Ever Put Old Pickups in a New Les Paul?

fuzzdemon

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I bought an old Les Paul once, it was my first one and sadly I didnt have any experience with them, it wasn't until I sold it and bought another one some years later that I realised that the first one was very special, it had a warmth and nuances that my current Les Paul doesn't have even after trying various expensive pickups, it just doesn't even come close, so now playing my Les Paul is a very sad lacking experience and I just cant enjoy it. For all I know that first Les Paul could have had original PAFs.
Once you taste a guitar that nice its hard to settle for anything less. I often wonder if the reason ebay is full of modern Les Pauls is because people are not getting even close to the holy grail Les Paul tone and are selling up and trying to get an older one.
 
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Dave Makowski

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I put a set of 1974 Gibson T-Top's in a 2002 Gibson Les Paul Classic Tobacco Sunburst and it sounded way better. I should mention that I sent those Gibson T-Tops to Lindy for wax potting and installation of new braided leads. Lindy did a fantastic job of making those T-Tops so much quieter. I also want to mention I found out about the Seymour Duncan '59's that were stock in a Heritage H-150 I owned. If you haven't played a matched set of SD '59's you can purchase a "Vintage Blues" set of open coil double black '59's for $145.00. I was blown away at just how great the SD '59's sound.
1576275508628.jpeg
 

LeftyF2003

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As with all the burst era guitars, not all the old PAFs sound great. It's a bit of a gamble if you get a good one or a bad one. For whatever with the new pickups, they do tend to be more consistent depending on the winder. Big picture with instruments, it's the alchemy of all the parts that make up the whole that make up the overall sound...
 

Zoobiedood

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I put a set of 1974 Gibson T-Top's in a 2002 Gibson Les Paul Classic Tobacco Sunburst and it sounded way better. I should mention that I sent those Gibson T-Tops to Lindy for wax potting and installation of new braided leads. Lindy did a fantastic job of making those T-Tops so much quieter. I also want to mention I found out about the Seymour Duncan '59's that were stock in a Heritage H-150 I owned. If you haven't played a matched set of SD '59's you can purchase a "Vintage Blues" set of open coil double black '59's for $145.00. I was blown away at just how great the SD '59's sound.View attachment 426575
59s are underrated. They are pretty cheap and easily available, but they still sound great.
 

The Laserist

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I have found that the secret ingredient for great tone is in the caps. I traded out standard caps for Orange Drops and it made a difference.
Then I traded out the Orange Drops for PIO caps and Bazinga! Not a little difference but a BIG difference. I have heard and read a lot about PIO caps both here and elsewhere but couldn't begin to appreciate them until I tried it first hand.
I took a Epi Les Paul and replaced the pick ups with SD 59's and PIO caps and used a 50's wiring schematic and that guitar with my 100 watt JSM 900 combo gets the mid 70's Jimmy Page sound.
 

Burny FLG

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Had a glorious sounding '68 bridge in the '83 custom LP. When I went to sell it, a lot of people wanted the original Tim Shaw.
 

grumphh

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I took a Epi Les Paul and replaced the pick ups with SD 59's and PIO caps and used a 50's wiring schematic
Yup, given that you only changed the pickups and the wiring scheme apart from the caps, it stands to reason that itmust have been the caps that were responsible for the change in tone.

Mark my words, the deductive power is strong with this one. Great things are to be expected from him...

You all heard it from the horses mouth: Tone is in the dielectric!!!
 

The Laserist

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Yup, given that you only changed the pickups and the wiring scheme apart from the caps, it stands to reason that itmust have been the caps that were responsible for the change in tone.

Mark my words, the deductive power is strong with this one. Great things are to be expected from him...

You all heard it from the horses mouth: Tone is in the dielectric!!!
Yes, I changed everything on that guitar but I changed only the caps on a couple of different ones first. As others have indicated the tone/sound of a guitar is greater than the sum of it's parts. But the parts do matter. PIO caps were the missing piece to get the tone I was after.
 

grumphh

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PIO caps were the missing piece to get the tone I was after.
Of course they were. This formula
accircuits-acp122[1].gif
has absolutely nothing to do with what the capacitor does to your pickup signal - as i already wrote: Tone is in the dielectric.
 

El Kabong

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I'll say this, most every modern pickup I've ever played lacks some particular qualities that are commonly found in pretty much every PAF - in particular, the ability to have a big, thick, harmonically rich, fat sound which is simultaneously open and breathy and clear on the top end. Not only pickups, but nearly all modern guitar/sound/recording gear lacks that seemingly impossible combination of "fat and clean at the same time" that lots of vintage gear has. If I could find those qualities that I loved about all the vintage PAFs I had the pleasure of being exposed to through my various occupations in music, I would have never bothered trying to make my own. So, ya, to me - most do fall short. Pretty far from it, actually. That doesn't mean they aren't fine sounding pickups, many more detailed or even sounding than stock or big brand names. They just don't have the characteristics particular to, and common in most, PAFs.
This really nails it... I'd add that while I've heard rumors of bad sounding original PAFs I've never actually heard any and would attribute such anecdotal claims (I knew a guy who knew a guy) to faulty wiring, poor setup, bad amp, etc. before blaming the PAFs. Prove me wrong... ;)
 

Kaicho8888

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The way I see it, a PAF sticker is more of a "desire" for the myth than actual tone. Being an old fart like me, I've got a number of PAF's and they are not as impressive as the newer pickups or PAF copies. Besides, I still don't know what a PAF tone sounds like anyway.

I still tweak and sound like "me" no matter what pickup or amp I use... sadly, fingers get older and NOT better tone. But playing and jam'n is still a lot of fun!
 

Elmore

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I put an early 70’s Gibson T-Top in the neck position of my ‘87 prehistoric/standard. It has CTS 500K pots and Jensen paper in oil caps. Sounds great, detailed with beef. A T-Top in the neck position sounds fantastic. Matches nicely with the Seymour Duncan Whole Lotta Humbucker in the bridge.

 
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cheetah77

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I think it’s finding the right recipe. I’ve got a great 2003 R9 that I bought from MLP member Danelectro about ten years ago. It’s had many of the popular winders pickups in it, but it wasn’t until I put late 50s Centralab pots in that I stopped swapping parts.

I bought eight pots, all read between 540-560k and the taper is the smoothest I’ve found. I paired them with sticker T-Tops (7.6k) and that was the perfect combo for me. I think if I’d changed the pots first, I would’ve been happy with most of the modern pickups I tried.
 

The Duke

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Here is a 2014 R9 HOG 50th anniversary that was sent to Dave Johnson for a make over. She has a full 50's harness and a pair of PAF's and it's by far my best sounding guitar. I've played on so many great custom shop guitars and own a few, including a great sounding GY replica.
 

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OBX351

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02 R8 front Hog.jpg
57GTB - hog.jpg


I haven't but the guitar in the top photo, an '02, very small run all mahogany LP custom, has before I got it. The original owner owned the below pic of an original '57 or '58 all mahogany refinished gold top. Years later, he bought the '02 with Lollars, he put in a pair of original zebra or white/white PAFs for a photo shoot and to play. But he thought the Lollars sounded better than the PAFs so he switched them back. I bought the '02 Hog about six to eight years ago, and can attest to the fact that this guitar is a beast.
 

Gtarzan81

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I put an early 70’s Gibson T-Top in the neck position of my ‘87 prehistoric/standard. It has CTS 500K pots and Jensen paper in oil caps. Sounds great, detailed with beef. A T-Top in the neck position sounds fantastic. Matches nicely with the Seymour Duncan Whole Lotta Humbucker in the bridge.

I love me some WLH bridge Humbucker
 


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