Friday, 21 December 2012

Peavey T-60 and T-40 story and a Happy Christmas. . . . :)

Well, another year almost gone by again!
Christmas is almost upon us, the shortest day of the year and  tomorrow the 
days start to get longer. Yippeee!

The next set of questions I asked Chip, were as usual, answered in great detail.
Above and below is my '79 Toaster, with a "Slab" body and the smaller switches.
The story continues. . . . . . 

As sales progressed and years passed by, there were some subtle mods.
The body became contoured - was this to be in line with other brands
or a natural progression in design?

The body contouring was increased because the wood shop had proven their 
ability with the stroke-sander, the machine which took the steps out of the 
domed top and we had introduced the guitar with less contouring than I wanted. 
It was also a subtle way to reduce the weight, albeit very little.  
We took very little notice to what others were doing, with the exception of the 
individual saddles on the bridge. 

There was also the deletion of the white index dot, on the scratchplate to indicate 
what position the control knobs were - was that to make a cleaner look or just took 
away another op' on the machining?

It was another way to reduce the cost of the pickguard, as the pickguards were 
built for us by an outside vendor. 
The ¼” counter-bores on the body’s face were to accommodate the protruding 
of the plastic from stamping the countersink for the pickguard screws. 
The stamping of the screw holes saved a costly secondary operation for the 
stamping house, so the index dots were eliminated at the same time for the same 

The biggest change must have been from the Toasters to the Blades.
The original pick-ups must have been more time consuming to make than
the later ones? Part of ongoing mods?
The Blades also are wound a little hotter?

They have an extra brightness - more noticeable on the bass than the guitar.
The toasters are "Warmer" and offer great tones - do you have a favourite?

The original pickup design had a plastic plate that filled in the oval openings in 
the pickup cover but the plate was eliminated to save cost, being the only injection 
molding process.
The blades were introduced to allow the pickup to be closer to the strings 

without having the main body of the pickup in the player’s way.  
It also strengthened the magnetic field and eliminated one of the magnets.
The blades allowed us to keep the same number of turns around the bobbins, 

(which is where the power comes from), while reducing the resistance at the 
same time.
This kept the same power while allowing the option of more treble overtones.
All of the tones available on the original pickups were there on the “blade” 

pickups, but the reduced resistance from the total length of wire also allowed 
more treble overtones to be reproduced.   
I greatly prefer the exposed blade pickups.

The last of the series went on to change the switches - can you remember
the reason for that?

The switches were changed when I realized that the musicians didn’t treat their 
guitars with the care that I had hoped they would. Instead of admitting that they 
were not avoiding the microphone stands, it was easier to blame the switch, 
so we changed to a beefier switch.

Towards the end of production, the nut - which had been the same from day one,
was changed to a nylon one. Another effort to watch the $$$ in production?

The group following my leaving Peavey to go the Fender felt that they had to 
change things for little reason than to show that they were busy. 
They didn’t realize that they were changing from not having to file topnut 
grooves to the expense of setup time. 
They didn’t save money, as the die cast topnuts were in a family mold and 
were just cut off and thrown back into the melting vat!

Below are shots of the last line of the series - Contoured Body, Bat Switches
and the Nylon Nut. This one is a beast of a bass, in every sense!!!!!                                                                                        

Well that's all for this year, Many Thanks to Chip, who has a lot more to say - which
I will do next time.

I would like to thank everyone, around the world, for dropping in to read my blog.
As of this morning, I have had over 90300 visitors drop in for a look, since I started
this winding story of intruments and some of the people involved.

Over the last few years, I have had e.mails from all over the world - literally - from
people who have one of what I have got or would like to know something about
a particular instrument - always great to hear from you.
I will be attempting to rationalise the collection, over the next year - thin it down a 
little, make a bit more room and let someone else enjoy a few of them.
This, of course, means that I will have a bit more room for . . . . . . . :) :) :)

I would like to wish my readers Seasons Greetings and look forward to coming back
to you in the New Year.

All the very best.

Flat Eric. :) 









Sunday, 2 December 2012

Peavey T-40 and T-60, Neck plate, Circuit and Ash. . . . .

I had intended to do this last week but time ran away with me.
So, to the next part.
Below is part of the e.mail I sent to Chip and his response. 
Once again, fascinating reading!

Having a good response to the feature - reader numbers have gone up
by over a hundred a day - around 800 for the week!!

I think you has answered this one before - the Peavey script on the neck
plate is upside down so when you rotate the guitar, so the back is to the
audience (Hendrix style) "Peavey" is the correct way up??

I know you have covered this one quite a lot and you would have perhaps
preferred a more simple arrangement, although a lot of owners like the
feature - the circuit!
How did you and Hartley find yourself going down that route?
An idea you/he had or was it offered to you? Red Rhodes designed?

You also have said that the T-40 pick-up would have been different,
if you had your time over again.
To me and thousands of owners, it sounds like a T-40 and several
other basses, when selecting all the different options but you would
have done it differently?

The Ash body was chosen for marketing purposes?
Looks good under a Sunburst and in those days weight meant
better tone/sustain?
Are the plain colours Poplar?

I'm happy for you that the readership is climbing. I think your style of writing 

might have a lot to do with this.

The Indians, of North America, at least, wore their necklaces or such, so that 

they could see it right-side-up, as they believed themselves to be the center of 
the universe. 
We modern persons wear necklaces for others to see, hence their positioning.  
We, Hartley and I, figured the person wearing the guitar or bass, already knew 
what brand it was, so made the neckplate to read properly when the one holding 
the instrument held it out and rotated it for the viewer to read.

The first I heard of the Red Rhodes circuit was when Hartley told me about the 

new clever circuit that Red Rhodes gave to Hartley. 
I have, or had, no way to know whether Red thought of it or if it was something 
that was passed around.  
At the time, I could see no harm in using the circuitry, so went along with it. 
I have since learned that the circuit bled some trebles through the tone pot to 
ground all the time. 
It seems as if we should have had 300k ohm pots made to prevent the overtones 
we were unknowingly losing. 
I now cut or unsolder the red centertap wire to prevent the leakage of high overtones. 
I also remove the chrome covers from the pickups and hear a much more pleasing 
sound, (to my ear).

I also designed the input of the signal from the pickups to enter the pot through the 

middle lug, a practice that most pot manufacturers insist on. 
Gibson and Fender bring the signal in through an outside  lug which gives an 
unwanted side effect. 
That is, if both pickups are on together, when you change the volume or tone of either, 
it affects both pickups. They are interdependent. 
Wiring the signal to the center lug removes the interdependence, giving more control 
over the tone; moving either volume or tone of one pickup doesn't affect the other pickup.

I am finding that the T-60 pickup is a better bass pickup in that it has some pleasing 

treble overtones that fill out the sound in a way that's pleasing to my ears. 
These overtones can be eliminated with the tone pot if so desired. 
However, you just can't get them through the added resistance of the added length of 
coil wire of the larger T-40 pickups. 
Since resistance inhibits treble tones, and both T-40 and T-60 pickups have about 
the same number of turns of wire, the T-40 pickups lack some nice sounds I'm 
finding on my short-scale basslets. 
I'm using the 25.5" fret scale to make it more familiar to anyone who plays guitar 
also. Surprisingly, the 22" scale bass sounds very nice, but, unfortunately,
look like a toy.
Neil Diamond's lead guitar player uses the 24.75" scale basslet in the studio for
 its sound.


 Ash sunburst bodies still had the weight of the natural wood models and are relatively 
rare, when compared to the other color options.
We introduced the solid color instruments so that we could use the much lighter Poplar 
wood for bodies. 
We had the Ash bodies for weight, although both Hartley and I knew that weight didn't
mean more sustain. 
He told me that "We were the "new kids on the block" so we dare not make too many 
waves until we were established. 
Many years after I had left Peavey, I made a skeleton T-60 to prove beyond a doubt 
that you could get equal sustain.


In terms of tone, sustain, brightness, volume etc, there is always going to be a 
slight variation but in real terms, the sound of the Ash and Poplar bodies are
pretty much identical - it would be very hard to determine one or the other,
if it was a blind testing.
The Wine coloured T-60 I have, shown a couple of posts ago, is one of the 
sweetest guitars you could ever wish to play.

Next time, more from Chip - Toasters to Blades - Slab to Contoured.

Cheers. :)  


Friday, 9 November 2012

Peavey T-60 and T-40 - the early days, continued. . . .

Once again, I am very grateful for Chip's considerable input into this.
He is prolific, which for me is great - the whole story unfolds in great detail.
He was editor of American Gunsmith for about 10 years and wrote 
hundreds of articles, so he is no stranger to the keyboard!

This is going to be a lengthy post, as I am going to cover my oldest T-40,
while Chip continues with the story. 
The heads above show the subtle difference between the early (1977) one
and the later 1979

In the images below, you will see the "applied" dot markers that Chip refers
to in his story.
 The top image shows the way they are now and if you look closely at the 
bottom image, you will see that the dot is slightly raised. 

The tuners on the earlier one, are also very slightly different.
The top image shows early above and later below.
The middle image shows the earlier ones from above and the
image at the bottom, shows the later one from above. 

The early one also seems to have a nut at either end of the rod!
There are also markings on the neck and in the pocket - not sure
what they mean but I will check with Chip.

The pots are marked 77 and there are some scribbles and initials,
written in pencil. Brass bottomed pick-ups. 

This, as you can see, is currently stripped for an overhaul - 
not a restoration, as I like it the way it is but the switches 
are a little worn.

Anyway, more input from me next time - back to what Chip 
has to say.
I asked him this question - Did you set out to make the T-40 and T-60
a bit more special/innovative/different because of Peavey ethos/your 
desire to lead in another direction or because it was deemed as a good 
marketing standpoint - or a bit of both?

I was both a commercial artist and mechanical engineer when Peavey hired me 
and we both had the desire to build things using the most accurate and cost 
effective methods available, at the time. 
We both felt that most guitar designs and manufacturing methods were incestuous 
as everybody was copying what had been done for centuries. 
I was a machinist, dragster builder and driver, and knew that metalworking methods 
could make better and more economical instruments, than the antiquated processes 
used by all the manufacturers around in 1975, when I started designing the T-series 
guitars and basses.
Evidently, none of the luthiers had heard of Henry Ford, the father of mass production.

Things like the outline of the peghead and the ease of graphics were a well-kept secret 

for years, and we kept it to ourselves. 
As a commercial artist, I had been using rub-on lettering for years and naturally was 
ready with that in mind when we designed the peghead. 
The rub-on dot markers were successful because of the urethane paint we used
but a band touring the factory surprised the ladies putting on the dots and that 
embarrassed Peavey into changing to the inlayed vinyl dots.
It would take a book to relate the many changes to production that we initiated

but several of the innovations have changed the manufacturing of guitars worldwide. 
There are several holdouts, such as Gibson and Fender, who are trapped by the 
words they published and had to keep up some old, less-than-smart, methods. 
Fender hired me to bring them up into the modern age with Peavey, but CBS 
changed management to ex-Yamaha executives who were thoroughly indoctrinated 
by Japanese methods.

The wood supplier we chose to use was run by an old woodworker in Alabama who 

told me, "Son, in woodworking you work to 1/16 of an inch, not thousandths. 
We took him over to our Meridian, Mississippi facility and showed him that 
metal-working techniques worked with wood, as long as you controlled the
moisture level. 
He was sold on it and gave talks at wood industry meetings. 
With this process, we had to return any machined wood to a humidity-controlled 
room, each night until it got past the painting stage.  
Hartley (Peavey) and I are both aircraft fans and knew that nothing takes more 
abuse in the finish than aircraft sitting out in the sun and rain like airplanes. 
We got Sherwin Williams work up a catalyzed urethane like DuPont's Emron paint, 
which was way too expensive as it was "aircraft" related.

The only thing that we did for marketing reasons, even though we knew that it was 

wrong, was to make individual saddles with height adjustment like Fender. 
Peavey was afraid that Fender would use that against us while we were "the new kids 
on the block". 
There is no valid reason to support individual height adjustment for the strings. 
The  height of the strings should be in an arc that mimics the arch of the frets. 
We chose to use an inexpensive method of tilting the neck for string height 
adjustment, although most musicians refused to read any instructions. 
All other design features were done for functionality and not tradition.


Many thanks, Chip - I have more questions for next time.

Cheers. :)  

Friday, 2 November 2012

Peavey T-60, T-40, Chip Todd - Hartley Peavey - "Take from the top!". . .

As I said in one of my previous posts, I am very lucky to
have a substantial input from Chip, himself and I am grateful
for the time he has put into it and he has indicated there is
more to come.

I you own, or have owned  a Peavey T Series guitar, I'm sure you
will find what Chip has to say, very interesting as the story unfolds.

Thanks Chip. :)

So, back to the beginning, from the man who put the "T" in the 
T series Basses and Guitars, in his own words.

I think that Hartley first thought seriously about making guitars in early 1975, 
as he hired me in mid-1975. 
Both Gibson and Fender were telling dealers that if they didn't buy amps, they 
wouldn't be able to get guitars. 
That's illegal and called "tying in a product". 
Both made amps; Fender's were pretty and Gibson could hardly give their 
amps away.  
Instead of starting illegal proceedings, Peavey decided to make guitars 
knowing that "a best defense is a good offense". 
I had a warranty repair center in Houston doing work for Gibson, Fender, 
Ovation, Harmony, and other companies after getting out of the monorail 
I had contacted Mudge Miller, a friend who was the Gibson Sales manager, 
to find out how I should get into the guitar repair business, as I had met him 
while doing repairs for a music store while in college. 
He advised me to go to Houston and not fight Arnold & Morgan in Dallas. 
I took his advice and moved to Houston. 

Several years later, I was delivering an Ovation acoustic to Brook Mays, 
the largest chain in Texas, a repair that involved  extensive work around the 
outside edges of the sound board. 
I had airbrushed a Walnut sunburst on the front to hide the repairs, went to 
Brook Mays to return it, and Peavey's Texas representative was there and 
saw the sunburst Ovation. 
Since Ovation didn't do any sunburst at that time, the rep. was impressed 
and flew to the factory to tell Hartley about me. 
I had a college degree in both commercial art and mechanical engineering 
and both tied in with starting a factory. 

The rep, Bob Belfield, flew me to  Meridian, Mississippi to meet Hartley, 
(several of the Peavey reps had there own airplanes, as they were making 
around $250,000 while the reps for other music manufacturers were making 
about $45,000).  

Hartley's first question was, "What do you think of the "Zero Fret"? I answered, 
"It's the most sensible way to automatically achieve a perfect action on fretted 
instruments but something that the Japanese guitar makers have screwed up 
by losing their nerve and making the zero fret oversized". 
He grinned his large smile which said that we were going to get along fine. 
He hired me that day and we "made the town that night". 

Bob flew me back to Houston where I gave my repair center to Kevin Perry, 
who was my main help in Houston. 
I started work for Peavey in June or July of 1975. 
Neither Hartley nor I played the serial numbers game, so didn't keep serial 
number/date manufacturing dates recorded, in fact, we started with the serial 
numbers in the 25000000 range and used blocks of numbers that we took 
from the amplifier numbers. 
We didn't even keep track of the starting date of production; the current serial 
number list is just "a wild-ass guess", at best.
The six digit numbers were used as a lame attempt at my trying to get around 
using amplifier numbers, as were the 8M numbers, since the serial number 
program didn't recognize letters.
Hartley and I designed almost everything together. 
About the first or second day at work, Hartley took me to lunch at a small cafe 
that had home-style plate lunches and we were talking neck production. 
We were drawing to each other on napkins and arrived at a novel neck 
construction together. 
I said, "Where's my traditional $1 which is what most companies pay an 
engineer for patents, and he quickly said, "You're eating it". 
We "co-patented" the invention together. 
The hardest thing we designed was the peghead, since he wanted six keys 
on one side like Fender; anything  far away from Fender looked funny to us, 
but we didn't want to copy Fender, 
We finally settled on the T-series design, but I made a 3 per side version for 
the first prototypes for the 1976 NAMM show. 

The first three prototypes were made in my carport, by Charley Gressett 
and Bob Lowe, (later changed to R.T. Lowe), with minimal tools, in two days. 
We hadn't planned on names, yet, so Peavey told me to make them up. 
I used "CT-1", (my initials), for the 6-inline peghead, "CT-2" for the 3/side 
peghead, and "CT-B" for the bass guitar. 
The later naming meetings in late 1976, were hilarious events. 
Some time before that NAMM show, Hartley told me,  
"We're lucky to have a very profitable amplifier program to sponsor us, 
so I don't want to go to market until you say we're ready".

You asked about the pickguard. With the compound curvature of the front, it 
took a whole bunch of screws to keep the pickguard from bowing up in places. 
People have complained about the screws, but fail to notice the number of 
screws on the Stratocasters, which had a flat front. 
We were never allowed the same rules as Fender and Gibson. 
I showed Chip this youtube clip, to see if he agreed with the content.
See from 0:58 to 2:50. 

The guy on U-Tube was mostly correct. He just flubbed a couple of minor facts.

We did use many innovative techniques, that changed guitar manufacturing 
around the world. 
Gibson and Fender were locked into antiquated manufacturing 
ideas by tradition.

He added this at the end
Sorry, this turned out to be "War and Peace", but the whole program was breaking 
new ground.

I think it's a good story, well told.

More to come next time, with some images of my earliest T-40 and the
subtle differences between that and the main production that followed.

My thanks to Chip - I look forward to the next part.

Cheers. :) 

If you have landed on this page and you want to go to the 
latest post, go here:
Latest post. 


Friday, 26 October 2012

Peavey T-60 and Eighty Thousand Visitors. . .

Hi to all out there.

As of today, over 80500 visits have been made to my blog.
So, thanks for dropping in - the story continues.

I first saw a Peavey "T" in late '78 or early '79, a T-60 - I can't
remember exactly when but I do remember thinking at the time, 
this is a bit different!
The pic above is not of one of mine - I have borrowed this shot, from
a recently sold, mid periodT-60, as it has a very fine example of
the control details.
This one has the Blade pick-ups and the small selector switches, 
my first encounter with a Peavey T, was of course with the earlier
Toaster type, as the Blades didn't come in, until later. 

As the controls were different to the usual set-up, they all came with
this printed film, which sort of explained what the controls did.
On the tone controls, it was marked Treble, to Bass but in reality, 10
is Single coil and then 9 and 8 takes the top edge off the single coil
until it reaches 7.
At 7, the Humbucker engages, beefing up the sound and the remaining
rotation, take the top off the Humbucker, as would a normal tone control.

I will cover more of the sounds and options, later on but as you can 
imagine, in the late 70's, this was all very different to what we were 
all used to.

Ever since then, I have been a fan of the Peavey T and over the years
have come across all the variations and learnt more about them.

I have started a list of questions to ask Chip - in order to fill in the gaps 
and confirm some of the facts. 
I will make a start on the story, next time. 

Cheers. :)

Friday, 19 October 2012

Peavey T-40 and T-60, The Begining. . . .

Peavey T-40 and T-60 - Bass & Guitar.

How far is it back to the beginning??
"You're Kidding"!!!
Well, sort of!

Way back, Thomas Blanchard invented a machine to make gun stocks
all the same shape.
See picture of Thomas and a later machine and ask. . . . .

"What's that got to do with a Peavey Guitar?"
Well,  quite a bit.

When Hartley Peavey and Chip Todd set out to make guitars, they
were going to do it differently - Completely differently!

A machine that could make gun stocks all the same, could also make
guitar necks all the same.
Having gone into that sort of detail with the neck, they carried on the 
theme with the body, which was made by a CNC machine.
CNC - Computer Numerical Control.
You programme it to make something and it will make the next 10, 100,
1000 or 10000 items, all the same!
Peavey, as far as I understand, were the first company to do this - all
the others followed later.

So, select the timber, bond sections together, onto the machine and this
is what it made.

This is the body from Project 
T-40, which. . . . erm. . .has not 
progressed much . . . . 
but will do soon!

The main hardware was not taken from any generic stock - bridges,
control knobs, back-plate, pick-ups, pick-up rings etc, were all Peavey.

I have seen publications that state the T Series was launched in 1976 
but I am not sure that 1976 is correct - I have a VERY early Pre 8M,
and the pots on that are dated 1977, so I will try to confirm when they
were actually launched.
8M serial numbers date from 1978 and these are generally accepted 
as the first "out of the gate"

This is a shot of one of the last ones.

 The last of the Forty's and Sixty's had slight differences - the bodies had 
been contoured for some time, the Blade pick-ups had replaced the Toasters 
and the selector switches, had been changed to what are referred to as the
"Bat style" switch.

Next time, I will start with the early T's, in more detail and then over the 
following weeks, work my way through to the last of the line.

Cheers. :) 


I have received an e.mail from Chip Todd, saying that he is happy to help
me with this feature. What great news!
I have communicated with Chip before but never in any great detail.

As with the feature I did on Peter Cook, the guitar builder, it is SO much better
to have words from "the horses mouth", so to speak.
I indicated that I would try not to pester him but in his reply, he said "Pester away" 

So, Chip - thank you for agreeing to be involved, I'm sure what you have to say
will be of great benefit to this feature on the Peavey "T" series.

Cheers. :) 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Peavey T-40 and T-60, The Story. . . . . .

I have been asked, many times, about the "T Series" Peavey
Basses and Guitars and have said that at some point, I would
collate all the information I have and do a feature.
So, the next few posts will be about the T-40 and T60.


Way back in April, 2010 - in the early days of my blog, this was the
first picture I posted of the collection - The Three Forty's!

The earliest one I have goes almost back to the beginning and I have
had all the years after that. 

So, sit back, relax and I shall begin the story of the Forty's and
Sixty's, as I know it, next time.

Cheers. :)