1977 Gibson Les Paul Standard pickup swap

Benny2112

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I bought this 1977 Gibson Les Paul Standard around 1988 I believe. At the time I was I was playing through a 50W Marshall small box plexi and the T Top bridge pickup just wasn't giving me the bite I was looking for. So I replaced it with a Duncan Distortion which worked great.

Fast forward to now. After having the Les Paul as my main guitar for all these years, I haven't played it much (if at all) in the last few years. A bad back has me playing a lighter guitar as my main guitar now. But now I'd like to get the Les Paul back into action.

I don't have the 50W small box anymore, but did recently purchase a Marshall SV20H. My style and needs have changed a bit over the years and after plugging the Les Paul into the new Marshall, the Duncan Distortion sounds muddy and overpowering. I thought about swapping the DD out for a lower output Duncan, but after some digging around I found the original T Top that came with the guitar. This thing hasn't even seen the light of day since it was taken out after I first got the guitar.

I'm going to have it put in this week. So my question is, what can I expect? I've done some research on the T Tops, but would like hear what your personal experiences have been.


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HardCore Troubadour

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it is going to go right back to where it was.....it will be very close to what the Neck pup is, and won't have as much bite.

I have an 85 with the same thing done to a set of Shaw's.
 

Benny2112

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it is going to go right back to where it was.....it will be very close to what the Neck pup is, and won't have as much bite.

I have an 85 with the same thing done to a set of Shaw's.
So you took the Shaws out? What did you replace them with?

Back then I was using more power chords and a lot of gain. I'm still using a fair amount of gain (not near as much though), but I'm playing mostly full and open chords now, so clarity and note definition have become more important to me.

This 20W head compresses way faster than the 50W did, so the DD is just too much now.
 

HardCore Troubadour

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just the bridge....the PO did it, and put in a SD.

I will most likely swap them back, just haven't taken the time yet.

if you will roll the volume on the guitar back a little, it will help.
 
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decoy205

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My guess is you will love the t tops. I play with a lot of gain and that lack of “bite” gives them a clarity that you don’t get with higher output pickups. It seems like the amps back in the day needed that output from the pickups which is why people changed em. Now there’s a million ways to boost an amp or amps with more gain on tap that using the original pickups is a great option. I love my 73 with the t tops!
 

Benny2112

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My guess is you will love the t tops. I play with a lot of gain and that lack of “bite” gives them a clarity that you don’t get with higher output pickups. It seems like the amps back in the day needed that output from the pickups which is why people changed em. Now there’s a million ways to boost an amp or amps with more gain on tap that using the original pickups is a great option. I love my 73 with the t tops!
Thanks. Clarity is exactly what I'm looking for.

And you are absolutely right, when I first got this guitar it just wasn't pushing my 50W plexi hard enough. Now with this 20W head, it compresses a lot quicker, so it doesn't need pushed as hard.

I should have the T Top back in by sometime this weekend hopefully. I'll keep you posted!
 

HardCore Troubadour

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Now, if you have not, dial it some more.... adjust the pole pieces, depending where you want a little more "bite".
you can get more out of them.....some people forget that step.

There will be some folks to come along that know more about it than me and give you some direction.

good for you man!
 
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Benny2112

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Now, if you have not, dial it some more adjust the pole pieces, depending where you want a little more "bite".
you can get more out of them.....some people forget that step.

There will be some folks to come along that know more about it than me and give you some direction.

good for you man!
Thanks brother. I didn't even think about doing that. May try to "fine tune" it that way. Thanks again!
 

dju

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does the guitar still have the factory 300k pots in it?
if yes maybe put in some 500k pots.
that might give it a little more something that you might like.
good luck
 

Benny2112

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does the guitar still have the factory 300k pots in it?
if yes maybe put in some 500k pots.
that might give it a little more something that you might like.
good luck
I'm pretty sure it does have the original pots. What kind of change could I expect updating to 500k pots?
 

dju

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I'm pretty sure it does have the original pots. What kind of change could I expect updating to 500k pots?
should make the guitar brighter sounding and hopefully push the amp a little more. which might hopefully give you a little more bite that you are looking for.
good luck.
 

Benny2112

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should make the guitar brighter sounding and hopefully push the amp a little more. which might hopefully give you a little more bite that you are looking for.
good luck.
I will definitely look into that. Thanks for your help!
 


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