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FDP Forum / The Gretsch Forum / Replacing stock pickups

greg1948
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Vero Beach FL

Tbird Greg
Nov 11th, 2018 06:47 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have a 2011 6120 DC, made in Japan. It is a beautiful guitar and plays very well. But I never really dug the pickups. I did a little test of all my humbucking guitars: LP Deluxe, PRS Custom 24, J5 Tele, Godin XTSA and the Gretsch. As I suspected, the output of the Gretsch was significantly lower and the sound was flat and dull in comparison.

So, the obvious answer is to replace those stock pups. The first name that comes to mind is TV Jones but I'm open to other suggestions that will give me more sparkle to the sound. Also, is replacing the pickups a fairly easy job for someone with modest skill, or should I have it done by a pro?



Peegoo
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Well ya go to a bar

on a Friday evenin'...
Nov 11th, 2018 06:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

Are they the "mudbucker" (NOT the official Gretsch name, BTW) pickups?

These.

Peegoo
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Well ya go to a bar

on a Friday evenin'...
Nov 11th, 2018 06:27 PM   Edit   Profile  

Not a fan of those pickups.

But I do love the Gretsch Filtertron, and the TV Jones version too. I found a pristine Gretsch 3161 years ago that had the stock mudbuckers in it.

I retrofitted it with Filtertrons and it is a killer rig now (see link below). Note that you have to replace the stock pickup rings with ones that fit the FTs, and you have to fab a suspension system for each pickup.

But the easier way is the TV Jones retrofit pickup that will mount in the stock ring. These do sound good!

I didn't use them because at that time, TV Jones had not yet introduced the new pickup.

G3161

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 08:28 PM, Nov 11th, 2018)

Peegoo
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Well ya go to a bar

on a Friday evenin'...
Nov 11th, 2018 06:32 PM   Edit   Profile  

Also, "modest skill" has different meanings, whether you're talking about solid-body guitars or hollow-body guitars.

Installing pickups and working inside a hollow-body takes extraordinary patience. TV Jones' Website does have vids showing you how, but unless you do this sort of stuff every so often, you will want to Townshend the guitar on your shop floor.

It's probably best to have a shop do it.

LeftyMeister
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Buckeye Country, USA

Tone is in the lingers
Nov 11th, 2018 06:48 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'm not sure which pups are in my Streamliner but I've read they're 9K ohms. I believe they're buckers in Filtertron covers but they really sound pretty good. They're a tad grainy with high gain but that's not what they're intended to do.

(This message was last edited by LeftyMeister at 08:53 PM, Nov 11th, 2018)

capnhiho
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Bakersfield, CA

I'm not a guitarist . . .
Nov 11th, 2018 07:00 PM   Edit   Profile  

Before you toss your OEM pickups try adjusting pup heights and pole pieces per the instructions on the TV Jones website. Filtertrons are very sensitive to their proximity to the strings. You may be surprised at the results!

(I’d post a link but I’m on my stupid smart phone)

Look in this thread

(This message was last edited by capnhiho at 09:08 PM, Nov 11th, 2018)

greg1948
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Vero Beach FL

Tbird Greg
Nov 12th, 2018 05:45 AM   Edit   Profile  

Peegoo, as far as I can tell, the pups are "Filtertron" style. If I go with upgrades, I will leave the installation to a pro.

In the meantime, I'll try adjusting the pole pieces as suggested by capnhiho. BTW, that site was down when I clicked the link.

External link

capnhiho
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Bakersfield, CA

I'm not a guitarist . . .
Nov 24th, 2018 08:36 PM   Edit   Profile  

Greg - have you reached a verdict about the Gretsch pickups? How did the adjustment work for you?

Peegoo
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Four feets

By eight feets
Nov 24th, 2018 11:10 PM   Edit   Profile  

Those are Filtertrons.

You should be able to get great tones from them. The newer version actually is consistently better-sounding than the originals from the 1950s. Many of the originals are hit and miss.

These were the first humbucking pickups to hit the market; they were a full year ahead of Gibson's PAF. What happened is Ray Butts (inventor of the Filtertron--see link) didn't seek a patent for his design.

Seth Lover and Gibson did a year later, and that is what leads many players to believe Lover invented the humbucker. But it was Butts, and his intent on getting Chet Atkins a pickup that sounded great and didn't hum.

Filtertrons sound best when the poles are screwed all the way down to the coils and the pickup is jacked up fairly high. These are pretty low-power pickups to begin with, so keeping the coils close to the strings is the way to get the best tone.

When fretting a string at the highest fret, you should be able to just slip a nickel between the string and the pickup's pole piece (screw). Do both E strings this way and that serves as a good starting point for pickup height.

Click

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 01:20 AM, Nov 25th, 2018)

Big Joe

USA

Nov 25th, 2018 06:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

I found my that TV Jones recommended pole heights and pick up height sound the best. Basically he recommends the G and D string poles to be higher than the rest of the strings. Then just tweet for balance.

Peegoo
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Four feets

By eight feets
Nov 25th, 2018 11:38 AM   Edit   Profile  

Sorry if I was unclear on this. The poles should follow the radius of the strings; that's what raising up the G & D poles does.

Start with the two E strings' poles all the way down in the pickup. Adjust the pickup's height to get the E strings' distance correct, and then adjust the A/D/G/B strings' poles.

Big Joe

USA

Nov 25th, 2018 02:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

The higher G and D is pretty much what I set on all my humbucker guitars to follow the radius.
However, TV Jones also recommends setting the other poles slightly different between the bridge and neck pick ups as follows:
E A D G B E
Neck. 0 .5 1 .5 0 .25
Bridge. 0 .75 1.5 .75 .25 0

I find that Filtertrons are very sensitive to slight variations in pole pieces height.
To clarify... The above translates: 0 = screw all the way down.....75 is 3/4 turn up from 0 etc.
Sean Jones E mailed me these settings.




(This message was last edited by Big Joe at 10:16 PM, Nov 26th, 2018)

Peegoo
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Results not typical.

Do not try this at home.
Nov 26th, 2018 07:15 PM   Edit   Profile  

That's good intel. Thanks!

Big Joe

USA

Nov 26th, 2018 08:17 PM   Edit   Profile  

Sorry.. don’t know why the chart doesn’t line up. It did when a I typed it.

Peegoo
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Results not typical.

Do not try this at home.
Nov 26th, 2018 08:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

S'okay.

It happens all the time here because multiple/sequential spaces are not recognized by the software, i.e., type three spaces and only one space shows up.

FDP Forum / The Gretsch Forum / Replacing stock pickups




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