PAF minihumbuckers: PAF sound?

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by josep_cla, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. josep_cla

    josep_cla Senior Member

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    Hi guys.

    I found a pair of Patent Applied For 1961 Gibson mini humbuckers.

    The price seems right (I think).

    I plan to purchase a Deluxe in the near future, and these pickups can be a good upgrade.
    Is their sound any close to a PAF humbucker?

    Just guessing.
    I tried some modern minis and I know how they sound, but never could try a PAF mini.

    What do you think?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    *IF* they are genuine 1961 pickups and not later patent sticker pickups with a repro PAF sticker on them, they would probably be wound with 42ga plain enamel, possibly formvar, that was before Gibson started using the reddish wire in 1962 or 1963. If those are wound with plain enamel they would sound really good, but do they sound like a PAF? They would certainly have some comparable tonal character but maybe not the full fat bottom end the PAF is noted for.

    I just was working with a mini that was wound with 42ga plain enamel and alnico 5 magnet and it sounded like a full size Antiquity, it sounded absolutely killer transformed into a firebird mini humbucker, I was amazed how good it sounded. I never heard a mini sound anything like this one, but it's the first one I worked with that was wound with 42g plain enamel. Those 1961 pickups might be 42g plain enamel as well. If they are, you could expect stellar tone qualities..

    Maybe some of the regulars here that are more educated than I about period wire may have an opinion, this is just my experience with 42g p.e. on a mini.
     
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  3. 335Reasons

    335Reasons Banned

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    1961? Not likely¬Ö Firebird mini humbuckers (no screw poles) started 1963, LP Deluxe minis with visible screw poles started 1969. This is what I remember without searching
     
  4. HOT-BRIT

    HOT-BRIT V.I.P. Member

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    they cant be Gibson minis from 1961 they had not started making them then.
     
  5. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    There are documented PAF minis, complete with decal. Gibson made minis for Epiphone well before 1969, many had patent # decals as well. What are the earliest Epiphones with mini humbuckers? 1960? Riviera was introduced in 1961, with Gibson made mini humbuckers. That would have been well before the patent # sticker came about.

    Scroll about 1/3 of the way down:

    Gibson PAF Humbuckers Pickups Patent Applied For Pickups M69 M-69 pickup rings - Vintage Guitars Info
     
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  6. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Banned

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    Yep, early 60's Epis had PAF mini-humbuckers. Most winders (the few who make them) emulate the Les Paul Deluxe and/or the Firebird mini tone. I try to emulate the early 60s Epi tone when making mine. A world of difference!
     
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  7. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    Hell to th yeah! The scariest wooliest best EVER Johnny Winter tone I have gotten in my entire 45+yrs of playing guitar came from a 1962 Epiphone Professional guitar, it had a single Gibson made mini humbucker in the neck and had to be one of the world's butt ugliest thinline guitars ever made. I wanted it -just- for the pickup, it was remarkable! I never forgot that sound, and I never got it since then either. "A world of difference" is the understatement of the century.
     
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  8. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Banned

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    Roger Daguet, a French guitar builder had this to say about my minis:

    "I knew specially what I wanted as "sound" and what was the difference with all the "wrong" reissues, you perfectly nail it! I am curious to know what you did with your pickups as no one until you ever achieve the sound early epiphone minis had? specially regarding that you use "standard" "wrong" parts as everyone..."
     
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  9. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    Very cool..

    This is something I often wondered about as well.. When Gibson launched the Firebird in 1963, it's safe to say that they were using the reddish looking wire that replaced plain enamel wire am I correct? If that's true, then it is highly unlikely you will ever see a vintage Firebird pickup with plain enamel wire, -unless- they used some previously wound coils from the Epiphone mini humbuckers that might have been wound with plain enamel.

    It is well noted that gold PAFs were coming from Gibson as late as 1965, because they used less gold pickups and the gold pickups they had on hand lasted longer.

    I wonder when the mini humbuckers got the reddish wire. If Gibson wound a bunch of those with plain enamel, then it's conceivable that those coils could have lasted well into the PAT # sticker mini era, much like the gold PAFs didn't end in mid '62.
     
  10. 335Reasons

    335Reasons Banned

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    Right, Epiphone Minis. I'm still puzzled about the sound of the early Minis. I have played an Epiphone Riviera in the past but can't compare it with a Firebird 1964. Different guitars. Add to this my ex LP Deluxe 1970. A great sounding guitar, very heavy and with low output mini humbuckers. Actually I have one of the early 70's minis here and it measures 5.62K at 55F. Far from the higher output minis of today. The growl of the vintage Firebird 1964 a la JW, was attainable only through vintage Marshalls at loud settings. This is one of the reasons I didn't buy that Firebird in the late 70's, too weak for your average Fender combo I was using at clubs at this time. On the other hand the LP Deluxe was OK especially at the neck position. My brother's 1992 Firebird reissue has the higher output modern minis - not sure if they are ceramics - but they need replacement. So, anyone knows the output of the original Epiphone/Gibson minis from early 60's?

    To answer the question of the OP, generally I have found that minis are much "louder" when used in a LP body. A PAF sound? Yes, but the bridge pickup is closer to a good Telecaster sound when played clean (on low output PU's). Depending on the price of the 1961 minis I would also consider modern offerings. I think that you should obtain readings from these minis and then decide. YMMV
     
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  11. Tone Seeker

    Tone Seeker Senior Member

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    I'm curious to hear the sound you're talking about. Can you point me at some representative Johnny Winter (or other) clips on YouTube?

    Thanks.

    Terry.
     
  12. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    Johnny's signature Firebird tone in spades:

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL2UY2Uq7Tk]Johnny Winter - Mojo Boogie 1991 - YouTube[/ame]

    The scarier woolier side of this tone would be gotten from running a 1970 hundred watt plexi wide open into some greenies.. I can still smell the tubes :dude:
     
  13. 335Reasons

    335Reasons Banned

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    I think he's playing through a Musicman amp in the 1991 clip; anyway let's try this one

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQPlU5q1CBI"]JOHNNY WINTER - Jumpin' Jack Flash (1974 UK TV Appearance) ~ HIGH QUALITY HQ ~ - YouTube[/ame]
     
  14. josep_cla

    josep_cla Senior Member

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    I am asking. :)



    And to avoid confusion: they are "Patent Applied For" stickered Gibson mini humbuckers taken from a '61 Epiphone.

    Any opinion about if they sound any close to a PAF?
     
  15. 335Reasons

    335Reasons Banned

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    OK, Dougie clarified this earlier and I agree, they must be original.

    "Any opinion about if they sound any close to a PAF?" I think that I have answered this question already. Look at it this way; if you want to have a LP Deluxe you are stuck with the mini humbuckers, take it or leave it. Remember also your OP: "I plan to purchase a Deluxe in the near future, and these pickups can be a good upgrade." In my opinion, you are going "backwards", i.e. you don't have a guitar already, so you don't know how it sounds. You are taking a risk, it's up to you
     
  16. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    You will just have to try them to see how they sound. I think you are totally overlooking the sound of the minis and already wanting them to sound like a PAF. Let them tell your ears how they sound. They will have their own tone and trust me they will sound a LOT better than any mini that Gibson made in the 70s.

    Look at it this way.. The full size humbucker gets a good part of it's tone from the fact that the coils are picking up their signal at different parts of the string length. One coil is closer to the bridge, the other closer to the neck. The contrast between the two positions adds greatly to the tone of the pickup, IMO.

    The coils of the minis, wound with the same 42ga plain enamel wire, sitting over the same alnico magnet, are slightly closer together because the pickup is smaller. They have less of that contrast obviously, but they will share a LOT of the tone because they are made with similar materials.

    There is a trend now for slightly underwound PAF pickups, Lindy Fralin calls his "Pure PAF" and Seymour Duncan calls his "Seth Lover" and these are wound to about 7.4k neck and 7.8-8k bridge. They are less thick sounding, they are jangly, chimey, and from what I have heard, and I have played both sets, they have great dynamics, they are very responsive to the player's hands and fingers, they have tone up the waz00!

    When you get the DC resistance measurements of those minis, they will probably be less than what you would expect from a PAF, but as I described the tone of the underwound PAF, the minis would share this in a big way.

    If I had a pair of PAF minis, would I want them to sound like PAFs? Nope, I want to hear them just as they are, to see how musical and toneful they are.

    So, to answer your question "do they sound like PAFs?" Why would you want them to?

    Edit: Skatterbrane, your minis must be the Epitone of LP Deluxe-dom! MUAHAHAHAHA
     
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  17. josep_cla

    josep_cla Senior Member

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    Ohms reading: 5.8K and 6.0K.

    Well, can't try them without purchasing them and then purchaing a Deluxe.
    I want a Deluxe because I love LP's with P90, and a Deluxe will allow me to switch between P90 and minis.

    My question is just a thing I'd like to know.
    I have a lot of different humbuckers (and P94) that sound quite different, and I like them all.

    I have a set of PAFs and just want to know if I can expect a close sound or a sound that is closer to a newisih mini.
     
  18. rumblebox

    rumblebox Senior Member

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    My mini's sound drastically different from any PAF. More tele-ish sounding than anything. I have a hard time liking them sometimes. The contruction is completely different too. Not simply downsized.

    Im switching to P90s


    [​IMG]
     
  19. Tone Seeker

    Tone Seeker Senior Member

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    Thanks for the clips guys.

    Sounds like these might be worth trying if I want a change from P90's in my slab mahogany guitar.

    Terry.
     
  20. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    They will NOT sound like a 70s mini at all. Those are thin and squeally sounding, and as you can see in the photo, they are not wound with vintage type plain enamel wire. Yours (IF you buy them) will sound great!

    In 1961 the only wire Gibson could have possibly wound those with would be 42ga plain enamel or formvar (Correct me if I am wrong Skatterbrane) and if I had to take a bet, I'd bet they are plain enamel. At 5.8 and 6k they would most certainly be 42ga and not 43, we know that alnico is the only magnet that would be in there in 1961. I have a mini that is wound with 42ga plain enamel and alnico 5 magnet man it sounds great, has a LOT of PAF style tones, it sounds like a Duncan Antiquity really, great vintage tone from it. I expect those would be the same way.

    Not trying to sell anyone's pickups here, but Skatterbrane's comments about patterning his minis after the early 60s Epiphone minis really caught my eye. The one I have is/was a Klein, wound like an early mini, 42ga plain enamel to 7.29k I loved it as a mini, then I took a modern firebird pickup apart, gutted it and used only the cover and put the Klein coils in it with a pair of alnico 4 magnets, so now I have heard these same 42ga P.E. coils as a mini, then as a firebird pickup, and it whoops a$$ both ways. If his sound even remotely as cool as the one I have, and I suspect they would sound every bit that good or maybe better, I would have to give the nod to trying those over any P-90s.

    Tone Seeker: You know we aren't talking about mini humbuckers in general here right? We are talking specifically about the very early Epiphone (made by Gibson) mini humbuckers, and about mini humbuckers wound with vintage style 42ga plain enamel wire and having alnico magnets. This leaves out any minis made in the 70s, any boutique minis that try and copy that 70s LP Deluxe sound, and any modern and/or hi-output ceramic Firebird pickups.
     
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