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What is a T-Top pickup

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  • formula73
    replied
    Originally posted by eclecticsynergy View Post
    T-tops were Gibson's plain ordinary stock pickup for many, many years.
    Bright but not harsh, they offer good definition but not a lot of body, and have relatively low output.

    By the 70s, so many people wanted to replace them that DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan became recognizable names in the music scene. Theseguys had been around, but suddenly business skyrocketed and they were household names. I really do feel T-tops are almost singlehandedly responsible for the aftermarket pickup industry's phenomenal growth. Sure, that would've happened anyway sooner or later. But it wouldn't surprise me if 95% of aftermarket pickup sales in the 70s were to people looking to upgrade from T-tops.

    Only long after T-tops had been discontinued did they become sought-after. For decades nobody wanted 'em and you could buy them cheap on the used market.

    In the past decade or so demand has risen though. I see two main reasons for this. First, as 60s & 70s Gibson guitars became more valuable, people became more interested in restoring them to original specs. Second, guitar players in general have come to appreciate low-output pickups better; they offer clarity and a less compressed / more dynamic feel and better volume knob cleanup than heavier winds.

    And when prices on original Gibson PAF pickups soared to astronomical heights, T-tops were an easily available and far less costly alternative, the poor man's PAF. Plus, unlike the early PAFs they're very consistent. Every T-top has the T-top tone, while PAFs are all over the place tonally thanks to random coil pairings and at least five different magnets. Once Gibson progressed to the "Patent Number" humbuckers, they settled on a short A5 magnet and consistently wound coils.

    The T-top is a direct descendant of those.

    Of course, as demand rose, T-top prices climbed too. They aren't a low-budget option anymore.

    Once there was enough demand for replacement pickup builders to start offering T-top models alongside their PAF and high-output types, I guess it was only a matter of time before Gibson began offering a reissue,just as they did for PAF humbuckers beginning forty-odd years ago.

    The formula for T-tops is well-known and fairly simple, though. I imagine it will be only the one model, rather than the dozen or so PAF reissues Gibson has produced since the wonderful Tim-Shaw-designed PAF types of the late 70s.

    Personally, I'm with Jeremy in my feelings about T-tops. Good neck pickup. But for bridge position in most guitars T-tops seem a bit lacking, like they could use a little more meat on the bones. There are exceptions, of course. In a guitar whose natural tone is pretty beefy T-tops can sound great at the bridge.

    And of course a ton of great classic rock was made on them over the years.
    Almost certainly more than was made using the legendary PAFs, despite their fame.
    After all, PAFS were pretty rare even in their heyday, while T-tops were ubiquitous for decades.
    Well-****ing-said. I love them but not enough to pay the STUPID prices they bring.

    Leave a comment:


  • eclecticsynergy
    replied
    T-tops were Gibson's plain ordinary stock pickup for many, many years.
    Bright but not harsh, they offer good definition but not a lot of body, and (by modern standards) they have relatively low output.

    By the 70s, so many people wanted to replace them that DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan became recognizable names in the music scene. These guys had been around, but suddenly business skyrocketed and they were household names. I really do feel T-tops are almost singlehandedly responsible for the aftermarket pickup industry's phenomenal growth. Sure, that would've happened anyway sooner or later. But it wouldn't surprise me if 95% of aftermarket pickup sales in the 70s were to people looking to upgrade from T-tops.

    Only long after T-tops had been discontinued did they become sought-after.
    For decades nobody wanted 'em and you could buy them cheap on the used market.

    In the past decade or so demand has risen though. I see two main reasons. First, as 60s & 70s Gibson guitars became more valuable, people became more interested in restoring them to original specs. Second, guitar players in general have come to appreciate low-output pickups better; they offer clarity and a less compressed / more dynamic feel and better volume knob cleanup than heavier winds.

    And when prices on original Gibson PAF pickups soared to astronomical heights, T-tops were an easily available and far less costly alternative, a "poor man's PAF." Also, unlike the vintage PAFs they're very consistent. Every T-top has the T-top sound, while PAFs are all over the place tonally thanks to random coil pairings and at least five different magnets. Once Gibson progressed to the "Patent Number" humbuckers, they settled on a short A5 magnet and consistently wound coils.

    The T-top is a direct descendant of those.

    Of course, as demand rose, T-top prices climbed too. They aren't a low-budget option anymore, far from it.

    Once there was enough demand for replacement pickup builders to start offering T-top models alongside their PAF and high-output types, I guess it was only a matter of time before Gibson began offering a reissue,just as they did for PAF humbuckers beginning forty-odd years ago.

    The formula for T-tops is well-known and fairly simple, though. I imagine it will be only the one model, rather than the dozen or so PAF reissues Gibson has produced since the wonderful Tim-Shaw-designed PAF types of the late 70s.

    Personally, I'm with Jeremy in my feelings about T-tops. Good neck pickup. But for bridge position in most guitars T-tops seem a bit lacking, like they could use a little more meat on the bones. There are exceptions, of course. In a guitar whose natural tone is pretty beefy T-tops can sound great at the bridge.

    And of course a ton of great classic rock was made on them over the years.
    Almost certainly more than was made using the legendary PAFs despite their fame.
    After all, PAFS were pretty rare even in their heyday, while T-tops were ubiquitous for decades.
    Last edited by eclecticsynergy; 02-23-2021, 05:35 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Securb
    replied
    I watched the video most of the tone is coming from the amp and the pedal. That Sabra Cadabra is a dual pedal with a treble booster and overdrive built-in. There is also a lot of post-production in that video. If you are chasing that tone I would not go chasing a T-Top.

    Leave a comment:


  • jeremy
    replied
    yep. t-tops are pretty consistently 7.5k, matched coils, short a5 magnets. i like em in the neck, a little wimpy in the bridge for most people

    Leave a comment:


  • beaubrummels
    replied
    It was just a stock Gibson pickup for many years. Very consistent. Used mostly through the late 60's - 70's. (Can't remember when it dropped off.)

    Leave a comment:


  • Top-L
    replied
    Is similar to the Top-L.

    Leave a comment:


  • lex666
    started a topic What is a T-Top pickup

    What is a T-Top pickup

    Hey guys,

    Anyone familiar with T-Type or “T-Top” pickups? Why are they different from regular pickups?


    https://www.chicagomusicexchange.com...aWwuY29tIn0%3D

    thanks!


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