What is a PAF?
What is a ABR-1?
What are Bumblebees?
What does 500K mean?
What are Klusons?
What does M-69 stand for?
What is a silkscreened logo?
What is a volute?
What is a lightweight tailpiece?
Who the heck is Tom Murphy?
Why does a goldtop finish look different than gold paint?
What's so great about lacquer?
What is a "pancake" body?
Why do '50's crown inlays look totally different than new ones?
Why do old Les Pauls have translucent red side dots?
What is Centralab?
What is braided wire?
What are Top Hat knobs?
What is Brazilian rosewood?
Who really built Slash's "Appetite for Destruction" Les Paul Copy?
What is an "extended neck tenon"?
Does my Les Paul have weight relief holes or sound chambers?
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
What is a PAF? 

The term PAF stands for Patent Applied For, which is a decal that Gibson affixed to the bottom of their humbuckers in the late '50's and early '60's. The term PAF has become a generic term for all Gibson humbuckers, which can lead to confusion and misinformation.

There were 3 eras of original Patent Applied For pick
ups:

#1 Pre-PAF decal version: These were the early ones, as used in some '57 Goldtops


#2 The 1st PAF decal version: These were used in the '58-'60 Bursts, some were all black bobbins, some had one black and one cream bobbin, or both cream bobbins. These pickups varied a lot in output due to the inconsistant winding techniques used by Gibson at the time


#3 The 2nd PAF decal version: These were made when Gibson switched over to a different type of winding machine with an automatic shut off when a certain amount of winds were on the bobbins. These are more consistant in output. Around this time Gibson changed the magnet size, they wanted to standardize the size so they could use the same magnet in all their pickups, like the P-90 and Melody Maker pickups.

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What is a ABR-1?






ABR-1

 

The ABR-1 is the original name of the Tuneomatic bridge used on Gibsons. An original ABR-1 will have 'ABR-1' cast into the bottom of the bridge. Later Tuneomatics will have a patent number cast into it. The early ABR-1 bridges did not have the retaining wire for the bridge saddles, though later on they did. Also, ABR-1 bridges used plated brass saddles, later ones were made from a different type of alloy.
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What are Bumblebees?


Bumblebees

'Bumblebee' is a term used for the old black Sprague paper-in-oil molded caps. They used stripes to designate the values of the capacitors, they looked like bumblebee stripes.

 

 

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What does 500K mean?

This is the value of the potentiometers used in Les Pauls, although some during the Norlin years used 350K Ohm potentiometers. Most agree that 500K ohm is the best sounding value for humbuckers

More Pot Talk

Potentiometer Comparisons

More Potentiometer Comparisons


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 What are Klusons?



Kluson is the name of a company who used to make tuning machine heads for many guitar manufacturers.





50's Vs. Historic Parts

 

 

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What does M-69 stand for?


This was the designation inside of the humbucking pickup rings that Gibson used, these will have the 'legs' inside for the screw holes.




50's Vs. Historic Parts

 

 

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What is a silkscreened logo?


On older and on the newer HCLP Les Paul model guitars, the gold "Les Paul model" logo was actually silkscreened onto the headstock, over the lacquer. On Les Paul Juniors, even the Gibson logo was silkscreened. Later, decals were used.
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What is a volute?


The Volute was extra wood that was on the back of the neck behind the truss rod nut location, this was used to beef up this area, as this was the weakest part of the neck.  

 

 

 

 

 

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What is a lightweight tailpiece?

Lightweight Aluminum Tailpiece

Older wrap tailpieces and stop tailpieces were made of an aluminum alloy, which made them very light in weight. They were difficult to manufacture and plate, therefore later these were made of a different, but heavier, material. The old lightweight tailpieces are 2-3 ounces lighter than a heavy alloy one.

 

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Who the heck is Tom Murphy?
Tom Murphy is an ex-Gibson employee. He is primarily responsible for making the Historic Collection 1959 Reissue Les Paul Standard a reality. He left Gibson to start his own business restoring guitars, and developed quite a following for his incredibly realistic Vint-Aged finishes that replicate an aged, dull patina finish with checking. He also was a driving force behind the 1999 40th Anniversary Les Paul reissues. He presently is under contract with Gibson to use his Vint-Aged process on special 'Aged' Les Paul reissue guitars.
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Why does a goldtop finish look different than gold paint?


The 'Gold' finish is actually bronze powder mixed in with clear lacquer, then sprayed onto the guitar. When you see a goldtop with 'green' areas, this actually is the bronze
powder in the lacquer oxidizing.
 

 

 

 

 

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What's so great about lacquer?
Lacquer is a very good finish for musical instruments. It is a slightly porous finish, and allows the wood to 'breathe'. Lacquer can also be applied very thin, so as to not dampen the tone of the instrument. Lacquer also will age to an attractive dull patina, and the clear will age to a slightly amberish hue over time.

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What is a "pancake" body?

In the '70's, Gibson decided to laminate bodies together using two pieces of thinner mahogany with a thin middle laminate. Hence the term 'Pancake' body.

 

 

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Why do '50's crown inlays look totally different than new ones?

The old celluloid material Gibson used in the old days was much different in many ways than the material used presently. The grain pattern in the old inlay material usually had a much less mottled appearance than its modern counterpart, and the color differed slightly. The older inlay material was also much thinner in thickness than the modern material. The old inlay material was also prone to shrinkage, as is evident on old Gibson guitars.

 

50's Vs. New Parts
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Why do old Les Pauls have translucent red side dots?


The material used on older Gibson side dots was of a translucent tortiseshell-colored material. The color varied from dot to dot depending on where it was cut in the material.



 

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What is Centralab?


Centralab was the manufacturer that made potentiometers for Gibson in the old days, they had a very smooth taper that many players desire.



Centralab 500K ohm Pot ~ Up Close

 

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What is braided wire?

The braided wire that Gibson used was a cloth covered wire inner core with a braided shield over it. On Gibson guitars, the inner wire was the hot or positive wire, and the braided shield was used as ground or negative.

 

 

 

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What are Top Hat knobs?



Top hats on Dave P's Les Paul Aged '59 Reissue

 

Top Hat Knobs were used by Gibson in the mid to late '50's, they had sort of a hat shape to them, and were either painted black or bronze-powder gold on the insides to create their color. Old top hat knobs usually age to a very slightly amberish/yellow hue.
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What is Brazilian rosewood?


Brazilian rosewood was used on Les Paul fingerboards in the old days. It is desirable because of its stiffness and sonic qualities, and it has a smoother, less porous texture than the Indian rosewood that replaced Brazilian rosewood.

 



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Who really built Slash's "Appetite for Destruction" Les Paul Copy?
  If you said Max, you would be incorrect. The builder of that famous guitar was the late Chris Derrig. He made a couple dozen very high quality '59 LP copies.

Chris passed away in 1986.
 
Derrig top
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What is an "extended neck tenon"?


The original specification of the neck joint was for the neck tenon to intrude into the front pickup neck cavity.
Over time, it became more efficient to pre-route the pick up cavity and then join the neck to the body. The neck tenon that joined the body's opposing cavity was decreased in length substantially.
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Does my Les Paul have weight relief holes or sound chambers?

The bottom line is that there are nine (9) weight relief holes in production LP Standards, and seventeen (17) in the Class 5 Les Paul, and there is a difference between "dynamic sound chambers" and "weight relief holes".
1.The Les Paul Class 5 is the only Custom Shop model Les Paul that has weight relief holes (17 of them).

2: The Historic 58' & 59' Les Paul's DO NOT have weight relief holes (the lightest mahogany available is used for these guitars).

3: None of the Custom Shop Historic Reissue Les Paul Goldtop models have weight relief holes.

4: The Les Paul Elegant has the dynamic sound chambers, not weight relief holes. The Les Paul Class 5 has the weight relief holes, and not dynamic sound chambers.

5: Gibson U.S.A. does drill weight relief holes in their Les Paul models. They drill 9 holes, versus 17 for the Les Paul Class 5.

According to Gibson, they have done extensive testing and as long as the holes are not near the bridge or tailpiece (which would affect sustain), they do not have an adverse impact on tone.

 

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