79 Custom Pickups Experts

Lolaviola

Member
Joined
May 24, 2013
Messages
59
Reaction score
16
Here is the deal: I've had this guitar with the stock T-top sound forever, it seems, and I feel like it could be so much more better.
Tried 50's wiring, tried 500k pots and 50's wiring and it just seems to accentuate the weakness of the T-tops. Can anybody relate? There's a large chorus of T-top lovers and they recommend them for everything, but do you think Randy and Angus were playing these 7.3k stock pickups?

In the 90's I used to play thru a Big Muff and a Marshall and sort of dealt with the linear 300k volumes. But recently I've been listening to this guitar thru my new amps, and it has a voice that's matured for sure, but I feel like I'm not getting the best out of that voice and not getting enough interaction with the amps. I have a 1x12 deluxe style combo that makes the guitar sound overly stiff and bright. Thru my Mesa Mk1 it's pretty good but could use more push and more usable range on the vol and tone.. I just acquired an Epi Explorer and that guitar seems to interact with the amp better.

Is the answer More powerful A5 pickups? Or would you go in the more vintage/unpotted/A2 route?
 

Progrocker111

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2011
Messages
3,486
Reaction score
2,563
Many of the maple necked late 70s Les Pauls can sound very stiff and focused with less mids. Could be due to guitars inherent voice and nature, not cause of pickups....
 

your idol

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2010
Messages
12,121
Reaction score
22,094
Yank the covers if youre so inclined. Also pickups are like anything else. Theres awesome ones and theres duds. To assume any real uniformity outside of staying within an output range on factory pickups isnt really reasonable. Especially in an era known to be pretty willy nilly about things anyway. I love t tops, i typically run them uncovered, i have had some lame ass t tops but ive had far more good ones. Maybe your pickups just suck? It happens duder, thats why theres a metric asston of Les Pauls out there with Super Distortions in em.
 

Lolaviola

Member
Joined
May 24, 2013
Messages
59
Reaction score
16
Well I’ve had this guitar for a long time, it’s no case queen, and I’ve tried a few modifications over the years like removing the covers, different caps and 50s wiring. I recently put 500k pots in and the guitar became extremely bright. I wouldn’t feel at this point that the guitar couldn’t be put back together as I’ve kept everything I’ve removed.
I made this thread because I’m looking for a different sound.
I would like to hear those whose experience provided them with opinion of swapping pickups in these maple neck customs. Do you think the vintage airy Alnico 2 PAF sound is improving versus the more beefy modern style pickups with more output?
 

ARandall

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2012
Messages
14,655
Reaction score
10,941
If the bridge pickup sound is not for you, there is no harm in trying something else. T-tops go for big $$ these days, so if you wanted to sell you would make more money than most boutique PAF clones go for new.
But generally speaking the best option is to put it away to re-install in far, far later days when you are no longer playing the guitar.

There is a 'hot t-top' bridge pickup done by Vineham (6070) that comes in about 20-25% stronger nominally than an original. This would mean a more even tonal shift if you keep the t-top neck in place.
The you have the whole range of PAF clones and generic low output pickups if you want something vintage toned still.

Its VERY hard to recommend any 1 pickup. Even having the same era guitar in a Deluxe form, mine will be a different instrument and have a unique voice....as well as my own tonal goals and rig being different.

I'd pick a winder.....one that knows a bit about t-tops....and describe how you want your tone to alter from what the stock pickup is giving you. If you and they are on the same page then you're more than likely to find the result will do what you want - especially if they are into adjusting their winds if you're not happy.
I've had good experiences with Zhangbucker pickups too in that regard. Every time I've specified a pickup's characteristics it has arrived and worked out just the way I wanted. He is also a 'hot vintage' specialist too.
 

Uncle Vinnie

Proud Boomer
Premium Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2017
Messages
4,105
Reaction score
7,523
I had a '79 Custom (bought new), sounded OK until I plugged it into an Ampeg SVT 100w 2x12, then it sounded like Mick Jones' LP on the song Double Vision or Rich Williams on Carry On Wayward Son, very punchy and responsive. Didn't sound as good on any other amp ... including a Marshall.
 


Latest Threads



Top