Old Gibson PAF pickups

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Sweadtone, Sep 17, 2005.


  1. Sweadtone

    Sweadtone Guest

    Hi there. i am an guitarplayer here in Sweden. My problem: I tested an old Gibson 335 from 63 yesterday.
    The tone was fantastic with those original PAFs. Ofcourse the guitar itself was fantastic. The problem is that the store mannager has sold the PAF pickups to another cutomer who wanted original pickups in hes guitar. I was chocked! that has to be unlegal!!
    I wanted to buy the guitar with those pickups in it offcourse.
    Now the store manager is going to put in another set of pups and sell the guitar with those pups whatever it will be?. I have heard about the WCR Crossroads but i can`t get that sound out of my head with those original 63 PAF pickups. Have you tryed New pickups that you can buy that come close to those old PAFs?
    Please write if you want. Sorry for my bad english, i`m Swedish..
    Regards.
    L.
    Stockholm Sweden.
     
  2. Roe

    Roe Member

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    you'll need alnico 5 and ca 7,75 ohm.

    try voodoo pickups - the '60 model
     
  3. rockinlespaul

    rockinlespaul Senior Member

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  4. doc

    doc Member

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    I think you'll have a hard time replacing that sound exactly, but the WCR pickups are very good - those would be my suggestion. Jim Rolph and Lindy Fralin also make some very good PAF style pickups. My favorite is Tim White's pickups, but he has a 2 year waiting list (not necessarily because they're better than the others, he makes a great pickup but makes just a few at a time). I've also heard good things about Tom Holmes pickups. I agree the guitar dealer you describe shows a lack of respect for the instruments he sells.
     
  5. Sweadtone

    Sweadtone Guest

    Thanks.. Doc:
    The dealer shows a lack of respect for the instruments he sells.
    That is exactly what i mean! Whose pickups are original and should stay in that 335 Gibson. When he told me that the guitar was for sale without the pickups i didn`t know if i should cry or give hem a punch in the face! Thats life, hard1 I have been looking for that 335 sound for years and the dealer just chocked me. T bad...
    I think i`m going to buy the guitar anyway..
    L.
     
  6. gitarzilla

    gitarzilla Member

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    I'd also say to check in with Wolfetone and tell him exactly what you want. Actually a set of Seth Lovers -- relatively inexpensive and widely available -- will also get you there. They're pretty darn close in terms of construction and tone. Voodoos are also nice but you could grow old waiting for them.

    I'd say that if you are looking for that tone, try to stick with an unpotted pickup -- one that has not had its coils and/or cover saturated and sealed with wax. Many (me included) feel that that potting kills some of the cool overtones and harmonics that make a PAF -- or in your case, most likely an early patent sticker (still pretty much a short magnet PAF) pickup produces. This would rule out the WCRs unless you could get him to wind you an unpotted pair.

    THe trade off is that unpotted pickups could be prone to microphonic squealing under high-gain applications, but if you're looking at vintage 335s, you are probably not planning to use it to play metal. Even then, the squealing can be reduced by using the pickup w/o its cover since that is most often the culprit. As always, IMHO, YMMV, etc.
     
  7. fatback

    fatback Member

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    All of the manufactures mentioned make some great pickups.

    A while back I got together with some friends to compare humbuckers. A 59' and a 60' PAF were in attendance along with Fralins, Rolphs, Lollars, WCR's, Timbuckers, and a few Burstbuckers. In comparison the new pickups all sounded, well... new. The PAF's were far rounder and let you dig in more. The new pickups all had a certain degree of "hardness" to them in compared to the originals.

    Of the modern pickups I've tried, the ones that get closest to the vintage PAF feel as well as tone are the Tom Holmes. He's still around and making pickups, so if you go that route don't pay absurd ebay prices for them.



    http://www.tomholmescompany.com/
     
  8. Tom CT

    Tom CT Old Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    FWIW, a '63 ES335 wouldn't have had PAF pickups originally. They would have been Patent No. pickups, which can certainly sound great, but don't have nearly the value of true PAFs. It's those little decals that command big $.
     
  9. EXP

    EXP Supporting Member

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    arent the Lollar Imperials comparable to the Holmes?
     
  10. plaintop

    plaintop Member

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    With all due respect....that's just not totally true. There are '64 335s with PAFs in them stock. It may have had PAFs being a '63 or at a minimum early patent # pickups. There are some amazing 335s during that period. They have a depth and warmth that is very organic sounding.

    As for PAF tone..I've been working with a bunch of '59-'60 PAFs lately....and I can honestly say that there is nothing modern that sounds like them. There are many so-so PAFs out there, but there are also some incredible ones and they do come up for sale. I'd suggest getting the guitar and looking for some patent # pickups from the early sixties. Inherent tone is in the wood, and you already know the guitar sounds good. You just need to get it back to where it was, and nothing modern is going to get you all the way there..
     
  11. gitarzilla

    gitarzilla Member

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    As a 63 335 (with pat sticker pickups) "custodian" and player, I couldn't agree more. I've been trying to find another 335 -- of any year -- that equals or outdoes the one I've got (I've got a cherry one; I'd prefer a sunburst one) and I haven't had any luck. I know that the dot neck 335s get most of the attention, but the 63 - 64 335s can have some serious mojo.

    It's just a real shame that the original pickups -- stickered PAFs or not -- were removed from that guitar. I agree, there are examples of PAF-loaded semi-hollow and archtops that bore stickered PAFs even as late as 1965, but it's pretty rare. The recognized cutoff point for stickered PAFs is generally considered to be 1962. Either way, the earliest patent sticker PAFs are pretty much the same thing as the short magnet PAFs from ~1961 till they ran out.

    If it were me, and that guitar played and sounded acoustically the way you want it too, I wouldn't drop a lot of coin on trying to find a current production PAF clone. I'd get and install a set of Seth Lovers -- you can find them for a good price used often on this forum's parts emporium -- so you can use the guitar. Then I'd take my time and be on the lookout and for the right pair of early patent sticker humbuckers. They'll be period correct, won't cost what stickered PAFs cost and if you can find a hot enough one ~7.8k+ ohms dcr for the bridge position and something ~7.3 - 7.5k ohms dcr for the neck postion, that guitar will kill you with how good it sounds.
     
  12. loverocker

    loverocker Member

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    At best, that guitar will always be a '63 335 with changed pickups. That's bad news today and worse news in 10 years time. Even if you luck into PAFs/PatNos at a good price, the guitar still has a nasty story.

    So the guitar ought to be *very* cheap now. Even so, in the same situation I'd say 'goodbye' to the dealer and carry on looking for an intact 335 that floats my boat as much as this one did.

    FWIW, I also found a bunch of dePAFed 335s when I went looking for a '62, but I just kept on looking until I found 'the one'. Good luck :)
     
  13. Sweadtone

    Sweadtone Guest

    Thanks everyone for your advice. I`m still angry at that dealer.
    Like someone said, the 335 guitar sounded great acoustic. So i think a buy it anyway. I`m just worried and hate to look for other PAFs. I saw on Ebay that those old Pafs goes for crazy money. I`m in a sad situation here. I know there are a lot of good pickups out there but it`s hard to try everyone out and cost me a lot. That dealer needs to be punched
    in the face, sorry just feel that way..
    L.:mad:
     
  14. plaintop

    plaintop Member

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    Like mentioned, I'd go with the Seth Lovers. They would be great in there. MOST of that tone you heard is in the wood of the guitar. You'll be 95% there with any good repro PAF type.
     
  15. Roe

    Roe Member

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    seth lovers, fralin and the others don't sound like the original 60's pu: they don't use alnico 5 and - almost always - have higher output than the 60's pu (ca 7,5k)
     
  16. bmgblues

    bmgblues Member

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    As a owner of several guitars equiped with original PAF's I have a set of Tom Holmes pickups in my goldtop and they are the real sound hands down! Ive tried other brands and they just dont have the magic of an original PAF. Ive been to to Toms shop and I was amazed at the detail of his work. Then I dropped a set in and it was to say the least, MAGIC! Tom, in my opinion, is the undisputed king of PAF's. Seth Lover invented them, Tom perfected them.

    BMGBLUEs
     
  17. Sweadtone

    Sweadtone Guest

    Hi again everybody. I just mailed Tom Holmes about my problem. Will see what happens? No answer yet. Do you know the specifications on The WCR Crossroads? On the there website you can`t see that?
    Like i said i think i am going to bye that 335 guitar without any pickups and try those holmes if he returns my mail? I don`t know if he is doing those pickups anymore? I`m a little confused here. I don`t know if the pickup shall have alnico 1, 2, 3, 4 or5. long or short magnet etc, etc... I`m just an player. Anyway, if i get in touch with Tom Holmes i think i go with whatever he`s recomend.
    I have read very good rewiues about hes pickups.
    I just can`t let that Gibson 335 guitar go away.
     
  18. bluuzluvrr

    bluuzluvrr Guest

    Tom Holmes are pretty expensive though, you might want to also consider Seymour Duncan Antiquities. Best of luck to you.
     
  19. fatback

    fatback Member

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    I bought some pickups from Tom Holmes last May for my Grosh set-neck. I got in touch with him by phone, using the number on his site. Tom was very friendly on the phone and got the pickups to me in about two weeks. They sound wondeful in the Grosh through everything from a Princeton Reverb to an Aiken Sabre half stack.
     
  20. Bloozcat

    Bloozcat Member

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    Sweadtone,

    Here's another option for you to consider:

    http://www.highorderpickups.com

    He's a small custom pickup winder who produces some really great humbuckers. He'll wind them with Alnico 2, 3, 4, or 5 magnets to just about any resistance. His advice regarding tone is right on the mark as well.

    I recently purchased a set of his Alnico 2 pickups in 7.8k (N), and 8.5k (B). I can't even begin tell you how just how happy I am with the tone I get from these pickups. My search for humbuckers is now over. If I need another set, I'll contact Jeff at Highorder, discuss my needs with him, and purchase the set based on my needs and his recommendations.

    I'm relatively sure he'll ship overseas too...which I know is an important consideration for you (I think I recall where someone British was speaking of a set he bought from Highorder).

    Highorder pickups are riduculously inexpensive considering what you get for your money - $50.00 USD per pickup plus shipping (covers extra). The downside is that there is currently about an eight week wait to get them as his pickups are becoming more and more popular. I'll wait the eight weeks, personally.

    Anyway, it's another worthy option to consider.
     

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