The 2017 ReWind Electric Summer Gear Giveaway is ON now! (FREE PICKUPS & MORE)

Discussion in 'Vendor Classifieds' started by cooljuk, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    Go crank up your LP without the attenuator on the amp, man! That should keep you entertained and with enough sound to deafen a small venue. I know I'd love to do that right now. :cheers:

    ReWind is actually my only job, and has been for 4-5- years. ...but I do have to put bread on the table and keep the lights on so if I have to take a day or two away from the giveaway thread because I have a bench full of work and clients coming by with guitars that need attention, please forgive me. Some days, I don't get a chance to sit down and do a proper review, but I have tried to bang them out when I can and keep up with an average of one a day or better. I'll try to get them wrapped up ASAP. We are making progress.

    So - Thanks for being cool about it, guys. On to more reviews now....
     
  2. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    Hey Doc -

    There are a few reasons I went with a recommendation of PAF-1s over the Medium Outputs, after hearing you play your rig and reading your entry. I have had a great deal of success with Medium Outputs, and A4 pickups in general, in ES style guitars. A3s with hotter coils can also be nice.

    Gearing your playing style, I thought the slight amount of compression that comes from the coils of the PAF-1s (not nearly as much compression as most A2 or A5 magnets) would be a benefit to your fingering style, bringing out the more subtle nuances of your technique.

    You also mentioned liking the greater harmonic content of the pickups you have. The Medium Outputs aren't exactly plain or simple sounding but they are certainly far more transparent than the PAF-1s which are extremely harmonically rich.

    In addition, you also mentioned liking the midrange of the pickups you have and, in hearing your rig, I think I could tell you're a fan of a more midrangy-vocal sound, again leaning me to favor the PAF-1s over the Medium Outputs.

    Words like "woody" "vocal" and "quack" in your description all bring me to PAF-1s. So, I think the Medium Outputs are a fair recommendation for an ES guitar, after hearing/reading more about your gear and preferences - I'm definitely more confident that the PAF-1s would be a better choice for you.


    Regarding Brian May / Bohemian Rhapsody - well, perhaps this is a weak point for me but I have minimal knowledge of his gear. If he used the one-off guitar with the three single coils - that's an ENTIRELY different animal than an ES style guitar with humbuckers. If he played through a Vox, as I think he's known for, that's also quite a different voicing than an Orange with a WGS speaker. I'd say those two amps are polar opposites, as far as Brit-sound amps go, actually. I mean, you're better off trying to cop a Vox sound with an Orange than you would be the other way around, so I think you could get close, and your Varitone circuit, especially how you described it, will probably get you some of those quacky single coil sounds like in Raphsody, so it's not hopeless. Perhaps you can get close with the right settings and some amount of bright fuzz from a Rangemaster or Tone Bender?

    btw - I like your idea of using a Varitone with fuzz. I've actually never tried that but I imagine it can help to make a finicky fuzz pedal more "bucker-friendly." I'll have to try that next time I have one around.
     
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  3. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    @scrumm21 - I can see why, for your style and for your rig, you would want something more like the '57 Classics, over the stock 490 498 R/T pickups. Just in general, I find the “R&T” series pickups by Gibson to be congested and overly pushy. Not very clear and detailed, but still sometimes harsh. They seem very particular about the amps/rigs they get along with, as well. I know some love them above all else and stand by them, and they are good for those people. I do think they are something of a “one trick pony” though and if you aren’t into that one sound, they can be rather disappointing.


    Considering your interest in the ’57 Classics, and that I think your guitar would also benefit from some additional clarity and detail to really open it up to it’s full potential, letting the natural voice of the instrument come through the amp more, I’m going to recommend a set of Creme Brûlées, as well as a 50’s style wiring harness with pot values matched to the pickups. This will get you in that general “A2 PAF” sound of the ’57 Classics, but without any of the muddy/dark neck and the harsh/thin bridge issues that that set can tend to have. You’ll get an overall voicing that is in the same realm as a warmer late-1950 PAF with a long A2 magnet but with increased note separation, more detail and clarity, and a beautifully open, breathy, airy extended top end response, as well as a better balance in bass and output between the bridge and neck pickups.


    The wiring harness will help with that balance of bass and output, and also help with keeping things clear and detailed. Better military spec NOS PIO caps will remain stable in capacitance value across a wide range of temperatures to keep the response consistent in a wide range of conditions, reject EMI and RFI noise better, and hold their capacitance value over time, as well.


    That setup above is not at all uncommon for me to do as an upgrade for a Les Paul and a player looking for a classic sound. In fact, it’s one of the more common setups I do. …and for good reason. It’s got a great track record, always makes a great improvement, and also allows a fantastic range of voicings by just adjusting the switch and knobs. The pickups, themselves, are fairly sensitive to pickup and pole piece height adjustments and can be dialed into any guitar/rig/style very easily. All in all, I think this would be a great electronics setup and a versatile upgrade for you and your guitar.
     
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  4. Rapdog

    Rapdog Senior Member

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    James: you rec creme brûlée to me but the paf-1's sound so awesome to me after reading your comments and what you think. What is the main difference you would say between the two?
     
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  5. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    Well, the coil patterns, exact wire sizes, coil offsets, magnets, and steels are different, physically.

    The A2 Creme Brûlées have far more compression from the magnets and less from the coils. The Creme Brûlées are, overall, warmer with more midrange and less treble and output than the A4 PAF-1s. The biggest difference in the voicing is that the Creme Brûlées have the very distinct and typical A2 magnet sound. They have a prominent honk or quack in the upper mids / lower treble and the compression in the midrange is more significant. They also have the softer, but sweeter, treble response of the A2s. So there is less snap and spank in the treble, but the very extended top of the frequency spectrum still comes though with the open and breathy qualities of the original PAFs.

    The PAF-1s are more dynamic, have more overall treble content, and less of a focus on the midrange frequencies, though the mids are still prominent and very complex. They have a tighter feel, with a bit of coil compression which sounds a little different than the frequency-based compression of the A2 Creme Brûlées.

    Output wise - for whatever that is worth (not much normally, with most rigs today) the PAF-1s do have a bit more output.

    Creme Brûlées work well with all AlNiCo types. PAF-1s works best with A4 or A5 types, but can also be used with A3s in the right guitar/rig. PAF-1s do not get along with A2s very well, as the compression builds up and the treble is minimal, making them sound dark and mushy, compared to other options in my lineup.
     
  6. Dr. Strangelove

    Dr. Strangelove Member

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    Awesome James, thanks so much. You're definitely right about me wanting more midrange and compression, as I primarily play things in the vain of 70's and early 80's era Rush and some more modern jazz fusion stuff like Guthrie Govan as I mentioned, so that added bit of compression would help me get some of that sweet tube drive at more bearable volumes. The PAF-1s definitely seem the way to go. I do actually own a Vox AC15 (one of those nifty Handwired ones I scooped up for like $700 on a really good day) and I primarily gig with it, but I can't use it at home because of those pesky noise ordinances. I've toyed with the idea of splitting the coils of both humbucker and reversing the neck phase all by way of push-pull pots (or maybe even some push-push pots, as I'm curious to try them), which is why I had the idea of trying the Page style wiring harness, but as I mentioned I certainly don't want to request something in a giveaway situation in the off chance I won, so I'll probably mess around with the wiring some other time. Again, I can't thank you enough for how awesome you've been with this whole competition and how personal and friendly you've been with all of us. I'm happy to have even gotten the chance to enter.
     
  7. devnulljp

    devnulljp Senior Member

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    Yes, that's the one!

    This very relevant to my interests. I did try a couple of humbuckers (a couple of Seymour Duncans and an old Gibson T-top) in that guitar, but as you said they were dark and boomy, which is why I went with the Teisco.
    The resistor trick sounds interesting ... you just run a resistor alongside the hot wire to the pot?
     
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  8. kboman

    kboman Senior Member

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    Sorry about putting it so ineptly - that's what I meant with dayjob. The need to prioritise is totally understandable, no need to apologise :)
     
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  9. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    @MasterEvan07 - Great video and a cool song to use, as well. I know how annenuators can mess with the sound and feel of an amp, but the sound of your guitar and rig came across through that and the recording, to me. We've had some conversations about your LP, as well, and I think I can hear some of the aspects about its natural acoustic voice that we've previously discussed.

    I do think, overall, the Low Output PAFs are a good match but I'd recommend a custom set with some modifications for your guitar. I know you got the set in the demo on a pre-built clearance sale, so you didn't get the option for the free mods/rewinding I offer to new sale but you've got an opportunity here to have a new set with the giveaway!

    What I would do on a custom Low Output PAF set is one of my warmer sounding A2 varieties in the bridge, the standard warmer sounding pole screw alloy in the bridge and a slight and even overwind to both bridge coils. For the neck, I'd opt for my brighter sounding A2 variety, the brighter sounding pole screw alloy, and a slight underwind to just the slug coil.

    The reasons for the slight overwinding of the bridge coils and the slight underwinding of the neck slug coil is to introduce a little more balance offset between the two pickups in bass and output, making the bridge a little fuller and louder and the neck a little brighter and lower in output. Just very slightly, though. I don't want to step far away from the original voice of the pickups and take away the bluesy vocal sounds of the neck or darken up the bridge too much. ...but I don't think that alone will take the bass/volume offset far enough that you can still have the pickup and pole screw heights where you want them to get the voicing you want from that guitar. That's why I would be adjusting the magnets and screw alloys, as well. This will take the pickups to where they need to be without messing with the resonant peaks too much. Well, almost where they need to be....

    The other change I would recommend is a custom harness, one with pot values chosen specifically to continue in the direction of the coil, iron, and steel mods above. Some lower value pots on the bridge pickup and some higher value pots on the neck. If you've got .022uF (or whatever value you have found you like) caps in both positions now, and are liking them, for the frequencies they scoop, than that value should stay. We can get the overall sound you are after without having to compromise by using brighter/darker caps and experiencing the side effects of doing that. Choosing the exact pot values to balance the pickup coils will be the final touch in getting the balance between the pickups you need to match your guitar's naturally darker neck position, without sacrificing the overall sound of the pickups.

    I'm confident that, from our conversations and from your video, those simple modifications to a Low Output PAF set and wiring harness will bring your guitar more in balance with itself and more in line with your sonic goals.

    :cheers2:
     
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  10. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    The resistor is actually run in parallel with the pickup coil, commonly attached from the switch lug to ground.
     
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  11. MasterEvan07

    MasterEvan07 Senior Member

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    Well, once I win and get all the new parts installed, and have the new posts and inserts in place, it'll be unstoppable!!!
     
  12. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    @dmoss74 - Great clip you shared. It's very explanatory of your sound and playing style, all on its own. Was that all finger picking? I can tell you are a Tele guy, at heart. The Vox amp is clear and telling, regarding the sound of the guitar. It gets a little raspy with the dirt, but maintains some clarity and definition, which is a nice sound. It is actually difficult for me to criticize the sound of your guitar/rig, I think it's quite nice and fits you. I am curious, though, without divulging the pickup brand you have now, are the coils hand wound? They sound hand wound to me. Some very low TPLs and far wire feed distances can sound that way even on machine wound coils, though, so I could be mislead. Your rig is very detailed though, and I suspect they are hand wound. Not a better/worse thing, even though all PAFs were machine wound. It's still just preference, at the end of the day. I'm just testing my ears/brain by asking. Regardless, even though I find your sound very pleasing and articulate already and pretty well-suited for your style, your description tells me just what you are after regarding change and I have a solid idea on how to confidently take you there...

    I'm going to suggest a custom set, using specifically thicker (within the gauge of AWG 42) wire than I normally would. Though I think an A4 Medium Output Set could also be a nice compliment in your guitar, I lean more towards an A2 Low Output Set for a number of reasons. Both the fact that the guitar is a Custom and also that your AC15 is particularly a brighter amp. I think you have enough room in the treble response and dynamics of your rig to take advantage of the somewhat warmer A2s with the slightly compressed midrange. That will result in a very vintage sounding guitar, especially with the covers, which do change the sound of the pickup a little, even with the originals and the best replicas. The lower output coils of this set, compared to the Mediums, will also probably keep the overall resonances of the coils and output within better range of your goals.

    I have a few reasons for wanting to use the thicker wire. First, a very detailed and open response of the lower frequencies. Extreme clarity on the lower frets of the wound strings, almost that of an A3 because of this wire, even though we are talking about A2 magnets. The physically wider coils, for the same amount of turns, give a nice full and clear sound with a wide pickup area under the stings, which is detailed and complex, yet clean and true. The other reason is that the thicker wire will help me to place the upper resonant peaks of the pickup (yes, plural peakS!) in the desired frequency range while simultaneously hitting my goal for the overall output of the pickups. Wire gauge can have such a great impact on the sound of a pickup, and is often overlooked. The wire Gibson was using for 40's-early 60's pickups had a tolerance that was four times looser than it is today. Much like magnets, I find it necessary to have a wide selection of options available to me in exact sizes of copper core and insulation thickness for achieving the exact voicing of a pickup I'm after. ...also much like magnets, though I've tried to narrow that down over the years to simplify my inventory and product specs, I've only grown it larger, in reality. The results don't lie and they outweigh my interest in simplification. Several of my pickup sets use three or four specific spools of wire for the coils, either to accurately replicate specific PAFs I've chosen or to intentionally alter the voicing in one way or another. Complicated, but worth it in the result!

    Similar to some of the previous entries, I'd recommend exact pot values chosen to match the coils of the pickups to the natural voicing of your guitar. Also similarly to the coil modification, this will help, especially on the bridge, for me to keep the resonant peaks where I want them without changing the output and other aspects of the pickup voicing to far away from the mark. Assuming your guitar has pots that read about 500k in it now. I'd probably opt for pots just a hair above that in the neck positions and just a hair below that in the bridge. I don't think you got to twisting your tone knobs on the demo so I'm not sure what value caps you are using but, presuming you are happy with the values, and they are at least somewhat close to typical for a Gibson, I wouldn't suggest a change in that regard unless you specifically are looking for something different in rolloff frequency or interaction.

    Great entry! I'd come to a gig of yours anytime, to both enjoy the music and to gush over the gear. :D
     
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  13. DotStudio

    DotStudio Silver Supporter

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    I really enjoyed that, very cool playing style. Want to start a band? :laugh2:
     
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  14. scrumm21

    scrumm21 Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Thanks so much James !!
    Your insights on my rig and Everyone else's is great reading. I'm enjoying each and every one of them !
    Mg
     
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  15. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    @kboman - A unique guitar, for sure! You know, even if you haven't said so, I'd have guessed those were Antiquities. Those pickups do have a very consistent character to them. I find them a little bland, personally, but the prominent peak in the midrange is extremely consistent from one to the next and, though it may not be exactly true to a PAF, it's true to itself and a sound that can be identified. I don't have any experience with the Baby '71 but hearing it right in the middle of two consistent humbuckers that I'm very familiar with, though your clean amp sounds, I have been given a very clear indication of this pickup's voice.

    Part of me wanted to lean towards PAF-1s for the wide frequency response, interesting midrange, and rather dynamic response. ...but after hearing all of the demo and thinking outside the box, I think I have come up with an even better solution....

    Though a bit unusual, I'd like to suggest a set of VLOs with magnetic pole pieces. Not instead of the typical A3 bar magnets, but in addition to them. Magnetic pole piece pickups sound very different than pickups with steel pole pieces that have magnets below. placing the magnets inside the coil, with their poles aimed directly at the strings create a fuller, louder, more dynamic, bolder sound. I think by doing this, you can take advantage of those qualities, which I think will fit your guitar and style well, and also boost the output of the VLOs to a level that would better match the Baby '71 in the middle. If you end up having to lower the middle pickup a hair, that may not be a bad thing, anyway, as it will get it out of the way of your right hand while playing and perhaps even brighten it up a touch. That may not be necessary, but I think it is a better option than having to raise it to keep up with the higher output PAF-1s.

    So, this is something of an unconventional idea, and I don't have any demos of pickups like this to share, but I have built sets just like this a number of times and the result is very nice - a VLO humbucker set that's got a little more output and a bit of the voicing from a Strat pickup. They are still humbuckers, for sure, but they are a very clear, detailed and dynamic set of humbuckers that now has even a little more of those qualities and some of the real true clarity on the wound strings that a Strat has.

    Let me know if you think this might be something you'd like. I, personally, think it will be a great match for you and the guitar!

    :cheers:
     
  16. kboman

    kboman Senior Member

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    I like it a lot! I've been thinking along much the same lines myself with magnetic pole pieces, I think it's the only solution that will work here. Something with the humbucker feel (which I love and prefer way above single coils) but elements of what makes single coils so useful in terms of dynamics and clarity. I play a lot with fuzz and layered guitar sounds in my looping so any help from the pickups is a good thing for sure.

    Thank you James! Fingers fully crossed here :)
     
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  17. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    @cousingrandpa - cool demo! I dig all the Sabbath-style stuff.

    I can tell your rig has the potential for more clarity and detail. I can hear it in the higher gain stuff when the compression brings out the harmonics and things sound bright and crisp here and there. It sounds, to me, like your pickups/electronics are loosing detail and clarity when you clean up, though, and not really "breathing through" your amp, as they could be. Basically, things sound a bit congested, especially in the clean material.

    While listening to your demo, I was thinking a PAF-1 set with A5 magnets, with the hotter of the two pickups in the bridge position, and with an overwound bridge pickup. I'm still fairly confident that that would make an excellent tie-in for your guitar and rig but I did notice your comment about A4 magnets. The PAF-1s do actually come with A4s by default, and that would also be a great pairing. The main difference is that A4s will have much more midrange and a little less treble and the A5s will have a bit of a scooped midrange with more treble, particularly focused around the pick-attack-frequencies.

    So here's where your input would be helpful -
    If you have had bad experiences with A5s in the past, sounding thuddy, boomy, brittle, harsh, or overly scooped with no midrange, I understand that. That's how most modern A5s are. With mine, however, you don't need to worry about any of that. I've on my 4th revision of my A5 blend and processing method. I've been tweaking it for several years now, experimenting with different elemental mixes and heating/cooling cycles to get a smoother treble and bass, as well has having a bit more midrange. I like to say my A5s have taken a step or two in the direction of A2s, which is actually exactly how I would describe the vintage A5s of 1950's and 1960's Gibson pickups. I have my alloy made into long and extra short bars, each both oriented and unoriented, so I end up having four choices of the exact A5 I use in a pickup, as well. For what I described above, I'd opt for a long oriented A5 in the neck and a short unoriented in the bridge. That would make your bridge warmer, with a bit more midrange, and the neck would remain crisp and clear (but not at all harsh or overly scooped).

    That said, my A4s are also nothing to scoff at! They tend to be a bit warmer, fuller, and more midrangy than others. Some A4s out there are particularly bright and thin, and that's a great thing in some pickups but not the type I would suggest for your guitar/rig/style. People tend to really love my A4s. Your have a greater dynamic range with the A4s, making the pickups a bit more responsive to your playing style, and the bass would be tighter and more punchy. You'd have a little less treble but, because of the entire design of my pickups, you'd still have SO MUCH more clarity and detail than what you've got now, even with the hot and overwound coils. You'll never get mud out of one of my pickups, even with the coils get super hot.

    I'm also going to suggest new pots, so the simplest way is to just do a drop-in harness. The thing I like the least about these PRS guitars is the lack of knobs. I'm a die-hard "4 knobs and a switch" guy and even only 3 knobs challenges me. Having only two knobs and a single switch to work with is always going to be a compromise, because I can't use custom value pots to load the individual coils to taste (there are tricks with resistors to work around that but they all have their compromises, as well). I thinking that, for your style, you tend to use both the volume knob and tone knob in your playing so I think the best option is to just use somewhat higher value pots in both positions (maybe 510k) and balance the pickups with the coils and pickup and pole piece height adjustments.

    Let me know what you think, regarding my recommendation. Specifically, the A4/A5 magnet options. I still lean to A5 for you, but you know you best and both options would be excellent!
     
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  18. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    @Jer - Your video is a riot! If theatrics were a factor, you'd take it! Likewise, my wife would give you a win based on your adorable daughter. You two make a great team of super heroes!

    Your guitar/rig sounds pretty good for your style, honestly. I don't think it's a bad pairing of player/guitar/amp, at all. That said, I do hear the congestion and lack of open, breathy detail, as well as the unusual midrange peak of the Custombuckers. With some pickups that are more transparent and open, the natural sound of the guitar and your playing would come through much better. With some pickups that actually have frequency response in the very top end, you'd have a more detailed sound that captured all the little nuances you may not even know you are missing. Similarly, more detail on the lower frets of the wound strings and note separation in chords would also help to open things up and let the guitar really come through as its best.

    Hard to argue with your own conclusion of PAF-1s. I do think they would be an excellent match for you and your rig. Unlike cousingrandpa above, I think the choice of the default A4s for yours would be a no-brainer. You'll have a little more of a bluesy midrange, a greater dynamic response and, since I'm not recommending an overwind here, the midrange balance with the A4s and stock coils would, I think, compliment your amp very well. I think you'll appreciate the open, breathy, clarity and note separation that you're just not getting now and I think the additional harmonic content in the mids with a much broader range of vocal sounds as you roll the controls around will be an inspiring and awakening experience for your guitar.

    Speaking of rolling the controls around - it's a shame to hear that beauty came from Gibson with ceramic caps and modern wiring. Their pots tend to leave much to be desired in the taper, at least for most players/rigs, as well. Easily enough fixed, however. I always like the option of choosing the exact pot values for a given set of pickups/guitar, to really voice them to each other. So, yes, I do think a 50's style harness with custom selected pot values and some decent caps would make an excellent pairing for the PAF-1s and your gem of a Les Paul. That will only help with the openness and clarity, as well as allowing for a much broader range of voicings and useable settings on the knobs.

    :cheers:
     
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  19. cousingrandpa

    cousingrandpa Senior Member

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    James, thanks for your suggestions, I would go with what you suggest for the PRS as what I have in it are like I said, not quite right & you know the ins & outs of pickups a bit more than I do. I would say it's the top end shimmer that's missing with this guitar. I like a smooth mid range with a just right top end shimmer, the neck has the hollow woodyness that I like though. The volume pot thats in it reads at 540k & I think that this guitar tends to respond to pickups a little more like an SG than a Les Paul. My experience with A5's are the over the counter & stock brands.
    My favorite band is Sabbath followed by Floyd, SRV, The Allmans & Hendrix.
    Tom
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
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  20. cooljuk

    cooljuk Transducer Producer Premium Member MLP Vendor

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    @darthphineas - Yours was a little tricky, since I didn't necessarily get to hear the actual guitar that you are considering putting pickups in. On the other hand, you did provide excellent descriptions of what you are after in your posts. The audio/video quality is absolutely professional! I'm very impressed with that.

    My first thoughts were something like overwound T-Tops or 70's Super Distortion style pickups, based on just the video. I still think you might dig a set of hotter pickups like that from me for those types of playing styles.

    However, since you said you wanted sweet and airy brightness that retains clarity and definition, and mentioned quack and bite, and I also know you like the JPP neck pickup I'm going to recommend a PAF-style set. A PAF-1 set, actually. I think that's three recommendations for that set in a row, today! It's a versatile set.

    For yours, knowing you like the JPP neck, and mentioned "bite" - I'm leaning towards UOA5s in your PAF-1 recommendation. You'll still get plenty of quack from the very harmonically rich hotter coils, which help to fill in the midrange, but the UOA5 will give you a crisper attack on the top end, in the pick attack frequency range. You'll get a little more brightness with the A5 types, as well as more of a defined palm-mute "chug" if you need to get into that territory.

    :cheers2:
     
    darthphineas and Jer like this.

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