• Guys, we've spent considerable money converting the Les Paul Forum to this new XenForo platform, and we have ongoing monthly operating expenses. THE "DONATIONS" TAB IS NOW WORKING, AND WE WOULD APPRECIATE ANY DONATIONS YOU CAN MAKE TO KEEP THE LES PAUL FORUM GOING! Thank you!

Early patent sticker pups pricing?

keef

Active member
Joined
Jan 27, 2002
Messages
5,005
I did a search here, but have not found the answer.

What would be the 'going' price for a set of these with covers? I am looking for the pre '64 variant for restoration purposes.
 

Red Baron

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 14, 2004
Messages
6,705
I've seen good clean sets going for around the $2k to 2.5k region... and not so good sets selling for less.
 

keef

Active member
Joined
Jan 27, 2002
Messages
5,005
Thanks Red Baron. Did you see these on Gbase, on Ebay or elsewhere?

I guess the problem with these is that you need to take off the covers to see the color of the magnet wire. If you buy a set with untouched nickel covers, you can't tell if they're the earlier or later pre '65 variant.

Congrats with Alonso BTW!
 

efk

Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
519
You need to take GREAT care in buying these online w/ no in-hand exam. Once Gibson went to the short mags and the patent number sticker, there was no change in these even into the early chrome covers *except* as some point they went to black/white bobbin leads vs. black/black bobbin leads. Literally, no change, until the wire went from dark to orange and then the new T bobbins. Now, if you don;t care about the white wire, you can save a lot of money as apparently many people will pay a ridiculous amount of extra money for two little black wires. They're the same pickups!!! Where the danger comes in is this: unscrupulous sellers will color the white wire with either black paint or a black sharpie and dull it up a little to match. If it's done carefully, there is no way you could determine this from an ebay or online photo and since almost everything is sold 'as is' or w/ comments like, "...to the best of my knowledge...," you'll be screwed [cash-wise, as again they are the exact same pickups]. The only way to safely buy these online is to either get them from a respected, trusted dealer who will stand behind what they sell or to keep searching until you can occasionally get one or a pair at a price representative of the white wire variety (so you either break even or you get a hell of a deal). This is getting harder and harder, though, as everyone now figures anything old is worth a fortune.
 

keef

Active member
Joined
Jan 27, 2002
Messages
5,005
I understand there was indeed a change before the chrome covers came (in 1965). The maroon PAF wire changed to the reddish copper wire color somewhere in 1964 , which was before the orange wire was introduced. It's debatable if that reddish copper colored wire resulted in a change of tone - I think J45 feels that is the case, although the pre orange wire pickups are all nice sounding. But I want the authentic pre '64 stuff (black wires too).

Good point about the black/white wires - I recall these came along around 1963 for humbucking pickups. For P90s the white wires can be found even earlier - the wire colors/mix was all over the place with those.
 

efk

Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
519
Keef - no disrespect intended, but your timeline is wrong. I've read the same thing for years, but in-hand evidence does not bear this out. I can't speak for every pickup ever made, but Gibson did indeed use dark maroon/black PE wire on butyrate paf/circle-square bobbins (which are now quite warped and shrunken) right up into the chrome cover era, at least into 1965 and maybe even into 1966. I know this for a fact because I've owned a bunch of them and still own 3, two of which are currently in my SG. The only difference is two little white bobbin leads instead of all 4 bobbin leads being black.

If ou have a chrome cover pickup w/ braided lead and phillips bobbin screws, and you don't know what guitar it came out of, *and* it hasn't been opened, it's a crap shoot. It's more than likely a T top, but you may get lucky. Patent sticker pu at t top pricing! Online sellers have gotten pretty wise to this, though.
 

keef

Active member
Joined
Jan 27, 2002
Messages
5,005
That is very important knowledge - I hope J45 or others can chime in on your findings.

So you're saying that any unopened nickel covered (pre '65) patent sticker humbucker is basically a short magnet PAF?
 

Red Baron

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 14, 2004
Messages
6,705
Thanks Red Baron. Did you see these on Gbase, on Ebay or elsewhere?



Congrats with Alonso BTW!

I've seen them on eBay Keef. Yeah if you could get Kerry or Kim to chime in I'm sure they will be able to guide you. (what's with all the "K" names :wah )

Yeah was nice to see Ferrari win on home soil, I think we're in for an exciting climax to the season. :bike
 

efk

Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
519
"So you're saying that any unopened nickel covered (pre '65) patent sticker humbucker is basically a short magnet PAF?"

I don't think one can make absolute statements about what Gibson was doing, because there are too many flaws in the published timelines. IF it's nickel covered, I think you're certainly guaranteed a non-t top pickup, and so far all that I have seen have been essentially pafs with short mags and usually somewhat lower dcr (@ 7.2-7.8). If it's chrome covered, it's more than likely a t top but either Gibson started using chrome earlier than most of us think or they retained the butyrate bobbins/dark pe wire into the switch to chrome in 1965 and maybe beyond - how late is anyone's guess. I couldn;t put a definitive date on it as I don;t know what guitars the pickups I have were removed from so there is no dating frame of reference. I have never seen a "pre t top" w/ non paf bobbins or pe wire, although that doesn;t mean they don;t exist, so for the present, as far as I'm concerned gibby stuck with the basic paf formula until they retooled the bobbins and switched wire. Currently, the patent pickups with the white bobbin leads sell for a lot less because there is an assumption that they use the orange poly wire, but all I can say is that in my experience so far, they do not, at least not consistently as none of mine do.

I've been something of a pickup whore for years as for quite some time old pickups remained quite cheap.

Something else to think about - their were magnet changes going on which can make a notable sonic difference, changes even within the short mag era. At some point - possibly around 64 and into 1965 - Gibson seems to have gotten either a batch or a different supplier of A5 short mags that are strong enough to pull down low flying aircraft. They are often very rough and sometimes crudely shaped as well, as I've had a couple (and still have one in a pickup) that are "humped" in that they are around .125 on the ends but they thicken up to around .180-.200 in the middle. MAkes for a lopsided pickup, but these things take a charge like nobodies business and also do not lose strenght/degauss very easily. Once Gibson went to the t tops, you see the magnets get a hair thinner and they don;t charge worth a crap.
 
Top