Need help identifying an alleged T-top pickup

epiphone6

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Hi folks, I need help identifying the pickup in the attached picture - the seller claims that it's a 1979 T-Top. Is it true? And, if so, how much do you think they are worth?

Any thoughts will be appreciated.
 

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cooljuk

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It's likely an AlNiCo magnet pickup, because of how deep into the tall cover that baseplate is seated.

However, there's no way to know what the coils or bobbins are from a photo. Gibson did lots of weird stuff in 1979 and the early 80s.
 

cooljuk

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If you have your heart set on buying a later-model T-Top with a patent stamp baseplate and the brighter/thinner sound than the earlier patent number decal pickups, just stick to buying one made before 1978. That way, you can avoid all the weird stuff that Gibson started doing with their humbuckers later on.

It's not that there aren't any of those typical late model T-Tops made in 1978 or 1979, just that there is also other stuff around that looks the same from those times, especially from the outside and especially from 1979 and into the early 80s.
 

CheopisIV

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I'm with James on this one; stick to pre-78.
That one in the OP, I'd say it's ~80-90% a T-Top being early 1979. If it were a 1980, I'd call it a 50-75% chance being a pure T-Top. Gibson magic :)
 

Brek

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Did they stop with the T mark after ‘78?
 

cooljuk

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Did they stop with the T mark after ‘78?

No. It just doesn't mean anything. Could have different coils on a T bobbin or T-Top style coils on a non-T bobbin. Gibson made all sorts of different pickups with T's on the bobbins, once you get into these later times.

That's why when people ask "what's a T-Top sound like" there's really no answer, unless they clarify what T-Top they have.
 

Brek

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Ah, ok, good to know. I have a ‘79 T-Top, what is the difference in the coils? Winding pattern?
 

cooljuk

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Like I said, no way to know from the date stamp, in that period. Gibson was using a combination of parts, bobbins, wire, coils, etc. Some had ceramic magnets, which sound completely different, and they look the same from outside the guitar. Some have twelve screws. Gibson was making “bridge” and “neck” specific humbuckers for the first time, as well (other than the rare narrow spaced neck PAF, such as in the Byrdland), and there’s no way to know from looking at the outside of a guitar or top of a pickup which it is inside. Most people couldn’t tell from looking at the pickup in their hands, even with the cover off in some cases.

If you want something specific and can’t inspect or try the pickup first, don’t buy from this period. If you already have one of these, just use your ears, if you don’t want it taken apart to see what’s inside, and decide if you like it based on the sound.

The end of the 70s and early 80s are just an absolute mess for Gibson humbuckers. Far more variation than any other period, and only the ones with 12 screws have a visual indicator of something different from outside the guitar.
 

Brek

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I added some pics to your ‘archive’ of your pickups. If not ok to do so, I will move them here.
P.S. they are alnico’s so well pleased, to the OP I paid $200 for one with cover solder unbroken. Dated feb ‘79 so looks like yours is same as mine.
 
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pmonk

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The ink date stamp on the baseplate was standard for 1979

The rub mark looks like it was made before the ink stamp?
 

cooljuk

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The ink date stamp on the baseplate was standard for 1979

The rub mark looks like it was made before the ink stamp?

Ya, I don't know what's up with that, other than that the rubbing was done after the pickup was assembled, as the brass screws protected the baseplate around them. Cleaning or forging, who knows. I don't think anyone would post-date a pickup from that period and not make it a "Shaw date" though so it's hard to suspect anything shady.
 

Brek

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Mines bit smudged, maybe the ink didn’t dry fast enough and they had to stamp again occasionally if they messed it up?
 

zoork_1

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Hi folks, I need help identifying the pickup in the attached picture - the seller claims that it's a 1979 T-Top. Is it true? And, if so, how much do you think they are worth?

Any thoughts will be appreciated.
May I ask why you wonder what it's worth?
 

epiphone6

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Thank you everyone for the insightful answers!

May I ask why you wonder what it's worth?

It will help me assess the value of the guitar which I am thinking of purchasing. I'm rather ignorant when it comes to these pickups...
 

epiphone6

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I added some pics to your ‘archive’ of your pickups. If not ok to do so, I will move them here.
P.S. they are alnico’s so well pleased, to the OP I paid $200 for one with cover solder unbroken. Dated feb ‘79 so looks like yours is same as mine.

Thank you! Do you like yours? How would you describe its sound comparing to other pickups you may have?
 

Brek

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Not great at describing such things, it seemed very smooth sounding, no harshness at all, and pretty sensitive to playing techniques.
 

DBCooper

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I have a question. I have a '78 LP Custom. HB are dated Msy 1978. Do I assume they're T tops? If I pull off the cover, should I see a T on the bobbin? If I do, is that dispositive? And if yes, is there a hierarchy to T tops? In other words, should I be excited?

Just curious, because i've always liked the tone but bought a Wolfetone set (Dr V/Marshallhead) out of sheer boredom.
 

CheopisIV

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I have a question. I have a '78 LP Custom. HB are dated Msy 1978. Do I assume they're T tops? If I pull off the cover, should I see a T on the bobbin? If I do, is that dispositive? And if yes, is there a hierarchy to T tops? In other words, should I be excited?

Just curious, because i've always liked the tone but bought a Wolfetone set (Dr V/Marshallhead) out of sheer boredom.

I'll give you a 99% chance based on my own findings, will never give a 100% on anything Gibson has put together!

As for hierarchy, anything pre 70's will be desirable, moreso the closer you get to the earlier years. I've had some 65s and some 68s and a whole bunch of 70-80s. The 70-80s all sounded pretty much the same.
 

Oranjeaap

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It will help me assess the value of the guitar which I am thinking of purchasing. I'm rather ignorant when it comes to these pickups...

Tell us more about this guitar?
The guitar in the picture doesn't look like a Gibson to me.
 

epiphone6

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Tell us more about this guitar?
The guitar in the picture doesn't look like a Gibson to me.

It's not a Gibson. (Wow, I have no idea how you were able to tell!)
The seller states that it's a custom-made Les Paul copy by a Korean maker. The details of the guitar are limited. The seller only indicates that it has Gibson parts, with T-Tap pickups, and the original purchase price was $1,000.
 

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