Which pickups closest to original PAF?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by HaroldBKNY, Jul 25, 2020.

  1. Thoughtfree

    Thoughtfree Tele-Meister

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    What is the ideal PAF pickup sound that people are looking for?

    I presume it would be similar to the recorded sound of a famous guitarist: Clapton? Walsh? Bloomfield? Moore? Page? etc. etc.

    Also I presume that it would be a "soloing" tone rather than a "rhythm" tone.

    Seeking to understand.
     
  2. JJLC

    JJLC Tele-Meister

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    Too many options out there to list & most have already been mentioned within the thread.
    One theme I have to say is consistent with original PAFs is the impression that many players have the opinion that PAFs are inconsistent. That tells me all I need to know, and I have never played a guitar equipped with PAFs. I know what works for me but then I am biased but at least I admit it.

    My 2000 Tokai LS-320 is completely original & there is absolutely no reason IMO to remove the original Seth Lover pickups; they sound right at home in the 320.
    I have heard several folks compare the Greco/Maxon Dry Z, or as the Japanese call it, Z Dry, to PAFs. I have one matched set left, currently is in a Bacchus. They sound phenomenal, IMO.
    I'm also a fan of the Greco/Maxon PU-2 but I believe the magnets are A5.
    Double Tricks are very good too.
    Grinning Dog LOOSE are also great but anything coming out of Kishimotos' shop are gonna be great pickups, IMO.
    IMO try lots of different pickups & choose the ones you like, then sell the rest.
     
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  3. Okieactor

    Okieactor Tele-Holic

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    No experience with actual vintage PAFs.

    That said, I have to recommend either the 57 Classic/57 Classic+ combo, which I really liked in my SG that I had, or the Camelot PAFs by Gepetto, out of Taylor, Texas. I have 2 sets. He can do potted or unpotted, F spaced or regular, 4 lead or 2 lead, aged or new looking covers, and long or short mounting pieces. And they are very affordable.

    I also listened to a bunch of demos and anything I could get my hands on in stores before buying, and think the rec to just go with the SD '59 is good too. I think when you are getting down to very, very subtle things, it's probably never going to sound like a 59 les paul anyway, and there's a diminishing return regarding overpaying for things like retro pickups that no one agrees on anyway.
     
  4. driver8

    driver8 Tele-Meister

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    After having Seth Lovers (which are awesome, probably my favorite), SD59s, and 57s, I now put Tonerider ACII and Parsons St. A5s in everything. They just sound great and make me wonder why I should spend more. A lot also depends on the guitar, as sometimes pickups that sound killer in one guitar won't sound as good in another - my experience, at least. But when you find the right match up and everything clicks, the name on the pickup doesn't seem to really matter as long as you're in the PAF ballpark.
     
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  5. corbo

    corbo TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    My Kirn has a Seth Lover at the neck. Can't speak to just how well it compares to the original 57's, but I sure do like it! :)
     
  6. Danb541

    Danb541 Tele-Afflicted

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    Ibanez Super 70's
     
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  7. adamstrings

    adamstrings TDPRI Member

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    Based on what I know personally about Fralins and that he seems to favor low output and single coil type sound, I'd go there. I would if I wanted PAFs.
     
  8. Robert Graf

    Robert Graf TDPRI Member

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    Bill Bartolini thought that the best sounding PAF pickups had mismatched coils. Since there are all types of variations, you really have to listen for yourself. For tone shaping, I'd suggest getting an envelope filter and a parametric EQ before I decided to swap out pickups.
     
  9. HaroldBKNY

    HaroldBKNY TDPRI Member

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    An envelope filter? That's another word for an auto-wah. That probably wouldn't sound very vintage!
     
  10. Maguchi

    Maguchi TDPRI Member

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    I really like Gibson's Modern Classic 490R and 490T humbucking pickups. Not sure if they capture the exact vibe of an original 1957 PAF without having one to compare to, but I get really good classic and vintage sounds with the 490T and 490R Gibson humbuckers.
     
  11. jumpbluesdude

    jumpbluesdude TDPRI Member

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    I have a SD SH1 in my Strat, a Lollar imperial in my PRS, and a DiMarzio super distortion in my 83 Dean Elite. There is something about the imperial that hits the spot. The other 2 leave me wanting. The Duncan sounds better to me than the DiMarzio.
     
  12. jumpbluesdude

    jumpbluesdude TDPRI Member

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    Also, I’d mention that the intro to Brown Sugar on ZZ Top’s first album is THE tone IMO.
     
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  13. djhblues

    djhblues TDPRI Member

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    Has anyone weighed in on the MHS Pickups (Memphis Historic Series) in Gibson's ES line of guitars? I have an ES-Les Paul, and to my ears, they sound really nice
     
  14. djhblues

    djhblues TDPRI Member

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    I agree on PRS Pickups. I have a Custom 24, and I always feel Im missing something in it. The guitar never gets played anyone. I have an EJ Strat that gets the love, as well as my Suhr HSS Classic.
     
  15. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    DAMN them guys in Metallica got old.


    "I agree on PRS Pickups."

    Their regular humbuckers never did it for me. I have a chambered C22 with The Artist pickups in it...these are apparently highly coveted by PRS fanboiz, and they sound OK but a bit too saturated for me.

    But their Starla pickups! Big and bright--and can get twangy like a Filtertron. I have two C22s with Starlas. They are my favorite PRS pickup by a mile.

    These came as stock equipment in my C22s, so I had no idea what they go for on the used market. I just look-seed and you can get a pair for $100. Dang.

    Apologies for the digression.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020 at 9:43 AM
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  16. DBDM

    DBDM TDPRI Member

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    After a lot of study on this subject--here is my opinion (and likely, it should be yours)--Nearly every single debatable detail on every single Les Paul made in the 50's was nearly entirely hand made with little standardization. When reading the book, "Beauty of the Burst", I make note that every neck, every heel, the top maple construction, seam location, the way the wood was sawed at the sawmill (quarter sawed, Rift sawed, plain sawed, combos of 2 of them) was different. You had a big group of craftsmen making guitars. Billy Gibbons wrote that he went to the factory and observed them making the pickups. He says they just kind of wound them "willy nilly" (my word, not his) with little standardization. I think that the reason the question, "which sounds more like a 195x guitar" will never be answered because the answer would be, "well, which one?" Seems to me that every famous player of every collectors choice guitar has said that the new one they have sounds just like the famous one that was copied. I would say that if you want a Mike Bloomfield sound, buy the Collectors choice. Other than that, it is a pretty solid crap-shoot as to which 50's that your 50's reproduction pickup sounds like. I predict that every PAF reproduction sounds like ONE of the late 50's guitars, question is which one?
    (the "likely it should be yours part" is intended to be a joke)
     
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  17. DBDM

    DBDM TDPRI Member

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    (ditto answer when I hear "60's neck. SERIOUSLY? I have literally felt every conceivable neck size in 60's Les Pauls from Baseball bat to near pencil thin. Generally people mean medium thin neck on 60's but even that is silly. For this year, 2020, Gibson is offering 3 different neck options for the R0. 3 is better than one but does not even come close to the number of necks actually made in 1960. Certainly not the whole decade)

    EDIT--for what it is worth, I was speaking to a guy in the Custom shop recently He has worked there since 1996 (so 23.x years) and is a gigging/recording musician in his free time. He has access to guitars and components that most cannot even fathom. he claims that 57 Classics are the best, and said so without any hesitation or delay.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020 at 10:33 AM
  18. Morpeli

    Morpeli TDPRI Member

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    I put them in a MIJ Tokai with 50s style Jimmy Page wiring. Love it! :)
     
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  19. Downshift

    Downshift Tele-Holic

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    No one has any idea what a PAF actually sounds like. They just distort the unholy snot out of it.
     
  20. Jazzerclean

    Jazzerclean Tele-Meister

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    Can't wait to hear them.
    Protective film is still on the new pick guard to be removed.
    15962443226762686076094338564350.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020 at 6:25 AM
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