The high price of a boutique PAF

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by redgold, Mar 17, 2016.

  1. satisphied

    satisphied Member

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    I've got $1k guitars, $2k guitars, and $6k custom guitars. If they have humbuckers, they all have seymour duncan 59s in them, neck and bridge. It's the only PAF style pickup I've ever tried and they sound great, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
     
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  2. scottosan

    scottosan Supporting Member

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    I will say the many of the boutique builders buy readily available parts. People like Tom Holmes fabricate their own covers, plates, etc... in house. So, I would expect PAF spec'd pickups made from readily available parts to sound more similar than those would make there own custom parts.
     
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  3. 71strat

    71strat Supporting Member

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    I just got on the list again for some of Toms pups.

    3 sets. Hopefully if I can swing it. 8 months wait to save up.

    I'm going to get his H453 Set, which is A4

    A set with a Slightly Overwound Neck/Bridge. 50 more turns on the neck. 100 on the Bridge. Tom actually doesn't like to do it, but will if asked.

    I'm going to also get a set of H450 Neck x H453 Middle, x H455 Bridge.
     
  4. FiestaRed

    FiestaRed Gold Supporting Member

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    That's high praise. I could never get the muddiness out of the lower strings on the 59 neck pickup in a LP.

    I tried Throbak, Wolfetone, Sheptone, Duncans, stock Gibsons, Dimarzios. Probably my problem more than theirs.
     
  5. satisphied

    satisphied Member

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    I could probably see how this could be true, and it makes sense that I haven't experienced it because I've only got them in strats, and a custom guitar that is a 25.5 in scale length. Not a Gibson guy :)
     
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  6. FiestaRed

    FiestaRed Gold Supporting Member

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    A 59 bridge in a strat is a wonderful thing.
     
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  7. romo

    romo Supporting Member

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    I've been through a bunch of Duncans and Dimarzios. I really liked the Dimarzio EJ Customs and have a set in my Les Paul. That said, I just removed a set of Fralin humbuckers for Throbaks in my Collings I-35 and I was floored. I think the guitar sounds substantially better with the Throbaks.
     
  8. John Vigier

    John Vigier Member

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    Take my word for it..... you will pay and WILL NOT GET YOUR PICKUP. The guy used to be honest but since september 2017 many clients paid thru his internet site and NEVER RECEIVED THE MERCHANDISE. . Check out the facebook , quiet since a year... the guy does not answer e mails phone calls . BBB did not get answer from him. Clients got their money back from Paypal.... Do what you want , you have been warned.
     
  9. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell Gold Supporting Member

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    many experts agree that i need definitive blind tests to be done, since i don’t know which versions of the individual sonic elements (making up “the electric guitar”-paradigm) should sound & feel best to me, and which will prove most verifiably acceptable when i might eventually attempt to apply the science of music to my electric guitar.
    how could i possibly decide well, without decrees being issued from scientifical and/or peri-scientifical consensus?
    add to which that i have no idea how much money i can afford to spend without the provision of graphic & numerical explications of the various & vague differences between pickups that i should hear & feel, all & each in direct relation to the individual parameters’ monetary value (in USD, please).
     
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  10. jwguitar

    jwguitar Member

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    Personally I feel that If you cant get a good sound out of a well made non boutique pickup there is something wrong with your playing not the pickup. Its like Air Jordan sneakers are going to make you play basketball like Michael Jordan. Also, there are so many different aftermarket brands from the big companies (EMG, Dimarzio, Seymour Duncan) that there really is no reason to go get a hand wound pickup. Why pay 400 for a pickup when you get a pickup for 100?
     
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  11. redgold

    redgold Supporting Member

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    It is interesting that those demanding scientific proof invariably reveal themselves to have very little understanding of how science is actually done.
     
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  12. Mincer

    Mincer Member

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    Funny thing about the 59, is that it sounds great in Strats, LPs and semi hollows. And it is about the cheapest and easily-found well-made PAF-type out there.
     
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  13. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell Gold Supporting Member

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    why?
    because i wanted pickups that weren’t — to my (pretty extensive, i think) knowledge — being made by any of those companies?
    and that said pickups were likely to require custom machining, even while being made in very small amounts?

    i’ll call the next 2 questions rhetorical:
    is that ok with you?
    is it ok that i got what i wanted, and even more than i’d hoped-for?

    are you aware that most (or all) of the manufacturers (which you’ve listed above) have custom shops?
     
  14. jwguitar

    jwguitar Member

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    Im just saying you can do it but its not really necessary with all the options out there and I am fully aware that all of these companies have custom shops. Is it ok you got what you wanted? Of course.
     
  15. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell Gold Supporting Member

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    yes, there are a lot of options!
    sometimes, the option is to have something different made.

    for me, that’s been most true when
    a) i know the equal-to-the-task pickup-maker, and they know both my playing & what i’m actually going-for,
    b) they have the actual guitar with them in their shop, for testing.

    the stock pickups in my ‘65 Mustang are amazing.
    the stock pickups in my ‘65/‘66 Kapa Continental are great.
    the Gibson ‘buckers fitted (in 1967) into my ‘57 Gibson ES350TDN are ok; they’re not great.
    just sayin’.
     
  16. rockinlespaul

    rockinlespaul Member

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  17. rockinlespaul

    rockinlespaul Member

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    You know what they say....a fool and his money...

    I've tried just about every PAF type of pickup there is except OX4 and Wizz. I have no reason to give them a try at this point either as I am happy with my current choices.

    I have a 2000 R8 blacktop that is my #1 guitar so naturally I wanted the best pups I could find for it. I put a set of Throbaks in it. SLE-101's. I could not get those pickups back out of the guitar fast enough. Mud city. The stock '57 Classics sound way better and I ended up staying with those.

    You can get a great set of pickups for 300 or less imho. I used Wolfetone pickups for years and was very happy with them.

    People seem to think that the more they cost the better they are and that is simply not true.

    OTPG pickups? A fool and his money....

    Throbaks are good, just don't get the SLE101's. Rewind makes killer pickups and are under 500. WCR are good pickups. There's a few others... you get the idea.
     
  18. White Buffalo

    White Buffalo Supporting Member

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    Same experience here w/ 101's... hated those damn things and anytime I got a guitar that came loaded with them, the very first thing I did was swap them out. No matter which guitar they went in they were extremely muddy, with a very nasal mid-heavy sound. It's crazy, because at least 4-5 of the guitars I bought over the span of a few months came loaded with the 101's- wonder what people love so much about them. My favourite set out of all the boutique PAF's I'd tried was by JM Rolph (can't remember which wind)- I stupidly forgot to swap them of a guitar I'd sold. But yep, most of these boutique pups are designed for the suckers chasing "the grail" (a '59 double white- which I had a set of in my '59 345, as well as a conversion and hated both times; much prefer the patents in my '64 345, but would honestly take most modern buckers over that even). I'm past that whole replica/historic accuracy phase and will never go back- who are people trying to fool? Yeah OTPG was ****ing ridiculous... seemed to be no shortage of suckers ready to fork out $2k+ for a set. Wild. FWIW I also had a set of ThroBak DT-102's which I liked for a bit, but proved to be too ice picky longterm (had them in a Custom). I dug their Mick Taylor set from what I recall, but nothing that blew me away. '57 Classics, man!!! Ever try Holmes pickups? Didn't he design the '57's?
     
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  19. jiml

    jiml Supporting Member

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    This. I wanted real deal PAFs, but always were priced way out of reach. Tried a pile of boutique wound throughout the years, but always went back to cheapo SD's. I have a pair of Mojotone "59 Clones" in a Les Paul now, and they sound just fine..

    I saw Josh Smith at the Baked Potato a few weeks ago, and he was playing a LP Replica and it sounded so sweet I had to ask him what pickups are in it (TGP Fanboi!). "Amber Pickups Spirit of '59 from Germany" he said, I dialed them up on Google and their pickups are EXPENSIVE. A quick eBay search produced a used neck Amber PAF, which I won for less than $100. It will arrive this week....
     
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  20. a person

    a person Member

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    Correct.
    No one makes a better paf than Seymour. Yes, there are others who make paf's that you might argue sound equally as good---but no one is doing it better. You can pay top dollar for a boutique made paf, but the benefit is mainly psychological.
     

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