Let’s be honest: Filter’Tron and TV Jones pickups do look a lot similar and are very often compared against each other.
But are these 2 the same? Here is the short answer:
The main difference between Filter’Tron and TV Jones pickups is that the latter are more expensive replicas of the vintage versions of the former. TV Jones pickups are boutique products made with the original construction methods and American materials. Gretsch uses these pickups in their professional line.
For those who want to dive deeper, in this article I will talk about the main features of both these pickups, then I will talk about the main differences that set them apart, and finally, I will give you my insights into which one I think you might like better.
After reading this article you will have a clearer idea about the history, tone, and usability of both these pickups.
Are you ready to get started?
Filtertron pickups main features
Gretsch Filter’Trons are the quintessential Gretsch guitar pickup. These are one of the main factors that make up a guitar from this brand.
Filter’Tron pickups were introduced in 1957. The guitar master himself, Chet Atkins was working alongside one of Gretsch’s engineers, Ray Butts, on a new kind of pickup that could solve the problem of the 60 cycle hum that P-90s and single coils suffered from.
This, of course, was before the P.A.F. pickup was made popular, or just about that happened.
The Filter’Tron is a low output humbucking pickup that delivers warm tones but with a twangy high end.
Some players even go as far as to say that these pickups retain the low end of a humbucker, but add the high end of a single coil. This is a bold claim, but it’s not that far from reality.
Many rockabilly players gravitate towards these models, however, they are also amazing for playing jazz, blues, light rock and they excel, in my opinion, for rhythm guitar.
TV Jones pickups main features
TV Jones pickups are just replicas of the original Filter’Tron pickup. The company behind them specializes in this kind of guitar technology and builds them using only American sourced materials and trying to replicate the original manufacturing process of the Filter’Trons.
The result of this quest is an amazing set of pickups that really capture the original warm but twangy tone of vintage Gretsch pickups.
If you are looking for an aftermarket set of Filter’Trons I strongly recommend you take a look at TV Jones.
Main differences between Filtertron and TV Jones pickups
As I mentioned earlier, the main difference between Filter’Tron and TV Jones pickups is that the latter are replicas of the original ones.
This is not a bad thing per se, and it is a very common thing in the guitar industry. There are always clones of the most popular pieces of gear and many times this search for a duplicate generates brand new sounds.
Marshall started as a company that cloned Fender amps, but that’s a story for another article.
In this case, TV Jones is pretty close to the original Filter’Tron and they intend to be like that. Modern Filter’Trons are perhaps a little less boutique, but still one of the best guitar pickups money can buy.
Do they sound the same? Well yes, but no. These pickups are pretty much the same but the construction process and materials are different. This, of course, results in a slightly different tone.
Do they cost the same? Not really, TV Jones pickups are almost twice as expensive as Gretsch Filter’Trons.
Which one is better? I don’t know, you should really listen to them by yourself.
However, what I can tell you is that Gretsch themselves use TV Jones pickups for their most expensive line, the Professional series.
Is that premium enough?
Which ones should you get?
Here in GearAficionado, I don’t like making the hard choices for you. I think modifying your guitar or even getting a new one is a very personal process that you should transit on your own.
I always encourage you to try the gear before making a final decision, since there are subtleties that you could only hear or feel in person and that would never manifest to you through an article or even a YouTube video.
However, if you want to know what are my insights into this matter here they are:
- If you are on a budget and want that sweet twangy Gretsch tone, get a set of Filter’Trons
- If money is not a problem for you, get the more expensive TV Jones
- If you are planning on installing them on a Gretsch guitar, Filter’Trons will fit just fine
- If you need more specific mounts such as soapbars, TV Jones has you covered
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.