Sonic differences: p90s, filtertrons, gold foils

Buck Woodson

Silver Supporting Member
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4,176
Title says it all. I'm only familiar with p90s. Not caring about technical, just sonic differences generally.
 

e???

Member
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2,940
Gold and silver foils to me sound like P90s with a tiny bit less girth, and a slightly brighter or clearer high end, that in some situations sounds too bright, but in others sounds perfect
 

Ogre

Member
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4,644
Filtertrons are the most hi-fi of all humbuckers. Of course there is more to the story.
 

enharmonic

Old Growth
Platinum Supporting Member
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8,861
Very broad stroke descriptions follow. I agree with @Steadfastly, but generally, here goes

P90 - punch, grind, generally a very full sounding single coil.

Foil pickups - many varieties, but those I’ve tried / used had a notched midrange and a bit more jangle than than P90s. Big bottom like a P90, but with more clarity.

Filtertron - clarity, chime (not like a Strat chime, but still chime), tight on the bottom, a bit of push in the mids, hi’s can be strident at times, but are what gives a Filtertron that “kerrang”. Only himbucker in the bunch (unless you’re using Ronin Foilbuckers).
 

Tritone

Member
Messages
1,112
Very broad stroke descriptions follow. I agree with @Steadfastly, but generally, here goes

P90 - punch, grind, generally a very full sounding single coil.

Foil pickups - many varieties, but those I’ve tried / used had a notched midrange and a bit more jangle than than P90s. Big bottom like a P90, but with more clarity.

Filtertron - clarity, chime (not like a Strat chime, but still chime), tight on the bottom, a bit of push in the mids, hi’s can be strident at times, but are what gives a Filtertron that “kerrang”. Only himbucker in the bunch (unless you’re using Ronin Foilbuckers).
I agree with these descriptions. P90s sit halfway between a PAF-style humbucker and a Fender single coil to me, generally. The gold foils in my Supros are like much bolder, brasher Fender style single coils. Filtertrons sound "delicate" to me, very "pretty" with lots of chime.

Probably more helpful than descriptions would just to be to listen to some demos on Youtube. Here are some demos I think show off the pickups well:

 

howthewestwas1

Gold Supporting Member
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1,261
I've always found gold foils to be a bit on the scooped side of things. Very different from p90s which have more mids.
 

TimH

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,145
I don't have tones of experience with 90's or Foils...but I've tried a few Gretsch guitars with 'Trons and they're a funny pickup. They feel tight...almost compressed. The definitely have a sound, especially in the bridge of a guitar, the has it's place. I think I like them more in big hollow guitars than the smaller solid bodies.
 

Sam Hill

Member
Messages
628
I feel like there are a thousand different threads on TGP where this Reverb video could be helpful, and this is definitely one of them.

Now, of course this video is claiming to compare the pickups, but it really is more a comparison of a single sample of each type of guitar (including pots, caps, type of construction, etc.). Still, in many cases, the differences are pretty pronounced:

Reverb's Classic Electric Guitar Pickup Shootout

 

singlecutarmy

Member
Messages
1,592
I can only comment on filter vs. P90.

Filter has more twangy top and a mushier bottom end.

P90 has a tighter bottom and a looser, grindier top.

I would say both have similar mids.

P90s are hotter and have more balls, thicker, higher output.

Filters are noticeably weaker on the same amp, which will give more note definition.

If I wanted to track a P90 and a filter tron in one song, the filter would run rhythm and the P90 lead.
 

9fingers

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,542
There are so many types of "gold foils" that the only thing they really have in common is the cosmetics of gold foil, especially since they are kind of a current internet fad, with people sticking gold foil onto various designs and calling them "gold foil pickups". I have some different ones that are so different that I couldn't characterize a "gold foil sound".
 

Buck Woodson

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,176
I feel like there are a thousand different threads on TGP where this Reverb video could be helpful, and this is definitely one of them.

Now, of course this video is claiming to compare the pickups, but it really is more a comparison of a single sample of each type of guitar (including pots, caps, type of construction, etc.). Still, in many cases, the differences are pretty pronounced:

Reverb's Classic Electric Guitar Pickup Shootout

Great video, thanks for posting! I only wish they would have demoed the middle positions as well. The P90s were really distinctive, much less top end. Loved that tele with WRHBs.
 

gillman royce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,303
I can only comment on filter vs. P90.

Filter has more twangy top and a mushier bottom end.

P90 has a tighter bottom and a looser, grindier top.

I would say both have similar mids.

P90s are hotter and have more balls, thicker, higher output.

Filters are noticeably weaker on the same amp, which will give more note definition.

If I wanted to track a P90 and a filter tron in one song, the filter would run rhythm and the P90 lead.
A note of clarification( not criticism): when Baldwin bought Gretsch they deliberately changed the Filtertron to a ceramic magnet which put the pups in the 7.2-7.8 ohm range. They did so because they felt that in comparison to other guitars, Gretsch wasn't as loud. I don't know which version of F'trons you have or are referring to but unfortunately , thanks to Baldwin, comparing F'trons now can get murky. Original F'trons come in around 4.5ohm and have a totally different sound/feel to them.
 

singlecutarmy

Member
Messages
1,592
A note of clarification( not criticism): when Baldwin bought Gretsch they deliberately changed the Filtertron to a ceramic magnet which put the pups in the 7.2-7.8 ohm range. They did so because they felt that in comparison to other guitars, Gretsch wasn't as loud. I don't know which version of F'trons you have or are referring to but unfortunately , thanks to Baldwin, comparing F'trons now can get murky. Original F'trons come in around 4.5ohm and have a totally different sound/feel to them.
My experience is with Blacktops which are a step towards PAFs but still maintaining Gretschy character, they're very twangy and bright and much thinner than a humbucker. They sound great strumming chords and stuff but single notes can be a pit weak and plinky. I wouldn't play a solo on it, I would definitely rip a rhythm.

I'm told that blacktops are fatter than traditional trons.
 




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