Reissues - why all Alnico III?

sumitagarwal

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I love this idea, but you know damn well the you-know-whos would get completely hung up on any deviation whatsoever from "vintage specs."
Hey, nobody would be stopping them from buying up the 58, 59, or 60 issues instead of the current calendar year =P
 

OldBenKenobi

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I was thinking a little more about A3 and the "idealized" view of the original bursts, and how that changes over time since current tastes change the original bursts varied widely. We end up seeing these tastes baked into changing specs and build on the '58, '59, and '60 "reissues".

What I would LOVE to see is Gibson go ahead and offer a top-shelf *ISSUE* model. I.e. a "2022 Les Paul Standard Issue", that is a reflection of the current year's idealized Les Paul. A few years ago it would have been a mega thick neck, but today that trends a bit thinner. There was a time when it would have had A5 magnets, to better drive mid-gain circuits, but today that would be A3 for better clarity on boutique amps and because gain is supremely accessible.

Also gives them an opportunity to boldly highlight a color of the year, like how Pantone has their color of the years. Frees them up from the constraints of historical accuracy but of course in many years the idealized LP would be historically accurate in most respects (everyone already agrees that some things, like bridge placement, neck angle, or tuning key material, are maybe best not replicated anyway).

But what do I know about Product management and marketing.
Isn't that what Gibson basically did during the Henry era, with each model year bringing new specs?
 

Mosster47

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This is just my personal experience, but if I'm playing at bedroom levels a low wind, PAF style A3 sounds way better than anything else. At high volume they need to be pushed pretty hard and they can get a little too jangly. A P90 with A3s at any volume are the best sounding pickup ever made, IMO.

Other than ECP RD-59s I hate A4s at low volume. I have a set of BKP Mules and every time I play them at low volume I start looking for what to replace them with. Then I turn it up or play with others and I fall in love with them.

A2s don't do anything overly well, but they also don't do anything poorly. I get why they're popular. They can do it all with no real complaints. The same goes for P90s.

A5s kill in a cranked up bridge pickup. Put your guitar dials on 10, turn your amp way up, strum an E chord. That's why you're obsessed with playing guitar. An A5 in the neck? Mud bog.

Not long ago one of the pickup gurus at Gibson said they could make an identical PAF replica, they'd come with A4s and people wouldn't like them. That's mainly because the people buying them are going to play low volume 99% of the time. At low volumes A3s just do it all really well and that's why they're in Custombuckers.
 

sumitagarwal

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This is just my personal experience, but if I'm playing at bedroom levels a low wind, PAF style A3 sounds way better than anything else. At high volume they need to be pushed pretty hard and they can get a little too jangly. A P90 with A3s at any volume are the best sounding pickup ever made, IMO.

Other than ECP RD-59s I hate A4s at low volume. I have a set of BKP Mules and every time I play them at low volume I start looking for what to replace them with. Then I turn it up or play with others and I fall in love with them.

A2s don't do anything overly well, but they also don't do anything poorly. I get why they're popular. They can do it all with no real complaints. The same goes for P90s.

A5s kill in a cranked up bridge pickup. Put your guitar dials on 10, turn your amp way up, strum an E chord. That's why you're obsessed with playing guitar. An A5 in the neck? Mud bog.

Not long ago one of the pickup gurus at Gibson said they could make an identical PAF replica, they'd come with A4s and people wouldn't like them. That's mainly because the people buying them are going to play low volume 99% of the time. At low volumes A3s just do it all really well and that's why they're in Custombuckers.
Super curious where you saw that about Gibson saying A4's would have been the most accurate?

For a low-wind unbalanced coil neck pickup I keep going back and forth between wanting to spec A3 versus A4 (yes, I know it's easy to swap, but I want a factory installed nickel cover that's likely to be less microphonic than my own crappy installation).
 

MCT

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Super curious where you saw that about Gibson saying A4's would have been the most accurate?

About 3/4 of the way down.

I’m frankly skeptical of his statements. For one, in my experience, PAF’s are not darker than most people think, but brighter. And from what I read, there’s a question mark over whether Alnico IV existed as a category in 1959…he even admits that he has no clue what the composition of the magnet was, so how is he certain it’s Alnico 4?
 

sumitagarwal

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About 3/4 of the way down.

I’m frankly skeptical of his statements. For one, in my experience, PAF’s are not darker than most people think, but brighter. And from what I read, there’s a question mark over whether Alnico IV existed as a category in 1959…he even admits that he has no clue what the composition of the magnet was, so how is he certain it’s Alnico 4?
Thanks.

Yea, in almost any video I can think of (Dave Stephens, Joe Bonamassa, etc) the vintage bursts always sound very bright (FWIW, unplugged too), and the owners comment on them being very bright. Here's a great short example with a 1957, which from what I understand is more likely to have A3's than later ones if in fact any PAF's really did have A3's:

P.S. I like the shade they throw in that article:
The darkness and midrange heaviness Mat describes are not characteristics we associate with the many original PAFs we have tried. But we’ll agree to differ and are excited by the prospect of Gibson finally getting around to making proper PAFs again.
 

MCT

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Here's a great short example with a 1957, which from what I understand is more likely to have A3's than later ones if in fact any PAF's really did have A3's:
They absolutely did early on. A3 has basically no cobalt, and was the predominant magnet in P-90’s made in the ‘50’s and early PAF’s because, as I understand it, cobalt was a war mineral being used in the Korean War. But by ‘58, and certainly by ‘59/‘60, the percentage of PAF’s with A3 dropped precipitously.
 

sumitagarwal

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They absolutely did early on. A3 has basically no cobalt, and was the predominant magnet in P-90’s made in the ‘50’s and early PAF’s because, as I understand it, cobalt was a war mineral being used in the Korean War. But by ‘58, and certainly by ‘59/‘60, the percentage of PAF’s with A3 dropped precipitously.
Don't let Dave Stephens hear you say that ;)

I also find it curious that Throbak has no A3 PAF models, unless you count their oddball "patent office" model which also has some unusual construction differences.
 

MCT

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Don't let Dave Stephens hear you say that ;)

I also find it curious that Throbak has no A3 PAF models, unless you count their oddball "patent office" model which also has some unusual construction differences.
My recollection is that Dave didn’t say NO PAF’s had them, just that very few did, and mostly early on…but maybe I’m misremembering…
 

sumitagarwal

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I'm pretty sure he said no PAF's had them and Alnico 3 was a marketing scam
 

MCT

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I'm pretty sure he said no PAF's had them and Alnico 3 was a marketing scam
You’re probably referring to this:


“10. PAFS USED ALNICO 3 MAGNETS.
This is a marketing scam. It is possible that there was an old stock of Gibson’s magnets had a few laying around that got used by accident, but they were no staple regularly ever used. Alnico 3 was used by Gibson during the Korean War years [1950-1953], only in P90’s because PAFs didn’t exist then, and NOT afterwards. Alnico 3, is technically called “ALNI.” For Alnico, and Nickel. The “CO” stood for Cobalt. During the Korean War [1950-1953] Cobalt was designated a “War Mineral,” and banned for commercial uses. So that's why the old P90’s DID use alnico 3, but in ’57 alnico 2 became the dominant magnet used in their new humbuckers.”

I mean, Dave clearly knows more than I do on this topic, but other winders have definitely said they’ve seen A3 in early PAF’s. Unfortunately, getting general agreement among modern pickup makers on basically anything is like herding cats.
 

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