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Old 09-25-2023, 05:59 PM
Lillis Lillis is offline
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Default Gretsch fans: Thoughts on super hilo’tron pickups?

Well I just bought a 2016 5622T with the super hilo’s. Curious on others experiences with them. I had a MIK 5420T with the Filter’Tron’s that I liked a lot. Decided I wanted the thinner semi hollow that is a Korean build also. I probably won’t have the guitar until early next week.

Thanks
Jim
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Old 09-25-2023, 07:52 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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I also have a 2016 5622T-CB, and I'll assume yours is the 3-PU cats'-eye version as well - FYI it's been my gigmeister since I bought it, and I think you'll love yours as much as I love mine...

As far as the Super Hi-Lo's are concerned, TMK they're based on a modified Baldwin-era "blacktop" Filter'Tron platform (unlike the single-coil originals featured on all-Brooklyn-built instruments below the Chet Atkins Tennessean in the lineup, as well as the current MIJ '60 reissue 6118), and they sound like it: not quite as much power as the '70s blacktops, less sparkly than a Brooklyn Hi-lo, yet unquestionably Gretsch when you plug it in - I like to think of it as better-balanced overall, without losing the classic twang and chime, and it's my favorite of the current generation of Gretsch pickups. FWIW they've been reintroduced on the limited-edition G2604 Streamliner Rally - given the complaints about the inferior Broad'Tron pickups used on nearly all the the rest of the Streamliner series (as well as the current Chinese-built 5600-Series E-matics), let's hope that they're simply sampling the waters, with an eye toward a wholesale changeover in the near future...

Be advised, however, that you'll definitely need to fine-tune the response across all three pickups (mine's set up for equal volume from the neck and middle - gets a nice fat Strat-style position #2 tone when you kick in both, and a quasi-acoustic fingerstyle sound with all three - and a pumped-up lead from the bridge), and that'll take some time - although if you owned a 5420 it'll probably be about one-third what a total newbie would need - but in the end it's all worth it...

Some of my own setup tips:
  • Default strings for any modern import Gretsch (and many of the USA originals with 'Tron-style pickups) are flatwound 11's with a wound G: start with those, work up/down from there depending on your style - and most of all listen and let the guitar tell you what it likes;
  • Good thing about the modern blacktops and Super Hi-lo's is that the entire pickup is height-/tilt-adjustable, and there are virtually infinite possibilities for tailoring your tone by experimenting with combinations of polepiece (the only way to adjust an old Gretsch BTW) vs. whole-pickup adjustments in different positions - which leads me to:
  • That middle pickup is a real little secret weapon once you learn how to use it - since it can't be soloed (a glaring fault IMO - one that was corrected on the MF/GC-exclusive G2627) be especially careful when setting it up;
  • The aforementioned flatwound 11's and some pencil lead in the nut/saddle grooves go a long way in keeping your tuning stable with the Bigsby - and the first accessory you need to buy is a Vibramate Spoiler, period: as long as you change your strings in the recommended one-at-a-time manner, it'll cut down your restringing time by at least one-half - I've got 'em on both of my Bigsby-equipped Gretsches, and once I installed them I never looked back...

Looking forward to pics and a review upon receipt...
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Old 09-26-2023, 04:13 AM
Lillis Lillis is offline
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Thanks Steve,great info. I should have been more clear, mine is the two PU version. I was hoping you’d respond to this thread. I agree 100% on the vibramate. Like an idiot I gave mine away when I sold the 5420.
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Last edited by Lillis; 09-28-2023 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 09-26-2023, 06:29 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillis View Post
Thanks Steve, great info. I should have been more clear, mine is the two PU version. I was hoping you’d respond to this thread.
No biggie, since everything else applies - just skip the references to the third pickup; FWIW the 3-PU cats'-eye 5622 was a love-it-or-hate-it proposition even in its day (I'm squarely in the former camp). FYI there are a few highly apocryphal stories that the concept dates back to early 1964, when Gretsch was looking to develop a Beatles endorsement model in response to comments made by George Harrison in a magazine interview. Two instruments did in fact emerge from this endeavor: the rare cats' eye 6117 (which saw production too late for the Beatles' American tour that year - BTW a former bandmate had two of them) and a one-off 12-string based on the 17-inch Country Gent platform, which George turned down (but serendipitously wound up in the hands of a tall, lanky young man with a green pom-pom cap a couple years later...); there have been occasional rumors (most recently around the time the MIK 3-PU 5622 hit the market) of a Brooklyn-built three-pickup hollowbody on the Chet Atkins Nashville platform - possibly intended for John Lennon, who favored the 3-PU Rick 325 - but inasmuch as no examples have surfaced to date this one will have to remain just another interesting bit of Gretsch lore...
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  #5  
Old 09-26-2023, 09:16 AM
Highroller Highroller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post

Some of my own setup tips:
Default strings for any modern import Gretsch (and many of the USA originals with 'Tron-style pickups) are flatwound 11's with a wound G: start with those, work up/down from there depending on your style - and most of all listen and let the guitar tell you what it likes ...
Totally a matter of personal taste regarding the flatwounds there Steve, but I'll agree about the wound G part. Especially on anything with a Bigsby.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
The aforementioned flatwound 11's and some pencil lead in the nut/saddle grooves go a long way in keeping your tuning stable with the Bigsby - and the first accessory you need to buy is a Vibramate Spoiler, period: as long as you change your strings in the recommended one-at-a-time manner, it'll cut down your restringing time by at least one-half - I've got 'em on both of my Bigsby-equipped Gretsches, and once I installed them I never looked back...
RE the Vibramate Spoiler, again, a matter of personal taste. Many a Gretsch owner will tell you "just learn how to string a Bigsby"! I've got seven of them myself, some of them for decades, and you really will just get used to them! It's no big deal. Now, if you just like buying gizmos, then fine - a Spoiler won't hurt things. But they're hardly "required".

Now, your advice on treating the nut is pretty essential! More often that not, the tuning issues people have with Bigsbys aren't the result of the Bigsby itself, but the result of the strings binding at the nut. Keep it lubed there and you save yourself of world of problems.

Just saying ... FWIW and YMMV.

BTW, Congrats to the OP on the new Gretsch! Enjoy!

---

Last edited by Highroller; 09-26-2023 at 09:32 AM.
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  #6  
Old 09-27-2023, 05:28 AM
rmp rmp is offline
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I can't comment on the pickup question

my 5422TG has the blacktops. I like em, they don't have a lot of output, but they sound decent.


Also Not sure there is a need for a spoiler, but you do need a bit of help keeping the string in place on a string chnge.

You can cut a piece of cork form a wine bottle into the shape of triangle wide enough to slide it under the string post once the string is on the post.

With the cork seated on the top of the guitar, and pushed up again the string post, the ball will not move, or fall off the post.

once the string is up to some tension, remove the cork, and put the next string on.
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Old 09-27-2023, 05:57 AM
GoPappy GoPappy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmp View Post
. . . You can cut a piece of cork form a wine bottle into the shape of triangle wide enough to slide it under the string post once the string is on the post.

With the cork seated on the top of the guitar, and pushed up again the string post, the ball will not move, or fall off the post.

once the string is up to some tension, remove the cork, and put the next string on.
Good tip. I do the same thing but I use a small piece of foam pipe insulation.
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Old 09-27-2023, 06:03 AM
rmp rmp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoPappy View Post
Good tip. I do the same thing but I use a small piece of foam pipe insulation.
yea a little hack that works like a charm!

without something to hold that string in place, it can be pain.
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Old 09-27-2023, 06:04 AM
GoPappy GoPappy is offline
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Lillis: I have the 2 pickup version of the G5622T. I think the Super HiLoTron pickups sound great, but they have noticeably lower output than the pickups on my other electric guitars. But I suppose that's why we have volume knobs on amps.

I was having tuning stability issues and lubricating the nut wasn't solving the problem. I bought a Brick's BigsFix and installed it, and it helped quite a bit. I think I'm going to buy a roller bridge, and that should solve the problem completely.

On the whole, I love my G5622. Congrats on yours.
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Old 09-27-2023, 06:31 AM
TobyB TobyB is offline
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I too have a MIK 5622T which has the HSFT's. I think they work really well. I have other Gretsch 's with Blacktop Filtertrons (more powerful), Ray Butts (very clear) and Fortus (wider ranging) to compare. The HS have great chime and have a low enough output to offer great clean tones, and then head into Poison Ivy-ish territory with added fuzz or distortion. Gretsch forums are full of people who are minded to change most pickups to TVJ's ... I would resist any such urge.
My 5622t has been (to my ears) transformed by an ABM roller-bridge (2400c) and a String Butler... richer tones and Bigsby tuning stability (along with lubricant and checking the nut) ... if you want to change anything, that's where your money should go ...
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Old 09-27-2023, 06:38 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highroller View Post
Totally a matter of personal taste regarding the flatwounds there Steve, but I'll agree about the wound G part. Especially on anything with a Bigsby...
You might have missed my point here: default means precisely that and nothing more - a starting point which IME will get you up-and-running, with a good basic working tone immediately identifiable as "Gretsch" - and then moving to other options as you become more familiar with the instrument (what I said about the guitar telling you what it likes). FWIW a lot of the guys here who scored a MIK E-Matic before the move to Chinese production stayed with the flatwound 11's, so there's definitely something to be said for the combination; conversely, my double-cut White Falcon - which should be optimized for 12's - didn't come into its own until I slapped on a set of 10's, so while I definitely get it when it comes to personal taste I'm also reminded of an old West Virginia adage I heard about 25 years ago, "Ya can't know where yer goin' till ya know where ya been"...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Highroller View Post
...RE the Vibramate Spoiler, again, a matter of personal taste. Many a Gretsch owner will tell you "just learn how to string a Bigsby"! I've got seven of them myself, some of them for decades, and you really will just get used to them! It's no big deal. Now, if you just like buying gizmos, then fine - a Spoiler won't hurt things. But they're hardly "required"....
One of the great lessons of life (that I've admittedly ignored on several occasions ) is that just because you can doesn't necessarily mean you should: unfortunately the original Paul Bigsby design is an acknowledged pain in the nether regions, to the extent that Gretsch is presently affixing a Bigsby with a string-through bar on certain models (a long time coming IMO) - and although I too can string a traditional Bigsby I also figure that at this stage of my life I don't need the unnecessary inconvenience, especially if I need to do a quick string change on stage... ...
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Old 09-27-2023, 09:24 AM
Lillis Lillis is offline
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A lot of good info. Thanks all. Having had a Vibramate before,I ordered another one. Should be here same day as the guitar. I have a few different sets of 11's I can try. I'm thinking of putting a set of DR Blues on it first. I'm familiar with installing round cores.
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Last edited by Lillis; 09-28-2023 at 05:35 AM.
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  #13  
Old 09-29-2023, 07:00 AM
Highroller Highroller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
You might have missed my point here: default means precisely that and nothing more - a starting point which IME will get you up-and-running, with a good basic working tone immediately identifiable as "Gretsch" - and then moving to other options as you become more familiar with the instrument (what I said about the guitar telling you what it likes). FWIW a lot of the guys here who scored a MIK E-Matic before the move to Chinese production stayed with the flatwound 11's, so there's definitely something to be said for the combination; conversely, my double-cut White Falcon - which should be optimized for 12's - didn't come into its own until I slapped on a set of 10's, so while I definitely get it when it comes to personal taste I'm also reminded of an old West Virginia adage I heard about 25 years ago, "Ya can't know where yer goin' till ya know where ya been"...


One of the great lessons of life (that I've admittedly ignored on several occasions ) is that just because you can doesn't necessarily mean you should: unfortunately the original Paul Bigsby design is an acknowledged pain in the nether regions, to the extent that Gretsch is presently affixing a Bigsby with a string-through bar on certain models (a long time coming IMO) - and although I too can string a traditional Bigsby I also figure that at this stage of my life I don't need the unnecessary inconvenience, especially if I need to do a quick string change on stage... ...

OK, fair enough! It was probably your use of the word "default" that threw me. I took it to mean perhaps more than you meant it to mean. As far as using the spoiler, I don't personally have anything against them, and since the OP's already chosen to go that route, more power to him. But there sure are a lot of old school Gretsch purists that think they're not needed. To them, it's almost a matter of personal pride that they've mastered that tricky art of the quick Bigsby string change!

I don't happen to think it's a particularly difficult task and takes only a second or two longer than any other string change. Sure, time is valuable, but it's not that valuable. At least mine's not - Ha!

Anyway, all opinions welcome. Hopefully there's room here for more than one!

btw ... double cut White Falcon? Me too! And I totally agree, that one likes 10's. Mine's a center block model, and I gotta say: That guitar's a total balls out rocker! Love it! I'm sure you like yours, too!
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