Guitars were expensive in the 1970s. If you wanted to grab a Fender Stratocaster in 1977, the MSRP was just under $600. That puts the price of it at $2,400 when accounting for inflation. That investment got you an instrument with a neck pocket where you could fit at least three credit cards.
Your other option during that era was the Les Paul, and it was even more expensive. That design offered a pancake body with a shallow headstock and uncomfortable neck angles. There weren’t many other choices unless you wanted to buy a copy piece.
Hartley Peavey and Chip Todd delivered the first mass-produced neck on a CNC-cut body to get costs down if you wanted to play an affordable and authentic guitar. They cut corners to make it cost-effective, but the Peavey T-60 tone circuit made the instrument such a joy to play.
Peavey T-60 Tone Circuit
The Peavey T-60 tone circuit was first released in 1978. It was ahead of its time with the treble-bleed network, coil-switching choices, and out-of-phase dynamics it delivered. Even today, the dual-wiring structure for the humbuckers makes it feel like a modern instrument when played.
When you look at the Peavey T-60 electric guitar, it doesn’t seem like anything special. It has the classic instrument design, dot inlays, and an average look to it.
If anything, the pickguard that extends beyond the knobs with a bit of a modern flair is the primary difference between it and similar Gibson or Fender models.
What makes the T-60 unique isn’t what you see on the outside. For a decade, the instrument was produced, featuring a dual humbucker design that adds more of a burn to what I’d call a classic Strat sound.
The shape is something that people tend to love or hate. Although the pickguard’s extension is a little much for my taste, I adore the silver control knobs and their 1950s vibe.
It also uses toaster-style pickup covers to create something that becomes instantly recognizable when seen on stage.
The humbuckers come with a blade design, standard PAF dimensions, and were designed to sound like single-coils or others when played in split mode.
It really is a unique guitar. Unless someone has done a custom wiring project on their instrument, no one has ever tried to duplicate the Peavey T-60. That means you can grab one on the secondhand market today from about $500 to over $2,500.
What Do You Get with the Peavey T-60 Tone Circuit?
When you start playing the Peavey T-60, the guitar delivers a meaty bass with enough twang that makes you think you’ve got some Fender Strat inspiration. It’s folksy as an electric, offering jazz or the blues with stunning consistency.
The neck plays quickly, delivering fast finger movement. It’s even suitable for fingerpicking if you have a short folk sequence to manage.
When you get to the distortion, the Peavey T-60 starts playing more like a synth pad with its sounds.
There’s a lot of wah-wah and natural reverb with a nice scream in the upper register, although the feedback is enough to disturb some traditionalists. The closest comparison to the final sound is the 1966 Teisco K2L.
Once you activate the distortion, you’ll notice less definition to the note shape and character. If you want something crisp and consistent, the guitar needs you to stay with the more traditional setup for producing a melody.
That’s not to say you can’t get some hefty power chords out of the instrument when you have some rock or metal to play. It gets the job done! It just performs better when you focus on the strengths of the Peavey T-60 tone circuit.
Those are why the T-60 could arguably be the most underrated guitar coming from an American manufacturer of all time. It’s built like a tank, in both good and uncomfortable ways for the average musician.
Information About the Peavey T-60 Tone Circuit
The out-of-phase switch on the Peavey T-60 only works when you have both pickups engaged. Since the tone and volume work independently from the other pickup’s circuit, the playing style is slightly different from a Les Paul.
You get something with plenty of tonal shades for dialing into a particular sound. There are ten total options to consider, and they’re all musically playing on this instrument.
It’s possible to adapt the wiring to any HH guitar if both humbuckers have four-conductor wiring and a 335-style control layout.
If you want to duplicate the style with your current instrument, here are some of the points to think about with the circuit and its potential mods.
- Peavey uses a cap-only 1,000 pF treble-bleed for both volume controls. That works well with the original 250k options and humbuckers, but it often requires an adjustment when using other hardware.
- The original wiring features a .033 uF tone cap for the bridge and a .022 one for the neck pickup. You can modify those values to your liking with a custom setup, although you’ll lose some of the tone richness that made the T-60 such a joy to play.
- When you see the toaster covers on the original humbuckers, they look great – and dampen the high end more than you might want. Since the metal between the two has an interruption, you’ll need to eliminate the split dynamic if you want more warmth in the upper register.
- The audio pots for tone and volume offer a curved S-shaped taper to finish off the electronics design for the guitar. You can step up to 500k with some mods, although the results aren’t always what you’d expect. It still gives you the depth you want in either setup.
The bottom line for the Peavey T-60 tone circuit is that it provides a versatile result that won’t leave you feeling disappointed during your practice sessions or gigs.
Best Combo Amps to Use with the Peavey T-60
When you want to maximize the sound from the Peavey T-60, you’ll find that the right amp can deliver outstanding results. If you invest in this equipment wisely, you can turn the fantastic sounds produced by this guitar’s circuit into a memorable experience.
Although any amp is potentially usable, these options deliver the most consistency when you’re playing the T-60.
With up to 100 watts of power streaming through the ten-inch speaker, you’ll appreciate how the T-60 sounds when played through the Peavey MAX 100 combo amp.
It offers a pre-gain control with a boost that maximizes the out-of-phase dynamics and the overdrive from the electric guitar.
You’ll find this lightweight package doesn’t offer shortcuts on the sound, offering a headphone jack for where you practice and an AUX input for other music sources.
It handles the lower frequencies without getting messy, and you even get a chromatic tuner built-in with the amp. It’s a solid entry-level choice for anyone who wants to get to know their T-60 better.
This lightweight and portable 100-watt amp head offers stage-ready sounds with a powerful depth that doesn’t seem possible from its size.
You get results from the BOSS guitar compact combo amp from its TubeLogic design approach, giving the T-60 an impressive punch while ensuring that you don’t miss its presence.
You receive five different amp characters and voice variations for each one you can match up to the Peavey guitar for a 100% unique sound.
Although the five-inch monitor speaker is enough for practicing, you’ll want an external cab for a large venue or pro gig.
When you want the T-60 to shine brighter than the percussion, you’ll need a powerful combo amp that isn’t afraid to make some noise.
It should deliver a crisp sound without being overwhelming while reducing feedback potential as much as possible. If you have the Fender Champion 100, your guitar can have a positive impact without disrupting the rest of the band.
You can toggle between the clean or mean sounds this amp produces with a simple footswitch kick.
Several usable musical tones are possible, including a classic sound that turns the T-60 into a lovely vintage instrument. Delay, chorus, and vibratome are also possibilities to consider.
Although this investment offers 20 watts, you receive a surprisingly high-quality sound when pairing it with the T-60.
It isn’t overwhelming by any means, but it is the right size for a practice room. If you’re in the studio or on stage, giving it a microphone will let you take advantage of its many benefits.
The eight-inch speaker on the Orange Amps electric guitar power amp provides some natural reverb to enhance your note shape and character.
The three-band EQ lets you customize some of the results, while the gain and volume choices take your playing to the level you prefer. Two foot-switchable channels allow you to alternate between the audio sources you choose.
This ultra-compact guitar combo amp might not be the biggest thing you carry with you when playing, but it is one of the best investments you can make for your T-60.
The five-inch speaker produces audio that sounds like it comes from an amp twice its size. You also have an audio interface with iOS products, and the cable comes in the box.
What makes the Roland Micro Cube powered guitar combo amp stand out its portability. Since it is a battery-powered unit, you can take your T-60 anywhere.
You can enjoy a day at the park, spend an afternoon busking, or join your buddies for a last-minute jam without any problems.
When you want to mix the best of both worlds, consider grabbing the Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue guitar amp to work with your instrument.
Something magical happens when you get the classic sounds from this amplifier mixing with the Peavey T-60 tone circuit! The clean tones have an impressive sustain while enhancing the midrange to play to the strengths of this electronic design.
When you start practicing with this amp, you’ll notice the T-60 delivers a better projection with the dual 6L6 groove tubes and three 12AX7 preamps.
The bright switch is a little better than the drive for the guitar, although the blues voice is superb for almost any setting. Its only fault is the lack of an AUX or headphone jack.
A Final Thought on the Peavey T-60 Tone Circuit
The Peavey T-60 tone circuit often outshines the guitar itself when listeners hear its tone and quality. That’s why many musicians attempt to duplicate the split humbucker result on their instrument. Although the design and sound aren’t for everyone, this American-made classic delivers consistent results.
Even though this guitar plays well, it requires the help of a solid amp to deliver its best music. Since you can grab the T-60 for a reasonable price, it makes sense to put some money toward a great amp that will last you for more than a decade.
When you select one of the amps from this guide, you’ll jam out to one of the best American-made guitars of the 20th century.
I love playing the T-60 when I have some downtime from everything else happening. It’s my oasis from the storm because the instrument lets me focus on my creativity with its unique dynamics.
Although you can play a Strat, Tele, or Les Paul and get similar results, I love the authenticity found in the T-60 circuit. It’s what reminds me of home, even when I’m not there.