Putting a Gibson PAF in a 70s style HH Tele Thinlne

kenhalltele

NEW MEMBER!
Joined
Mar 20, 2022
Posts
1
Age
65
Location
Dublin, Ireland
So there are two guitars that I own - one is a Fender MIM Telecaster Thinline (70s HH style) from the 90s which is my usual gigging guitar, the other is a guitar that I built when I was 17. The interesting thing is that the one I built (which is a barely playable thing that I've only kept for sentimental reasons) has a 1975 Gibson PAF Humbucker and a 1973 Ibanez Maxon Super-70s. I took ohm readings on both of them just to prove them out (and to make sure they survived the mauling they probably got when I built the guitar) so the Ibanez clocks in at 7.72 and the Gibson at 7.46. Both these readings seem consistent with documented expectations.

I like the Thinline very much, it's incredibly light, it has the sound I want and I have no desire to tinker with it or dismantle it. I only use the neck pickup. So I thought what about getting a Squier Thinline for 300 odd Euro and replacing the neck Humbucker with my Gibson one? - just to see what it sounds like. I reckon I would have to replace the Squier electrics with 2 500k pots and a compatible capacitor so I can take the Gibson HB in. I might have to do some fiddling with the seating of the HB. I'd love to get a new pickguard with no bridge PUP or switch space but that's just fancy pants stuff.

For those of you who like this kind of stuff (and this seems to be the right place for that!) my main questions are:

1. Is this a totally dumb idea with some big hole that I haven't thought of?
2. What are the fundamental differences between Squier and MIM Thinline Teles? Are the neck and bodies pretty much the same? The wood is different I know but will it sound massively different? Are the mass-produced Squiers all of equivalent quality or are there good and bad ones? - i.e. is it worth trying loads of them till you find a good one?
3. Is my guess at 500k pots about right? Would that also be true if I used the Ibanez rather than the Gibson?
4. If I like the outcome will replacing the machine heads and any other hardware on the Squier leave me with a giggable guitar roughly comparable with my MIM Tele - and hopefully with superior electrics? Or should I take the risk of replacing the guts of my beloved Tele (i.e. how reversible would that process be - I guess I should be able to assess reversibility if I do the job on the Squier first)?
5. Is there something better I could do with these two pick-ups? (other than sell them and drink the proceeds - they're not exactly worth a fortune)

My other alternative is to build a thinline from available parts but the price of that kind of adds up to pretty much the price of a Squier and I don't think my guitar building skills have progressed much since I was 17.

Thanks folks

Ken
 

Cadillac_Mike

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Posts
656
Age
33
Location
River Falls, WI
Neat, I didn't know Fender made MIM Thinline HH Tele's in the 90's....Guessing that's at least somewhat rare (?)

I think most Squier thinline's would be the "higher end Squier's" like Classic Vibe series so probably not a big difference between MIM. I'd definitely take a 90's MIM neck over any CV Squier neck though.

As far as the pots I'm not sure but somebody on here should know.
 

moosie

Doctor of Teleocity
Silver Supporter
Joined
Jul 18, 2010
Posts
19,800
Age
65
Location
Western Connecticut
Welcome to the forum!

500k pots is what your PAF Gibson would like to see, yes. If the Ibanez is a PAF-style humbucker, then it should apply to that as well.

Where it gets a little tricky is when you have a humbucker and a single coil. In that case, you'd still use 500k pots, but would add a 470k resistor from the single coil lead (where it attaches to the switch), to ground. The resulting resistance when the single coil is in use, is closer to 250k.

I can't speak to the rest of your questions, but I'm sure someone else will.
 

Caffiend

TDPRI Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2021
Posts
62
Age
47
Location
Bristol
Hi!

So, the Super 70's is essentially a T-top clone. Electrically it wants the same treatment as a PAF but it will naturally be a bit more bitey. I used to have exactly this pickup pairing and found it very usable.

Your biggest issue with the conversion is going to be the size of the Fender style WRHB's. Gibson style humbuckers are notably smaller. This isn't a showstopper and I'd work around this with a replacement pickguard.

As standard, WRHB's tend to come with 1m pots which may well be too bright for a regular humbucker but might be worth trying.

As a diversion; I'd take a look at the G&L Bluesboy semi-hollow... the Tribute series should be right in your budget and all the problems are already solved. Plus, you get a p90ish bridge pickup that you can ignore if you like 🙂
 

moosie

Doctor of Teleocity
Silver Supporter
Joined
Jul 18, 2010
Posts
19,800
Age
65
Location
Western Connecticut
Those didn't ever come with "Patent Applied For" stickers. Why call them PAFs?
Perhaps because the differences between the various Gibson humbuckers is irrelevant here. The footprint is the main thing, as he wants to put it in a Fender, which was sized for WRHB.
 

BB

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
May 17, 2003
Posts
6,331
Location
Great Pacific NW
My 2 cents (fwiw) is to go ahead and swap the Gibson hummer in there. I would suggest trying it with the stock 250K pots first and see how it goes.

After 35-40 years of modding/swapping/etc, I still prefer my neck buckers in teles to have 250K pots. Seymour Duncan seems to agree with me, but no one else! Doesn't hurt to try it before changing out the pots though.

BTW, I've used Ibanez Super 70's, Super 58's, Gibson T-Tops, etc...(along with many, many (MANY!!) other buckers.

Right now, I have a low wind Lollar Imperial Bucker in the neck of my tele with a 250K pot. It is simply wonderful for my style of playing and what I like to hear.

I will say that most every bucker I've tried/used/tested, worked quite well with 250K pots. My experience only though.
 

jrblue

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Nov 14, 2010
Posts
3,160
Location
Santa Barbara
'75 PAF? OK... As for pot values, I agree with those who suggest that you try it with the current pots and trust your ears. You're way better off making choices based on actual performance and sound, in your own rig. You can adjust accordingly, if needed. And it's not just a choice b/w 250 or 500K pots. You can split the difference with a 300/350K if the sound calls for it. I've had several Teles with HBs in the neck position and I've liked them all. (I don't use overwound or hot HBs, which I don't like anyway and which are a challenge to balance with the bridge PU).
 

eclecticsynergy

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Nov 16, 2014
Posts
2,982
Location
Albany NY
A '75 Gibson humbucker is a T-top. Should be fine with 250K, especially in a Fender-scale guitar.
In the unlikely event that it sounds dark in a particular guitar, then you can try 500K.
 

Cyberi4n

Tele-Holic
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Posts
924
Age
49
Location
Chester, Uk
FWIW I have a Tele with a stock single coil Bridge pup and a vintage mini humbucker in the neck. Sounds great and I’ve kept the stock CTS pots
 

Bartholomew3

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Dec 8, 2010
Posts
3,808
Location
Montreal
I had a 74 Gibson PAF installed in my 68 tele for a couple of years using 250K original pots. Too much bottom end on two bass strings A & E but a pretty good clean sound for what I do. Can take off the bass hump at the amp by lowering a couple of numbers on bass control. Eventually changed it out for a Dimarzio PAF DP211 so it wouldn't overpower the Area T bridge. Original pickups went bad long ago.
 




Top