Stephens Design Peter Green-Vintage LAB-PG Set now available...

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by Dave Stephens, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. Dave Stephens

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

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    The Vintage Lab-PG Peter Green set is finalized, 8.6K bridge, 8.2K neck, alnico 5, flipped magnet, demo'd with neck pickup flipped:

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUfSFSnBtSQ]YouTube - Stephens Design VINTAGE LAB-PG set-Peter Greend specs![/ame]

    Also some audio files, some playing dubbed into Peter Green tunes for comparison:
    Index of /shrapnel/PG4
    Sorry, I butchered "Albatross" and had the gain up too high for that, but you get the idea :naughty:
     
  2. SpinWheelz

    SpinWheelz Senior Member

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    Oddly enough, over the weekend, I e-mailed GFS to ask them if they'd ever offer a pickup set with a flipped magnet to reverse the phase (I was obviously inspired by jonesy's instruction last week). They replied, why not simply reverse the polarity by swapping around the ground and hot wires?

    And here you've got someone else who's jumped right on the opportunity.
     
  3. Dave Stephens

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

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    Well, I would hardly call about a year's worth of research and experimentation "jumping on an opportunity." :laugh2: There are several companies that have Peter Green type pickups besides my own that have been available for years.

    I only did this set because the VL set so successfully matches my real PAF set, (see my Vintage Lab vs. Real PAFs video in an earlier Tonefreaks post here), I thought I'd port the recipe over to PG specs for fun, since I am a fan of Peter Green's tone, its a natural :) Just flipping the leads isn't exactly the same thing anyway, there will be some subtle difference, and you really have to flip the pickup itself to get the full effect. If you just flip the leads you are making the shield of your cable, if its the correct Gibson braided wire type, into a "hot" lead that is unshielded, so there will be consequences to doing that.

    I didn't just make some pickups and flip the magnet and expected to get Peter Green tone, it doesn't work that way :naughty:, I listened and listened to his OOP tone for a long time on every recording I could get of that guitar, including Gary Moore's work. There were prototypes where the OOP tone was too hard edged and clear, the right tone has a kind of wah wah effect like the pedal is rocked back part way. Took a bunch of tries to nail that tone. Listen to my doubled leads on Black Magic Woman, its very close. Now add to this that I had to have the bridge sound like his and the neck too, like I said I've been working on this for about a year :rolleyes:

    Its also very critical how the pickup heights are adjusted, I adjusted these the way Peter did in his videos, the neck is rather a high wind for that spot so he had the bass side below the mounting ring and the treble side barely above the ring. Then you have to make sure the bridge isn't so high that it overpowers the effect. There is alot more to that tone than you would think, and alot of work to get it :slash:
     
  4. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    Yes flip-flopping the wires is not exactly the same out of phase tone as the magnet flip. Also if you have braided 2 wire leads and flip on pickup the other could short since braided wire touches in cavity. I found the Oop factor to also be esily controlled by each volume knob. I have my LP set up for rock and blues and the PG mod is secondary, so my pickups are adjusted the way they work best for me. Although it helps to have the out of phase sound, IMHO 75% of Greenies Tone is in his phrasing an the way he touches the strings.

    Peace, jonesy
     
  5. SpinWheelz

    SpinWheelz Senior Member

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    Sorry, I didn't mean to trivialize the product and the R&D that went into it. That wasn't my point or my intent - I apologize. What I meant was that given so much interest in creating that Peter Green signature out-of-phase sound, it just made sense that someone ought to have a ready-made set of pickups for those of us who aren't quite so adept at tinkering around with pickups.
     
  6. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Senior Member

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    sounds very good DAve
     
  7. Dave Stephens

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

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    No offense taken, and I did point out that there are several companies that DO, offer Peter Green type sets. Its pretty easy to flip the magnet in a humbucker but only if you know how to solder and have good hand skills. I think there may be some YouTube videos on how to do this. If not, let me know and I'll make one for you.

    PG's OOP tone is also very dependent on the amount of wire on each pickup, 8.6K bridge and 8.2K neck, those two values have alot to do with how the OOP tone balances, alot of cheap commercial sets have bridge pickups that are 14K and 7-8K necks, its not a very similar balance and the two pickups usually use thinner wire in the bridge, its just not the same deal.

    Yes Peter's tone was his alone, but I've studied the PAF tone thing for a long time and if you want to really nail his sound thats what you need. One of my sound references that I studied is a great example is this video, and I've learned the basic riff from this (and usually play it with too much gain, ha):
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxux5LdmjQU]YouTube - Peter Green - World Keep On Turning[/ame]
    Notice how acoustic his bridge pickup sounds here, PAFs have a natural chime to them that modern buckers don't, this is especially evident when play softly or with the volume pot turned down, this video is a pretty good example of this. Then turn up and it doesn't go into shrillness. The best way to get these tones too, is with a simple tube amp, no master volume, no pedal boards. I can't think on one PAF classic rock player who strayed from that formula:slash:
     
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  8. Wraptail

    Wraptail Senior Member

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    That's my favorite youtube clip.

    Man can that guy play!!!
     
  9. Nigel Tufnel's tech

    Nigel Tufnel's tech Senior Member

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    Have you stayed with plain enamel in the neck ? You don't think you mention any other insulation type. also do you like the magnet flip as opposed to the wind direction for the out of phase sound better. ?
     
  10. Dave Stephens

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

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    I stayed with plain enamel. I know that pickup was supposedly rewound, supposedly with formvar insulation, but was it heavy build, was it single build, what was the wire diameter, which bobbin was rewound, both bobbins rewound? There is no definitive verifiable information on that, only mythology. Mythologies are often wrong.

    Basically his neck pickup sounds the way any PAF neck pickup wound to 8.2K is going to sound. I have alot of video of that guitar from Gary Moore to watch and listen to. Formvar is a darker sounding insulation unless its heavy formvar, heavy build magnet wire reduces capacitance so you get a brighter tone, but you also get a much fatter coil which softens the tone. It didn't make any sense to me to wind it with formvar without any verifiable details, and his pickup doesn't sound any different than a plain enamel wind, so to me that is suspiscious. Its not likely that it was heavy formvar because you wouldn't be able to get enough wire on the bobbin most likely.

    I have wound buckers with one heavy formvar coil and it sounded nice but wasn't a significant change and it wasn't good enough to sell. I also have some single build formvar and have wound a humbucker with that on both coils and it made it noticeably darker sounding and i didnt like it much. Peter Green didn't record or play very much on the neck pickup, and he had it adjusted way low in the guitar, and it sounds like when he did record with it, he had the volume pot turned down to clean it up. My guess is that if it was truly rewound with formvar, it was only one coil, in reality this won't make much difference and will only add an element of muddiness to the total sound.

    If someone wants I can wind a full set with single formvar for a fatter less bright sound. Mostly what I hear from modern players is they really don't like an accurate PAF copy, they tend to like warmer, fatter tones. When they play a real PAF they are surprised at the brightness, and don't realize that their guitars heroes from classic rock days got those tones by adjusting their amps for fatness etc. The reason I was drawn to recreating PAFs was because I love the fact that they are so articulate and edgy, they don't need pedals, too much distortion destroys whats wonderful about them.
     
  11. Dave Stephens

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

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    Here's a good video of Gary Moore and PG's guitar, playing the neck pickup during the first part of the tune. Later in the song he switches to the out of phase position to get more clarity:

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADSbhqLKytA&feature=channel]YouTube - Gary Moore-I Loved another woman[/ame]
     
  12. Nigel Tufnel's tech

    Nigel Tufnel's tech Senior Member

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    Well there are a lot of myth's associated with that guitar, I bet you know all of them, but i think Charlie Chandler acknowledged it was wound out of phase and it had both coils wound with 42 awg heavy build formvar after he had it in his shop for repair. and a few people have spoken to the guy who apparently re-wound it, (Sam Lee). a pseudonym i think, who also confirmed the findings. I think it was loaded with a 63.5 rough cast AII. I hope I'm not adding to the mythology so don't hold me on that.

    I know the pickups are stated to be of a high reading, but where did that info come from and who measured them. If you know Possum can you shed some light please. that would be great, i cant anything on the inter-web.

    Phil Winfield should get it over and done with and take the cover off that pickup and show us all.
     
  13. Dave Stephens

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

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    No I don't know ALL the myths of that guitar, let me know if there's some I missed? Mostly I studied the guitar itself in videos of Peter Green, Gary Moore, and recordings from both. I've listened to that thing alot of hours and its still a great guitar, always fresh, of course both those men were great talents, not a boring note from either one.

    Jim at WCR examined that guitar at a guitar show and took readings from the pickups while he was there. He kept the readings a secret for awhile but it leaked out, and from my work actually winding a set that hot I can tell you that my copies sound very much in the same vein of having those same winds. Jim did confirm on the pickup forum that those are the readings he got and I believe him.

    I don't think it matters if it was wound backwards, as long as the hot lead is shielded. I heard that he put the magnet in backwards, it doesn't really matter, except that if you want similar tone its not a good idea to flip the leads and have the hot wire be unshielded.

    It is conceivable that it could have been heavy formvar, I have some that is not as fat as some other batches, around .0029" O.D.....some of it is about .0032" and wouldn't fit on the bobbins probably at 8.2K Even 8.2K of plain enamel fills the bobbins pretty well. Really, its not soooo important what wire it was wound with as it is important that the metal magnetic tone chain parts in a reproduction pickup are made to do the same thing as a real PAF does. If that pickup WAS rewound, it still sounds like a PAF and will always sound like a PAF no matter what wire you wind it with because of the alloys that make the pickup. One of my PAFs is a '63 when they changed to using a poly coated magnet wire, it still is a PAF and sounds like a PAF because the bobbin dimensions, and metal parts are identical to what was used in '59; the wire change had minimal effect. PAFs didn't change at all until '63 and only the magnet wire changed. Even the earliest TTops had the same metal but the bobbin dimensions changed drastically and that was the end of the PAF era......
     
  14. Nigel Tufnel's tech

    Nigel Tufnel's tech Senior Member

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    I hope that didn't come across as a sarcastic comment, that was not intended if it did.

    I don't want to speculate but if Sam Lee had a heavy hand he could of stretched the wire to get the turns to get a reading over the 8k region.

    One last myth, It is said that the neck pickup could be the bridge pickup from another Les Paul. that may account for the extra added grey lead wire on the neck pickup to bridge the gap that shorter bridge leads would create...remember (It's a Myth), but the search for the definitive answers is quite fun, which maybe why it goes on and on. The lid was supposed to have been blown of the secret behind Peter's sound some time ago, but i guess the only way to get piece of mind would to get the guitar in your hand's and find out for your self. :hmm:....how much is that guitar again.

    Thanks for the info on Jim.
     
  15. Dave Stephens

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

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    I wasn't being sarcastic, I just haven't heard all the myths about the guitar :cool:

    If you go look at the LPF forum "burst gallery" you will see that there were alot of old LP's that had high wind neck pickups like that as well as some that were really low. Recently in Vintage Guitar Magazine they found Duane Allman's old gold top, I emailed the guy and he told me both pickups in that guitar are 7.3K. Often the neck pickup will be hotter than the bridge too. And its not all that rare that some had magnets installed backwards and the pickups were out of phase direct from the factory. This happened with gold top P90 LP's too. I remember seeing a video somewhere of Freddie King playing a P90 gold top and the pickups being out of phase.

    I stayed with known PAF technology and magnet wire and listened to that neck pickup alot, mine closely replicates that tone, which really is typical PAF neck tone, so I didn't mess around with unverifiable information. Was it rewound, possibly so, but its still going to sound like a PAF either way, so thats really all that matters. If I wound it with formvar, heavy or single it would definitely get muddier and be less useful. If a customer buys a set of these and wants the neck wound with formvar then thats what they get, if it doesn't work for them they get a free one time rewind on all my products. I put up 4 sets of the VL and the VL-PG's on Ebay with a 2 week guaranteed delivery time if anyone is interested. My normal wait time now is probably 3-4 months, guessing. There really isn't much call for an authentic sounding product, mostly its the older guys of my generation who recognize the real tones and know how to use them. Modern players will choose a darker more mellow set over PAF tone almost every time. Stuff like that though is one trick pony, you cant dial back in more treble if you need it, unless you use a wah wah maybe, and few seem to use their tone controls.
     
  16. ghandi

    ghandi Senior Member

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    thats true about the paf's beeing somewhere between 6,6kohm and over 9kohm.

    but duane actually NEVER played the guitar with that pickups.
    as he trade the goldtop for the burst, he also changed the pickups.

    The history of Duane Allman's 1957 goldtop Les Paul

    so the pickups that came originally with the burst were 7,3K
    but duane didn't liked them at all!
    so he changed them for the hotter ones that where in his goldtop,
    like the green's around 8kohm for the neck and 9kohm for the bridge...

    some also say that he had somebody to rewind them even hotter with 43AWG wire...
    the WCR fillmores are like this!

    peace, love and bananas
    ghandi
     
  17. Dave Stephens

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

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    As an owner of a 7.3K PAF myself, I can tell you its a beautiful sounding pickup in neck position (you see it in my VL YouTube demos), they don't change a huge amount by winding them hotter. My PG 8.2K neck sounds pretty much like my 7.3K PAF only darker and less complex, the more winds you put on a pickup they begin to start shutting down complex harmonics. Wind them too much and they sound less loud because the upper frequences are cut off. Certainly none of them were wound with 43 gauge wire either, I have numerous samples of PAF wire and they all fall into the same narrow range of diameter and all are 42 gauge.

    There are no published readings off Duane's burst and I really doubt anyone rewound his pickups hotter, there just weren't any guys winding pickups back then in the US. Seymour Duncan didn't even come on the scene until 1978. This just sounds like another myth like SRV's pickups were wound hotter, they weren't, his Number One had stock pickups in it. I have read alot about all those guys back then never came across any mention ever of anyone having their pickups rewound, if one broke they threw it away and got another one, like Page did.

    Here is a good example of his bridge pickup, you have to wait til about the middle of the song, but its a very thin bright sounding pickup, his neck pickup does sound a bit overwound though:
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_5XZ8-ehs4]YouTube - Duane Allman Herbie Mann - Push Push[/ame]

    I've watched Duane on videos on YouTube and I seriously doubt that bridge is 9K, its a very bright pickup and I would guess its around 7.7K or slightly over, and neck in the above tune to me sounds like it might be around 8.2K possibly higher. Go watch my VL pickup comparison with my PAFs, my bridge PAF is 7.7K and sounds alot like Duane's. :dude:
     
  18. ghandi

    ghandi Senior Member

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    hi dave,
    this is no offence,
    but honestly I think that listening to a recording or a youtube video isn't a good source for making a guess about the kohm's of one or another pickup.

    there are just to much variables involved, the wood of cours,
    which amp, amp settings, speakers, open back closed back, strings, string gauge
    and one of the most important and tone changing variable beside the player is the type of guitar cable used and how long it is.

    your pickups sound really close to the paf's but they would also sound even better in a "good wood" les paul,
    since that is the base of the tone...

    all the best!
    ghandi
     
  19. Nigel Tufnel's tech

    Nigel Tufnel's tech Senior Member

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    Seymour Duncan was winding in the late Sixties. But didn't come to attention till the end of the Seventies like Dave said. He re-wound some single coils for Hendrix around 67 in i recall correctly. So it's not impossible that Duane had something done by someone, but chances are probably not.

    SRV's pickups? weren't they of the 59 era,if original. so that may account for people thinking they were re-wound hotter since quite a few coils from that year were wound quite high,.. well comparing from what they were doing before and after that year.

    Dave, did see that feature b-squared put up in the backstage area from tone quest? I think it's under "Will Boggs featured in tone quest" there is a bit more on varying pickup readings and some technical info about Alnico and what-not, nice interviews with other makers including Tom Holmes which was interesting.
     
  20. Dave Stephens

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

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    No offense. Listen, though. I've been working on recreating PAFs for almost 7 years now and am lucky to have the pair of PAFs that I have which were both lucky Ebay buys, basically, they needed some minor repairs and were way underpriced. I"ve wound hundreds of humbuckers and its very easy for me to tell the general range a PAF is wound to just by listening, but it has to be someone who plays clean like Duane or Peter Green did. Claptons' "Beano" tone is so distorted and changed by the treble booster and his tone pot rolled back its very hard to tell anything about that pickup.

    It has nothing to do with wood, amps, etc. it has to do with having wound alot of pickpups to different winds and spending months listening to the results and comparing to classic recordings etc. Duane's bridge pickup is definitely not a hotter wind, there are several videos on YouTube as well playing that same guitar and it sounds the same there too, not real powerful and quite bright. Players often make the mistake of thinking a pickup is "hot" because it has alot of harmonics, actually a more trebly pickup sounds louder, because more frequencies are being represented. I knew a guy who had a '53 LP gold top with P90s come into the blues jam one time and played it really well. He said yeah those are some hot pickups. I measured them and they were underwound :) "Hot" is often a bad thing when it comes to guitar pickups. Some guy I talked to on the pickup forum said he has a set of PAFs and they sound really crappy to him, I said I bet they are overwound and said yes they were a bit over 9K. I've wound single coils to ridiculous amounts of wire before when I was learning just to see what happened and they get really dull and nasal sounding. Few classic rock tunes were ever recorded with hot pickups, I can't think of anyone who did. Most of those guys used real skinny strings back in those days too, so did I, 8 gauge strings, unbelievable :laugh2:

    Have you ever noticed that companies selling PAF replicas almost always have the same DC resistance? Its usually about 8.2K bridge and 7.7K neck. The reason is this is what works best for bridge and neck, its a good balance generally, if you make the bridge hotter it can overpower the neck, if you make it weaker it gets a little too bright, for the neck if you make it much hotter it gets boomy, less winds may be too clear for some people. If you use the right authentic metals and techniques though, to do an accurate PAF replica you can get away with hotter like the Peter Green specs and still have a useable set; if you use pickup parts that most buy to build their pickups and use a hot wind like that it gets muddy in that range, so some will wind with 43 gauge to offset that problem, but then you're not doing a replica anymore :)

    Yeah I would love to have a real nice Les Paul some day, but my LP's get brutal treatment, they have had hundreds of pickups changed out in them, rewired several times, splattered all over with solder, the are both cheap shit things, but they are also living proof that good wiring, pots and tone caps, plus well engineered and researched pickups can make a mediocre guitar sound awesome.
     

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