Same guitar for jazz and rockabilly? (Neck hum, bridge filtertron?)

BMX

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I’ve got a big hollowbody L5 style guitar that I’m really digging for jazz. All maple ply I think. Sounds great on the neck humbucker for jazz. I was thinking about getting a traditional alnico II set like Seth Lovers to take it up a notch.

But as I’m thinking about it I’m only really going to use the neck pickup as I’m playing mostly jazz standards type stuff. I started thinking of getting a humbucker sized filtertron for the bridge.

Anything I should consider? Has anyone tried this? I thought it would be really handy for a recording guitar to have a Gretsch sound on the bridge pickup.

I know Gretsch pickups are pretty weak so assuming I’d want to get a hotter filtertron style pickup?

just wondering if anyone has gone down this road before and how it worked out.
 

Chicago Slim

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4,055
I'm more of a Rockabilly player and only do a couple of Jazz type songs, live. I've played Gretsch and PRS guitars with Filtertron type pickups. I usually play with both pickups for a bigger hifi sound, and just roll down on the tone control. If I want more thump (Big Band Sound), then I switch to the neck pickup.

If you go with a hotter Filtertron, it tends to sound more like regular humbucker. For a hotter pickup, I use PRS Starla's or Seymour Duncan Saturday Night Specials. These are both 9k pickups, that feel and sound more like a lower output, vintage pickup.
 
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gillman royce

Silver Supporting Member
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3,294
You've got two pup questions going here with a lot of leeway on both. Depending on how good/comfortable you are working on pickups will decide how much money you want to spend. Not knowing the brand/make up of your existing neck pick-up, I can't really advise as to magnet swaps - the cheapest start. I love my Duncan A2 Ants - Seth's aren't that much different - but they are both unpotted. I can recommend several other PAF's. The Filtertron you describe is more early 60's . TV Jones makes a cadre of ' Gretsch ' pups - I'd recommend you call them. I have a set of Baldwin era Filtertrons - 7.2 - 7.6 -- ceramic (??) which ain't bad and especially designed to answer the bridge question you've raised. Homework before spending is my motto.
 

ProfRhino

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7,129
If you go with a hotter Filtertron, it tends to sound more like regular humbucker. For a hotter pickup, I use PRS Starla's or Seymour Duncan Saturday Night Specials. These are both 9k pickups, that feel and sound more like a lower output, vintage pickup.
both are great PUs. :aok
however - Starlas are hard to find without the guitar attached, and while I love the SNS I have in two guitars, I would not necessarily think of them as Filtertrons, nomen est omen in this case.
my recommendation would be a Haeussel Tronebucker, kinda like a TV Classic +, full HB size, and they blend nicely with a low output A2 PAF.
I have that combination in an old CE24, and never miss separate vol / tones.

ymmv,
Rhino
 

Chicago Slim

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Messages
4,055
both are great PUs. :aok
however - Starlas are hard to find without the guitar attached, and while I love the SNS I have in two guitars, I would not necessarily think of them as Filtertrons, nomen est omen in this case.
my recommendation would be a Haeussel Tronebucker, kinda like a TV Classic +, full HB size, and they blend nicely with a low output A2 PAF.
I have that combination in an old CE24, and never miss separate vol / tones.

ymmv,
Rhino
I agree with you, Rhino. I had to measure the SNS pickups, to believe that they were 9k, because they had such a vintage, PAF type of sound. After owning several Gretsch guitars, including a Setzer Hotrod, I sold them because I came to realize that my Rockabilly sound, comes from my Tape Echo and style of playing.
 

'56 Merc

Member
Messages
361
I have two guitars like the one you describe. Both are 90s Guild/DeArmonds. The X-135 has two Lollar low wined P-90s and X-500 has two Dynasonics and both get played while my Filtertron equipped Gretsch 6120 sits in it's case. Both also have Bigsbys and Compton bridges. As already posted jazz and rockabilly can be played on a Tele.
 

ProfRhino

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Messages
7,129
I agree with you, Rhino. I had to measure the SNS pickups, to believe that they were 9k, because they had such a vintage, PAF type of sound. After owning several Gretsch guitars, including a Setzer Hotrod, I sold them because I came to realize that my Rockabilly sound, comes from my Tape Echo and style of playing.
yes - they sound really great and "natural", right ?
did you have a complete set ?
I particularly dig the (tastefully) overwound bridge combined with the clear and low wound neck - not too many sets like that around.
in guitars with only one vol & tone this can be a godsend, with a 4 knob layout this is not a distinct advantage, but it doesn't hurt either.

and of course, Rockabilly is all about the player !
wish I were better at this style, I have kinda approached it from the Brent Mason- or Bill Kirchen type country style on one side, Dan Baird etc from the rockin' side, but somehow never got a chance to play / learn real Rockabilly myself. :(
ok, I don't have that look & personality either ...
but I always enjoy listening to these guys ! :band
lol,
Rhino
 

Howzaboppin

Member
Messages
602
I’ve got a big hollowbody L5 style guitar that I’m really digging for jazz. All maple ply I think. Sounds great on the neck humbucker for jazz. I was thinking about getting a traditional alnico II set like Seth Lovers to take it up a notch.

But as I’m thinking about it I’m only really going to use the neck pickup as I’m playing mostly jazz standards type stuff. I started thinking of getting a humbucker sized filtertron for the bridge.

Anything I should consider? Has anyone tried this? I thought it would be really handy for a recording guitar to have a Gretsch sound on the bridge pickup.

I know Gretsch pickups are pretty weak so assuming I’d want to get a hotter filtertron style pickup?

just wondering if anyone has gone down this road before and how it worked out.
But then, don't you use flatwounds for jazz and round wounds for rockabilly?
 

fuzz_factor

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,068
I’m using pretty standard jazz strings - flatwound 12s. I didn’t know players used roundwounds for rockabilly.
Try some half-round strings for the best of both worlds. Not quite as bright as rounds, not quite as dull as flats, but with a nice vintage thump, smooth feel and roundwound playability.
 

Chicago Slim

Member
Messages
4,055
yes - they sound really great and "natural", right ?
did you have a complete set ?
I particularly dig the (tastefully) overwound bridge combined with the clear and low wound neck - not too many sets like that around.
in guitars with only one vol & tone this can be a godsend, with a 4 knob layout this is not a distinct advantage, but it doesn't hurt either.

and of course, Rockabilly is all about the player !
wish I were better at this style, I have kinda approached it from the Brent Mason- or Bill Kirchen type country style on one side, Dan Baird etc from the rockin' side, but somehow never got a chance to play / learn real Rockabilly myself. :(
ok, I don't have that look & personality either ...
but I always enjoy listening to these guys ! :band
lol,
Rhino
I've got a set, of the Saturday Night Specials. It's in my S2 Singlecut semi-hollow, with 2 volumes. I've actually thought about wiring it for a single volume. When I was playing for a couple of Nashville artists, I got the job because I could play melody based solo's (something other than blues scale), and I could stay off of the vocals. The single volume, with a hotter pickup, really works well for this. I learned to ride my volume. The PRS guitars with hot pickups and a single volume were great for this. Riding the volume is like an extra tool, in my tool case. Most players don't even think about using it.

I also play Strat's a lot. Single volume, close to the strings. But, I go for hotter pickups like Texas Specials. I can turn them down, and still get a decent sound. Vintage single coils don't work for me, because I can only get a good sound at full volume. When I cut the volume, they sound too thin.

I was always drawn to Rockabilly, from when I heard the early Beatles albums. I later got into Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent and Brian Setzer. My Dad was a Jazz and Big Band type, guitar player. I could take any song and turn it into Rockabilly. So, when I front a band, Rockabilly was natural to me. I would worry about my vocals and remembering lyrics. Playing guitar was more of a reflex. I wouldn't even think about playing guitar. It was more like a crutch, for my singing.
 

BigDoug1053

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,135
View media item 50980I think a Gretsch with HS Filter'trons will do the trick. Consider a G6120 Chet Atkins Hollowbody. You will just need to roll off the highs for jazzy tones on the neck PU. Flatwounds are not a good match for rockabilly - the reason Gretsches are popular is because of Filter'trons having decent treble response, and flatwounds are usually muted.View media item 50981
 




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