Jimmy Page #1 T-Top Bridge Pickup

Mosster47

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I have an Edwards JP model and it's a really bright snappy guitar. Ive had a few and the SD59s that came in them stock definitely didn't nail the Page tone. When I got this one it had a pair of 57 Classics in it with the cover removed on the bridge. No luck there either.

I'd been kicking around changing the pickups and I got a killer deal on one of the neck SD JP pickups that MJ would. It's really hot (8.4k) and I had Mick at Manlius make me one of his TTops (7.3k) for the bridge.

At least in my case it's not a very versatile guitar anymore, but what it does it does it really really well.

I really don't like the SD neck pickup. I think it sounds terrible on its own to he honest. The TTop on it's own is pretty uninspiring also, but the two of then working together really nail that Houses of the Holy and on sound.
 

Bryansamui

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I read somewhere he was interviewed and he said the pickup failed in Australia and was replaced with a P.A.F. (His words)
I’m not sure why everyone thinks the new pickup was a T-Top
Jimmy used to contradict himself a lot..
Clive Coulson told me it was a T Top. He was Jimmy's right hand man in the early Zeppelin years.He had the instrument in his hands daily.. Clive( A New Zealander) was a customer of mine when I was a Gibson Custom Shop dealer in Auckland New Zealand..The pickup wasn't replaced on that Australia/New Zealand tour in February 1972. It was repaired in Melbourne by Merv Carghill and then replaced after that tour..
I guess I'm lucky my knowledge on Jimmy guitar comes "from the horses mouth" rather than all the misinformation online.
 

cooljuk

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Pretty sure there are photos from around that time showing a new chrome covered bridge pickup. That would rule out a PAF, as they were always nickel, or 24k gold over nickel, plated.

Those photos are on this forum, probably in the big huge Page thread.
 

Bryansamui

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Pretty sure there are photos from around that time showing a new chrome covered bridge pickup. That would rule out a PAF, as they were always nickel, or 24k gold over nickel, plated.

Those photos are on this forum, probably in the big huge Page thread.
The newer bridge sound rules out a PAF too...
The best blueprint imo for his T Top tone is Live Celebration Day ( The Song Remains the Same) One hears it continually for several minutes through a very simple signal chain..Not a PAF sound to my ears..
 

60thR0

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Jimmy used to contradict himself a lot..

The pickup wasn't replaced on that Australia/New Zealand tour in February 1972. It was repaired in Melbourne by Merv Carghill and then replaced after that tour..

Just to clarify, in his Anthology he says: “In Australia, my bridge pickup went down and I was working at half strength. I had it sent to Dan Armstrong in New York, who was known as the expert at rewiring pickups. As soon as it came back, I reset it into the guitar, and all was well again.”

It seems this recollection isn’t accurate if folks are saying they can see a T top in photos post 72? He says “all was well again” so presumably it wasn’t swapped out again if he was happy with it… unless of course the pickup had already been changed to a T-top before it failed, which I haven’t heard anyone claim. Confusing!
 

Bryansamui

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Just to clarify, in his Anthology he says: “In Australia, my bridge pickup went down and I was working at half strength. I had it sent to Dan Armstrong in New York, who was known as the expert at rewiring pickups. As soon as it came back, I reset it into the guitar, and all was well again.”

It seems this recollection isn’t accurate if folks are saying they can see a T top in photos post 72? He says “all was well again” so presumably it wasn’t swapped out again if he was happy with it… unless of course the pickup had already been changed to a T-top before it failed, which I haven’t heard anyone claim. Confusing!
 

Bryansamui

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Yes.. that is confusing..Merv Carghill in Melbourne got it up and running for the rest of that New Zealand Australia tour.Clearly something happened again, for him to send it to New York . When it came back and " All was good again" it was probably "All good again" when Merv Carghill in Melbourne fixed it the 1st time...Clive Coulson told me it was a T Top that went in ,in 1972...Clive had the guitar in his hands daily being Jimmy's Right hand man.Clive ( A New Zealander) was a customer of my shop when I was a Gibson Custom Shop Dealer.He told me a fair bit about the instrument.The Neck PAF and so forth..The sound of that bridge pickup live in 1973 doesn't sound like a PAF...It's a very very different sound to that in the earlier live recordings..Yes confusing indeed..
 

AJK1

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Regardless, I think his best work and best sound was RAH, Zep 2,3 and 4 with the original pickups in his No 1 burst and the black Custom
 

cooljuk

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From only looking at the photos on ledzeppelin.com

Double white, certain PAF in 1971:

1971-11---liverpool--ac3.jpg


7154-odense-sh_007.jpg

1970-04-09%20-%20tampa%20bf2.jpg

70-philly_jp_j55.jpg


Covered pickup in by October 1972
1972-10-montreux-bow-5.jpg

72montreux-jp-bow2_0.jpg

sandiego72-b_0.jpg



I didn't see any photos there from Melbourne showing the bridge pickup clearly, unfortunately, nor did I find quite what I was looking for in a clear shot making it obvious the two pickup covers were not just new and old but chrome and nickel. That last photo makes them look very different, but it's small and could be written off as lighting, so I'll just say it's interesting.

There are better photos out there. There's a massive Page gear thread here that has them, for someone with more time to dig and more interest.
 

Elmore

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I have a prehistoric/standard with a Duncan Whole Lotta Humbucker in the bridge and a T-Top in the neck. Sounds really good. The WLH set are my favorite Duncan’s. Must have 500K pots.
 

cooljuk

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I thought WLHBs weren't supposed to replicate any of the pickups Page had in the 1970s, but to be like the Duncans he put into #2 in the 1990s?
 

Bryansamui

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From only looking at the photos on ledzeppelin.com

Double white, certain PAF in 1971:

1971-11---liverpool--ac3.jpg


7154-odense-sh_007.jpg

1970-04-09%20-%20tampa%20bf2.jpg

70-philly_jp_j55.jpg


Covered pickup in by October 1972
1972-10-montreux-bow-5.jpg

72montreux-jp-bow2_0.jpg

sandiego72-b_0.jpg



I didn't see any photos there from Melbourne showing the bridge pickup clearly, unfortunately, nor did I find quite what I was looking for in a clear shot making it obvious the two pickup covers were not just new and old but chrome and nickel. That last photo makes them look very different, but it's small and could be written off as lighting, so I'll just say it's interesting.

There are better photos out there. There's a massive Page gear thread here that has them, for someone with more time to dig and more interest.
 

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Bryansamui

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Here's a screen shot from the Auckland Concert 22 Feb 1972; ( 2 days after Melbourne).. White PAF in Bridge..Just been freshly repaired by Merv Carghill in Melbourne.
 

Bryansamui

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From only looking at the photos on ledzeppelin.com

Double white, certain PAF in 1971:

1971-11---liverpool--ac3.jpg


7154-odense-sh_007.jpg

1970-04-09%20-%20tampa%20bf2.jpg

70-philly_jp_j55.jpg


Covered pickup in by October 1972
1972-10-montreux-bow-5.jpg

72montreux-jp-bow2_0.jpg

sandiego72-b_0.jpg



I didn't see any photos there from Melbourne showing the bridge pickup clearly, unfortunately, nor did I find quite what I was looking for in a clear shot making it obvious the two pickup covers were not just new and old but chrome and nickel. That last photo makes them look very different, but it's small and could be written off as lighting, so I'll just say it's interesting.

There are better photos out there. There's a massive Page gear thread here that has them, for someone with more time to dig and more interest.
They could ask me, I know a fair bit about the instrument.It came basically 'from the horses mouth'
When I was a Gibson Custom Shop Dealer in Auckland New Zealand, Clive Coulson ( A New Zealander) was Jimmys right hand man and a customer of my shop.Clive had the instrument in his hands daily..He told me a bit about it...I asked him about that amazing neck pickup and so forth..The one Gibson/Duncan never replicate.
 

cooljuk

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Here's a screen shot from the Auckland Concert 22 Feb 1972; ( 2 days after Melbourne).. White PAF in Bridge..Just been freshly repaired by Merv Carghill in Melbourne.


Any thoughts on why it came out of the guitar, shortly after, if it had just been successfully repaired?
 

Bryansamui

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No, unsure?..Maybe it wasn't successfully repaired? Merv was a Luthier and maybe not a pickup expert unlike yourself who is .From what I understand,it was down on power ( could that be 1 coil down James?)...It was odd that they did the Melbourne Australia Show on the 20th Feb , then flew all the way to New Zealand for the 25th and the BACK to Australia for Sydney 27th..I wonder if the post Melbourne dates had to be rescheduled due to the pickup getting fixed??...
Anyway, a couple of months later the covered pickup was in.. Here is a shot of the guitar in May 27 1972 Amsterdam .
The Album HTWWW was recorded the following month in June..
 

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60thR0

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I’m even more confused now! So why and when was a t-top put in?
 

cooljuk

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I’m even more confused now! So why and when was a t-top put in?
Well, according to Bryan above, it sounds like the repair to the PAF maybe wasn't a great repair but more of a "just make it work at all" job until a new pickup could be sourced.

If one had called Gibson or a Gibson repair shop in 1972 and said "I need a new humbucker for a Les Paul, ASAP!" A T-Top is what would have arrived, as it was the current production humbucker model and Gibson, themselves, made no distinction. Any difference between a PAF and a T-Top was all up to players to figure out and decide many years later. To Gibson, and probably everyone else, they were just "humbuckers" and not some different model or noteworthy change in design.
 

AJK1

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I have a prehistoric/standard with a Duncan Whole Lotta Humbucker in the bridge and a T-Top in the neck. Sounds really good. The WLH set are my favorite Duncan’s. Must have 500K pots.
90’s No2 sound
 


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