Pickups

TVJ Classics…

1

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?

https://reverb.com/news/a-g...

https://blog.gretschguitars...

2

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.

5

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.

6

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.

7

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. Dynas a close second.

8

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.

9

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.

10

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

11

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...

12

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.


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