Boutique PAF Clones...Worth it? Comparisons?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by shred for sale, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. Lewguitar

    Lewguitar Member

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    My impression from reading the interview with Tom Holmes in Tonequest is that even before working for Gibson, Tom contacted Thomas & Skinner, Gibson's magnet supplier in the 1950's, and was told that Alnico 4 was the magnet most used by Gibson in 1959. Tom was shown invoices that showed Alnico 4 as the pickup Gibson ordered from them in 1959.

    There's very little mention of Alnico 2 in that interview.

    Here's the interview: http://www.tonequest.com/files/TQRJan09_proof.pdf
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
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  2. Darkburst

    Darkburst Member

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    I'm glad you found pickups that work for you. But we all have different tastes and desires in a pickup. I know guys have spent big bucks on real PAFs. I wouldn't spend that much on pickups, but who am I to say they're not worth it or a rip off? If that's what works for you cool, if you're happy with stock pickups or Duncan's or DiMarzio's... awesome! I just don't feel the need to tell someone else what's worth it for their guitar.

    I was looking for awesome PAF clones for my two R9's. They needed to sound and look like real PAFs. I've tried many that were really good, but the Wizz PAFs are my favorite. Yes, I've even compared them in person to other guitars with real PAFs and Patent Number pickups. They've got all the characteristics of a great set of PAFs. They're expensive because they're not pumped out in a factory with stock parts. They're made with a lot of custom hardware and hand assembly. I'm willing to pay for that... you're not, which is also cool because it's YOUR MONEY. So don't worry about what other people are paying for gear. It's no skin off your back.

    No piece of gear will make your playing any better. That's just an obvious statement that has zero relevance in this conversation.

     
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  3. cugel

    cugel Supporting Member

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    who ever said pickups would make you play better?
    36ths are potted alnico 5s which is just one variation on the PAF theme. what someone wants to spend is not my concern. why on earth would it bother you that much?
     
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  4. JPF

    JPF Member

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    Even real vintage PAFs don't sound like PAFs. They varied tremendously from one to another. Add to that that the original magnets have been degaussed over time in function of a multiple of variables, and you realize that there's really no such animal as a "PAF" - just a multitude of variations on a broad theme. Buy what your ears tells you is "that" sound and be done with it, and enjoy your sound. The rest is elusive and impossible to pin down.
     
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  5. Darkburst

    Darkburst Member

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    Exactly. PAF tone is a range of sounds. The trick is finding the pickups that deliver the particular flavor you wanna hear.
     
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  6. 71strat

    71strat Member

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    Tom had a 59 magnet analyzed as far back as 71, and it was A4. +1

    From what I understand after having magnets analyzed in the early 70s, and using A4 for his 1st bunch of pups, and yep. He also got to see the Alnico IV order sheets from Gibson to T&S,
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
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  7. electricity17

    electricity17 Member

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    I've had good luck with Sheptone PAF's. I've the AB Customs in a Les Paul Studio, the Tributes in a G0, and his T-top set in an ES-333. They all sound excellent, and they're hand-wound with a lot of attention to period correct detail. $200 for a set.

    I haven't compared them with a lot of other options, but they're better than the '57 Classics that I have in another guitar (and I think those are still good pickups). Plenty of good choices out there.
     
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  8. sws1

    sws1 Member

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    Maybe if all you play is classic hard rock, then $500 is a rip off. But if you play cleaner, play blues, play through a fender amp, play with some touch sensitivity...then $500 is not a rip off if it gives you what you want that you can't find in Duncans.
     
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  9. 71strat

    71strat Member

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    I myself thought the $1160 I payed for the 2 sets of Holmes was a Bargain. YMMV. But mine don't, and I'm more than happy with them, and would buy
    them again. Honeymoon is over now. Ive had them 2 years, and the more I play them, the better they sound.

    So how is that a Rip Off ?? IM HAPPY !!!!

    Throbak/Holmes, both have a huge amount of time and investment in Materials, as buying large amounts of specialized parts ( Magnets made in USA ) at 1 time isn't cheap.

    + Holmes does ALL Tool/Dye/Electroplates, Makes his own Bobbins/Baseplates, hand polishes everything, among other things, and is a 1 man operate.


    About the only thing Holmes doesn't do is pour his own magnets.
     
  10. Lewguitar

    Lewguitar Member

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    I agree. Although if you're willing to take the time to experiment with different magnets in your PAF style pickups you'll be amazed at the difference A2, A4, polished A5, rough A5, Unoriented A5 will have on your sound.

    IMO, those who don't think it's worth the effort may be playing with so much gain and distortion that such subtleties are completely masked to them.

    So for those guys: "You're right. You can't hear it."

    You also can't hear the tone qualities of different body, neck and fingerboard woods because such subtleties are being masked by all the gain/overdrive/distortion you're playing with.

    Not all of us play that way though and we do notice such subtleties...as do many players who play with a lot gain. ;)
     
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  11. macmax77

    macmax77 Supporting Member

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    Both of you are dead wrong.
    The best pickup for you is not the expensive, neither the cheap one. It is the one that makes you feel good, at home.
     
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  12. Sigmund Floyd

    Sigmund Floyd Supporting Member

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    That's funny... on another site they compared a bunch of these and Electric City RD-59's won the day, I don't think they're even mentioned in this thread. HA.
    There's just so many variables, guitar (wood, strings, age, wiring, set-up...), amp..... that's it seems tough to say. I've had Antquities and I should've taken them out of the guitar before selling, they're good. The guitar I have now came with low wind Lollar Imperials, interesting, sound good but for some reason maybe not my preference. BUT- how they sound with my AC30 cranked is one thing, very nice, how they sound just practicing around, just fine. It's all good.
     
  13. Darkburst

    Darkburst Member

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    I'm not dead wrong, because my opinion is the same as yours. Whatever works for you. But don't try and tell me that my choice is wrong for me, or that I was "ripped off" or my choice is "snake oil". There are a lot of great choices at all price points right now. No need to slam other peoples preferences.
     
  14. macmax77

    macmax77 Supporting Member

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    i am not picking, nor willing to pick up a fight.
    I prefer to have friends here who i can help or can help me out.

    You might be 100% right by my statement, or opinion because in the end i meant:

    The best pickup for any guitar player is the one that makes him feel at home!
     
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  15. nl128

    nl128 Silver Supporting Member

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    I have two guitars with high end PAF style pickups that I really thought I couldn't have been any happier with. Recently I pick up another Les Paul that the previous owner installed a set of Wizz's in it. The Wizz pickups really blew me away. I'm pleasantly surprises how great they sound.

    I happy I stumbled on to them.
     
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  16. doc

    doc Supporting Member

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    Hey dude, what were you doing in my listening room?
     
  17. Pointy Headstock

    Pointy Headstock Member

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    I've owned both 36th Anniversaries and $550 a pair Throbaks- just like Big Macs and Kobe Beef burgers, there's a time and a place for both and a steady diet of either will likely lead to discomfort.

    The Throbaks have two distinct advantages for me:

    * They're shipped as hand selected matched sets- my set was both matched to spec (multi metered) as well as installed in a test guitar prior to shipment to verify with human ears that the pickups were well matched as a pair. Lindy Fralin used to (still does?) do the same for every pair he shipped. The 57 Classic set that the Throbaks replaced had a horribly weak bridge so the value of a well calibrated set was/is significant for me.

    * When recorded "straight to amp or Logic", the pickups have just the right amount of clarity, compression, and interaction with the volume and tone pots to sound as if they've already been mastered. While I payed big upfront for the pickups, I no longer need to use several pedals to create my "base tone" (compressor, boost, EQ). I also spend a significantly less amount of time tweaking around with amp settings and post processing.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2016
  18. Mpcoluv

    Mpcoluv Supporting Member

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    There are plenty of great pickups out there that don't cost a fortune. I'm not going to bash the $500 sets but you can get there for much less.
    Decide what tone you are chasing and go from there. Make sure you have the amp that will get you those tones too....pickups will only get you so far.
     
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  19. JLee

    JLee Supporting Member

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    I own Manlius, Rewind Electric and Wizz. I've owned Antiquities, Fralin, Shed, High Order and a few others. Couldn't be happier with my current sets and don't plan on replacing any of these sets. After years of trying to sound like my heroes, I've discovered what I like to hear in a pickup and these sets all satisfy that. None of these sets cost me near $500.
     

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