What are the smoothest vintage style PAFs??

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by dewman, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    Looking to replace the stock burstbuckers in my '57 historic reissue to a smoother set of PAFs. The guitar is on the bright side unplugged, so I am trying to find a set of PAFs to smooth the highs out and warm up the tone. The guitar isn't overy bright, but snappy in a good way but the stock burstbuckers are a little harsh in the high end to my ears. I still want that Les Paul chunk, and I use nonmastervolume amps primarily for overdrive tones, with maybe some light OD or a boost pedal to add a little psh and to sometimes smooth the tone out a bit. I want great cleans but also smooth, articulate and musical sounding pickups when using overdriven tones as well. Not sure if I should go Lollar w/overwind, Fralin stock PAFs, Wolfetones, WCRs, etc. Any suggestions?
     
  2. big mike

    big mike Administrator Staff Member

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    WCR Darkburst. I'd do A2 magnets.
     
  3. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

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    Was gunna say the same thing! Maybe even a Crossroads neck/DB bridge combo. WCR = smooooth.
     
  4. HHB

    HHB Member

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    Voodoo 59s
     
  5. Caretaker

    Caretaker Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Wolfetone Legends, Dr V, or Graywolf. I also thought I saw a set of Rolph 58 Pretenders in the emporium. They will work nicely also, and used.
     
  6. sqadan

    sqadan Member

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    I have to say I really liked the 57 Classics that I had in my last Les Paul... They seemed much less bright than the Burstbuckers...
     
  7. PeeWee

    PeeWee Member

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    The set of BBs I have in my '04 Murphy R9 are some of the best sounding stock pups I've ever heard in a Gibby; I think that the determining factor is that I've got a great, resonant piece of mahogany that seems to really take to these pickups.

    That said, my '07 Historic '59 ES-335 has the same quality that you're describing with the BBs in your R7 - and that guitar has a set of '57 Classics in it. I'm trying to darken the tone on this one a bit.

    I've had great success with the Rolph '58 Pretenders in another Lester but the neck pup was a little muddy after the swap. Jim makes a great pickup in any regard. I'd also give a set of Lollar Imperials a shot and the all elusive Timbucker a go as well.
     
  8. playon

    playon Supporting Member

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    Duncan Antiquities sound great.
     
  9. JUSTJOB

    JUSTJOB Member

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    You could always try some pure nickel strings to smooth out the tone some if you aren't already doing so. Just a thought.
    Best Regards!
     
  10. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    nickel strings are already on the guitar... this is a pickup issue clearly. some burstbuckers are ok-and these arent bad- just want something a little sweeter and more musical.
     
  11. omboy

    omboy Member

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    I have an Orville LP Custom that I'd have described almost exactly like you describe your 57. A Slugbucker/Woodbucker set from Zhangliqun worked great for me. I wired the vol/tone pots back to "modern" style, as well; in that guitar "50s" wiring seemed to thin out the mids.
     
  12. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    "T" control on the guitar? I recently had the good fortune to acquire an ORIGINAL PAF and a slightly later Patent pickup (same pickup, different label) after having been able to try 7 or so original '59 LPs with stock pickups.

    You'd be amazed at how bright (in a good way) these pickups/guitars are. The clarity is amazing! These are the pickups many of us grew up listening to on classic recordings and the tone of which many of us are trying to emulate.
     
  13. majorledhead

    majorledhead Member

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    I'm using WCR Bet-Set pickups with the RS Vintage kit and its about as smooth and toneful as you can get. Not high output, but still get crunchy and clean up in a beautiful way. This is all in an early R7 Goldtop that I just got back from RS Guitar works after a slight relic job that is awesome. Had some nut and fret work done and everything is flawless. I'm having a hard time putting it down and haven't touched any of my other guitars since it arrived. Its the tone we all crave. KUDOS TO WCR
     
  14. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    I absolutely agree- This isnt the case of a way over trebly guitar, I just want to sweeten it up a bit. Greg Germino and I compared three Les Pauls and mine was acoustically the brightest of the three. I think a decent boutique PAF should sweeten it enough. I can always dial down treble, hard to add it back if it ain't there!


     
  15. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

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    I have '57 Classics in all of my Gibbys and love them.
    This includes my '02 R7 that has a good balance of warm and briight.
     
  16. Pete Galati

    Pete Galati Member

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    The wiring would probably be the first thing I tried.

    With my '82 Les Paul, I wired the bridge tone control modern style, and the neck tone control '50s style.

    New pickups might be in order anyhow, but a lot can be done with simple wiring changes, and pickup adjustments.
     
  17. Groovey Records

    Groovey Records Member

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    My Limited experience ( 9 pickups ) says Peter Florance can nail it for you.

    I'm using 59Voodoo's on a Paul and a Spector, very warm and round on the neck pick ups and they sing too.

    I would like to try a WCR Darkburst and PAF next to them.

    EnJOY ThE MuSiC
    GrooVey Records

    Listening to Songs From A Taylor- Jack Bruce
     
  18. Brien

    Brien Member

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    I would not put anything with an Alnico 5 magnet in it. I tried Darkbursts with A5's in a bright guitar-bad combo.
     
  19. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

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    Holmes, Wolfetone, DiMarzio, Duncan, in that order !
     
  20. Randaddy

    Randaddy Member

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    I'll mention the "modern classics" by Gibson, the 490r and 490t. According to the Gibson site they have..."tonal characteristics similar to the '57 Classic, but deliver a slight increase in the upper mids".

    I absolutely love these pups in my SG. Don't know about putting them in a Les Paul, but in the SG they have a wonderful clean sound that is clear and defined with beautiful highs while being rich at the same time, and the dirty sound is great also.

    They use alnico 2s, and I believe that makes the difference that I like. Richer to my ears.
     

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