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PAF vs T pickups

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by peabody, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. peabody

    peabody Guest

    Does anyone know or have any info about the technical differences between gibson PAFs and late 60s gibson T humbuckers??

    They sound pretty similar to me.
     
  2. DANOCASTER

    DANOCASTER Supporting Member

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    Frankly , in my experience they sound pretty different.

    PAFs and Pat Pending stickers WITHOUT the "T" are usually Alnico 2 or 3 magnets. The T-tops are Alnico 5 and are wound a little hotter ( and w/ different wire as well I think )

    Although T-tops can be great in the right guitar, the pre '67 pickups w/ the Alnico 2/3 magnets sound MUCH smoother to my ears

    my .002
     
  3. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    If you head to the LPF (lespaulforum.com) they have all of the definitive info on these comparisons, but DANOCASTER voiced my opinion as well.
     
  4. peabody

    peabody Guest

    How would you describe the difference sonically? I guess I haven't played that many original PAFs, but the ones I have played seemed to vary quite a bit. On the whole they seem to saturate the mids. The t tops I have in my 67/8 sg have a similar thing happening but with maybe a bit more emphasis on the highs. I haven't A/Bed them, but are PAF higher output in general?
     
  5. peabody

    peabody Guest

    The LPF is a very cool website, but I can't find much specific info about t tops.
     
  6. mccreadyisgod

    mccreadyisgod Member

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    Because of the way the original PAF's were wound, there are a lot of inconsistencies in their sound. Generally, though, they tend to be a bit warmer and smoother with less treble and less bite than the later models. The "T" models I would suspect to be more scooped-mid in character... good bass, good treble, but not so much mid, whereas the PAF's are more midrangy. Some PAF's were overwound, making them higher-output and denser-sounding, and some were underwound, making them a little clearer if a tad underpowered. Unfortunately, unless you play them yourself, it's hard to know what to expect. Some of them are amazing, some are junk (if somewhat expensive junk).
     
  7. wgs1230

    wgs1230 Fully Intonatable Silver Supporting Member

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    Also important to note that the vast majority of PAFs weren't wax-potted against microphonics, and iirc all T-tops were (at least all the Ts I've owned or gigged). Which is also to say, the dirty little secret about many 100% original PAFs is that they're virtually unusable due to microphonic feedback issues.
     
  8. peabody

    peabody Guest

    Interesting. The PAFs in my friend's LP do not seem microphonic at all, but I once played an earlier archtop with pafs which might have suffered from that. It was another friend's jazz rig and I thought it was the tubes in his tweed pro being microphonic; maybe it was the pickups.
     
  9. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

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    Sorry, not in my experience. Perhaps if you're playing with huge amounts of gain, in which case the tonal qualities of PAFs will be totally lost anyway so why bother.

    But I've been playing with PAF equipped guitars onstage for decades, and they are completely gig-able.

    /rick
     
  10. wgs1230

    wgs1230 Fully Intonatable Silver Supporting Member

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    High gain (assuming an unmodded SLP isn't high gain in your book) wasn't a factor in my observation. I'm talking about pieces which have been certified 100% by Gruhn & MandoBros plugged into tweed Bassmen, early Showmen and bf TRs, with PAFs gone so far micro we can sing through them. We're talking howling feedback at gig volumes. (We're also talking about guys who've paid out $$$ at shows for "100% original" PAFs only to find out that they were pulled in the first place b/c they're unusable without potting or, in at least one notorious case from 4 yrs ago, rewinding.)

    E.G.: a friend of mine with an all original 62 SG/LP (who doesn't gig and babies his "investment" guitars) had its neck pickup turn on him last year- Gruhn's told him not to have it potted or he'd lose money! By contrast, his 67 SG with the stock t-tops works just fine through the same bf Fenders.

    Also, it's my experience that if you ask around among veteran repairmen, you'll hear that plenty of late 50s Gibsons which see regular gig or studio time have had their coils potted- they're still PAFs, they're just not "100% original" any more. If that doesn't apply to you, I'd say, consider yourself fortunate.
     

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