Jimmy Page #1 bridge pickup question

AJK1

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Joe Walsh brought that guitar from the US to London convinced that it was the guitar Jimmy needed for use in his new band.

Think about that for a moment, and you just know that Jimmy was handed from Joe a Les Paul, tuned, intonated and set up beyond perfection.
It worked, and that generosity sealed a friendship that survives to this day.

Even prior to 1972 that Les Paul had a very distinctive tone in the middle selector position. I wouldn't be surprised if Joe Walsh ensured that the PAF s fitted to that Les Paul would have that distinctive tone because he knew it was what Jimmy was looking for, and perhaps why he brought the guitar to London personally.

Highly speculative, I know and please, everyone bear this in mind..

It's just that the first 'burst to enter the UK was owned by Keith Richards. It had a Bigsby and surely every guitarist in London wanted to play it.

Jimmy Page was one of the first and there is a picture of him with shorter hair playing it in the studio.
Later Eric Clapton would be photographed with it in the weeks following the theft of his mythical 'Beano' burst.

It would be most associated with Mick Taylor during his stint with the 'Stones'. By this time it had lost the Bigsby but not its unique tone, especially the tone in the middle selector position..

The neck is wound hotter than the bridge and this gives this particular 'burst a very distinctive tone that I'm speculating made an impression on a young session guitarist that perhaps he chased and found when Joe first opened that case..

Entirely speculative, but I hope thought provoking.
Hmmm
Some of your info is a bit how ya goin bordering on BS
ie.Joe Walsh showed him the guitar in the US while Zep were on tour, and Page was playing it at a gig a few days later
 
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Gschoolar

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You see the thing is that Page's neck pickup was a high K reading.....even with original PAF in the bridge it was significantly louder. But he never used it full volume.....or almost never.
So in reproducing the tone you usually heard from him you are pretty much hearing a pickup of a lower output......or essentially adjusted to similar volume to the bridge one.
To do this aftermarket, the bridge often is wound to a higher turn count. So most winders make a set useful for those not adept at control manipulation.....which nowadays is practically everybody.

But not all sets are like that. There are more than a few that go the whole hog. But the makers typically have to give out operational info for the buyers. Otherwise complaints ensue.
 

Gschoolar

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You see the thing is that Page's neck pickup was a high K reading.....even with original PAF in the bridge it was significantly louder. But he never used it full volume.....or almost never.
So in reproducing the tone you usually heard from him you are pretty much hearing a pickup of a lower output......or essentially adjusted to similar volume to the bridge one.
To do this aftermarket, the bridge often is wound to a higher turn count. So most winders make a set useful for those not adept at control manipulation.....which nowadays is practically everybody.

But not all sets are like that. There are more than a few that go the whole hog. But the makers typically have to give out operational info for the buyers. Otherwise complaints ensue.
I guess my point is that if Page’s neck pickup is Alnico V wound to approximately 8.2, and his T-Tops are Alnico V wound less, like around 7.5, why don’t the boutique pickup winders wind their “Jimmy Page” pickups that way? They all still seem to have the neck wound less than the bridge. Are we sure about Page’s historical readings, and did he just turn down the neck volume like people say?
 

AcVox

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Hmmm
Some of your info is a bit how ya goin bordering on BS
ie.Joe Walsh showed him the guitar in the US while Zep were on tour, and Page was playing it at a gig a few days later
It's entirely possible that Page first played the guitar in the US. It doesn't mean that Joe Walsh didn't bring the guitar over to Jimmy's London home.
This is the account I heard and covered in my last post. It does not mean the account I heard and believed is accurate... You do remember my caveat don't you ?
I mentioned it twice in my first post to help avoid misunderstandings.
 
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ARandall

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I guess my point is that if Page’s neck pickup is Alnico V wound to approximately 8.2, and his T-Tops are Alnico V wound less, like around 7.5, why don’t the boutique pickup winders wind their “Jimmy Page” pickups that way? They all still seem to have the neck wound less than the bridge. Are we sure about Page’s historical readings, and did he just turn down the neck volume like people say?
I quite literally explained your first question above already in the previous post.
But here goes again - some go for a soundalike of what Page's tone was as he played the guitar. So players can plug and play. Others (the more top of the tree) will reproduce the pickups as they are from a spec point of view - and there are plenty of them who go the whole hog if you look.
 

Gschoolar

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I quite literally explained your first question above already in the previous post.
But here goes again - some go for a soundalike of what Page's tone was as he played the guitar. So players can plug and play. Others (the more top of the tree) will reproduce the pickups as they are from a spec point of view - and there are plenty of them who go the whole hog if you look.
[/QUO
I quite literally explained your first question above already in the previous post.
But here goes again - some go for a soundalike of what Page's tone was as he played the guitar. So players can plug and play. Others (the more top of the tree) will reproduce the pickups as they are from a spec point of view - and there are plenty of them who go the whole hog if you look.
wow, ok, thanks for the information.
 

ARandall

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You see the thing is you have to look at what the winder's typical audience is.

A mainstream brand like Duncan is typically installed by someone who is less about complete authenticity, but wanting a generalised ballpark tone. The WLH is basically marketed and recommended as a overwound PAF for a brighter guitar, more than a Page pickup. Typically a lot of the specs are not accurate, but they don't really care - its all about the vibe. Its why a lot of their low output pickups are potted, and why magnet types are generalised too. Because the range of application is wider and they can't afford to have squealing pickups.

Some boutique brands go for increased accuracy for the small parts to get a more lively PAF/t-top like tone, but still their typical buyer isn't about dotting i's and crossing t's - so they now might copy a few more aspects of the original pickups in terms of wire type, magnet type and a more accurate tone. But they might do a generic Page pickup that doesn't go into period accurate specs.

Then you have something like ReWind where there are 2 sets......pre 72 and post. James knows his stuff, so he does wind a T-top clone for the post 72 bridge position. This is one of his more popular sets, as those really wanting to nail the Page tone and have a rig to go with it will want to go the whole hog. You also find guys putting them into #1 lookalikes for the complete experience.

But by far the majority of people don't want a massively imbalanced set for 1 guitar as you would find on a post 72 set.......and for most players why on earth would they. A noted shrill bridge matched to a loud woofy neck position. It makes for a hard guitar to use in a stable without completely having to alter amp settings.
 

Classicplayer

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I’m finding that it does get a bit confusing with all the commercial and boutique pickup winders who offer pickups to cover a wide variety of not only noted players, but the respective eras of music from the 1950's up to we have for guitar music today. Add to that the market for pedals and one begins to wonder where to even begin to find their own personal tone recipie.

My 20 year-old Les Paul came with powerful ceramics, and not really taking to them, I successively swapped in two additional PAF offerings over the years and now sporting a Seth Lover pair, I am content finally with a mass-produced pickup that I can live with. It's not that my prior two sets were sounding bad or not well made, and I continued sounding just like myself despite three different sets. My “pickup journey” was begun to to find a pickup pair that brought out the best (IMHO) a more accurate representation of what I heard from my Les Paul when played unplugged. When I try out any electric, I do so unplugged to determine what the guitar's tone personality reveals. Finding a pickup pair that can bring that personality to the fore, is important to me.

I imagine that I could have continued my search even further, but the 3rd time was a charm in my particular case. I gave up deciding that I had to find pickups that would turn me into a i.e. Jimmy Page because that's been done by others and not everyone has Page on their favorites list, anyways. It's been a learning process and I've discovered that I'm not really playing my pickups, but playing my guitar.


Classicplayer
 

Dazza

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I guess my point is that if Page’s neck pickup is Alnico V wound to approximately 8.2, and his T-Tops are Alnico V wound less, like around 7.5, why don’t the boutique pickup winders wind their “Jimmy Page” pickups that way? They all still seem to have the neck wound less than the bridge. Are we sure about Page’s historical readings, and did he just turn down the neck volume like people say?
I had the same thoughts years ago having tried a few 'JP' inspired pickups and sets while not hearing anything that represented his unique 70's tone. However since then I checked out ReWind Pickups JP Post72 set and there you have it. A proper T Top / hot PAF pairing that recreates the individual pickups and importantly the interaction between them that defines JP's 70's tone.
James (of ReWind) is a much respected member here and his pickups are very, very popular.
Of course every guitar's natural tone is a part of the end result so it's resonance will influence what you get. As does the hardware and electronics.

Daz
 
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cooljuk

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I guess my point is that if Page’s neck pickup is Alnico V
What makes you think that Page's #1 LP neck magnet is A5?


wound to approximately 8.2,
Would that be 4.1k on each bobbin or 6.2k on one bobbin and 2k on the other? Which one has the 6.2k? Maybe it's 5.2k on one and 3k on the other? ...or something else?

Forgetting coil offset, are we talking about 42 AWG wire with a resistance of 1660 Ohms / foot with 11150 clean and perfect turns to arrive at this 8.2k Ohms or are we talking about the exact same wire but with less neat and clean coils that only have a total of 9750 turns to reach the exact same 8.2k Ohms? Maybe one of each and some combination?

Oh, but wire tolerance isn't that exact today, and in the 1950s it was at least four times looser so maybe the wire had a thinner copper core and we are talking about only 8500 turns to reach that 8.2k. Perhaps it went the other direction and had a larger copper core and the turn counts are way up at 12500 to get your 8.2k.

What about the coil patterns? Was the wire bunched up on one side? Did one coil have a large bulge in the center from the start connection solder and tape? Was the traverse throw longer on one, giving an hourglass shape and short on the other, giving a barrel shape?

Considering two PAF coils were not likely wound from the same spool of wire, nor the same station of a winding machine, and perhaps not even the same winding machine at all, the extremely likely answer is some very complicated combination of all of the above.

If you have a pickup with 8500 turns and another with 12500 turns, one with high coil offset, one with low coil offset, one with different coil patterns than the other, etc. You can have two pickups that look and measure exactly the same but sound nothing at all alike.

and his T-Tops are Alnico V wound less, like around 7.5,
Do you know that? ...or are you just guessing based on an average of T-Top readings? Are you looking only at patent number decal T-Tops or including all T-Tops way up into the 1980s?


why don’t the boutique pickup winders wind their “Jimmy Page” pickups that way? They all still seem to have the neck wound less than the bridge. Are we sure about Page’s historical readings, and did he just turn down the neck volume like people say?
The answer is because if most winders wound pickups to the specs alone, as you are describing (and honestly many do just that!) they would have a muddy, dark, mushy neck pickup that nobody would like and would certainly not sound anything like the pickup in Page's #1. Typically, winders add more wire to get higher DCR and that means a dark, compressed, detail lacking pickup. Coil turns, patterns, offset, shapes, wire, etc. are what create the sound of a coil. The DCR is a result, not a goal. There are many ways, though, to land on a given DCR while manipulating multiple other more important factors, just a fraction of which I described above. I could comfortably make a PAF style pickup that reads 15K and sounds brighter and more clear than a 60's Telecaster bridge pickup.

Let go of the DCR. It's not even a crutch. It's a stumbling block.

Beyond coils and wire, common modern magnets and steels don't sound anything like those Gibson used in the 1950s and 1960s. I also have yet to see a commercial bobbin or cover that's actually accurate to a vintage PAF. Those are the ingredients, the process matters, as well, and that's often not followed by manufacturers small and large, alike. If a winder is building a pickup to just a magnet type and DCR (which, in some ways they are forced to do, unless they are having their own custom non-standard parts made today) they will be forced into a pickup that doesn't sound like the original. So, they compromise the design to get something they feel is close to the sound.

My Pagey pickups were the hardest to get the sound right on. In a huge way, because I didn't have the originals to take apart to copy the details of, like some of my others. My Greeny Burst neck was another in a similar situation. That one actually took me years longer to be happy with and share. They have a few things in common (not the phase / polarity) in the design, actually.

Getting a hot, fat, rich, big pickup that sounds bright and clear and detailed and dynamic is probably the hardest thing any pickup designer can do. Gibson lucked into it. It was an accident for them and quite difficult for us to chase today, even with examples to copy!
 
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AcVox

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I'm wondering after reading through the thread if the guitar that Seymour was winding these custom pickups for was not Jimmy's # 1 but the '59 he aquired
some yrs later. His # 2..

After all this Les Paul actually needed work to the wiring of the pickups to accomplish the complex tone switching arrangement that Jimmy wanted for this Les Paul.
If you needed someone competent to either adapt the existing PAFs, rewire them, or perhaps create two completely new pickups with the correct wiring options, Seymour Duncan would be the guy to call.
 

cooljuk

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Photos from the recent MET exhibit:






The bridge pickup is, obviously, not a T-Top anymore.

The neck pickup cover looks like an original PAF cover, to me, in those two photos. Those slots in the pole screws look a hair too thin, though, but it's really a close call and sort of hard to say from the those two photos.

Just send me the guitar and I'll say for certain and share all the details!
 

Dazza

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I'm wondering after reading through the thread if the guitar that Seymour was winding these custom pickups for was not Jimmy's # 1 but the '59 he aquired
some yrs later. His # 2..

After all this Les Paul actually needed work to the wiring of the pickups to accomplish the complex tone switching arrangement that Jimmy wanted for this Les Paul.
If you needed someone competent to either adapt the existing PAFs, rewire them, or perhaps create two completely new pickups with the correct wiring options, Seymour Duncan would be the guy to call.
I've no idea which happened first but #1 also had a phase reversal push/pull pot installed post Zeppelin. Gibson wrongly assigned it as a coil tap for the #1 CA production run. #1 can be seen/heard far more than any other after Zeppelin and though there's still a similar tonal character it's easy to hear the beefier higher output pickup(s) that have since replaced the bridge T Top. Jimmy's 70's T Top / PAF pairing had a truly unique voice in that guitar.

Daz
 

Classicplayer

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I find Jimmy's #1 a fascinating sound when he resorted to his middle position, something which he used a lot. To me, his #1 middle position was a complex two-tones all happening at the same time. In his extended solos, I can hear sometimes the lower 3 strings with a tone similar to his bridge tone on the same 3 strings only a bit fatter sounding.

In watching him play, I see him chording on the top three strings when in the middle position and sometimes repeating the phrase on the bottom 3 strings. It's the unique tone character of that particular Les Paul and it’s pickups that made him sound so different among his peers in Zeppelin's 10-year run. It's a tribute to Page's ingenuity and inventivness at bringing out that characteristic tone; which we still try our hand at today, sometimes close, and few time accurately.

Classicplayer
 

Dazza

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His 70's T Top /PAF pairing had an almost out of phase quacky tonal quality which he used as the predominant position. I wonder if once that T Top was replaced by the more powerful SD that unique middle tone notably changed. Thus the phase switch was included to give him something tonally similar at hand.

Jimmy's unique 70's tone is frequently discussed and often overlooked is how similar his live use of the EDS1275 exhibited similar qualities. It became more apparent to me once I got my mid 70's EDS1275 back after a 16 year restoration. Love them T Tops and a 500k audio taper harness.

Daz
 
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Classicplayer

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His 70's T Top /PAF pairing had an almost out of phase quacky tonal quality which he used as the predominant position. I wonder if once that T Top was replaced by the more powerful SD that unique middle tone notably changed. Thus the phase switch was included to give him something tonally similar at hand.

Jimmy's unique 70's tone is frequently discussed and often overlooked is how similar his live use of the EDS1275 exhibited similar qualities. It became more apparent to me once I got my mid 70's EdS1275 back after a 16 year restoration. Love them T Tops and a 500k audio taper harness.

Daz
Yup, a similar tone with his double neck'd Gibson. I think Page played his usual style on this double-neck as he did on the #1. I believe that like all good guitar players, he could adapt his style of playing that took advantage of a guitars tone qualities. It's one aspect that lately I am “subconsciously“ trying to achieve. I am listening for the “core tone” of my two Les Pauls and playing chords (or their inversions) and experimenting to see which fingerings brings out the best from both my Les Pauls.

Classicplayer
 

Classicplayer

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Just got through listening to a soundboard recording from August 1969 of early Led Zeppelin where Page was using a Tele. I heard the same kind of tone from it as we have come to know from his #1 Les Paul. The difference I detected is from the abundance of highs from the single coil Tele when compared to his Les Paul.

I think that when Joe Walsh heard Page with the Tele, Joe may have offered to sell that Les Paul knowing it would produce a thinner tone similar to the Tele, but without feeding back as easily as the Tele. Some of those older Pauls with their PAF's had kind of a honky “vibe” happening, quite unlike what we hear from the majority of today's Les Pauls. Page may also have found the Lester easier to play and even more so when he put light guage strings on it and making it easier on his hands for those 2 plus hours of Zep's concerts back in the day.

That was back in the day where boutique pickups and such were about a complete unknow. If a player did not like the sound of their guitar, they kept searching for one that gave them the tone they desired. We have the luxury today of not having to swap guitars, but find new or rewound pickups, pot, caps, and wiring without having to give up a very comfortable and easy-playing instrument.

Listening this morning to that sound file made me realize that Page, once he heard and played Walsh's Les Paul, realized he had something similar sounding to that bright Tele, but more powerful and louder without it feeding back at inopportune moments when playing on stage…given the sound systems he encountered.

Classicplayer
 

peobryant

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Just got through listening to a soundboard recording from August 1969 of early Led Zeppelin where Page was using a Tele.
Do you know which show it was? If it was in August, Pagey was more than likely playing his Les Paul, not his Telecaster. He bought his Les Paul from Joe Walsh in April of '69 and pretty much immediately made it his #1 after that.
 

Classicplayer

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Gee! I may have been wrong because the show was from Texas Pop Festival August 31, 1969. Page may have been not using the Tele during the song “I Can't Quit You, Baby”. The upper fretboard playing does sound a lot like a Les Paul.

Classicplayer

Edit: I found concert footage and was in fact; his Les Paul.
 


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