Pickups

Vintage Dearmond 2000s chords and single notes.

1

Does anyone else find that vintage dearmond 2000s sound better for single note or two string stuff than for chording?

I played my 53 electro 2 all night the other night at a Colorifics trio gig and I was enjoying it a lot, Somehow it seems to have a rougher/edgier sound than all my other guitars. However it seemed a little woofy/muddy on chords. On single and double note stuff and solos it sounded really great. Very clean, crisp and articulate, yet full and creamy. (sounds like I'm describing wine!)

I normally use a Boss GE-7 as a straight volume boost but I was thinking of using it in reverse with a bit of a mid scoop and an added bit of top end. On for rhythm (scooped and jangly) and off for solos (louder with more mids)
Anyone else notice this. The Electro 2 is a cool beast but quite different sounding than my other Gretschs (mostly the Dearmonds)

2

Toxo, I agree with you. I had a Country Club with Dynas, not vintage but one of those reissues that should never existed and I wish I kept it. Single notes and two string type of playing sounds way better than chords. Single notes sound beautiful on DeArmond guitars.

I think this is the reason that Eddie Cochran may have swapped his out for a P90. Makes sense, right?

By the way I sent you pics of the guitar that you were asking about. Write me back and let me know how you like it?

3

I gigged mine in a duo situation recently through an amp that can definitely lean towards woofy when turned up. Octal preamp tubes, smooth cone speaker... I didn't experience what you're talking about. The ability to blend the pickups on this guitar is the money! Was yours re-necked? I don't recall seeing Alamo inlays on an Electro II

5

Not to be an a-hole, but I don't think there is any such thing as a vintage 2000. Vintage Dearmonds are Dynasonics and I believe they are known as 200s, not 2000s.

6

Not to be an a-hole, but I don't think there is any such thing as a vintage 2000. Vintage Dearmonds are Dynasonics and I believe they are known as 200s, not 2000s.

– Deke Martin

Deke, it is the other way around. They have always been 2000s. There was an article once that listed them as 200s and the error has persisted.

7

My comments may be off-target since I don’t have vintage Dynasonics - just every version of the reissues, which I thought (depending on output variability) were considered to be as close as two random vintage examples might be to each other.

But all mine sound fabulous chorded. Country Club, white Gent, Club, doesn’t matter. All gorgeous: lots of note definition, distinctive kerrangg, what Ade once called “lurid gurgle,” fascinating interaction between intervals. For me, electric guitar tone doesn’t get better.

In your case, Tox, your observation may be more about the platform than the pickup. Isn’t the Electro more lightly braced than later Club builds?

Also - a 65-year-old 17” spruce top is probably considerably more limber than my 15-year old top.

You could be getting too much body resonance at volume, and some (particularly lower) midrange is being masked/muddied by wooly intermodulation distortion. Backing off some mids with the EQ could clean that up, as you suggest - but I wouldn’t think you’d have to go so far as to have to thoroughly scoop it. I suspect the culprit is in a narrow band in lower mids. Might take a parametric to really hone in on it.

But don’t give up. Dynas are magic for the kind of clean chording you do.

9

I gigged mine in a duo situation recently through an amp that can definitely lean towards woofy when turned up. Octal preamp tubes, smooth cone speaker... I didn't experience what you're talking about. The ability to blend the pickups on this guitar is the money! Was yours re-necked? I don't recall seeing Alamo inlays on an Electro II

– charlie chitlins

Yours is indeed a handsome Electro. Your right, mine seems to have been factory re-necked, probably in 54 -55 judging by the square truss rod at the headstock

I'm going to play it again on New Years with the full band with my stereo amp and see how it sits. I was using my vibrolux build the other night.

It's always been a thicker sounding guitar than I'm used to despite the clarity of the magnet pole pieces. The result of hotter pickups than my other guitars I imagine.

I don't know if it's the 'platform' I have hilotrons on my 55 Convertible which is pretty well identical construction

Regardless it's a cool sounding and beautiful guitar, I'm just trying to get to fit in to what I do on a more regular basis rather than something I just trot out in the studio for a particular sound.

10

Remember my 1950 Bacon Belmont? Sounds great chorded and picked.

11

Yup I had that very same guitar in the early 90s. Bought it from a soundman in Eugene while I was arranging to buy the sort of other things one can usually buy off of soundmen. $200! Annoyingly I traded it the same tour for a faux hollow body black Epiphone at Stein on Vine which while undoubtedly a good guitar did nothing for me. I sometimes wonder if yours is the same guitar.

it's not that chords sound bad, they just sound a little overpowering in the low mids, not as much room for a vocal or so it seems. I might fiddle with the pickups a bit and see

12

I might fiddle with the pickups a bit and see

Yup, back'em down a little. Or just the neck pup first.

Makes sense that you don't have the issue with the HiloTrons - they're just not as high output, especially in that frequency band.

13

I find the same thing with Dynas, still experimenting. I took out everything out that was raising the bridge T armond, including the rubber strips beneath the screws. So Ive got it sitting straight on the wood! Dunno if that's a bad thing?

On my 5129, I'm happier. Dunno why folks like to raise them... just sounds too thick and woofy to me. Guess it's down to taste and style, I like de twang sir!

14

Plus, is it true that you get a HiLotron by removing a row of screws in a filtertron?

15

To get technical how high are people putting their pole pieces? Mine are: bridge HE - 1/8" LE 3/16" neck - HE - 1/8' LE 5/16" bridge pickup is 1/8' at LE Neck is 1/4" at the LE

You get pretty close to a hilotron sound by removing a row of pole pieces from a filtertron.

Though hilotrons are usually wound around 2.8-3.4 K for the one coil While filterons are about 2k for each coil about 4k + for the whole pickup The basic construction is different too Hilotrons have a thick metal right angle plate around the coil and the magnet sits at right angles to the coil up at the top of the pickup, A filteron is constructed more like a mini classic humbucker The coil used is the same size as those used in hilotrons

16

Curious as to how the filtertron with half the screws sounds like a HiLotron if there's that many differences then.

My pole pieces and pickup height have been adjusted too many times to mention. That's why I'm curious about the Greek models, the construction seems sensible

17

Thins out the filtertron making it more hilotron like. My opinion from having actually tried it , take it for what it's worth, best try it yourself and come to your own conclusions.

Back to DeArmonds.

18

Plus, is it true that you get a HiLotron by removing a row of screws in a filtertron?

– Vince_Ray

Nope. Still a double coil with the magnet in a different spot.

19

Nope. Still a double coil with the magnet in a different spot.

– Afire

If your a longtime hilotron user like I am, it will make a filtertron sound much more like what you are used to. Did it on my Deluxe Chet. Not exactly the same obviously, but close enough.

i tweaked my DeArmonds a little.

As my fretboard is slightly canted down on the base side(it was worse before the neck reset )I shimmed the treble side of each pickup about a 1/16" Th neck pickup had 1 1/16" spacer while I was using 4 on the bridge. I took one out of the bridge and raised the pickup poles to thin it out a little. The bridge pickup o these guitars is very far from the bridge which makes it lose some of it's crispness so that seemed to help. I'll try it out live on New years.

20

I always read about DeArmond pickup magnets affecting sustain if they are too close to the strings, But how close is that? Does anyone have an actual number on that 1/16". 1/8" 1/4". What is an optimum distance?

21

Waaaaa no-ne has a number regarding how close is too close. Well a I am generally self-sufficient but was seeking guidance..however I am also impatient so I was testing the magnetic pull on the strings with a screw driver and on the high strings especially(that are closer) the screwdriver would catch on the top of the string above the poles. The open strings are:

Neck - pickup body is .25" under the low E

HE - .15" LE - .35"

Bridge - pickup body is .2" under the low E

HE - .12" LE - .19"

It seems to sound quite good this way, not sure if it has more sustain but a lot less magnetic pull on the strings particularly on the high ones. Sounds maybe a little clearer. It's hard to tell at the apartment volumes I can play at.

I'd still appreciate any numbers on this regarding too close as I'm guessing

22

What sounds good for your purposes is good.

Maybe I shouldn't admit it, but I've never measured pickup/polepiece distance from strings on a guitar. If I don't like what I'm hearing, and suspect that distance may be a factor, I raise and/or lower polepieces and/or body of the pickup until I either get happy or know that I'm not happy at any profile. When that happens, it's time to replace the pickups - or the guitar.

I know you're not asking us to hold your hand, but having heard your playing, I'm just encouraging to accept yourself as the ultimate authority on your guitar setup. You know what you're doing.

Also - I don't think you're really looking for more sustain. Sustain, along with low mids, could be your enemy in a search for more clarity. Dynas can be too powerful. Backing them down can moderate that.

23

Fair enough. It's mostly the unfamiliarity with the pickups and also never really having had a pickup with adjustable magnetic poles that I have to wonder about being too close. Other wise I wouldn't be thinking of that at all nor measuring. I'd adjust to balance the sound as I've done on hilotrons, filtertrons, humbuskers etc etc.

I did have a late 50s single Annie that I sold a million years ago that I added another DeArmond too..which begs the question was there ever a Smoke Green single anniversary with DeArmonds?? Maybe mine was a modified one even before I got it.. Unbound fretboard and F-holes

24

If you get the poles too close, you'll hear (and sometimes see) that the magnetic field damps the vibration of the string.


I can't imagine an Anniversary was ever factory-equipped with ANY DeArmond, as the model was first introduced in 1958 when Gretsch was switching over to Filter'Trons.

25

Maybe a "bit of the old in and out" experimentation is in order then to see if I can discern the effect.


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