How does classic 57’s stand up against other PAF replicas?

Heppe

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I have the classic 57 set in 2012 335 they sound alright I think, but how do they stand up to other PAF clones such as ReWind, Wizz, Lundgren, Ox, Fralin, Lollar etc

And how about the stock electronics in the 335,does it come with 500k pots?
 

ARandall

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Personally....not even close. In fact so far out of the tonal ballpark its not even located in the same universe.
I had the 57 classic (and the '+') in a 2012 Trad+. Bright and one dimensional in the bridge and dull and muffled in the neck.

But everyone has their own idea on what is 'good' tonally and what works for them and what they listen for. So in short nobody else can decide for you what you like.
I went from stock pickups to Duncan Antiquities.....then to Sheptone, Wolfetone and Zhangbucker back in those days. They were the first baby steps into the boutique world for me as Wizz, OX4 and ReWind were either not about or in their absolute infancy.

My Trad+ had 500k volume, 300k tones. Not sure about the 335's though.
 

Andrew1225

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50’s wiring with a low wind Alnico 4 PAF copy will sound infinitely better than what you have going on now.
 

cooljuk

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In a way, you have to applaud Gibson for making a pickup that's both muddy and brittle, at the same time.

That said, still the best humbucker they've made since the 1970s, I'd say.
 

JohnnyN

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They don't compare!
That sais quite a few people actually like the 57s. They are possibly more skilled than I and can make almost anything sound good.
I have more money than talent, which have it's pros and cons. A pro is that I can afford far better pickups :)
 

RocketKing

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I have them in my 339.
In my experience Gibson's stock electronics including pickups are, at best, ok.
The 57s are geared towards the low mids and can sound big and heavy but with time, if you have the opportunity to compare with other higher grade pickups, you realize that what they say is true : they can be brittle and/or muffled sounding.
I'll eventually swap my set out when I have the opportunity.
It's a typical case of Gibson bad marketing nomenclature.
They are a humbucking pick up.
In that regard they do their job with their personality.
But have absolutely nothing to do with an average 1957 P. A. F.
Having said that I also prefer 57 classics to burstbucker pros or 59 and 61 tributes.
 

jcsk8

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Personally....not even close. In fact so far out of the tonal ballpark its not even located in the same universe.
I had the 57 classic (and the '+') in a 2012 Trad+. Bright and one dimensional in the bridge and dull and muffled in the neck.

But everyone has their own idea on what is 'good' tonally and what works for them and what they listen for. So in short nobody else can decide for you what you like.
I went from stock pickups to Duncan Antiquities.....then to Sheptone, Wolfetone and Zhangbucker back in those days. They were the first baby steps into the boutique world for me as Wizz, OX4 and ReWind were either not about or in their absolute infancy.

My Trad+ had 500k volume, 300k tones. Not sure about the 335's though.
From those what are you favorites?
 

ARandall

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Man, so hard to find a favourite. Every time I pick up one of my scratch built LP's (collectively with a variety of winder's product in them) they just all have their own voice - I tend to play what they are best suited to.
 

John_P

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My 20 years old Memphis 335 came stock with Classic 57' and 300k pots. (For several decades from the mid 70s and past the millenium most humbucker Gibsons got 300k pots. The '50s original 500k pots were reintroduced with the historic reissues). It makes a world of difference for anyone who uses his Volume knobs.
Here's the thing: Some pickups from the past are voiced to go together with 300k pots.
Many people dig Classic 57s with 300k pots. I don't, but I think they are nice with 500k.
They have a flat EQ (more relative midrange) than my other PAFs and could possibly be perceived "bright" although not particularly "trebly". I think they are pretty nice in a 335, provided the pots are changed to 500k. (otherwise your 335 would only want to play distorted tones on Volume 10).
 

jonesy

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It's really not that hard to build a PAF clone that sounds really great.

American Low carbon slugs and screw poles, butyrate bobbins, 42 pe wire, rough cast alnico magnets and maple spacer, nickel silver 49.2mm baseplate and nickel silver cover. No wax potting, they need to be unpotted and have that alive sound.

Neck wound to 7.6k to 7.8k and bridge any where from 8.0k to 8.6K depending on your tastes. I like the sound of Alnico 3 or 4 magnets. I find A2's to be dull and A5's to be too bright.

To many romantic notations and mystique about PAFs, it's a simple recipe. Originals were machine wound but a modern builder can scatter wind them and they will sound excellent. I have had good results with this method myself.

To many options out there nowadays to be settling for mediocre off the shelf factory pickups.
 

brianbzed

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I have the classic 57 set in 2012 335 they sound alright I think, but how do they stand up to other PAF clones such as ReWind, Wizz, Lundgren, Ox, Fralin, Lollar etc

And how about the stock electronics in the 335,does it come with 500k pots?
I have '57 Classics in 2 of my Pauls...and they are OK. These guitars get used for classic rock, country and blues in a variety of settings. They deliver "garden variety" PAF tones. For something more specialized, I'm a Seymour Duncan fan...have not gone the boutique route, yet...never owned a 335, so I don't know about their pots. Good luck on your tone search!
09 (6).jpg
 

Blues_Verne

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I have '57 Classics in 2 of my Pauls...and they are OK. These guitars get used for classic rock, country and blues in a variety of settings. They deliver "garden variety" PAF tones. For something more specialized, I'm a Seymour Duncan fan...have not gone the boutique route, yet...never owned a 335, so I don't know about their pots. Good luck on your tone search! View attachment 562847
This is what I'd call !A tasty collection! :applause::applause:
 

GermHerm

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Ich use the 57 and 57+ in a 1981 LP Custom (Tobacco Burst). They work fine and sound good. I've have applied 550k-Vol pots and 500k-Tone pots but the capacitors are 33nF instead of 22nF. The Neck vol pot is equipped with a treble bleed (560pF // 330k). The Neck PU sound bright and full clean and overdriven.
I work intensively with Vol and Tone pots (sweet spot, never full open).

Furthermore, I use Barenuckle 'The Mule' PUs, Montys of London 'PAF' PUs, BB #2/#3, Custombuckers (potted and unpotted) — all in Custom Shop LPs. The 57 PUs are in that ballpark.
 
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CoolRene

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I had a 2008 335 featured with Classic 57’s that were muddy.
i first changed the wiring to ‘50s which enhanced a bit but still it wasn’t up to my expectations.
Depending on your taste and budget, you can try Antiquities, Bare Knuckles, Thobak or… Righteous: the most convincing to my ear…
 

jbash

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Early ones are better representations. I had a set from the late 1990s that were excellent- very warm, creamy sweet sounding pickups in a Tokai I had. What most people probably want to hear in a classic A2 type PAF sound. I should have kept them, but I sold them with the guitar.

Later 57s, when they started changing materials are more....brash...harsh...rough...and not terribly representative of any PAF flavor., they just sound Gibson-y. In a overly bright guitar the harshies are prevalent. In a very warm/muddy/dense guitar they will really lose clarity.

I do think they make a great pickup for mid gainy 60s/70s/ hard rock/classic metal, and I like them for that more than many boo-teek pickups which may be more accurate as a PAF, but are too lean, too "sweet" or don't hold clarity under that sort of gain very well (or all three combined).

They work well enough for Alex Lifeson in the clones of his #1 355.

IOW- In the right guitar they sound great. Just like every other pickup out there.
 

BluesDudeAK

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I've tried out a lot of Gibson pickups and the '57 classics were probably my favorite. I would like to give Custombuckers a try sometime. Tried a bunch of boutique ones too. Keepers in my guitars - Sigil old wire Holy Grail '58 and '59; Peter Florance '59; Rolph '59 Pretenders; Wolfetone Legends; and some old Van Zandts from the 80's the old man made for a run of guitars. I have some Monty pickups in the parts box to check out one of these days, which were on everyones best pickups of 2020 list. Lundgren Heaven '67 are on my bucket list.
 

hellzington

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My 339 had a Lollar Imperial Low Wind set and RS Guitarworks harness put into it before I bought it. I hated the Lollars. The bridge was very bright and snappy and the neck was dark and muddy. I had the bridge tone control on 4 and the neck on 10 and I still couldn't get them to balance. (They are both 500k pots, I had it checked.)

I swapped those out for a set of Burstbucker Pros, which was better, but still not the sound I was looking for. A bit too aggressive and sharp in the highs and lows. The bridge was still significantly brighter than the neck.

Ironically, I dropped that guitar off at the shop last week to get a '57 Classic and Classic+ put into them. I also asked them to put a treble bleed on the neck. I'm thinking maybe I can just roll the neck pickup back to 6-7 and then raise it up to balance the gain with the bridge. Might solve the problem.
 

2Muchgear

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Loaded question, but the short of it is ‘57’s dont suck. 50’s wiring and true 500k pots help. A lot. And then a magnet swap as A2 make a midrange sounding pick more midrangey. I use a3 or 4 neck (in a 335 style guitar) and had good luck with UOA5 for the bridge (I think of it as a more pick attack worthy option).

or swap ‘em - life is short. there isn’t enough time to test out all of the possible PAF style pups and one setup will grab you, eventually.
 

LeftyF2003

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I have a '57 in the neck on my LP. I changed it over to 50s wiring and raised the pole pieces / lowered the pickup, and it sounds infinitely better than stock. Oh yea, I also removed the cover which may have contributed.

This is true for any dark sounding pickup. Raising the pole pieces and lowering the pickup can save you thousands on tone chasing!
 


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