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Patent no. pickups


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Hey folks, I recently bought a guitar ('71 Univox Badazz) equipped with twin gold humbuckers with the gibson patent number sticker reading '2,737,842'. Now, from what I understand, this means they could be either the early patent no.s manufactured between 1962-1965, or the significantly less valuable t-tops made from '65 to '75.

The gold on the pickups' covers has significantly corroded, to the point where the nickel plate beneath can be clearly seen. Here's some useful observations that might help in identifying 'em: The gold is sort of an aged color, a bit like old brass. The pole pieces are adjustable screws (duh), also with the gold. It seems to be worn off mostly along the covers' sides running parallel to the neck. Beneath, the covers appear a smooth, dull silver. Along the right top edge of the bridge pickup (it's oriented poles to the neck, like gibson-style) there appears to be a smooth seam in the metal (highlighted by deposits of the gold that have not corroded), almost as if it was folded over and not smoothed out enough as the rest of the edges seem to be. They are held in place with two fairly wide black brackets that I am fairly sure is not stock on this guitar. The humbucker positioning screws are also gold and showing signs of age.

I've read that most buyers try to purchase nickel-cover patent no.'s because of the higher likelihood of getting an 'early patent' pickup, essentially the factory'd PAF. The chrome covers came along sometime around the end of early patent line (~1965).

Now, the quickest way to find out if this is a t-top is to crack open the covers and look at the top of the pickups for the distinctive T markings. I know this. However, I have not opened these yet for two reasons: 1) I would prefer someone more experienced do it, for fear of harming the pickup, and 2) The solder on the covers looks real old, and is likely factory. Also, I do know that checking the coil wire and bobbin color can further identify age, but again, that requires popping the cover. So.. anyone got any ideas? Speculation? Resources on the internet where I can learn more? Knowledge is Power!

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Oh, to add a bit about the tone - This is the first halfway vintage pickups I have so much as played. However, the sound is just fantastic. The neck is dark and thick, together the humbuckers twang, and the bridge pickup has a tone I can only describe like the sound of a bell. Ringing, almost shimmering.

I am impressed at how well these Gibson products have weathered age, and yet can still produce such a beautiful and eminently satisfying sound.

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