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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    That's right! :thumb:
     
  2. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Senior Member

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    Si puedes, ¡píllalas!
     
  3. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Banned

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    Yep 42 awg PE was used in early 60s minis. Firebird pickups were an entirely different design and intended result. They were a cousin of the early 60's minis, whereas the later minis used in Deluxes were simply an evolutionary step or offspring if you will, much like T-Tops were to PAFs.
     
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  4. rocknhorse1

    rocknhorse1 Senior Member

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    Wow, cool thread guys. I learnt.
     
  5. Tone Seeker

    Tone Seeker Senior Member

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    Yes, that was clear to me.

    Thanks.

    Terry.
     
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  6. freefrog

    freefrog Senior Member

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    Does anybody know which pickup could emulate the neck mini HB of a Gibson nighthawk? I'm in love with this pickup but it's a really special stuff according to its specs (15,3k and 4,8H)... :hmm:
     
  7. josep_cla

    josep_cla Senior Member

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    :laugh2:
    En eso estamos, colega!
     
  8. LtKojak

    LtKojak Senior Member

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    In a nutshell, NO.

    HTH,
     
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  9. Wraptail

    Wraptail MLP Vendor

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    I've played a historic with PAF sticker minis in it... yeah they look kinda funny in the humbucker routes and the legs had to be pushed in a little. Gibson made mini buckers that went in other brand guitars besides epiphones... you might be surprised by who.

    That's my only experience. Comparing that guitar side by side with a 1960 345 and historic with PAFs (As in Gibson PAFs, not some modern humbucker that people reference as PAFs)

    That guitar with the mini buckers most certainly had characteristics similar to the others. Kind of a "light weight" PAF humbucker, and as described above - not as much bass response. I love them in that guitar.

    But it did not have the thump one usually associates with a Les Paul.

    If they're reasonably priced I'd check'em out. You can flip them if you don't like.
     
  10. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    Gibson made minis used on Silvertone and Harmony guitars in the 60s. They fetch quite the chunk of cabbage when they go up on the bay.

    My sentiments exactly, the early PAF minis certainly share some tonal characteristics with their big brothers and for two very distinct reasons. First off, the winding wire was the same as the PAF had, and the magnets were alnico same as the PAF. That leaves the biggest differences as 1.) the physical size of the finished bobbin, which let the two coils be much closer together in the finished pickup and 2.) the amount of wire (turns, ohms) on the finished bobbin which is in some ways comparable to an underwound PAF.

    Coils closer together = less of the bass/treble/coils sitting at different string lengths contrast, the "window" is narrower so to speak, somewhat akin to a single coil's view of the string, and less output so less bottom end, less thump as you call it.

    Although I have been a PAF owner a few times over, and a lifelong "chaser" of that woody mystique we call the PAF tone, I am by no means an expert on pickups, nor am I nearly as pickup educated as the builders on this forum, (any one of which could come in here and put down facts as to how the above mentioned differences affect the resonant peak and a host of other terms familiar to those who deal with this science everyday), it's good to share your experiences and opinions with them, because if you got something wrong, and it gets corrected, then you have learned something. And if you're on the right track about something and you toss it out and it gets reinforced as being correct, then you have taught something.

    Finding that legendary PAF tone is like finding the unicorn's horn.. Hell I'm happy just to be in the same pasture it once stood in!
     
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  11. Mookakian

    Mookakian Senior Member

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    This is actually a great thread, thanks for sharing the input guys :thumb:
     
  12. josep_cla

    josep_cla Senior Member

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    Damn right...
     
  13. cswanston

    cswanston Junior Member

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    I've got a 1960 345 with pafs, an R0 with pafs and an R0 with early patent stickers. I also have a firebird VII and a couple of Nighthawks. The minis in the firebird sound like crap. They're harsh and nasty and thin. The minis in the Nighthawks are pretty "tele" sounding. I also have a set of patent sticker minis with offset pole screws from an old "Chris Isaak" guitar. I think the guitar was made in 63 or 64. There is not a lot known about these pickups. I can find very little history on them. But they are some awfully special pickups. I don't think they sound just like a paf, but there are similarities. The neck pickup is woody. The bridge pickup is not thin. They are strong and clear. I like them a lot, and regardless of whether they replicate paf tone, they don't take a back seat to any other pickup, at least not one I've heard.

    I don't know if they have enamel-coated wire. I don't know if anybody knows that. They are a wierd pickup, and I think they sound nothing like Gibson's modern minis. And that's a good thing.
     
  14. zoork_1

    zoork_1 Senior Member

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    Great thread, obviously I have to learn to use the search function... :eek:
    Anyway, hopefully I'll have a set of 60s minihumbuckers by next week.
    I'm thinking of recording a PAF stickered mini and a late PAF, and uppload the comparision on Youtube.... :cool:
     
  15. Tonyd

    Tonyd Senior Member

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    These are Johnny Smith style minis. So they will sound different than other minis. Deluxe minis have adjustable pole pieces and HB style slugs. Firebird minis have two bar magnets and no adjustable pole pieces.

    The Johnny Smith have adjustable pole pieces and a bar magnet. They sound between a firebird and a mini HB and generally used in jazz guitars.
     
  16. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Banned

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    I have never seen a Deluxe mini-humbucker with HB style slugs. All the non Firebird minis I have taken apart look just like the picture above. (thosre are Deluxe minis)

    The Early 60's minis sound very much different than the Deluxe minis, but is its not because of basic design. It would the comparable to the difference between a PAF and a T-Top.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Tonyd

    Tonyd Senior Member

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  18. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    PAF minis being made by Gibson for Epiphone in the same era as Gibson PAFs would have the same dark colored plain enamel wire. PAT # sticker pickups got the orangeish wire in late 63, I suspect the PAT # sticker minis switched at the same time, but depending on how many coils Gibson had on hand already wound with plain enamel wire, you could see PAT # sticker minis with either wire.

    If you look into the bottom of the mini with a powerful light source, you just may be able to see the bobbins and if they are clear like most were, you might be able to see the color of the wire. If it's dark, it's most certainly plain enamel.

    As far as your modern FB pickups, I agree they sound like sh*t but replacing or rewinding those works really well. Skatterbrane makes minis along the lines of the PAF Epiphone minis. Klein, Lollar, and quite a few other builders make plain enamel minis which sound killer. I wind my own with 42ga plain enamel with great results. Perfect vintage Gibson tones, everything from Skynyrd and Allman brothers but with some real cool "in between" tones too, like some mix of tele and Gibson sounds. They are a joy to play on.

    I also wind a hybrid mini, with 42ga plain enamel on one coil and 43ga plain enamel on the other. The mismatch in impedance is intentional, it gives some single coil tones and dynamics yet is quiet and very complex sounding.

    The unfortunate thing about a mini, is the size of the bobbin. You can only fit so much wire on it, but there are workarounds like using different gauge wire, or using larger bobbins and fitting them into the mini covers. A lot can be done with them really if you set your mind to it..
     
  19. Dougie

    Dougie Senior Member

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    See the reddish/copper colored wire in those coils? All that is necessary to totally rework this pickup into something that sounds very PAF-ish is to rewind them with 42ga plain enamel wire. Same bobbins, same magnets, same everything. 42ga PE gets rid of all the thin sounding complaints. I had a few LP Deluxes back in the say, oh damn man did I ever HATE those pickups!

    Here is a mini bobbin with the steel slug fitted to it, wound with 42ga plain enamel. The tone of the end result is nothing like the original poly wound coil:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. zoork_1

    zoork_1 Senior Member

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    Got these today. One with sticker (7.1k) and one without (7.4k):

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Isolation on one lead is close to rotten... :shock:
    ..., I'll have to fix that before recording sound samples.

    /z
     

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