Overwound T-Top Style for a Featherweight Studio?


Junior Member
Nov 5, 2019
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I've done a bit of searching, but nothing specifically came up, so I figured I'd engage the masses.

I'm in love with the sound of my '76 Custom. Unfortunately, due to living in one of the gear theft capitals of the world and playing mostly dive bars, I haven't felt comfortable to bring it out with me.

So, my backup has been a white 2008 Les Paul Studio. It has to be one of the most comfortable guitars I've ever played. As much as I love it, I feel more comfortable taking it out to gigs, so I intend to use it as my primary live guitar. But it's an absolute featherweight. I don't have a scale, but it's one of the fully gutted/chambered ones and weighs nothing.

That's mainly why I'm posing this question. The stock 498/490 are in the guitar now, and they're not doing it for me. My complaints seem to echo the problems most have with these pickups: too hot, too brittle in the upper register, not enough of a midrange hump.

But also compared to my other guitars, I notice the nature of the chambering of the Studio gives it a more wooly and woody sort of tone to it. It doesn't have the "thunk" and weight to the tone that my others do.

So here's what I'm looking for: something similar to a T-Top, but perhaps a hair hotter and more compressed to drive the amp a bit harder live. It'll be used for a classic rock style a la BTO, Thin Lizzy, and to the heavier side, Riot. It'll be going through a Ceriatone Yeti (Super Lead clone), and occasionally a Blackstar HT-5. Gold covers would be nice, but I wouldn't mind reusing the ones from the stock set if need be. I realize I won't copy the sound of the Custom, but I'm hoping to get something that interacts with the wood of the Studio to get me something that's in that ballpark. Because we all know that different pickups sound different in different guitars.

And I guess finally, I'm not opposed to spending for quality, but I'm also hoping not to break the bank. I don't need a $500 set of vintage accurate PAF clones.

Thanks for reading my essay for a simple question!


Senior Member
Jan 20, 2014
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There are several folks out there. Vineham, Manlius, Bare Knuckles Riff Raff is a slightly different option (Plain enamel, a bit hotter- it's a PAT# clone). All great pickups.

I have an amazing set of T tops from @cooljuk Bridge is just slightly overwound (from his POst 72 Page set), neck position is typical wind and output but has a little secret sauce in the wire/coils. Best pickups I have ever owned. So my recco always goes to James.


Senior Member
Sep 8, 2016
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I have ECP T-top replicas in my heavy 2005 Standard--the bridge has one bobbin significantly overwound--and those pickups really sing in that guitar.

Another set of T-tops is on my radar after a few projects.

@cooljuk is very knowledgable and has an excellent reputation as a winder, I intend to try him someday...

Also these look very intriguing to me: https://www.mylespaul.com/threads/throbak-70-select-set-double-you-know-what.440652/

As do these: https://www.wolfetone.com/product/t-top/

(Anathema to suggest perhaps, and not really a T-Top, but for an inexpensive kindof 70s tone option you might throw a short rough A5 magnet from AddictionFX into a SD 59 or Seth Lover...)

Best wishes,



Senior Member
Jul 4, 2009
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I’ve heard good things about the Vineham T-Top clones, I haven’t used one but am seriously considering some for my Hagstrom Swede. I have had some other Vineham pickups, and they were awesome. As good as any other PAF style pickups I’ve had, but a fair bit less expensive because they are from Canada

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