To T-Top or not?

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by crosstownblues, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. crosstownblues

    crosstownblues Wraptail Fan Premium Member

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    I acquired a nice set of 70's Gibson T-Tops (stamped pat#, no sticker) that I'm considering loading into my '11 R9. The stock BBs are somewhat bright, especially the bridge (I turn treble down to 6), while the neck is a little muddy. I have PIO .022uf in bridge and .015uf in neck.

    T-Tops were described by the seller as bright, with a midrange/upper midrange punch.They have chrome covers that don't appear to have ever been removed. Bridge reads 7.49k and neck reads 7.32k. After reading up on them I'm also considering swapping out the short A5 magnets for either long A5 or (more likely) long A4 magnets.

    So, two questions:
    1. How did you like T-Tops in an R9?
    2. Has anyone swapped out magnets in a T-Top?

    The pickups, while 36 yrs. old, are not PAFs, though more than a few like the sound of them. The chrome covers would have to be replaced with nickel covers to match the R9 hardware, which would also be the perfect opportunity to swap magnets. I'm thinking the long A4 magnets would help smooth out the highs and balance the attack.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Progrocker111

    Progrocker111 Senior Member

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    Once i replaced Burstbuckers 2s with early 70s patent nubmer stickered T-Tops and the tone was a bit fuller, with better articulation and dynamics. Definitely better pickups than Burstbuckers to me.

    Never changed magnets in T-Tops though. :hmm:
     
  3. HarryT

    HarryT Senior Member

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    2007 WH sig. (i.e R8 with R9 neck)
    Bridge: PAF, 7.8 kOhm
    Neck: Pat# 66/67 T-Top, 7.4 kOhm (replaced with nickel cover)
    Both are great and a nice mixture.
    IMO: the T-Top is top (!) and in the same tonal league as the PAF.
    At least for me there is no need for a magnet swap in the T-TOP !
     
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  4. CheopisIV

    CheopisIV Copper Slinger MLP Vendor

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    I love T-Tops! Mostly as a neck pickup but in the bridge they can have some good bite. DO NOT pull those covers off to swap magnets. If you want to mess with magnets grab another set without covers and do it to them. I'd trade you my uncovered 79's if you want to swap magnets but don't open those covers!!
     
  5. DADGAD

    DADGAD Senior Member

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    At the last Vancouver Guitar show i was browsing a table and saw a chrome covered pickup. It had the patent number stamped on the bottom and I knew what it was. The guy said it wasn't anything special sound wise and sold it to me for $40. Popped the cover off later and it was indeed a nice T top. I have about 5 now and they each have a Slightly different character. I love them in the neck but also make good bridge pickups despite being around 7.3-7.5k. With an 8.2k neck the middle position is very cool.
     
  6. crosstownblues

    crosstownblues Wraptail Fan Premium Member

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    The BB1 in the neck is a little muddy to my ears, so the T-Top might be just the thing. The only way the pickups would stay in my guitar is with nickel covers - the same as the rest of the hardware. The bridge pickup has seen a lot of play time as the chrome plating is worn off on the short sides, especially on the pick hand size. The set only cost me $250, which I thought was quite reasonable (Craigslist).

    I have some rough cast, long A4 magnets, and considering getting some rough cast, long A5 magnets in case I don't like the A4's. First, I will install them as is to see how I like them. Recordings will be made...
     
  7. crosstownblues

    crosstownblues Wraptail Fan Premium Member

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    Of course, the BB's could become prime candidates for magnet swapping...
     
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  8. LtKojak

    LtKojak Senior Member

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    BB#1, BB#2 and BB Pros are great candidates for the A3neck/UOA5bridge mag combo.

    HTH,
     
  9. tonybony

    tonybony Senior Member

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    T-Tops have always been some of my favorite neck pickups.
     
  10. dlmorley

    dlmorley Senior Member

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    Try it. I'm a big fan of T-Tops.
     
  11. crosstownblues

    crosstownblues Wraptail Fan Premium Member

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    I think that's just what I'll do! While the T-Tops are installed, I'll operate on the BB's. I understand the part about not molesting the factory installed covers on 36+ year old pickups, so the BB's will be sacrificial lambs. Should be interesting.

    Even more interesting should be the sound of the T-Tops in my R9!
     
  12. crosstownblues

    crosstownblues Wraptail Fan Premium Member

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    I have all the the magnets now! UOA5, A4, and A3. The T-Tops go in after first recording the original BB's. Play the T-Tops for a while, and put the UOA5 in the bridge and the A3 in the neck. Record the T-Tops, then install the modified BB's, and repeat. I'll be sure to post sound clips, too.
     
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  13. thrashmetl

    thrashmetl Senior Member

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    Sounds cool. I love T-Tops, but they are a very different sound from those A2 BB's so there may be a little initial getting used to there. I fully support swapping in the UOA5 into the BB bridge, but I personally don't like A3 in the neck. I recently swapped a UOA5 into the neck of a pickup I obtained recently and found it was clearer than any other magnet I tried which was a rather big surprise. I'd consider that option too.
     
  14. bamboozer

    bamboozer Junior Member

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    Got a set of T Tops but I believe them to be the last of the breed as their zebra style with no covers, supposedly from an SG. Output is in the high 7's, thinking of swapping them for the stock pickups in my 2008 studio LP. Hey, I can always put 'em back in.
     
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  15. crosstownblues

    crosstownblues Wraptail Fan Premium Member

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    My first Les Paul was a battered up road veteran '68 /69 Goldtop, which came with a P90 and a mini-humbucker. I replaced the P90 with a Gibson PAT # T-Top (with the sticker) that I had bought for my sunburst Mustang in '72, so it had to be among the last of the stickered ones, or "old stock", when I got it. I installed it in the bridge of the Mustang, but in the Les Paul I chose the neck position. I loved the sound of that pickup, so the T-Top might be perfect for that role...
     
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  16. Bezore

    Bezore Senior Member

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    If you're going to swap magnets, do the Burstbuckers. I did and they work great! It's a well made PAF replica type pickup, mine were very lightly potted ('07). I tried every type of magnet, but A2 and A5 were both great. I had a 60's Black Beauty back in the seventies. I got that same neck tone again!
     
  17. Angus

    Angus Senior Member

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    I had the T-tops removed from my '79 standard a couple of years back in favour of Bare Knuckles. I have fond memories of the neck sound, but was never really happy with the bridge, particuarly if you wanted a Kossoff style high note. "Ping!" is the word that disappointingly came to mind.
     
  18. refin

    refin V.I.P. Member

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    In my '55,I have a stickered non t-top in the neck (basically a paf),and a stickered t-top in the bridge.In the '75ish Deluxe,2 stickered t-tops.All these are from the '60s,incredible sweetness and totally in paf territory (whatever that is...lol).
    Definitely my all-time favorite stock Gibby pickups.
     
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  19. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    Anybody who remotely believes a t-top and a PAF are anywhere near the same league needs their EARS examined by a professional..

    T-tops are obnoxiously middy pickups that have the ability to make a normally good sounding tube amp sound like SH1T. You certainly cannot hurt the tone or lack of, by magnet swapping.

    Yes there are guitar heroes who made good records with them, and like PAFs all are not created equal but for the most part, they are just run of the mill midrangey and honky sounding junk that Gibson mass produced as cheaply as humanly possible. Kills me when I see ppl glorifying the worst sounding pickups Gibson/Norlin ever made, JUST because they are "Vintage." What is it about old that makes people think they should sound good because they are old? I don't get it. Most of them sounded like sh1t when they were new, and time hasn't magically transformed them into anything better.

    I guess I got spoiled by real PAFs over the years, and you can rag on me if you want to but any serious player that has ever owned real PAFs will take one look at a t-top and toss the bitch into the garbage. There's nothing you can do to fix one except rewind it and you might as well start with a mojotone bobbin and make a whole new pickup for that matter.

    I'd take an early non-stamped pat sticker t-top and rewind it, the steel in the slugs and screws before about 1966 is different, it would make a right cool PAF clone, but that's the one single thing an early t-top has going for it.

    Mag swap it! Can't possibly hurt it!
     
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  20. crosstownblues

    crosstownblues Wraptail Fan Premium Member

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    I've decided to start by swapping magnets in the Burstbuckers. Last night, I changed the magnet in the BB2 to an unoriented A5. No "aha!" moments at first listen as I expect it to take 2-3 days for the full the rest of the pickup to acclimate to the new magnet. The neck will most likely get an A3, though I have another UOA5 and some A4 magnets in case I don't like the A3.

    As for the T-Tops, after I am finished with modifying the BB's they will get their chance in the R9.
     

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