t-top vs non t-top

yu_ominae

Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Messages
66
Reaction score
12
A bit of a stupid question, but when is a pickup a t-top pickup...? I know the answer is when it has a t on the bobbins, but...

I bought a 1980 The Paul firebrand recently. A lot of people who have a The Paul talk about the t-top pickups taht come int it. The pikcups in mine don't have ts on the bobbins.

But they have the patent number embossed in the back and are ink-stamped around the 20th of August 1980. A lot of t-top pickups I have seen from around that time have, apart from the ts, those same marking on the back.

Then I have a normal the paul from 1981, with a t-top (with ts) and a non-t. The non-t pickup has the patent number, but has that random six digit ink stamp on the back.

My question is this: Is there any difference between these pickups? If so, what is it? If my 1980 pickups have the same markings as t-tops, even as t-tops that were wound in 1980, are they the same pickups, except for the fact that gibson just ran out of t-marked bobbins?

And what's the difference between the 1981 t-top and the other one with the 6-digit ink-stamp?
 

SWeAT hOg

SWeAT hOg
Joined
Feb 22, 2009
Messages
37,704
Reaction score
67,943
All t-tops are the same, except for markings
 

Angus

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Messages
1,540
Reaction score
882
All t-tops are the same, except for markings


I read that the earler T-Tops sounded a bit more like PAF's and were more prized. By earlier, I think they meant around '74 and before, but I'm not too sure.
 

SKATTERBRANE

Banned
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
21,430
Reaction score
12,391
Are the Shaws different at all Skatter??

Actually very late T-Tops resembled Shaws in many ways. The magnet, the spacers, how the bobbin were wired.

Yes, the Shaws differ from the traditional T-Top. Here is a Shaw with ONE T-Top bobbin:

T-Top-Shaw.jpg


The early T-Tops were similar to the late Pat No . Things transistion at Gibson, there are never absolute thick, dark lines of demarcation. The early T-Tops are nothing like PAFs. A sticker does not a pickup make.
 

SKATTERBRANE

Banned
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
21,430
Reaction score
12,391
I personally prefer the tone of Shaws over any vintage of T-Top. But so many 70s recordings were make with T-Tops that they have a larger following.
 

yu_ominae

Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Messages
66
Reaction score
12
Right, thanks guys. So basically I should look at pickups by date. Similar dates mean the pickups were probably wound in a similar way and probably sound similar. Rather than looking as to whether or not there is a t on the bobbins or not.

It's just that a lot of people wax lyric about how their The Paul has got two t-tops and how good it sound, so I was wondering. I like the way mine sounds. I like it a lot, but you know, once you get that little nagging thought about missing out on something... ;)
 

SKATTERBRANE

Banned
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
21,430
Reaction score
12,391
The Paul spans the late T-Top-Early Shaw era 1978-1982. Shaws did not have the codes stamped on them until the late summer/early fall of 1980. Shaws before then look just like T-Tops with the covers on. Most of the T-Tops I have seen from 1980 seem to be more like Shaws than 1979 or earlier T-Tops

For both the bobbins and the fully manufactured pickups, you are dealing with "bottom of the bin" syndrome, which happens whenever Gibson changed specs, parts, or suppliers. Nothing is cut and dried.

Gibson even used Schaller textured bobbins for a short time!

Schallerbobbins2.jpg
 

SKATTERBRANE

Banned
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
21,430
Reaction score
12,391
Indeed!

I have a very rare Dirty Fingers from 1978 with Schaller bobbins.

Yes, it was the late 70s when these bobbims were used, the above example was from a 1988! As usual, gold versions hang around the bottom of the bin much longer. Gold PAFs have been found in Gibsons as late as 1967, a full 5 years after they were last made.
 

Boppy

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Messages
659
Reaction score
321
Thanx for more of the lore, Skatterbrane.
Always very interesting.
I didn't know about the Schaller bobbins.
 

Ed hunter

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Messages
2,606
Reaction score
832
I personally prefer the tone of Shaws over any vintage of T-Top. But so many 70s recordings were make with T-Tops that they have a larger following.

which did schenker have in his 67 flying V? they were stock pu's he always said?
 

SKATTERBRANE

Banned
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
21,430
Reaction score
12,391
If they are stock, they would be patent stickered T-Tops, and in 1967 they would be no different than late 70s T-Tops with the patent stamped backing plates.

I have no idea if they were stock or not. I really do not pay attention to what pickups famous guitarist use.
 

Latest Threads



Top