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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Putting the T-Tops back in the Les Paul - Changing polepiece orientation ?

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Stratmanx
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Memphis, TN

Jun 12th, 2018 01:58 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I got this Les Paul custom in 1979, and it was immaculate at the time.

Picture the Frank Zappa les Paul with the black plastic and gold humbuckers.

Since then, its been thru the war and back.

ALOT of dents, dings, *real* road wear.


I decided very early on that I wanted to make it into a standard and explore new electronics, hardware.

"Lester" and I were IT.

Many gigs and years later.

I went with all crème plastic, got ride of the stock bridge and put a Nashville in there, tuners, electronics, series / parallel switching, coil tap, you name it.

Its been refretted twice using Jumbo's rather than the skinny Les Paul Custom wire.

Check out the indents behind the tailpiece. At one time I put one of those Bowen Handle tremolos on there because by goodness, I wanted a whammy bar on a Les Paul !

Dumb..

One of the first things I did was take out the original T-Tops and put in what was at the time the latest "Best" pickup out there, the Seymour Duncan "The JB Model".

It was a lot better than the Dimarzio Super Distortion which at the time was the "Industry Standard"

Had that in the bridge for the last 39 years and many different types of neck pickups, notable the Duncan '59 and a Duncan Seth Lover that was quite good.

So fast forward and a few weeks ago decided to put the original T-Tops back in.

I was able to dial in the bridge pretty good, it's got its own sound and it is pretty nice, but the T-Top in the neck just doesn't cut it. Always muddy and poor definition, no matter how I adjust the height.

Thinking about putting the Seth Lover back in there, but also want to try reversing it so the polepieces are closer to the bridge, rather than the standard orientation.

Maybe this will help with the definition a bit ?

I know its not going to do the Peter Green out of phase thing unless I reverse the magnet, but that's not what I'm going for.

Anybody have any experience with T-Tops or changing the orientation of the pickup itself ?

Lester

(This message was last edited by Stratmanx at 08:10 PM, Jun 12th, 2018)

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Jun 12th, 2018 03:39 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The lines of magnetic flux are coming out of the magnets, looping up toward the string, then entering the steel adjustment screws. They'll still be doing the same thing if you reverse the pickup. Don't expect any change.

Pinetree
Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

It's all part...

of my Rock & Roll fantasy.
Jun 12th, 2018 04:32 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Install a DiMarzio Tone Zone if you wanna RAWK.




Leftee
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VA

Jun 12th, 2018 05:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Try a .015uF cap in the neck pickup’s tone control circuit. It will make a difference, even with the tone control all the way up. I don’t know if it will be enough, though.

Peegoo
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Ooo that sandwich

is gonna get et
Jun 12th, 2018 06:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

One thing that some players do to add a little top end to the neck pickup is remove the slugs from the slug coil

It does reduce the pickup's overall power, but not too much. And it does brighten the tone.

Just something else to consider.

However, I would do a pickup swap to something brighter before I modded that T-top, because they are becoming a thing.

Purple Valley
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USA

Jun 13th, 2018 12:10 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Duncan Phat-Cat?

Peegoo
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Ooo that sandwich

is gonna get et
Jun 13th, 2018 05:42 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Stooge Mac currently has the Golden Age Parsons Street standard humbuckers $20 off on sale.

I cannot say enough good things about these pickups. I have no dog in this fight--only that I'm a very satisfied customer. These pickups are lower-output, like Gibson's late 50's humbuckers. The neck pickup is very clear sounding. Stay away from the overwound version if you want that clarity in the neck position.

Remember that you can always boost your signal if you need to with a pedal, but you can never really get that same low-power clarity from an overwound pickup.

Leftee
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VA

Jun 13th, 2018 08:16 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Ditto the StewMac recommendation. They never disappoint.

At $60 off I ordered a Strat set with an overwound bridge pickup. I don’t need a Strat set. Not today, any ways. (-;

Stratmanx
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Memphis, TN

Jun 13th, 2018 08:22 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

No worries on replacing the pickup.

I've already got a few great pickups to put in there, but really wanted to go back to the original T-Tops.

So that being said, trying to get the best sound out of them. Many have had the same complaint that the neck T-Tops just don't have that good articulation, so rather than replace, or modify I thought to spin them around and give that a try.

I've been sold on the Parson Streets for awhile now. I like the overwound in the bridge and a standard wind in the neck. On my dot / 335, its a fantastic combination.

Leftee
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VA

Jun 13th, 2018 08:23 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Back to the OP and the neck pickup. I’d stick a .015uF cap in there. It’s easy and quick on a LP. I’ve used this before to scrape some mud off a neck pickup.

Stratmanx
Contributing Member
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Memphis, TN

Jun 13th, 2018 08:53 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Sounds like a plan, Leftee,

I'll do that.



Peegoo
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Ooo that sandwich

is gonna get et
Jun 13th, 2018 09:32 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

That's a cheap 'n' easy approach if you want to keep the T-tops in there.

Leftee
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VA

Jun 13th, 2018 09:39 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

... if it works well enough for you.

Your success may vary. I've won with it in the past.

Not valid in all 50 states. Some (left-handed) actors were used in the filming of this infomercial.

Leftee
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VA

Jun 13th, 2018 12:14 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

FWIW - I typically use the ‘50s style wiring. That is to say the respective volume and tone pots are coupled by the tone cap.

Mick Reid
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Jun 13th, 2018 04:21 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Do a web search for "Arties_Too de-mud mod".

It originated in the LP Forum and is intended to address dark/muddy neck position HB's.

It uses a 500k resistor and .01uf cap in series/parallel. I have had good luck with this in the past and the cap value can be changed to the frequency range.

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 06:33 AM, Jun 14th, 2018)

tiller2
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Washington DC

Jun 14th, 2018 10:24 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hey Stratmanx, how does the SD JB pickup in the bridge position compare to the T-top that you reinstalled?

I'm looking for tone with three elements that I hear in demos of vintage LPs: balls, snarl, and sparkle (BSS).

I wonder if JBs are best as a "1980s" tone. My LP Studio, bought used with the JB in the bridge has always sounded a bit sterile but recently I found some sparkle by raising it nearer the strings.

Does the T-top provide more BSS? Thanks.

(This message was last edited by tiller2 at 12:25 PM, Jun 14th, 2018)

Stratmanx
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Memphis, TN

Jun 14th, 2018 02:54 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Keep in mind the T-Tops are 44 years old and the JB is 39 years old.

The JB has got a lot more power, its got the snarl and pushes the amp a good bit harder than the T-Tops.

The T-Tops are harder to dial in to get a good tone, a great deal of height adjustment and playing around to get that right.

Not much sparkle in either, as for me sparkle is a tone I'm used to hearing on a Tele or Strat.

The current production JB is a nice semi-hot pickup, but if you really want to do it right, like some of the guys commented above, the Stew Mac Parson Street humbuckers are really excellent.

I like the Alnico 5 overwound in the bridge, and an Alnico 2 normal wind in the neck if you want to go the StewMac route.

StewMac Parson Street overwounds.

Peegoo
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Ooo that sandwich

is gonna get et
Jun 14th, 2018 03:04 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

+1. BSS indeed!

I like the clarity of the vintage PAF, so I like the regular-wind in the bridge. It makes a Les Paul sound like a muscular Telecaster.

If you prefer a slightly more-aggressive bite, go overwound like Stratmanx recommends.

Leftee
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VA

Jun 14th, 2018 03:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I’m a vintage wind A2 in the bridge and A5 in the neck guy.

Stratmanx
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Memphis, TN

Jun 15th, 2018 07:56 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I DID IT !!!

I've gotten a good bit more definition out of the neck and its quite useable now.

Here's what I did:

For starters, I reversed the direction of the pickup, polepieces towards the bridge.

That gave it a bit more definition, but the big thing was radiusing the polepieces to the neck.

Reading thru an old copy of Guitar player I came across "Les Paul Setup Secrets"

Most pickups come with the polepieces level. Some folks like to adjust them so the polepieces look nice, either all parallel, or all opposed, however the trick it seems is the old Gibson Kalamazoo approach in that you set the two outer E string polepieces close to flush with the pickup cover, or bobbin if uncovered.

Adjust them with two opposing 45 degree angles as show in the picture, and then set the rest of the screws in a zig zag pattern using a radius gauge to follow your current neck radius.

For my Les Paul that would be 12 degrees.

Once the polepieces are adjusted to the radius and in a zig zag pattern, fret the E strings at the last fret and adjust the actual pickup height until a 1/16" gap exists between the bottom of the fretted strings and the top of the outside polepieces.

Next lower the neck pickup a bit as the arc of the ellipse is larger over the neck pup than the bridge.

That gets you in the ballpark, adjust height to taste.

The big thing here is to adjust the polepieces to match the radius of the strings.

This makes good sense and certainly has an impact on the sound for the better.


Kalamazoo approved polepiece screw pattern.

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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Putting the T-Tops back in the Les Paul - Changing polepiece orientation ?




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