• The Gear Page Apparel & Merch Shop is Open!

    Based on member demand, The Gear Page is pleased to announce that our Apparel Merch Shop is now open. The shop’s link is in the blue Navigation bar (on the right side), “Shop,” with t-shirts, hats, neck buffs, and stickers to start. Here’s the direct link: www.thegearpageshop.com

    You’ll find exclusive high-quality apparel and merchandise; all items are ethical, sustainably produced, and we will be continuously sourcing and adding new choices. 

    We can ship internationally. All shipping is at cost.


The high price of a boutique PAF

paintguy

Long Hair Hippy Freak
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,255
It's all about matching the pickup to the individual guitar. Some pickups work great in one guitar and not so well in another. Then again what one person thinks sounds great may be just the opposite of someone else.

I too have bought countless boutique pickups over the years trying to find that "magic" tone. What I found is the boutique pickups may get you 10-15% closer than an off the shelf. Refer back to the 1st paragraph.

Just my .02.
 

circle_o_5ths

Senior Member
Messages
6,734
First off, let's acknowledge that Duncan and DiMarzio were the boutique shops of their day. It was only after they began providing OEM supply that they were able to create economies of scale in which they could lower their pricing.

Then let's realize the vintage PAF sound you are seeking is based off a part most likely made by an hourly employee who viewed the experience as a "job". They did not romanticize the experience the way the boutique builders try sell. Had someone offered the employee $10 a week more to build dog houses, they would have jumped at the opportunity.
 

rockinlespaul

Member
Messages
3,854
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?
Yes, I read a Tone Quest report with a interview with Tom Holmes and in it he stated that.

Oddly enough, I had a wraptail R7 a few years back that had a surprisingly great sounding set of Burstbuckers in it. I swapped one out for a Tom Holmes and just like the Throbaks, couldn't get it back out fast enough. I put the burstbucker back in and left well enough alone.

Rolph's are fantastic pickups, I completely forgot about those.
 

jwguitar

Member
Messages
5,981
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.
Agreed. I have tried to find the best pickup for jazz guitar. I kid you not EMG 85 pickups can get your that real Les Paul (as in the musician) sound. One of the most misunderstood pickups ever.
 

rockinlespaul

Member
Messages
3,854
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?
@Teleplayer. Hope you see this post.
 

redgold

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,875
If u don’t like potting 57 classics are a no go.
 
Last edited:

rockinlespaul

Member
Messages
3,854
As far as I know the early ones are not potted. I don't know about the recent ones(which are not the same as the old ones from my understanding). Mine are from the year 2000 and were stock in my Y2K R8 blacktop.
 

RichSZ

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,966
The sound of a PU is a combination of marketing, pictures, TPG acceptance, builder of of the month, how the pickup sounds in your basement, and how well someone can explain the minutiae details of construction that no one can realistically hear., and how some of us fall for it. That is the TGP way. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy it. But the sooner you realize the sound of PU is more a function of your playing than anything else, you'll enjoy how they sound much more than you ever realized.
 

GEN DAWG

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,942
I am certain that I am a victim of suggestion, just as all humans are, but I really appreciate the sound of OX4 pickups in my LP-style guitars. That’s where I land.
 

tacorivers

Member
Messages
1,533
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?
I had the same experience with throbak 101+ in my Collings I35lc. Couldn't get them out fast enough. I had Marc Stow wind a low output set for 335-type guitars. I absolutely love them. Now most people love the Throbak's in the I35c, which just goes to show that its always YOUR preferences that should count. Ideally, you'd get 3-4 different humbuckers to try out in your guitar, record them by themselves and in a mix, and pick the one that you like best.
 

GEN DAWG

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,942
I had the same experience with throbak 101+ in my Collings I35lc. Couldn't get them out fast enough. I had Marc Stow wind a low output set for 335-type guitars. I absolutely love them. Now most people love the Throbak's in the I35c, which just goes to show that its always YOUR preferences that should count. Ideally, you'd get 3-4 different humbuckers to try out in your guitar, record them by themselves and in a mix, and pick the one that you like best.
Yep, Mark knows his stuff.
 

71strat

Member
Messages
9,346
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?

Tom did help design the 57 in the 90s when he, and Bill Lawrence worked for Gibson, but Gibson said his design, and materials were to expensive, and deviated from Toms design, so Tom told them he didn't want to be associated with the 57 pickup, as they changed his design to much.

Love my Holmes pups. Gary Moore had them in his Signature guitar
 

rockinlespaul

Member
Messages
3,854
I had the same experience with throbak 101+ in my Collings I35lc. Couldn't get them out fast enough. I had Marc Stow wind a low output set for 335-type guitars. I absolutely love them. Now most people love the Throbak's in the I35c, which just goes to show that its always YOUR preferences that should count. Ideally, you'd get 3-4 different humbuckers to try out in your guitar, record them by themselves and in a mix, and pick the one that you like best.
I've heard this a lot about that particular set of Throbaks. Don't get me wrong, I like Throbak pickups, just not the SLE101's.
 

jens5

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,493
I had the same experience with throbak 101+ in my Collings I35lc. Couldn't get them out fast enough. I had Marc Stow wind a low output set for 335-type guitars. I absolutely love them. Now most people love the Throbak's in the I35c, which just goes to show that its always YOUR preferences that should count. Ideally, you'd get 3-4 different humbuckers to try out in your guitar, record them by themselves and in a mix, and pick the one that you like best.
Good to know as I was considering swapping the Loller low winds for the Throbak 101's in my I-35LC. What I don't get is the price tag on the Throbaks or any other equally priced pickups. You've got, bobbins,wire,magnates,screws and assembly. For $450 a pair, I can get a semi decent tube or solid state amp. Thinking about the materials in an amp and compare that to the afore mentioned. Makes no sense to me. Am getting used to the Loller low winds!
 

dirk_benedict

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,467
Some people really really like their Jimmy/Eric/Duane/Billy and their 59 'bursts. If you are a pickup manufacturer you can exploit that market to rather extreme degrees.

I'm sure a lot of these manufacturers make some fine products, and to be fair, I've done my share of dabbling in them, but I typically find the journey to the perfect pickup to have just about the most diminshed returns in the land of GAS.
 
Last edited:




Top