In the early 1990s, luthier Thomas “TV” Jones developed an interest in electronics and began scrutinizing the innards of vintage pickups. While repairing several old instruments owned by Stray Cats guitarist Brian Setzer, Jones learned a lot about Filter’Tron pickups. Before long, he’d figured out how to faithfully recreate a Fil-ter’Tron, and his pickups soon became stock items in Setzer’s Gretsch signature models.
Based on the success of his original Filter’Tron repro, Jones expanded his line to include other models, such as the Magna’Tron, Power’Tron, Super’Tron, and Thun-der’Tron. A number of high-profile players, including ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, use TV Jones pickups in their guitars.
In 2008, Jones began offering guitars outfitted with his specially designed pickups—the Sonic Supreme semi-hollowbody, followed by the solidbody Model 10 in 2009. We checked out a twin-pickup, Bigsby-equipped version of the latter and found it to be a very cool guitar.
Design and Build
The Model 10 has a familiar single-cutaway silhouette and set-neck construction. Its 1.75"-thick body and neck are made from the hardwood obeche (a decent substitute for mahogany), while its fretboard is crafted from a more traditional tonewood, ebony. The guitar sports some choice hardware: Sperzel non-locking tuners, a Gibson ABR-1–style bridge with brass saddles and a retainer wire, and a custom TV Jones tailpiece. As an option, you can order the Model 10 with a Bigsby B5 vibrato unit.
The Model 10’s electronics are similarly premium. Its bridge and neck pickups are both TV Jones Custom Wound models. The wiring harness includes a Switchcraft pickup selector connected to a CTS 500k Master Volume and CTS 500k Master Tone with a .022 µF Cap.
Four attractive finishes—toffee burst, metallic ice blue, matte black, and crimson red, each done in satin polyurethane—are standard to the Model 10. Our review unit arrived with a toffee burst finish and Bigsby vibrato.
It has a round, sweet tone, due perhaps to its obeche neck and body,
and a bit more sustain and resonance than one would expect from a
solidbody of its type.
While subtle in its range of colors, the guitar’s burst pattern adds a warm glow to the top, back, and neck. The old-school finish matches nicely with the tortoise pick-guard, and 1/4" fretboard dots also contribute to the instrument’s handsome, yet traditional look. Though I found the brushed aluminum parts—including the control knobs and tuners—at odds with the vintage vibe, the Model 10 is a pretty smart-looking guitar.
Our Model 10 was made in Japan at the same factory responsible for select high-end Gretsch guitars, so it comes as no surprise that it is meticulously built. The 22 medium frets—.045" tall and .095" wide—are perfectly crowned and polished. The neck-to-body junction is so smooth the guitar feels like it was made from one big slab of wood. The burst pattern is as even as can be, and the satin finish feels consistent and inviting.