Chet Atkins needed a new pickup, and Ray Butts created it; Now it’s the favorite of Jack White, Billy Gibbons and Brian Setzer: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Filtertron!
Since its creation the Filtertron evolved until it became extinct with Baldwin seizing building Gretsch guitars in 1981. When new life was breathed into Gretsch towards the end of the same decade, the Filteron was resurrected as well. This new version wasn’t quite up to the vintage Filtertron specs, and luthier T.V. Jones stepped in to fill the void with his Filterton Classic and recreations of other various Gretsch Filtertron designs.
In the video below, we walk through and compare some Gretsch and T.V. Jones Filtertrons.
The guitars are:
’59 Gretsch Double Anniversary with original early model Patient Applied For Filtertrons.
2012 Gretsch Electromatic G5420 with Gretsch Black Top Filter’trons.
2012 Cort Sunset l with a T.V. Jones Classic Plus Filtertron in the bridge position and Classic in the neck position.
Tomkins Custom Hollowbody with early model T.V. Jones Filtertrons which are now referred to as the Classic model
The same amp setting was used for all guitars, in fact, the guitar was merely unplugged for one and directly into the next. the volume and tone controls were set wide open on all guitars.
Each guitar is different, and the pickup’s (both height and polepieces) was different on each guitar, therefore this is not a shoot out, but merely a comparison. A fairer example of a shoot out would be to re-dial the amp to adjust for each guitar/pickup combination, tone, and gain to max out what they each are most capable of doing.
An even fairer example would be to have four totally identical guitars with each pickup combination, or one guitar with a way to quick-swap the pickups…but, this at least is a starting point that should help give you an idea of the differences (and similarities) between the models.
– Jake Kelly