`50's P90 Magnet for PAFS?

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by peach64, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. peach64

    peach64 Senior Member

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    I missed out on that `50's Gibson P90 tonight. But before I buy another, is it a good investment to buy one and remove the Alnico magnets and send them to a winder and have them wind a set of PAFS? If it is, are there any years Gibson used the Alnico V magnet in particular? I know they used this magnet exclusively for the staple Alnico V for `54 Customs, but what about the other P90's during the `50's?

    Thanks,

    Peach
     
  2. HOT-BRIT

    HOT-BRIT V.I.P. Member

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    it is a total shame and sacrilege to destroy vintage 50's P-90's for this purpose
     
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  3. HOT-BRIT

    HOT-BRIT V.I.P. Member

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    please don't do it
     
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  4. peach64

    peach64 Senior Member

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    It's just a thought Brit. I came across this in another article that some guys have done this. But lets not forget that some `50's Gibsons are bastardized just for this very purpose, guitar is worth more in parts, right? Atleast it was prior Deprecion America. I'd rather pay through the nose for a set of OTPG PAFS.
     
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  5. Wraptail

    Wraptail Senior Member

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    look for those old mags from a reputable dealer. They pop up once in a while... from broken/unfixable pickups I sincerely hope.

    It's good you asked. I'm with the others, It's sacrilege rob the mags out of one of those pickups.

    AND... those olds P90s kick all sorts of major ass!!!

    Based on my own personal experience comparing different guitars at the same time, I'd go so far as to say that those old P90s in good guitar have more in common, tone and dynamic response wise, with original PAFs than lots of modern pickups, including some really nice sounding boutique PAF style pickups.

    YMMV of course.
     
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  6. Wraptail

    Wraptail Senior Member

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    look for those old mags from a reputable dealer. They pop up once in a while... from broken/unfixable pickups I sincerely hope.

    It's good you asked. I'm with the others, It's sacrilege rob the mags out of one of those pickups.

    AND... those olds P90s kick all sorts of major ass!!!

    Based on my own personal experience comparing different guitars at the same time, I'd go so far as to say that those old P90s in good guitar have more in common, tone and dynamic response wise, with original PAFs than lots of modern pickups, including some really nice sounding boutique PAF style pickups.

    YMMV of course.
     
  7. nwobhm

    nwobhm Senior Member

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    I've bought a few broken 50's p90's, that were way beyond fixable, byutrate bobbins would be disentegrated and shattered and used the mags out of those but, I'm with the others, I wouldn't bother taking a working one apart. Even some of my good ones have broken or chipped corners. ;)
     
  8. peach64

    peach64 Senior Member

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    It was just an idea. As of now I'm sold on three winders to try out: Kloppman `58 PAFS, Shed PAF - Daddys, and SD VL61 PAFS.
     
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  9. copperheadroad

    copperheadroad Senior Member

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    Keep in mind that there were some bad sounding bar magnets
    I have recharged a couple p-90's magnets from the 60s n 50s & it revived an almost dead magnet
     
  10. nwobhm

    nwobhm Senior Member

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    :thumb:

    I had a couple sets of Blackbelts made for me by Wade, at Motor City Pickups. They all needed to be recharged. TBH, His pups sound good anyway so, I don't know how much difference there really was but, they do sound pretty awesome to me and it didn't cost me any extra since they were my magnets.:)
     
  11. Dave Stephens

    Dave Stephens V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    I agree, don't destroy a valuable P90 just to scarf some old magnets. Unfortunately this is what DEALERS DO, and then sell the magnets for $200 each claiming they came out of dead PAF's. I confronted an Ebay dealer on this who told me, oh he no longer had the REST of the PAF, when I told him I would buy it. Total bullshit. The magnets ARE the same as in PAF's but not the real early P90's, many of those were alnico 3 and never personally seen them in any PAF.

    So, secondly, if you get hold of a vintage bar magnet and send it to some winder is it going to give you PAF tone? Absolutely not. The magnet in PAF's is a relatively small aspect of the tone. I could easily fool you using a modern magnet in a real PAF and you probably couldn't hear the difference. The tone isn't in the magnet. This is a myth that got started in the 80's, when most humbuckers had alnico 5 or ceramics in them. So, most vintage magnets are alnico 2 or 4, so guys would replace the A5's with the vintage and of course would get a noticeably softer tone, which they thought was "magic" because they didn't know they were only replacing the GRADE of alnico. So a myth was born. Vintage magnets ARE different than their modern equivalents, but its not a huge difference at all. Most vintage magnets are way fatter dimension than modern ones are, all of the ones I use I had made to the fat dimensions, and almost no one copies this important aspect. If you buy a vintage P90 you should PLAY it and enjoy how delicious those pickups are ;-)
     
  12. bill m

    bill m Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    I,ve seen them in paf's and have the lab reports to prove it. Although they are not as common as the other Alnico grades.


    I have to disagree, the magnets play a large role in the over all tone of any pickup, not just paf's. I have learned this a long time ago with single coil pickups. Granted, there are some good sounding production magnets out there that sound real close to vintage (same grade), but you have to know where to get them. I've had heats of magnets made just so I could count on a steady supply of the same quality. I keep hearing people talk about how vintage paf magnets were fatter than what we get now, well I have not seen this at all. I have many specimens which range from .122" to .130" which is within the range of the magnets of today. With p-90's you could get away with a fatter magnet, but with paf's you cannot. A paf magnet has to be within a certain spec. or your bobbins will never lay correct and will be tilting. Vintage keepers are .125" approx and the same for the wood spacer, which were also made of mahogany and not just maple, although the majority that I've seen have been maple.
     
  13. TM1

    TM1 Senior Member

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    +1
     
  14. ThroBak

    ThroBak MLP Vendor

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    The magnet in a P.A.F. will immediately change the tone and response of the pickup if changed. There are three magnet makers in the US that still make alnico and every single magnet I use for P.A.F.'s and P-90's is made with custom heats by one of these 3 USA shops. It is absolutely possible to duplicate a vintage P.A.F. or P-90 magnet if you use one of these 3 shops. But expect to order 1,000 to 2,000 magnets at much, much higher prices than Chinese magnets. I have long and short oriented A5, 2 versions of long unoriented A5. long A2, short A2 long A3 and long A4 made by these shops. I gave up on Chinese magnets a long time ago as I could never get consistent results from them. Also they could not make unoriented A5 properly and they tried to sell me A4 magnets that were really A2 magnets.
     
  15. Greg's Guitars

    Greg's Guitars Senior Member

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    Early P90 pickups had 10,000 turns of #42 wire and two M55 Alnico III magnets


    Early Humbucker pickups used the same magnets as the P 90 according to Seth Lover.It was a "number 55 magnet ".This magnet was 2.5 inches long, 0.5 inches wide and 0.125 inches thick, that was replaced by the smaller M56, which was 2.359" X 0.495" X o.125". Magnets used varied in grades starting with Gibson using a weaker III and IV grade magnet before changing to a stronger grade V in the 1960's and then in the 1970's they started using grade VIII. Originally with approx. 5000 turns per coli (wire) with an average output of 7.8k ohms. I know 42 gauge wire was used in the 60's .
     
  16. ThroBak

    ThroBak MLP Vendor

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    I know there are likely P-90's with A3. But just as a personal reference the neck and bridge magnets from my 52' Les Paul Goldtop P-90's were all A4. With my 56' Les Paul P-90's and a set from another 56' Goldtop both sets were A2 in the neck and A4 in the bridge. The A2 and A4 also looked distinctly different. I had BH curves ran on all of these magnets to confirm the grade.

    I also have copies of some of the original short magnet drawings that had the last revision in the late 60's and those indicated A2 and A5.
     
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  17. Wraptail

    Wraptail Senior Member

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    I agree withe the others - changing magnets in any pickup makes a significant impact on tone.

    I can't imagine why anyone would say otherwise, unless they don't know what they're talking about, OR had an ulterior motive.
     
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  18. BrazenPicker

    BrazenPicker Senior Member

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    To be fair to Dave, that's not what he's saying. Read his post again in context. He says he could find a modern magnet to replace a vintage one in a PAF and you could hardly tell the difference. He's NOT saying ANY modern magnet will do. The question is not whether magnets have an impact on tone, but whether you can get a close enough match.

     
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  19. JeffBlue

    JeffBlue Banned

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    I once repaired a 58 Gibson Les Paul Jr. with the original P90's. When I completed the guitar, I plugged it in and almost cried. The tone coming out of those pickups was heart-wrenchingly beautiful sounds. I asked the owner of the guitar if he would sell it, and he said 'hell no." And I couldn't blame him. Never destroy those old wonderful tone makers. You should find a guitar that either has or you could install a set of P90's. Don't think you will regret it.
     
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  20. Dave Stephens

    Dave Stephens V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    Magnets are a small part of vintage PAF tone, period. This is not a theory, its a fact. Its the last thing I look at in my work; yes it has to be right, but its not where PAF tone comes from. US magnets I've tried and repro recipe magnets I've been sent don't sound as good as Chinese. I've tried the "five dollar US special magnets" and I wouldn't put them in my work.

    I use fat magnets in ALL my PAF repro pickups and I had them made that way, real PAF magnets are almost all over .130" even up to .140" Every modern company uses a different recipe, there is no single recipe for any of the alnico's. I worked with Allstar and Magnetic Hold in 2007 and had rough cast magnets made again, now SensMag and some others copied them, but only Magnetic Hold ever got them done right, they could pass for vintage. But, there is nothing "special" about rough cast, and I don't tout magnets as a selling point, they are just part of the whole picture. In fact there are no "special" magnets, you just find ones that work in your design, some work well and some don't. PAF's used equivalent of alnico 2 and 4. Alnico 3 is not likely because it was more common during war years when cobalt was expensive, so you see it in the early 50's and rumored to be in the early 60's, but none of the short mags were ever alnico 3, and I've yet to see one in a PAF, they are real obvious because they hold a very very low charge.

    If you want to see my work with a magnet swap in the bridge, my newest HD Lite video on YouTube shows a comparison of a real vintage 1961 PAF set with my HD Lite bridge with its original recipe alnico 4 magnet, then swapped out with a short alnico 5L magnet to see if it got closer to the original PAF bridge pickup; someone requested to hear that and I wanted to hear it too. The video is the "HD Lite Short A5 magnet" and is the newest video there. The A4 long magnet to me was the winner, the sound is almost identical to the vintage PAF bridge pickup, the A5L short mag, seemed to have lost some mids that I liked. The A4 is full fat PAF dimensions and the A5L short is a little thinner. The magnets don't make the tone though, that's a complex subject that takes hard work and research to discover....
     

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