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Trying to replicate my favorite PAF...

bjm007

New member
Joined
Dec 29, 2001
Messages
1,119
So I'm down to my last set of real PAF's after parting with the vast majority over the years, because I could pretty much replicate the tone with certain models of ThroBak's, Antiquities, Seth's, etc, and sell the real ones.

So this last pair is really unusual, because they are very clear, crisp and articulate on the low-end and they just sparkle on the highs. Mid's are very balanced, with a little chime. These are really unique. Something I have yet to find in most of the boutique PAF's I've owned over the years.

I finally reached out to Jon at ThroBak and talked to him for the better part of an hour about winding machines, wire, different winds, magnets, etc. I've also reached out to MJ at the Duncan Custom shop, who I've known for years, and she suggested A3's....;)

So I eventually ordered every different magnet Jon sells - A2, A3, A4, A5, A5 unoriented IL., A5 unoriented IN., and one by one, I'm trying them in all the 6 different sets of ThroBaks I already own.

So I tried the A3's in the ThroBak SLE-101's and it probably comes the closest, but still not quite there.

So I'm wondering if anyone has run across a boutique PAF pickup maker/model that has a crisp, clear articulate low-end, with a chimey high-end?

Your help is much appreciated...........
 

goldtop0

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
7,946
Have you tried a set of Timbuckers?
I like these a lot......the EdA wind with higher k ohm resistance which was pretty much Tim's standard set back in the day.
He stopped making them about 2007 or so but the odd set still comes up on ebay and the guitar forums etc from time to time.
 
Last edited:

bjm007

New member
Joined
Dec 29, 2001
Messages
1,119
Have you tried a set of Timbuckers?
I like these a lot......the EdA wind with higher k ohm resistance which was pretty much Tim's standard set back in the day.
He stopped making them about 2007 or so but the odd set still comes up on ebay and the guitar forums etc from time to time.

Thanks, I've got to check out my parts drawer... I think I may actually have a set of Tim's.

I went through a buying spree about 15 years ago, and I may have stashed them without actually trying them...:##

I just can't seem to find the "clarity" and crisp low-end with anything I've tried. Even most of my real PAF's have been much warmer than this one set. But I can replicate that more "typical" PAF tone with a bunch of different boutique pup makers. This one set I've got just sounds like nothing else. Crisp, clear and tight on the low-end, with chime on top. Probably an A5 or an A3, but I can't be sure.

They actually sound a little bit like the latest 2020 unpotted Custombuckers with the AIII's....... :hmm

Hey, whatever works, right?
 

duaneflowers

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Messages
2,520
See if you can find set of Old Wire Wizzes... they are the closest I've found to my PAFs.
 

renderit

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Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
9,893
See if you can find set of Old Wire Wizzes... they are the closest I've found to my PAFs.

A handful fer sure.

I bought some at your suggestion and it's what is in the Black Widow.

35925243910_bd9e35eb18_4k.jpg
 

LeonC

Active member
Joined
Aug 30, 2002
Messages
353
Your thread kind of lends support to my belief that not all PAFs we're created equal. I am not "Mr. Experience" when it comes to PAFs...but I've been listening pretty carefully for the last 50+ years and definitely have some opinions. :) I've only played maybe 5 or 6 guitars with 50s PAFs in them and only one or two really stood out. Was it the wood? bridges? nuts? tailpieces? wiring harnesses or just the pickups? Hell...I don't really know...it all matters. But still, they weren't all really phenomenal guitars. This replicates my experience with old guitars in general--there are a few that really stand out...the rest? Not so much.

Anyway, most of the guitars I played with PAFs (a couple LPs, a couple 335s and a 345) did not all have the kind of clarity that I think of as the best PAF tone examples (e.g., Peter Green's burst, Bloomfield's burst, early Gibbons on Pearly Gates). Most had that "warm", "classic" humbucking sound...a sound that I'm not in love with.

I have to say, the low output Custom Buckers in two of my collector's choice guitars are as close as I've heard to my ideal...particularly on the neck pickup (which is the tougher one, IMO). I have a third CC in which the bridge CB sounds great...but the neck just has the "joe shmo" humbucker sound, IMO. Granted...I've not tried gobs of after-market humbuckers...but still, I am impressed with the job Gibson did on at least some of the Custom Buckers.
 

goldtop0

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
7,946
Thanks, I've got to check out my parts drawer... I think I may actually have a set of Tim's.

I went through a buying spree about 15 years ago, and I may have stashed them without actually trying them...:##

I just can't seem to find the "clarity" and crisp low-end with anything I've tried. Even most of my real PAF's have been much warmer than this one set. But I can replicate that more "typical" PAF tone with a bunch of different boutique pup makers. This one set I've got just sounds like nothing else. Crisp, clear and tight on the low-end, with chime on top. Probably an A5 or an A3, but I can't be sure.

They actually sound a little bit like the latest 2020 unpotted Custombuckers with the AIII's....... :hmm

Hey, whatever works, right?


Sounds like you've got a lot of pups. Put the Tims in and see how they go.
I'm a big fan of Custombuckers also, they're a very good pickup imo:2cool
 

Mr. Papa

Active member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Messages
1,346
Have you tried ThroBak Pre-T pickups? Short magnet version sounds like the tonal qualities you are looking for, to me anyway.
I've wanted to try a set with an overwound bridge pickup, but I'd have to find another Lester or SG to put them in...
 

tonyfrancis

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
109
They are exceptionally hard to find, but Maxon Dry Z's sound like what you are after.
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2020
Messages
212
Hmmm?
IF you're a resident of the UK, have you considered taking them to Cream T? Based 'up Norf' these days.
He has this setup that allows him to analyse the pickups, etc, etc, etc...
Speak to Rev BFG and/or Keef. Sorry, I'm adding 2 n 2... 😉
 

Sol

Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2001
Messages
498
Clear, crisp and articulate. Your description puts me in mind of Montys (www.montysguitars.com) another UK ...his kind of thing where the answer might lie.
 

marshall1987

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 30, 2005
Messages
3,178
So I'm down to my last set of real PAF's after parting with the vast majority over the years, because I could pretty much replicate the tone with certain models of ThroBak's, Antiquities, Seth's, etc, and sell the real ones.

So this last pair is really unusual, because they are very clear, crisp and articulate on the low-end and they just sparkle on the highs. Mid's are very balanced, with a little chime. These are really unique. Something I have yet to find in most of the boutique PAF's I've owned over the years.

I finally reached out to Jon at ThroBak and talked to him for the better part of an hour about winding machines, wire, different winds, magnets, etc. I've also reached out to MJ at the Duncan Custom shop, who I've known for years, and she suggested A3's....;)

So I eventually ordered every different magnet Jon sells - A2, A3, A4, A5, A5 unoriented IL., A5 unoriented IN., and one by one, I'm trying them in all the 6 different sets of ThroBaks I already own.

So I tried the A3's in the ThroBak SLE-101's and it probably comes the closest, but still not quite there.

So I'm wondering if anyone has run across a boutique PAF pickup maker/model that has a crisp, clear articulate low-end, with a chimey high-end?

Your help is much appreciated...........

I would reach out to Jim Rolph and ask him to help you get humbucking pickups with the PAF sound you're looking for.
 

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
3,713
The clear articulate neck pickup that you seek is the ThroBak MXV-SLE-101 Plus with A5 magnets .
 

duaneflowers

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Messages
2,520
I would reach out to Jim Rolph and ask him to help you get humbucking pickups with the PAF sound you're looking for.

Jim is the man... I learned a tremendous amount about pickups from my phone calls with him where he generously played his 57, 58, 59 and 60 Pretenders and explained the tonal differences in each, comparing and contrasting them as he went along. After you get them you can call him again and he will walk you through the proper set up and he will patiently wait as you make the adjustments he recommends... when its perfect you can begin discussing your next set. :spabout A class act from start to finish and and education in and of itself. I haven't talked to him in about 7 years so I don't know what he's doing now but I certainly hope he's fine as he truly is a treasure. :salude
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2003
Messages
583
So I'm down to my last set of real PAF's after parting with the vast majority over the years, because I could pretty much replicate the tone with certain models of ThroBak's, Antiquities, Seth's, etc, and sell the real ones.

So this last pair is really unusual, because they are very clear, crisp and articulate on the low-end and they just sparkle on the highs. Mid's are very balanced, with a little chime. These are really unique. Something I have yet to find in most of the boutique PAF's I've owned over the years.

I finally reached out to Jon at ThroBak and talked to him for the better part of an hour about winding machines, wire, different winds, magnets, etc. I've also reached out to MJ at the Duncan Custom shop, who I've known for years, and she suggested A3's....;)

So I eventually ordered every different magnet Jon sells - A2, A3, A4, A5, A5 unoriented IL., A5 unoriented IN., and one by one, I'm trying them in all the 6 different sets of ThroBaks I already own.

So I tried the A3's in the ThroBak SLE-101's and it probably comes the closest, but still not quite there.

So I'm wondering if anyone has run across a boutique PAF pickup maker/model that has a crisp, clear articulate low-end, with a chimey high-end?

Your help is much appreciated...........
I would say my Holmes set, covered.. with what I believe are strong A4’s 450/455 plenty of bloom and harmonic complexity. The only pups I have had with the so called Double Tones. It’s funny, I have talked to Jim R twice over possibly a decade span and both times I think we rubbed each other both the wrong way, the communication was terrible and he was somewhat argumentative so
 
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