70's T-Top 101 For Dummies

DjPsychic

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To be fair, I think he's specifically referring to the instrument he owned.
But yes, VERY bad form to come in and dump on it in someone else's thread where the OP is justifiably proud of their own version of the same model.

I’m not offended in the slightest. Doesn’t change how great MY guitar is :)

Unnecessary negative comments are part of the world we live in today (unfortunately) Welcome to the internet!

I do appreciate the adult members of this discussion speaking up. Thanks ;)
 

SWeAT hOg

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I’m not offended in the slightest. Doesn’t change how great MY guitar is :)

Unnecessary negative comments are part of the world we live in today (unfortunately) Welcome to the internet!

I do appreciate the adult members of this discussion speaking up. Thanks ;)
I'd love to rock yer axe. T-Tops are fantastic for everything I like to play.
 

BKS

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I have 2 ttops, planned for my chibson kit guitar if i ever get to that... I have an early seventies decal one i Picked up cheap from ebay (out of an SG neck) and a 1980 one that i got with a disastercaster.... I bought it really because that pickup was calling me. Guitar is no disaster anymore btw :laugh2:
I love ttops hopefully i get to install them this year somewhere but i don't want to hurry it, slowly getting the parts in.
I've seen several the pauls for sale over here in the netherlands, i like them:thumbs:
 

DjPsychic

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I'd love to rock yer axe. T-Tops are fantastic for everything I like to play.

All biased aside, the pickups are the nicest things I've ever played. They're hotter than you'd think but in all the right ways. Addictive tone, I have a few guitars and keep going back to the "Paul".
 

DjPsychic

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I have 2 ttops, planned for my chibson kit guitar if i ever get to that... I have an early seventies decal one i Picked up cheap from ebay (out of an SG neck) and a 1980 one that i got with a disastercaster.... I bought it really because that pickup was calling me. Guitar is no disaster anymore btw :laugh2:
I love ttops hopefully i get to install them this year somewhere but i don't want to hurry it, slowly getting the parts in.
I've seen several the pauls for sale over here in the netherlands, i like them:thumbs:

Mine just have the serial metal stamp, I think they are early, they sound amazing.
 

TM1

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I had a The Paul in the mid 80’s and it was a very ordinary guitar I must say
It was my live backup guitar but thankfully I never had to use it
I've worked on quiet a number of these in the last 35+ years. they can be setup and adjusted to play really nice and sound great. I don't know why you'd want to disrespect the original poster on it. If you didn't like yours why didn't you try and fix what you didn't like? I replaced pots in them with 500K CTS and VIP's, wired them `50's style, PIO caps and A-4 magnets in each pickup. Usually a decent setup will make them play great. I've done everything from just buffing the frets to a level, re-crown and polish depending on how much it had been played. Also I've replaced bridges with either Faber's or ABM's and added Aluminium tailpieces to machined brass ABM stoptails. It all comes down to what the guitar plays like and sounds like. One of these wouldn't be a bad guitar to have, not even!
 

Blue Blood

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My son has a 78 T top in an 84 Gibson SG 'mahogany body,maple neck (weird end of Norlin stuff),.... that pickup in that guitar sounds honestly just awesome.
 

Derrick111

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1980 T-Tops are a different animal in that SOME of them (SGs and some 335s) had double thick ceramic magnets and spacers in the bridge, but tonewise they still sound like T-Tops, just beefier. I still have 2 of those sets here and they really do sound amazing but they've been on the shelf for a few years so will probably be going out the door if I ever get around to taking pics and making a listing.
I sure would love to see a photo of this to see what this is and how it compares to the last T tops, and Shaws. Also, I have what I believe to be a Shaw, but the magnet is just slightly taller (maybe 1 mm taller?). That sounds different than what you are refferring to here, but it's another variant I am trying to understand.
 

cooljuk

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I sure would love to see a photo of this to see what this is and how it compares to the last T tops, and Shaws. Also, I have what I believe to be a Shaw, but the magnet is just slightly taller (maybe 1 mm taller?). That sounds different than what you are refferring to here, but it's another variant I am trying to understand.

There's no firm hard "models" of pickups in that era. Between 1978 and 1983 or so are the MOST inconsistent years of Gibson pickup production, ever. FAR more variation in materials and design than the PAF era everyone thinks is so inconsistent. Gibson was using at least three distinctly different magnets in their pickups at this time, including a taller ceramic magnet.
 

Derrick111

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Interesting. I found a humbucker that has all the appointments of the photos of Tim Shaws that I see, as well as the Tim Shaws in my 1981 Les Paul Custom - EXCEPT the magnet is just a tad taller (maybe 1 mm or so). It also doesn't have ink stamp on the bottom, but it does of course have the patent number stamped in the metal (Shaws can have no ink stamp). It has a single row of holes in the base plate (Shaws can be either single or dounle). These features with the taller mag make me wonder about the type of pickup and the rough year of it. I also wonder what variances there were in the Shaws available back then (not the Dirty Fingers, just the PAF style)...
 

cooljuk

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You're illustrating my point. "It has all the features of a given model except it's kinda different in a way" "also, that model can have this part or that and sometimes has this feature or that"

All the rules for "Shaws" and "T-Shaws" are just silly. Gibson had ALL the parts from the earlier T-Tops, some new parts for the "Shaws" (which were not at all what Tim Shaw spec'ed anyway) and they got used up in any and all combinations. People are trying to make models where there weren't any.

On top of that, Gibson started integrating other parts. Taller slugs, thicker spacers, ceramic magnets, different surface treatments and platings for metals, taller covers, various baseplates, various coils, taller screws, etc. Some guitars had particular pickup features spec'ed for them, which generally made it in, but other stuff was just all out anything goes or at least whatever was the intended set of pickup features was forgotten, neglected, or set aside when it was time to meet the numbers and other parts were available.

Tim Shaw got used for his name in marketing, plain and simple. Gibson took his recommendations for changes, thanked him for his time, used his name in print, and proceeded to use other parts and largely ignore Tim's points. Of course, the obvious cosmetic change in the bobbin tops is the one thing Gibson focused on, but they butchered that too, getting lots of details wrong and combining / substituting them with "T" bobbins and upside-down "T" bobbins in all possible combinations.
 

Derrick111

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You're illustrating my point. "It has all the features of a given model except it's kinda different in a way" "also, that model can have this part or that and sometimes has this feature or that"

All the rules for "Shaws" and "T-Shaws" are just silly. Gibson had ALL the parts from the earlier T-Tops, some new parts for the "Shaws" (which were not at all what Tim Shaw spec'ed anyway) and they got used up in any and all combinations. People are trying to make models where there weren't any.

On top of that, Gibson started integrating other parts. Taller slugs, thicker spacers, ceramic magnets, different surface treatments and platings for metals, taller covers, various baseplates, various coils, taller screws, etc. Some guitars had particular pickup features spec'ed for them, which generally made it in, but other stuff was just all out anything goes or at least whatever was the intended set of pickup features was forgotten, neglected, or set aside when it was time to meet the numbers and other parts were available.

Tim Shaw got used for his name in marketing, plain and simple. Gibson took his recommendations for changes, thanked him for his time, used his name in print, and proceeded to use other parts and largely ignore Tim's points. Of course, the obvious cosmetic change in the bobbin tops is the one thing Gibson focused on, but they butchered that too, getting lots of details wrong and combining / substituting them with "T" bobbins and upside-down "T" bobbins in all possible combinations.
Wow, well thank you for clearing that up for me. So while the pickup in my 1981 Les Paul Custom look to have the features pointed out elsewhere on the net for what a "Tim Shaw" is, there seem to be others that are off the path with what a lot of Shaws seem to have. So my the ones in my '81 look similar to others, and the one I found loose in my parts is the same but with slightly different magnet.

That leads to one other question... how do I know what magnets they are?
 

CheopisIV

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...
On top of that, Gibson started integrating other parts. Taller slugs, thicker spacers, ceramic magnets, different surface treatments and platings for metals, taller covers, various baseplates, various coils, taller screws, etc. Some guitars had particular pickup features spec'ed for them, which generally made it in, but other stuff was just all out anything goes or at least whatever was the intended set of pickup features was forgotten, neglected, or set aside when it was time to meet the numbers and other parts were available....

You have to wonder about their sourcing of materials in that era; was it just random yardsale junk from various manufacturers that they gobbled up and said "Hey, lets use this stuff". There's no way they'd be paying tooling costs for all of it and it was all so happenstance on what went where.
 

cooljuk

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Wow, well thank you for clearing that up for me. So while the pickup in my 1981 Les Paul Custom look to have the features pointed out elsewhere on the net for what a "Tim Shaw" is, there seem to be others that are off the path with what a lot of Shaws seem to have. So my the ones in my '81 look similar to others, and the one I found loose in my parts is the same but with slightly different magnet.

That leads to one other question... how do I know what magnets they are?

Unless they are the big ceramic magnets, which are considerably larger and light like plastic, rather than heavy like iron.... you use your ears and guess.

I'm assuming you don't have a gas spectrometer or lab equipment that can analyze a BH curve, right? Just use your ears. You can't tell AlNiCo types from physical appearance or "how hard it sticks to the fridge" tests. Ears are the best most musicians have to guess.
 

cooljuk

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FWIW , thought it’s not an actual indicator of magnet type, I can wager a guess that the thinner one you have from this era has a pebbled sort of surface, where the high spots in the texture look almost chrome, in a shiny silver way, like they have been buffed or polished. …and it has two or three sloppily drawn white makes on the north face, from a paint pen.

If that’s the case, I’m pretty comfortable saying it’s a very strong A5 magnet. Not because any of those visual attributes say anything about type or strength, but because in that 78-83 era I’ve seen and tested provably 100+ of those with universal results.

If it’s a dark rough surface with ground flat shiny north and south faces, with black or no marks, it’s not what I’m taking about.

Your ears will still be best, in any case.
 

copperheadroad

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Out of the 2 different T-top winds that are common .I do find one sounds thin . & the later ones have a thicker wind which i like ... older is not always better .
 

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