to demagnatize the pickup by overheating, though. A little probably isn't a bad thing, though. More vintage sounding.


I put an HS in the bridge and kept my TV Classic in the neck on my 6122-62SP...vintage heaven. The HS need the magnet flipped due to the differences in polarity and the way Gretsch and TV jones wind their pickups .. Had to do this..the TV bridge wire pulled from the coil and broke when I was moving it.. TV has no clasp on the back of pickup unlike the HS and vintage to stabilize the wires if you need to move it.Too much to fix, too much time..just bought the HS ..then encountered the polarity issue.. Fixed it ..glad I did..I like the bridge way better with the HS


I think I'm going to try a set of T-Armonds.

There are things in this thread that answer a few questions for me. I need higher resistance and a lower resonance point. My amps handle that better.

Of course, I can just get another amp, too!



Pick up height is key. Back off till you like the Presence then fine tune string balance with the screws. Theres a sweet spot..depending on the variables of string gauge, amp eq, speakers, effects and style of playing. Dial it in.....It’s achievable.

All due respect.


Again all due respect... are you at bedroom levels or gig /rehearsal room? Another variable that changes things up big time. I got two with Classics, Two with Setzer sigs n One with dynas. I had to adjust pups in em all to make my ear happy... Feel the force don’t force the feel... uh ya something like that


I plan to space things down an increment, first, and then put in a Tone Pot. Right now I'm set up as is recommended...just too much shimmer.

Too much Great Gretsch Sound!


if You don’t have already, get the neoprene pad spacers to aid your quest.


I have a couple notes into TV Jones...hope they reply with some options. I can pick up the chat once I hear back.

I don't play at "gig" venue volume, but I can let it loose within our home. And I do...


“let it loose” ...awesome, may I use that??? I hear a song title.


Of course my wife has left the house for a while...

There is something about getting everything fully energized you can't reproduce any other way...

Let it Loose!


I really really like the TV Jones Filter'tron Classics and have a Classic+ in the bridge of my SSLVO. The VS '59 Jet I have came stock with Classics and i haven't changed them. They sound fantastic.

I've used various different Filter'trons, Power'trons, T-Armonds, T-90s...always come back to the Classics. I had a neck Power'tron with a bridge Classic for a while in the 6120 and that worked for a more jazzy neck sound. Overall though I think that the Classics work best for me but they do need a fair bit of tweaking. Incredibly sensitive to adjustment and there is a lot to adjust! I seem to like them VERY close to the strings. I'm not a strummer - I'm a hybrid picker mostly and usually use a little dirt. And Filter'trons are very fussy about the dirt. I like something with a broad, flattish response with tight lows. So not Tubescreamers! And I love tweeds with Gretsches. The only BF Fender which ever worked for me with a Filter'tron was the Super Reverb. Try a 6120 through a Badcat amp - now that can be a religious experience!

And being a heretic briefly - I have tried the Nocturne preamp a few times - the Roland space-echo preamp thing. All it does for me is add a little noise and possibly a little mud. I tried and tried but all it ever did for me was annoy! I have never heard the mojo I'm afraid. It's just a simple little transistor preamp. No magic happened for me. But the tube preamp in the Fulltone Tape echo - now that is a cool sound with a Gretsch.


My Tone Pot parts arrived today, and I had my exchange with the TV Jones folks. I ordered the kit of PVC tubes to do the swap.

Once I get things apart I'll judge whether to shim down the Pickups. I played for an hour through the Custom Vibrolux Reverb...it handles the Classics a lot better than the refurbed Gretsch Super Bass.

The Super Bass has had its 6 weeks of get familiar honeymoon play time, and is ready for a little bit of noise floor reduction and tone trimming. My Tech and I chatted some, and there are a couple easy things to implement.

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