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  1. #1

    PAF Alternatives?

    So I recently had the great fortune of playing an original 59 burst with PAFs. After it was forcefully removed from my hands I decided that I needed a pair of PAF's in my life. Unfortunately original PAF's are way out of my budget so I would love to know what pickups you all would recommend? I am looking for whatever is closest to the sound of a PAF. I would preferably like to pay no more than $200 per pickup but am open to all suggestions. So let's see what ya got!?!

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Almost every pickup maker has a paf type, from $70 Duncan 59's up to pricey clones wound on original winding machines and materials with great attention to the smallest detail, like Jon's extremely authentic ThroBak offerings.

    It's worth noting that paf's are variable in tone and build spec so you'll want to do some research. Nothing beats clear communication with the winder, as they can insure you get what you want.

    You are about to be flooded with everyone's idea of the right choice, or their choice and specs like magnets etc..., it can be overwhelming. Good luck on your search.
    The older I get, the better I was.

  3. #3
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    May I take a stab at this.

    My experience is that its mostly the wood you hear.
    Those guitars I have or have had that sounded really good kinda did not care that much about the pickups.
    Sure they shaded the sound in different ways.

    But they din not add magic or take it away.

    I would search for a guitar that sounds good real good instead of trying to make one you may not like the sound of work with new pickups.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member renderit's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    .................................................. ............Why did you give it back?

    .................................................. .....That was just plain silly!

    You could have stopped this search bidness right in it's tracks.

    .................................................. ......But NOOOOOO!

    ................................You had to hand it back!

    ...............................NOW I'M ANGRY!


  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by c_wester View Post
    May I take a stab at this.

    My experience is that its mostly the wood you hear.
    Those guitars I have or have had that sounded really good kinda did not care that much about the pickups.
    Sure they shaded the sound in different ways.

    But they din not add magic or take it away.

    I would search for a guitar that sounds good real good instead of trying to make one you may not like the sound of work with new pickups.
    While pickups won't change the primary tone, (paf's on an epi won't make it sound like a Burst), they certainly can have a profound effect on secondary tone. Do you only use stock pickups? I've been happy enough with some but on others the sonic results of upgraded pickups made a noticeable difference for the better. Too noticeable to shrug off as mere shading the tone a little bit. The right pickups can push a good guitar into a great guitar for some by supplying missing tones or reducing objectionable tones or both. I find feel can change as compression, attack and bloom change.
    The older I get, the better I was.

  6. #6

    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    What did you hear from the p/up that defined the PAF tone to you? Hollow, bright, clear, crisp grit? With so many flavors of them it's kind of hard to nail them down. I ran SD Pearly Gates for sixteen years, then I finally was able to play a '60. My PG's weren't that close. The neck was ok and i liked how it sounded in that guitar, but the bridge wasn't even close in my guitar and just sounded bad in comparison.

    Check out as many as you can in person but youtube will be better for listening to them. Some guys like Doug & Pat do an apples to apples comparison with real PAF's with not much noise in the signal chain, and i was surprised at how different the takes were, and that i didn't think the most accurately constructed ones were my ears favorites for the tone I heard from 1 set of PAF's I played. Most players in person they don't really like a real sounding PAF in modern setups. They want more this or that from the p/up and in short order it's not a PAF anymore.

  7. #7
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverFabFour View Post
    So I recently had the great fortune of playing an original 59 burst with PAFs. After it was forcefully removed from my hands I decided that I needed a pair of PAF's in my life. Unfortunately original PAF's are way out of my budget so I would love to know what pickups you all would recommend? I am looking for whatever is closest to the sound of a PAF. I would preferably like to pay no more than $200 per pickup but am open to all suggestions. So let's see what ya got!?!
    It's a pity you didn't have a meter with you to measure the DC resistance of both humbuckers. All ya gotta fo is measure the resistance on the cord plug.

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member Mars Hall's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    I recently had a similar experience. In my case, I witnessed the "before and after" affects of installing "real" PAF's in a 69 GT. The GT is a Deluxe with one piece body and neck that had been routed for Pat# T-tops. The difference was quite remarkable and magical even. The swap produced a clarity and woody-ness that was so pleasing it caused me to go off the deep end and by a set of my own. I'm by no means a humbucker expert. In my limited experience, I've played different PAF variants that include, Throbak, Seymour Duncan, Dimarzio and several of Gibson's own attempt to recapture that glory. In my limited opimion, nothing quite gives the same clarity as the originals. The closest would be the DT-102's wound with NOS wire by Throbak. If you are willing to go $400 for a set, the extra "stretch" for Throbaks will be well worth the effort.
    "What's that man movin' cross the stage?
    It looks a lot like the one used by Jimmy Page..." Paul McCartney

  9. #9

    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zentar View Post
    It's a pity you didn't have a meter with you to measure the DC resistance of both humbuckers. All ya gotta fo is measure the resistance on the cord plug.
    Are the meters very expensive? I will be back at my friends collection next month and might invest in one in the off chance he'll bring the burst out again. I think you're right, measuring them would be a great idea!

  10. #10

    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    I bet most burst owners will be able to just tell you what they read.

    A meter is a few bucks, they should be a part of anyone's kit that is planning on swapping p/ups.

    Spending a bunch on brand x is ok if you have plenty of time and money, your ear is what to trust though. I spent $100 a have a humbucker that sounds so close to a real PAF in my Classic that it would be hard to match closer. I might be able to get closer, i might also spend more and be a flavor that's not as close or I don't like as much. I'd keep an eye out in the classifieds for stuff at not top dollar once you have some narrowed down to a few you want to listen to in your individual guitar.

    Please read this as a sort of primer on PAF's, the real ones come in a bunch of flavors just due to random nature of the winds and magnets, magnets strength of field, etc....

    https://www.seymourduncan.com/blog/t...ith-seth-lover

  11. #11

    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Thank you to everyone who has replied so far! I feel like it might help if I tell you what Les Paul I am going to put the "PAF" clones in. It is a 1958 custom shop reissue. Currently it is 100% stock. The guitar is a fantastic instrument all around and honestly the factory pickups sound very nice... they just aren't PAFs by any means (no surprise there lol). I like the idea of the ThroBak pickups however they are a little out of my price range at the moment. Does anyone have a pair of ThroBaks? Are they worth the money? I might save up for those if I can't find anything similar, or I'll look for a used pair.

    Also, to clarify what I am looking for in terms of sound... definitely something on the brighter and hotter side. I really loved the cleans on the original PAFs I played. No other LP I've played has sounded like that clean. Dare I say it almost had the pop and bell like tone of a strat when fingerpicking and playing gently. That probably has to do with how well the wood resonates and the age, as well as the pickups. On the contrary, as soon as you put some gain on it... my god it was angry. After playing that guitar I'm starting to understand why the cost as much as they do.

  12. #12

    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundermtn View Post
    I bet most burst owners will be able to just tell you what they read.

    A meter is a few bucks, they should be a part of anyone's kit that is planning on swapping p/ups.

    Spending a bunch on brand x is ok if you have plenty of time and money, your ear is what to trust though. I spent $100 a have a humbucker that sounds so close to a real PAF in my Classic that it would be hard to match closer. I might be able to get closer, i might also spend more and be a flavor that's not as close or I don't like as much. I'd keep an eye out in the classifieds for stuff at not top dollar once you have some narrowed down to a few you want to listen to in your individual guitar.

    Please read this as a sort of primer on PAF's, the real ones come in a bunch of flavors just due to random nature of the winds and magnets, magnets strength of field, etc....

    https://www.seymourduncan.com/blog/t...ith-seth-lover
    Thanks for the info! I just ordered a meter off of amazon and am excited to put it to use. As you mentioned I really like this idea because I think it will help me get the right pick ups to begin with instead of going through a bunch of options and wasting time and money until I find what I like.

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverFabFour View Post
    Thanks for the info! I just ordered a meter off of amazon and am excited to put it to use. As you mentioned I really like this idea because I think it will help me get the right pick ups to begin with instead of going through a bunch of options and wasting time and money until I find what I like.
    Andy Brauer, guitar tech for too many guitar greats to name, has recently become enamored with Wizz Pickups... and for good reason, they are simply the best PAF clones I have had the pleasure to play and I recommend them wholeheartedly.

    Here's a shot (and quote) of Al Di Meola enjoying his new Wizzes:


    “When I tried Wizz pickups, it made me want to play electric guitar again” - Al Di Meola
    Tone To The Bone!
    LP=[(CC*8)+(Sig*5)+(R9*2)+R8+R7+R6+(R4*2)+(50sT*2)+Stu D+LPX]+[(EpI*19)+(EsP/Ed*6)+(ToKi*3)+(Ba*3)+(Fe/Bu*2)+(ObG)+(CMS)]

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member renderit's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverFabFour View Post
    Thank you to everyone who has replied so far! I feel like it might help if I tell you what Les Paul I am going to put the "PAF" clones in. It is a 1958 custom shop reissue. Currently it is 100% stock. The guitar is a fantastic instrument all around and honestly the factory pickups sound very nice... they just aren't PAFs by any means (no surprise there lol). I like the idea of the ThroBak pickups however they are a little out of my price range at the moment. Does anyone have a pair of ThroBaks? Are they worth the money? I might save up for those if I can't find anything similar, or I'll look for a used pair.

    Also, to clarify what I am looking for in terms of sound... definitely something on the brighter and hotter side. I really loved the cleans on the original PAFs I played. No other LP I've played has sounded like that clean. Dare I say it almost had the pop and bell like tone of a strat when fingerpicking and playing gently. That probably has to do with how well the wood resonates and the age, as well as the pickups. On the contrary, as soon as you put some gain on it... my god it was angry. After playing that guitar I'm starting to understand why the cost as much as they do.
    I have many sets of Thrōbaks and many sets of Wizz's. They are both outstanding. And yes, they are BOTH worth the money. Jon at Thrōbak makes it very easy on you. You can give him a call and tell him the details and he will hook you up with a good choice for your guitar. The guy from Wizz is the same but you can talk to him on Facebook or emails.

    You are not going wrong with either, and there are about 400 other choices as well. I think those two usually come out on the top of the recommendations though. A close second is OX4. For less expensive there is Seymor Duncan.


  15. #15

    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    How do these PAF clones compare to the stock pickups on Gibson Historics?

  16. #16
    Les Paul Forum Member RevPearly's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Hi Guys, I've been away for awhile but just noticed one of my most passionate subjects: PAF tone. One word of advice I would like to mention is that whatever pickup you put into a guitar, there is a "sweet spot" for that pickup and guitar (and string combination) that can change the tone. If you take a guitar with "muddy" sounding pickups it might be that simple adjustments in the pickup height relative to the strings can open up a whole spectrum of tones and overtones that are missing due to the amount of pull of the magnets on the strings and how long the strings vibrate and transition to "bloom". This is not to say that every pickup can be made to sound exactly what we want to hear but that vast improvements can be made just by adjusting what you already have. A couple of guys on this forum are skilled in finding the "sweet spots" and below is a link to a well written "how to" that everyone should try. I have a couple of Les Pauls that the magic work has been done on and I refuse to budge the adjustments because they just sound so good. Check the link out below and thanks to "Roadrunner" for making the process make sense.


    Adjusting Pickups: The "Sweet Spot" with Soundclips
    "can you make it just a little bit louder so I can't hear the ringing in my ears?".......

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    I don't care what meter you use, it tells you nothing about tone, only resistance which is not an output measurement or an indication of tone. What is the tone of a 7.65K pickup? You could have a dozen with the same resistance reading and have 12 different sounding pickups with variable outputs.

    TALK TO JON AT THROBAK!
    The older I get, the better I was.

  18. #18

    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    I've got PAFs in my 1995 R9. I really liked the original '57 Classics that it came with but, you know, PAFs... I've found that the PAFs are quirkier and more dynamic.

    I'm with Big Al. While the wood is important, swapping out the pickups can have a profound impact on your sound. I dropped some Seymore Duncans (Jazz=neck; JB=bridge) into a 1986 LP and the tone instantly became amazing.

    To add my two cents Big Al's thoughts, also consider the wiring and the pots. I've rewired my 1995 R9 to "50s" wiring with wax-n-paper (bumblebees made by Luxe) and found that it has expanded the sonic range of the sound; it's brighter and lows are lower. I intentionally kept the original linear taper pots because I like them.

    If the PAFs you experienced in the 1959 Les Paul are original to the guitar, then it is likely (but anything is possible) that they have an ohm reading of 7.9 - 8.4 (+/-). Earlier PAFs tend to be a bit "cooler" and PAFs from 1961/62 and the PAT# tend to be "coolest" with readings consistently around 7.5. Speaking very broadly, the hotter PAFs can be compressed and less sparkly than the cooler PAFs. (Generalizations are always misleading. )

  19. #19
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    THE closest there is http://www.sdpickups.com/
    cheap they are not !

    but your not gonna get anywhere near the sound of that 59 you played on a budget , sorry mate but your just not .

  20. #20
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    I don't care what meter you use, it tells you nothing about tone, only resistance which is not an output measurement or an indication of tone. What is the tone of a 7.65K pickup? You could have a dozen with the same resistance reading and have 12 different sounding pickups with variable outputs.

    TALK TO JON AT THROBAK!
    You should not keep saying that. Pafs all have low DCR. Go measure the DCR of any throbak or Seymour Duncan paf. Go measure any 50s Gibson paf. You will find they have low DCR. Not 99 out of a hundred but a hundred out of a hundred will have low DCR.
    Nobody is going to buy a paf that measures 10ko.

  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zentar View Post
    You should not keep saying that. Pafs all have low DCR. Go measure the DCR of any throbak or Seymour Duncan paf. Go measure any 50s Gibson paf. You will find they have low DCR. Not 99 out of a hundred but a hundred out of a hundred will have low DCR.
    Nobody is going to buy a paf that measures 10ko.
    You obviously know absolutely nothing about PAFs...
    Tone To The Bone!
    LP=[(CC*8)+(Sig*5)+(R9*2)+R8+R7+R6+(R4*2)+(50sT*2)+Stu D+LPX]+[(EpI*19)+(EsP/Ed*6)+(ToKi*3)+(Ba*3)+(Fe/Bu*2)+(ObG)+(CMS)]

  22. #22
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Your OCD is showing.

  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zentar View Post
    You should not keep saying that. Pafs all have low DCR. Go measure the DCR of any throbak or Seymour Duncan paf. Go measure any 50s Gibson paf. You will find they have low DCR. Not 99 out of a hundred but a hundred out of a hundred will have low DCR.
    Nobody is going to buy a paf that measures 10ko.
    And still, after countless false, misleading and made up factoids you have spewed out as true have been proven figments of your misunderstanding, .... you do it again.

    If you could comprehend what you read, (which may be why you are so often wrong), you'd know I stated two main facts. Resistence readings are measured on inactive pickups. That is one not engaged by a vibrating string, an inert object that is producing nothing, has no current or voltage output. All you are doing is measuring the resistance, which is not a function of output.

    Pickups don't put out ohms. Frequency is not measured by ohms load resistance readings of inactive dynamc circuitry. Hertz to be wrong so often, but it is a self inflicted pain. So resistance is not an output measurement of power or tone.

    I never gave a range of readings. I stated that you could have 12 pickups with the same resistance measurement and have 12 different sounding pickups with variable apparent power. WTF! does a 10k reading come from? Who has a 10k paf?

    I owned a great pair of 1957 paf's that barely made 7k ohms. I've had 9k+ ones too. Fact is paf's have a much wider range of measurement than any modern makers single model. Just fixin upon the resistant reading as a way to predict tone and output alone is a fools conceit, like acting like you know something or have any real experience when you don't.

    Over and over and over again.
    The older I get, the better I was.

  24. #24
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    DCR is one of the most important specs of a paf. Big Al you could get a job at CNN. They'd love you.

  25. #25
    Les Paul Forum Member Triburst's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Very interesting stuff in posts above!

    To add my 2 cents: Almost all the top pickup winders acknowledge there isn't one magic formula for PAF's. So nearly all sell different "flavors" of PAF's (some, so many that it gets confusing).

    It's already been suggested that you contact your favorite winder and tell them what you're looking for - the tone you're chasing (and possibly what your guitar sounds like right now, plugged and unplugged). In my opinion, that's the best advice you can get.

  26. #26
    Les Paul Forum Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zentar View Post
    DCR is one of the most important specs of a paf. Big Al you could get a job at CNN. They'd love you.
    Could you explain. DCR by itself is a static measurement. Every major paf replica/clone builder offers variations that fall within the same DCR measurement yet offer distinctly different tone and voice. Gibson offers 57 Classics, Burstbucker and Classicbuckers all credible paf alternatives, all distinctly different sounding and all with some overlapping DCR spec.

    You cannot measure the DCR of a 1950's paf and then use that as a benchmark to find a duplicate sounding pickup. Say it was 8k. You could assemble a sizeable collection of paf alternates with 8k DCR readings and all would sound different and none might match the original.

    You ignore magnet gauss, composition, size and surface, wire and the variety of winding patterns/coil shape, coil offsets, (you can have two matched 4k coils, and a staggering combination of offset coil options like underwound or overwound slug or screw coils like a 3k screw coil with a 5k slug coil for example, with a total 8k DCR), baseplate and cover and as has been proven, baseplate coil attachment screws!

    You make these claims and never qualify them when pressed. To get close to what the op wants, a decent paf alternative under $200, DCR won't help.
    The older I get, the better I was.

  27. #27
    Les Paul Forum Member deytookerjaabs's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Hey, where's the guy who pimps those magic $600+ brand that "smokes all the rest" yet you can't find a single bit of real information about the pickups?

  28. #28

    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneflowers View Post
    Andy Brauer, guitar tech for too many guitar greats to name, has recently become enamored with Wizz Pickups... and for good reason, they are simply the best PAF clones I have had the pleasure to play and I recommend them wholeheartedly.

    Here's a shot (and quote) of Al Di Meola enjoying his new Wizzes:


    “When I tried Wizz pickups, it made me want to play electric guitar again” - Al Di Meola
    After taking a look at Wizz pickups I have definitely put them on my list of contenders! People seem to be pretty unanimous about how good they are and how close they sound to PAFs. I have found a few sets on reverb that are in my budget, so that's a plus!

  29. #29

    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    After reading some more info on other forms/websites and also hearing what some of you have said, I think I am going to go for a set of pickups which closely matches the readings of the 59 I played. I completely agree with Big Al and others that a proper set up and also the specific characteristics of each guitar (including weight and construction) are important factors to the guitars sound However, I don't think purchasing pickups with a similar reading would be a bad thing... do you?

  30. #30

    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Wow.

  31. #31
    Les Paul Forum Member PixelBurst's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    For tone and accuracy I like Wizz and Throbak. Seymour Duncan Antiquities, Wolfetone Dr Vintage and Legends are great lower priced PAFs.

  32. #32
    Les Paul Forum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverFabFour View Post
    After taking a look at Wizz pickups I have definitely put them on my list of contenders! People seem to be pretty unanimous about how good they are and how close they sound to PAFs. I have found a few sets on reverb that are in my budget, so that's a plus!
    Tom Bartlett has recently jumped on the Wizz bandwagon as well... so you're in good company!
    Tone To The Bone!
    LP=[(CC*8)+(Sig*5)+(R9*2)+R8+R7+R6+(R4*2)+(50sT*2)+Stu D+LPX]+[(EpI*19)+(EsP/Ed*6)+(ToKi*3)+(Ba*3)+(Fe/Bu*2)+(ObG)+(CMS)]

  33. #33
    Les Paul Forum Member Capt Brad's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zentar View Post
    DCR is one of the most important specs of a paf. Big Al you could get a job at CNN. They'd love you.
    I have pick ups that don't read any resistance and one has tone that is unmatched!

  34. #34
    Les Paul Forum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    Could you explain. DCR by itself is a static measurement. Every major paf replica/clone builder offers variations that fall within the same DCR measurement yet offer distinctly different tone and voice. Gibson offers 57 Classics, Burstbucker and Classicbuckers all credible paf alternatives, all distinctly different sounding and all with some overlapping DCR spec.

    You cannot measure the DCR of a 1950's paf and then use that as a benchmark to find a duplicate sounding pickup. Say it was 8k. You could assemble a sizeable collection of paf alternates with 8k DCR readings and all would sound different and none might match the original.

    You ignore magnet gauss, composition, size and surface, wire and the variety of winding patterns/coil shape, coil offsets, (you can have two matched 4k coils, and a staggering combination of offset coil options like underwound or overwound slug or screw coils like a 3k screw coil with a 5k slug coil for example, with a total 8k DCR), baseplate and cover and as has been proven, baseplate coil attachment screws!

    You make these claims and never qualify them when pressed. To get close to what the op wants, a decent paf alternative under $200, DCR won't help.
    OK, I'll bite. For me, the DC reading is the #1 most important spec there is. But I'm in a different boat than most... allow me to explain.

    With very few exceptions I pretty much only acquire Wizz pickups nowadays. They ring truest to original PAFs to my ear (especially those made with vintage wire and/or vintage mags). For the 20+ sets of Wizzes I have, the wind pattern is perfect to my ear and that pattern remains consistent every time Alex winds a set of pickups. This is the exact same wind pattern BK used in his OTPG pups which to my ear were the absolute best. The wire, spacers, baseplates, magnets, polepieces, etc. are all exactly the same (or as close as humanly possible) in every Wizz set as well, so the only thing changing is the DC (mags change, but those can easily be swapped out). In seeking to clone the pups on my favorite bursts the only variable Alex has to worry about when winding is the DC. The Jimmy Page Set has an 8.9 in the neck while the Duane Allman Layla Set has a 6.9 in the neck. All else being equal, and acknowledging that 99% of those original tones were in the fingers, if I want to get my Skydog on, the 6.9 running through my Allman rig gets me much closer than the 8.9 running through the same rig. The Beano set, with a 7.8 is closer to the 'standard' and when played side by side these three neck pups are unique and each have different capabilities... all based primarily on that DC reading.

    Psychological and subjective? Perhaps, but isn't everything?
    Tone To The Bone!
    LP=[(CC*8)+(Sig*5)+(R9*2)+R8+R7+R6+(R4*2)+(50sT*2)+Stu D+LPX]+[(EpI*19)+(EsP/Ed*6)+(ToKi*3)+(Ba*3)+(Fe/Bu*2)+(ObG)+(CMS)]

  35. #35

    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneflowers View Post
    For the 20+ sets of Wizzes I have, the wind pattern is perfect to my ear and that pattern remains consistent every time Alex winds a set of pickups. This is the exact same wind pattern BK used in his OTPG pups which to my ear were the absolute best.
    Bharat (BK/OTPG) makes great pickups but they are completely unique to him as he hand guides the wire. Nobody but him can lay claim to what he does. Much respect for Bharat from me. He has been very helpful to me over the years and he has even given me advice on violin making as he is an expert violin maker. I just make violins as a hobby, but Bharat is the Pros Pro when it comes to pickups, guitar, violins...

  36. #36
    Les Paul Forum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by jwalker View Post
    Bharat (BK/OTPG) makes great pickups but they are completely unique to him as he hand guides the wire. Nobody but him can lay claim to what he does. Much respect for Bharat from me. He has been very helpful to me over the years and he has even given me advice on violin making as he is an expert violin maker. I just make violins as a hobby, but Bharat is the Pros Pro when it comes to pickups, guitar, violins...

    Surprisingly, I have to agree 100%... it's too bad his pickup winding days are behind him...

    ... or are they???
    Tone To The Bone!
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  37. #37
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    My favorite set of PAF repro's is a pair of Jim Rolph '59 Pretenders. Jim nails the vintager PAF hum bucking pickup. His pickups are not wax-potted. Jim is a little guarded about the specifications and materials for his pickups, but I believe the materials are all sourced in the USA.

    And the /59 Pretenders were less than $200 per pickup when I bought them several years ago.
    "Scan not a friend under a microscopic glass; you know his faults so let his foibles pass".

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  38. #38

    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverFabFour View Post
    After reading some more info on other forms/websites and also hearing what some of you have said, I think I am going to go for a set of pickups which closely matches the readings of the 59 I played. I completely agree with Big Al and others that a proper set up and also the specific characteristics of each guitar (including weight and construction) are important factors to the guitars sound However, I don't think purchasing pickups with a similar reading would be a bad thing... do you?
    This seems as good a place to start as any place! Let us know what the readings are from the guitar you played and what you get to put in your own guitar.

    Be warned, thus begins a journey of 10,000 pickups, different wiring schemes, pots, knobs, amps, caps, pedals, strings, cords, more amps, different speakers, a guitar show, new tubes, pick thickness, another guitar or two...and a multitude of posts here discussing the finer points (pointlessly) of all of it! What fun!

  39. #39
    Les Paul Forum Member Billy Porter's Avatar
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    SD Seth Lovers are PAF clones using the same non-waxed wire and wound on the original Gibson winders - check their website.

    I've a pair in my semi and they sound great especially at gigging volumes. Great clarity for messing around with jazz as well


    I believe there's a lot of other factors (woods / fretting / pots/ amp/ the room) that affect the overall tone. The resistance of the pickup is a guide to output, not tone but Big Al knows more about this than I'll ever learn


    It's your money to spend on what you want but there is also diminishing returns against money spent.
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    Re: PAF Alternatives?

    my 2 cents piece of advice:
    First try to find the sweet spot on your current pick-up. In some case it might work and save you 400 bucks.

    If you don't find the tone you're after, consider replacement pick-ups but be aware that every builder gives you his version based on what they've got in their hands (or not).
    They is not one PAF version there are many because first of, production in the 50's was not as standardized as today, second, all of them are 60 years old pick-ups now and not all of them have had the same treatment during their life. And it counts a lot I think. Magnet might be slightly degaussed, sweat has probably leaked under the cover by capillarity and oxidized metal parts, PU and PU's pole height might have been twicked as well...
    Not to mention the acoustic characteristic of the guitar they are mounted in, independently from the pick-up measurable characteristics...

    Each version will have different output, frequency spectrum, some will have more bloom or sound more compressed etc... and yet they have to be set-up properly. What you ear in demos of course depends on the amp, the guitar and how it is set-up.

    Important conclusion: a set that sounds awesome in a given guitar my be disappointing in your guitar...

    Considering your budget, I think you cannot go out and by every set from the market and test them so...

    However, you'll find some good comparison using same guitar and same amp, with same settings. That's a good start. Trust your ears and make sure the marketing messages don't cloud your judgement! (that is from an expert in marketing )

    May the tone be with you!

    Phil

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