TV Jones T-Armonds: Yes they can -- with clips!

Crazyquilt

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Today I installed a set of these pickups into my Gretsch Duo Jet. It's an '08, with a Bigsby bridge. The previous owner had already shimmed the stock pickups. I even managed to keep the strings intact, which is particularly convenient, since the Jet's strung with Thomastik-Infeld George Benson flatwound 12s, which are not cheap.

The installation was straightforward. The pickups came with six foam spacers, which work extremely well and allow the pickups to be adjusted in a way that most Dyna's aren't. The package insert suggested installing both pickups with the magnets oriented the same way, towards north. I took the advice, and, since the pickup wire emerges from the corner that would make it most convenient to orient the pickups in the suggested manner, it's a no brainer. (There was enough lead to orient them the way the the stock pickups are oriented; I checked.)

Here they are:



The pickguard's back on it now; that was right after I first plugged it in to make sure all was well & good.

Which, needless to say, it was.

General impressions:

I've never played a vintage Dynasonic, so I can only compare to the stock Gretsch versions. The T-As feel much more like P-90s, and react to volume & tone knobs in a similar way, although brighter and more articulate. They sound less like Telecaster pickups than the stock pickups sound; it's hard to get a shrill sound out of them, but they sure can cut. They have the same great thump of the stock Dynas, but it's tighter. There seems to be less hum overall. I could never get the stock pickups to sound great overdriven, except on my Clark (which is why I chose to use it.) The T-Armonds, however, have absolutely no trouble in this regard. They certainly have more output, but, at the same time, they're clearer & don't fall apart (that tighter bass response, I suspect.)

I'm finding it a little more challenging to dial in my clean tones, because these pups are just fatter and heavier. However, when the volume is rolled back, they get much clearer and brighter sounding. Like some P-90s, in my experience, rolling back the tone a bit to cut off some of the higher frequencies and the messy distortion they can introduce can focus the sound even more. However, they never got shrill, even when I had both the amp & guitar tone knobs wide open.

I do have clips of both before & after, using the same rig and recording set-up. They're a bit slap dash, but, honestly, I want to get back to playing. :eek:

Anyway -- I used the bright channel of my Clark Beaufort for all of the clips. For the clean clips, I set the knobs to: V2: 10 V1: 3 T: 7. For the OD clips, they were at V2: 8 V1: 9 T: 12.

I recorded using a Senn e906 through a Duet and into Garageband. No compression, eq, etc. I did use a short loop on my M13 for the OD clips.

Here are the clips:

Stock Dynasonics, clean
T-Armonds, clean

Stock Dynasonics, OD
T-Armonds, OD
 
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Uma Floresta

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Both sounded quite good - although orienting the bridge pickup magnets further from the bridge is going to have a big effect on shrillness in the bridge pickup, regardless of how the pickup is made.
 

909one

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2,197
interesting. thanks for posting these!

the t-armonds definitely sound warmer. the highs are rolled off a bit more.
they do sound a little bit more like p-90', but not exactly.

funny, i actually like the clean tone of the originals in the bridge position more than the t-armond in the bridge position. they seem to twang a little more. the distorted sound of the t-armond was clearly more pleasant to my ears though.

Thanks for these clips. It was perfect that you just played chords , finger picked and strummed. You can really tell what's going on. IMO, I hate it when people do demo's by just playing overdriven blues solos. Its such a let-down. Most people don't play that way the majority of the time.
 

57special

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I liked the OD tones on the T Armonds more. More defined, but still primitive. Vintage Dynas can be great pups, but are inconsistent.
 

Crazyquilt

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I specifically played all the clips without rolling back any tone or volume knobs. I had much the same reaction -- the OD was great, but the cleans may have suffered.

Once I started messing with the guitar's controls, the cleans were there, and then some. Many, many more useful sounds than the stockers, definitely. Rolling back the volume cleans it up, and brightens the tone considerably.

I spent several hours with the pickups through my Swart AST, which has more headroom than the Clark. No problem getting lots of glorious cleans there -- I could easily match tones with recordings I'd done of the stock Jet, but with that extra warmth & oomph that the TVs bring.

There is a kind of cool funkiness that the stock pickups had that the T-Armonds don't. It's mostly in the cleans, but I do miss it. I might lower the pickups a little & see if that helps, but it's a comparatively minor problem.

I'm glad folks liked the clips. Believe me, I can do me some blues wanking, but it just didn't seem to be appropriate for a Duo Jet. Besides, I agree -- I'd rather hear slow & simple so I can see how the strings & pickups interact and decay.

Besides, "Freight Train" & "Rumble" -- what's not to love? ;)
 
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The package insert suggested installing both pickups with the magnets oriented the same way, towards north.


That's interesting, I bought a cheapie Special Jet with stock DeArmond 2000s installed the same way, I believe the seller may have switched the bridge pickup to be like that (he also replaced the stock wrap bridge with a badass-type), since photos of other such guitars I've seen have them opposite.

Guess the seller knew something I didn't. Cool, I've been wondering about that.

94152145_373b9f3161_o.jpg
 

Crazyquilt

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Both sounded quite good - although orienting the bridge pickup magnets further from the bridge is going to have a big effect on shrillness in the bridge pickup, regardless of how the pickup is made.

I'm thinking of flipping the bridge pickup. More zing with (I suspect) slightly less string output might be a Good Thing.

Right now, tho', I'm off to test them with a Boomerang & a Vibro Champ. In the interest of science, of course.:JAM
 

just_one_more

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1,406
Flipping the bridge is only going to move the pole pieces a very small ammount. It is not like the are way off center like a humbucker. A difference sure, but not a big one.
At least it wasn't on my stock fender built Dynasonics. I did it on the bridge to try and tame it a little. Helped a little, but not enough.
 

Crazyquilt

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Nothing needs anything, as it happens.

Playing through a Vibro Champ delivered fantastic cleans, no problem. I'll probably give my brown Princeton some time tonight.

I could try the low inputs of the Clark, but it's still a small tweed amp -- headroom isn't its forte, so the preference for OD over clean in the clips isn't that surprising.
 

Tinman

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1,946
Thanks for the clips, Crazyquilt. My new T-Armond got installed yesterday (thanks Twangbanger). I went with the polepieces facing south after speaking with someone at TV Jones. I have the soapbar version of the T-Armond mounted in the bridge position of a T-type guitar. The T-Armond is replacing a SD Vintage P90. I am so glad that I made the switch. I love P90s and I think that the SD Vintage P90 is one of the better ones, but it was not working that well in this guitar, which features an alder body, fattish maple neck with an ebony fingerboard, a Bigsby, and a Fralin P90 with alnico polepieces in the neck position. The T-Armond is really snappy and it has a very bouncy attack. It's bight,clear and twangy, as well. Sounds great with fingerpicking. I understand the comment that its sounds more P90-ish than the stock Gretsch Dynas, but in my opinion it doesn't sound much like a P90 overall. Also, the Fralin and the TV sound very nice together in this instrument. One more thing, my guitar has roundwounds.
 

909one

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2,197
Hey new T-Armond guys...
Last week I got a vintage Guild Starfire with DeArmonds.
The pickups are amazing sounding... but highly microphonic. I can't play loud. :(
Thinking about getting a T-Armond for the bridge pickup at least, I only usually play loud in that position anyway. I tried contacting TV-jones and have gotten no response... can you guys tell me if your T-Armonds are wax potted? I assume they are, but I just want to make sure before buying. You haven't had an issues with microphonic feedback?
 

Tinman

Member
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I assume that they are potted, but I did not check for that. I have not experienced any microphonic issues after two loud gigs and several loud rehersals.

PICT0361-1.jpg
 

JefeMaximo

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Nice. I like the choice of "Freight Train" on the clean cut. That's the first song I learned to play fingerstyle.
 

Mrjoelv

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Thanks for the clips. I've been wanting to put some T-Armonds in my Guild Rockabilly and those clips were just what I needed. Thank for taking the time to do that.
 

dhdfoster

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13,166
Thanks for the clips. I've been wanting to put some T-Armonds in my Guild Rockabilly and those clips were just what I needed. Thank for taking the time to do that.

Those are great guitars. The 2000s in them are kind of weak, though. I wish I hadn't sold mine now the TV's making the T-Armonds.
 




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