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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 pickups:
#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.