Gibson PAF (Patent Applied For)

FLICKOFLASH

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

In the mid-1950s, Gibson wanted to counter the latest electric guitars introduced by Fender. Leo Fender had built a company that was a sizable competitor in the solid-body guitar market place. Gibson believed they could beat Fender with their high quality Les Paul, and by developing a low-noise pickup.

The problem with Gibson's P-90 and Fender's single-coil pickups was inherent in their designs, allowing 60-cycle hum (noise) to interfer with the sound. Seth Lover was the Gibson engineer assigned to solve the problem. Seth connected two single coil pickups in series (opposed to parallel) and connected the coils out-of-phase electrically and magnetically. Thus the signal noise of each separate coil canceled out the noise of the other coil. That is how the pickup came to be known as a "humbucker".

Seth/Gibson filed their patent for the pickup design on June 22, 1955. Gibson added the new pickups to steel guitars in 1956, and in 1957 on electric solid-body and arch-top guitars including the Les Paul Model. During late 1957, a small black decal with gold lettering was added to the underside of the pickup that read, "PATENT APPLIED FOR" (hence the PAF abbreviation).

Seth Lover received his pickup patent #2,896,491 on July 28, 1959. By mid to late 1962, Gibson changed the pickup decal to read, "PATENT NO 2,737,842". Interestingly the patent number listed on the decal was not for Seth's pickup design but was for Les Paul's trapeze tailpiece! Perhaps this was a research roadblock for the competition, or maybe just a mistake?

PAF Magnets.
From 1956 until 1961 Gibson used different Alnico magnets in their PAF pickups. Alnico magnets (alloys ALuminum, NIckel, and CObalt) come in a different grades based on their magnetic strength. Gibson generally used the same magnets (size/grade) which was available for their P-90 pickups. But Gibson randomly used Alnico 2,3,4,5 grade magnets in PAFs until 1961 (remember the higher the magnet's number, the higher the magnetic strength). This can often account for how two PAF pickups can sound quite different. In July 1961 Gibson began consistently using a smaller Alnico 5 magnet (smaller as in the flat top side of the magnets were smaller lengthwise). The original length was 2.5" long, which was decreased to 1/8" long in July 1961. But the "short magnet" PAF can be seen here and there as early as 1960 and is still original. Just from a consistency point of view, July 1961 is the date considered by most as when short magnets were the norm for PAFs. Generally speaking decreasing the flat side size decreases the power of the pickups, but this was somewhat counteracted by the Alnico 5's added strength. So do short magnet PAFs sound better or worst than 1957-1960 long magnet PAFs? NO. In fact, they may sound better in many cases.

Dimensions of PAF magnets follow (measured using a micrometer, and obviously this will vary a bit from magnet to magnet): 2.509" long ("long magnet" version), .506" wide, .131" thick. The "short magnet" PAF length was the a bit different: 2.371" long, .491" wide, and .121" thick.

Pickup Wire and Winding Methods.
The pickup were wound with #42 plain enamel wire. On original PAFs the bobbin wire appears purple, versus later PAF and patent# pickups that appear reddish. Gibson eventually switched to polyurethane coated wire around 1963. When wire coatings change, the sound of the pickup does change, contributing to the PAF following. The amount of wire (and coating) wound on each bobbin determines the pickup's resistance. When the bobbins are wound with more than a nominal amount of wire (either on purpose or by accident), they are more powerful with fatter midrange but less treble. Due to the human factor and the wide tolerance of the manually-run pickup winding machines used by Gibson from 1956-1961, PAF pickups usually measure between 7.5 and 9.0 thousand ohms (K ohms). By 1962 (the end of the PAF era), Gibson was making pickups very consistently with 7.5k ohms of wire (give or take .25k ohms).

The separate bobbins of a PAF can measure very differently due to Gibson's manufacturing techniques. For example one bobbin could measure 3.5k, and the other 4.5k ohms (for a total of 8k ohms). This mis-matched ohms is actually a good thing, as certain frequencies will stand out if both bobbins have different resistance. This contributes to why two PAF pickups can sound quite different.

Around 1965 to 1968 (exact date unknown), Gibson changed from a manually-run pickup winding system to a fully automated system. Because of this their humbucking pickups all became a consistent 7.5k ohms from 1965 and later. The manual-run system had a machine operator that decided when a pickup bobbin reach about 5000 turns of wire. So there was plenty of room for under and over-winding. When the fully automated system came into place, the pickups were very consistent in their windings (and hence total ohms).

Gibson Models which Used PAF Pickups.
The 1957 to 1962 Les Paul Standard model is probably the most famous of the models to have PAFs pickups, though other models had them too. Like the ES-175, ES-295, Byrdland, ES-350, ES-5 switchmaster, L-5CE, the Super 400 and the ES-335/ES-345/ES-355 (when introduced in 1958/1959).

Jazz Guitar PAF Versions.
The hollowbody jazz guitars often used a slightly different PAF in the neck position which had different (narrower) string spacing, where the bridge position jazz PAF was identical to the neck & bridge PAF in say a Les Paul Standard. The models that used this narrow spacing neck PAF was the Byrdland, ES-350T, L-5CE, S-400CE and some Barney Kessel models. The distance on a narrow PAF from center to center of the two "E" adjustable poles is 1 13/16", compared to 1 15/16" on the "normal" spaced PAF pickup. Also since most of these models had gold plated parts, the narrow spaced PAFs would be gold plated (except on some Barney Kessels). If the pickup cover is removed from a narrow spaced PAF pickup, the "normal" pole position tooling marks can be seen on the narrow spaced PAF pickup.

PAF Guts (Covers, Decals, Bobbins, Tooling Marks, etc).
First and foremost, never ever remove the cover from an original PAF pickup, unless you have a darn good reason. There is just no need for this, and it really makes the pickup "unoriginal" if you remove the metal cover. If you are dying to see the color of the pickup bobbins, just remove one of the underside bottom mounting screws and look in the hole, instead of removing the pickup cover.

Early P.A.F. pickups as used on the 1956 lapsteels and 1957 Les Paul Standard had brushed stainless steel pickup covers (brushed to make them look nickel plated). This quickly changed to brass covers with a nickel plating. If the cover was gold, the brass was first nickel plated and then gold plated. Early PAFs also have four brass bobbin attachment screws, instead of steel screws. Also the early PAFs with stainless covers often did *not* have a PAF decal on the bottom (so some 1957 Gibson guitars will have unlabeled PAF pickups with brushed stainless covers).
PAF Pickup Detail Summary.
Here's a summary of Humbucking pickups. Just be aware that changes occur over time. When I say "1965" that does not mean January 1, 1965. All changes transition in as parts are used up and replaced by new parts.

* 1956 to Fall 1957: Original PAF. Long magnet, *no* PAF sticker, purple bobbin wire, black leads on both coils, brushed stainless steel covers, phillips screws on base, ohms can run from 7k to high 9k ohms, black bobbins PAF style bobbins ("circle in a square"), "L" shaped tool marks on feet. PAFs were first installed on lapsteels in 1956. The long magnet dimensions are 2.5" long, .5" wide, about .125" thick.
* Fall 1957-1960: Original PAF. Long magnet, "Patent Applied For" (PAF) sticker, purple bobbin wire, black leads on both coils, nickel covers, phillips screws on base, ohms can run from low 7k to high 9k ohms, black bobbins PAF style bobbins ("circle in a square") until 1959 cream colored pickup bobbins are often seen, 'L' shaped toolmarks on feet.
* 1961-1962: last PAF pickups. Short magnet (starting July 1961), PAF sticker, purple wire, black leads on both coils, nickel covers, phillips screws on base, both bobbins are black again, PAF style bobbins ("circle in a square"), "L" toolmarks on feet. The short magnet dimensions are 2.37" long, .5" wide, about .125" thick (decreased magnet length 1/8").
* 1962-1965: Early "patent no." sticker, nickel cover, short magnet, PAF style bobbins ("circle in a square"), redish/copper colored bobbin wire (probably happened in 1963), some point in here bobbin lead wires change to one black and one white, phillips screws on base. Plastic on bobbins more durable and bobbins are flat (PAF style pickups often have bowed pickup bobbins), "L" toolmarks on feet.

Note the last version of the PAF (1961-1962) is basically identical to the nickle plated 1963 Patent# pickup (and on guitars with gold parts, probably as late as 1967 Patent# pickups are equivalent to 1961-1962 PAFs, since Gibson used less gold plated parts and inventories lasted longer). Because the wire color changed around 1963 from purple to a redish/copper color (and some other changes, listed above), technically the 1964-1965 Patent# pickups are different than the 1963 Patent# and late PAF pickups (though the tone is very similar). Also keep in mind gold plated PAFs used in archtop electric guitars (especially varitone guitars) can be seen as late as 1965 (yes PAFs as late as 1965!) The reason for this was simple - Varitone guitars had gold plated pickups with one pickup having a reversed magnet. This style of pickup was used far less than a nickel plated pickup. Hence these gold plated varitone equipped archtops are sometimes seen with one or two PAF pickups into 1965.
* 1965: Late "patent no." sticker with no T-top, covers are now chrome, orange wire, one white bobbin lead, short magnet, phillips screws on base, "L" toolmarks start to disappear off feet (but can be seen as late as 1972), ohms run pretty consistent at 7.5k ohms.
* 1965-1975 (note overlap with prior bullet point): T-top, "patent no." sticker, no longer has hole in bobbin showing wire, orange wire, short magnet, screws on bottom of base are usually slotted but could be phillips. "L" toolmark can be seen on early T-top pickups.

After PAF pickups were gone, the patent# pickups were next and used from 1962 to 1965. Then from 1965 to 1975 (note overlap) the next Gibson humbucker is known as the "T bucker" or "T top". They are called this because of a "T" that is part of the molding on the front of the two pickup bobbins. These also had the decal with "Patent No 2,737,842" (still the patent number of Les Paul's trapeze tailpiece). The only way to see the "T" is to remove the pickup cover. A small change in late patent# pickups was white PVC bobbin wires instead of black (black was used on pre-1965 humbuckers). Also T buckers can use either slot or phillips head screws to hold the bobbins to the base plate. From 1976 to the 1980s they still used the "T bucker" but now they had the correct patent number stamped in the metal bottom plate (no decal).

When buying used Gibson pickups, many people will buy the "Patent No." style with an unopened nickel-plated cover. This pretty much guarentees you'll get a "good" pickup at a fair price (opposed to buying a PAF pickup with the "Patent Applied For" decal intact, which sell for more money). Sonically the nickel plated covered patent# pickups are excellent values, as they are very similar in sound to a real PAF pickup (but are much less expensive). Note if you buy a chrome covered Gibson pickup, it's a crap shoot as to what's inside - it could be either a T-bucker or not (but chances are good it will be a T-Top). For this reason I would generally avoid chrome covered Gibson humbuckers (unless they are really inexpensive), as the odds are against you in hopes of finding a non-Ttop
paf1.jpg

paf10.jpg
 

Vtwin

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Does anyone have detailed close-up photos of PAF stickers?
 

FLICKOFLASH

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7.3k - 8.0k AlNiCo 2/3/4/5 - Good range for neck pickups. Lower output equals cleaner and brighter tones so players leaning toward really clean tones should "think low". AlNiCo 2 provides the warmest tone, and AlNiCo 4 provides a nice crisp top and tight semi-big bottom that's good for jazz runs. AlNiCo 3 is in between A2 and A4 in terms of tone - bright like A4 but not as punchy - sizzling like A2 but not as warm. Properly treated, AlNiCo 5 can be sweet and balanced across the board in the neck position.
7.3k - 7.5k AlNiCo 5 Even Wind - Classic "T-Top" tone. The lower output doesn't drive your rig as hard as typicl "PAF" winds but these can work well for vintage rock tones with a cleaner character.
8.1k - 8.9k AlNiCo 2 Even Wind - Warm vintage tone with a hint of natural compression. Good response to pick attack, pinch harmonics, etc. Nice and smooth. More of a balanced "stereo" character than an asymmetric wind.
8.1k - 8.9k AlNiCo 2 Asymmetric Wind - Similar to even wind, but with a bit more edge/cut on top, a bit of low-mid emphasis, and good harmonic "swirl". Midrange emphasis generally increases with increasing resistance. Excellent "PAF" tone.
8.1k - 8.9k AlNiCo 5 Even Wind - Sweet vintage tone the rounder punch of A5 on the wound strings and brighter top end as compared to A2. Good response to pick attack, pinch harmonics, etc. More of a balanced "stereo" character than an asymmetric wind.
8.1k - 8.9k AlNiCo 5 Asymmetric Wind - Similar to even wind, but with a bit more edge/cut on top, a bit of low-mid emphasis, and good harmonic "swirl". Brighter and more open than the same wind with A2. Midrange emphasis generally increases with increasing resistance. Excellent "classic PAF" tone.
8.1k - 8.9k AlNiCo 3 Even Wind - Open/balanced tone with more highend feel and a tighter bottom than AlNiCo 2 though with a bit less power. Good response to pick attack, pinch harmonics, etc. Has a little more "air in the tone."
8.1k - 8.9k AlNiCo 3 Asymmetric Wind - Similar to even wind, but with a bit more edge/cut on top, a bit of low-mid emphasis, and good harmonic "swirl". Not as warm as AlNiCo 2 but better for really dark guitars or when you like more highend feel and overall open character.
9.4-9.7k AlNiCo 5 "Maximus" Wind - Provides enough drive for a more "gainy" sound, but retains a lot of the articulation and definition of a lower output pickup. Allows pairing with higher output at the neck. As with any HighOrder pickup, the actual DC resistance varies with the magnet wire lot on hand. Bigger builders have more control over this. I wind to turns though so the tone of the pickup remains intact while the dc resistance varies within a certain range.

HighOrderPickups.com
thanks for the info
 

refin

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And them comes along one Will Boggs,who caused all of us to rethink what the ultimate PAF tone is................
 

BOBBO

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7.3k - 8.0k AlNiCo 2/3/4/5 - Good range for neck pickups. Lower output equals cleaner and brighter tones so players leaning toward really clean tones should "think low". AlNiCo 2 provides the warmest tone, and AlNiCo 4 provides a nice crisp top and tight semi-big bottom that's good for jazz runs. AlNiCo 3 is in between A2 and A4 in terms of tone - bright like A4 but not as punchy - sizzling like A2 but not as warm. Properly treated, AlNiCo 5 can be sweet and balanced across the board in the neck position.
7.3k - 7.5k AlNiCo 5 Even Wind - Classic "T-Top" tone. The lower output doesn't drive your rig as hard as typicl "PAF" winds but these can work well for vintage rock tones with a cleaner character.
8.1k - 8.9k AlNiCo 2 Even Wind - Warm vintage tone with a hint of natural compression. Good response to pick attack, pinch harmonics, etc. Nice and smooth. More of a balanced "stereo" character than an asymmetric wind.
8.1k - 8.9k AlNiCo 2 Asymmetric Wind - Similar to even wind, but with a bit more edge/cut on top, a bit of low-mid emphasis, and good harmonic "swirl". Midrange emphasis generally increases with increasing resistance. Excellent "PAF" tone.
8.1k - 8.9k AlNiCo 5 Even Wind - Sweet vintage tone the rounder punch of A5 on the wound strings and brighter top end as compared to A2. Good response to pick attack, pinch harmonics, etc. More of a balanced "stereo" character than an asymmetric wind.
8.1k - 8.9k AlNiCo 5 Asymmetric Wind - Similar to even wind, but with a bit more edge/cut on top, a bit of low-mid emphasis, and good harmonic "swirl". Brighter and more open than the same wind with A2. Midrange emphasis generally increases with increasing resistance. Excellent "classic PAF" tone.
8.1k - 8.9k AlNiCo 3 Even Wind - Open/balanced tone with more highend feel and a tighter bottom than AlNiCo 2 though with a bit less power. Good response to pick attack, pinch harmonics, etc. Has a little more "air in the tone."
8.1k - 8.9k AlNiCo 3 Asymmetric Wind - Similar to even wind, but with a bit more edge/cut on top, a bit of low-mid emphasis, and good harmonic "swirl". Not as warm as AlNiCo 2 but better for really dark guitars or when you like more highend feel and overall open character.
9.4-9.7k AlNiCo 5 "Maximus" Wind - Provides enough drive for a more "gainy" sound, but retains a lot of the articulation and definition of a lower output pickup. Allows pairing with higher output at the neck. As with any HighOrder pickup, the actual DC resistance varies with the magnet wire lot on hand. Bigger builders have more control over this. I wind to turns though so the tone of the pickup remains intact while the dc resistance varies within a certain range.

HighOrderPickups.com
thanks for the info

That was very interesting !! I give it a 9.6 !!! :applause:
 

topo1983

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thanks
this I help when it comes my kits stwmac
thanks again:thumb:
 

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