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An early attempt to dupe the PAF. It doesn't, BUT it has a real cool tone that I like, power and clarity with a nice bump in the upper mids for a little more growl, and they came in Black, Zebra and Creme. i don't know what they sell for, BrianGWN has bought some recently.
Great 'Double White' North ~ Electronics Specialis
Jul 15, 2001
Hey there Big Al, what are you looking at me for? :lolspin Okay, alright, I did get one or two of those... I've been digging the older style zebra or "reverse zebra" look.
To add to what Al said, I understand those pickups were introduced in the 1980 Gibson LP Heritage 80 series of guitars. They continued to be used in some other model of guitars through to the mid 80s, probably the higher end guitars, LP Customs.
As to the going rate, you can sometimes stumble across a good deal for them on ebay as many people won't know what they are just from sight. There were other models of humbucking pickups in the earlier 80s so it is not obvious at a glance whether something is a Shaw. They may go for as little as $30 if offered as just normal '80s pickups, but if someone mentions if was off of a Heritage 80 guitar or specifically indicates it is a "Shaw" then you are likely looking at $40 or more, zebras typically a little more.
I've heard mention of these pickups here on the Forum, but how can they be identified? Are they the ones that had the "Patent Applied For" sticker on the pickup ring (that usually falls off)? My '85 Custom Shop dot neck 335 has those, and it's an awesome sounding guitar. Thanks - Tom
I know what you mean about the ID of early 80's Gibson pu's..According to the Big AL, there is a code ID'ing it's a Shaw nk or br..pu. this is in addition to the patent #..In my case I just received a pair of Shaw's from a seller, if I remember correctly, the nk checked out with Big AL's(thanks) description, but the bridge did not have that second code, just the corresponding pat# and date stamp..july 80' with believe it or not a conspicuous paf sticker (silver), go figure..what is this second pu..both are a definite improvement over the pearly gates/59 combo I pulled out..Stranger, is in my Leo(kalamazoo), with so-called Shaw pafs, they both have, the pat # plus a blk paf sticker, but no 3rd code, judging this guitar I'd say these are orig..Has any one else seen discrepincies on Shaw Paf bottoms...Mike..Big Al... is the difference down to nashville vs kalamazoo..
They were all made in the same place. They all had a seperate inked in number on the base plate in addition to the stamped patent number.
The first three digits will tell you the type. 137 is a neck pickup with less windings and 138 is a bridge pickup with more windings. There is a date code after the fist three digits. 1381280 would be a bridge Shaw made in December 1980. Not all of them had the silver PAF sticker.
They had PAF coilforms with the square/round inspection holes and no T on top. The wire is a bright copper color. The magnet was a special Alnico V that was longer like the 50's style and rough cast. This is a special magnet and the closest to a vintage PAF in tone to my ears. They had white plastic spacers and braided connecting wire.
They typicaly read under 8Kohms and seem to average out in the middle 7's. They sound very big and powerful in spite of the low readings.
I just put one back in the neck of my heritage elite. It replaced a 59er and more recently a seth. The Shaw is brighter with a nice growl on the wound strings. I find it a bit too bright in the bridge.
Also have them in my Modern (neck & bridge) and they sound quite different. Not as bright and a bit fuller. A cool choice in that guitar.
Big Al, my hat's off to ya. Great info on these p/u's.:dude
Tim Shaw who designed these pickups under Norlin restraints did a remarkable job IMO. They really are a neat sounding alternative to most humbuckers. the Magnet , as was explained to me was "Unoriented AlnicoV" I do not know what that means other than it isn't a regular AlnicoV. It seems that AlnicoV has higher gauss mesurments or something to that effect than any other type of pickup magnet, and Tim said that by deleteing a final step that puts a full charge or orientation on the magnet, the tone was closest to what he was after. It was a long time ago, but that is how I remember it. I really don't understand all the fine points of Magnetism so I could have some terms mixed up. Basicly it is a real cool sounding, Big Al approved magnet. This is what I put in my Antiquities.
Hey Big Al quite some time back you had looked at a pickup I have in the bridge of my LP and said you thought it was a Shaw... but it doesn't meet some of the specs you mentioned above (inked stamp, square hole). I know it came from the Custom Shop in the early '80s, I do not believe it is a t-top... the top is clean of any markings whatsoever. If you have a sec, have a look and let me know what you think. topside - bottom side
The top shot is dead on Shaw.
It has the PAF coilform with the round/square inspection holes at the end and no T top. If you know that pickup for sure was pre 83, it is a Shaw with a missing/rubbed stamp.
Bottom shot shows no Shaw ID date ink stamp.
Could be two things. 1 a Shaw that had the stamp rubbed off, easy to do, or 2 a post 83 non inked stamped "Patent Applied For", which for all intents and purposes is a Shaw without the stamp. These mostly had the little silver PAF sticker on the rings which usualy were removed. Sometime around 83/84 all Les Paul Standards and Customs were upgraded to Shaw's PAF's which were identified as "PATENT APPLIED FOR MODELS," it marked the end of the T top.
Soon a new varient was issued. The 1959 Reissue Pickup which is like a Shaw without the ink #. I do not know when the Magnet was changed from Tims spec. Nor am I sure when they discontinued the white plastic spacers. I know that sometime after 90 I started seeing them with a dark wire in the coils.
If they measure less than 8k and have the long Magnet they are Shaws.
Thank you BA, I do not know the exact date on these but I was told pre-'85 so it sounds like you narrowed it down. As always you are a wealth of information, it's great to have you back on the forum! :dude
shaws came in spotlight specials and the artist models (both lp and 335)-while you probably wont find a spotlight being cannabalized, you may find an artist as the rd electronics are often replaced-just a thought as to where to look-i agree there something to all of the stuff which can be appreciated-the shaw pups are one of my favs-very beefy and round and alive
Hey Big AL, after pulling up my pu's and taking a look, my nk ink stamp is #137 481, which I guess makes it April 81', the bridge which possibly is a rubbed out Shaw, has a straight up (July 80'), stamp and the Paf (silvr) sort of long profile lettering sticker stuck to the bottom, which I take from your post originally was on top, but I also take from your post that the Paf sticker would only apply to post 83'. The sound on the nk is hairy and driven, almost narly, Ive got it pretty low, the br is almost as big sounding a little less sweet with a bit of a mid bump, also low. In comparison to the Leo's shaw (blk paf) sticker pu's, considering leo's low frets vs her 80' larger frets, the nk matches up but the leo br is darker tighter dare I say more Paf sounding...I was told the Shaws were typically White, any idea what they sound like with covers off and has any one seen these blk sticker Pafs before..Mr Shaw did a good job..