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Vintage threads from the first ten years

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Re: Gaussmeter

2/10/2006 12:12 AM
Dave Stephens Re: Gaussmeter
I rarely recreate vintage pickups, its more that I learn from them than try to be a copyist. I emailed my magnet supplier and they tell me A5 can't be made without being in a magnetic field during casting or sintering. This is coming from China though, so would be curious to hear what your supplier says. PAFs are fascinating to me and I'm always experimenting looking for a tone in my head and one I hear every week from a friend's real PAF. They are kinda on the dark side, but sweet. I think if you got all the modern correct parts and put them together you wouldn't get that tone, there's some missing element, maybe aging , maybe how thick the insulaton was, who knows.......
2/10/2006 8:20 AM

We've probably got the same supplier, most of us do. I have heard that there was a filler added to 50's magnets that is not in use today. They just do seem to have a sound. All the classic recorded paf tones were done with these pups being less than 15 years old, so I am not sure if aging is a factor ( at that time). Probably just happy coincidence of poor machinery, indifferent QC ( for the pickup, any way) and bored employees. Everything I read on paf's leads me to believe that nobody considered them a crucial element, if they produced a signal they were used. The original specs as Lover designed them were largely ignored, with regard to coil matching, magnet type. Nobody can do it bang on. And the large variation in sound and specs. A paf "sound" is not that hard, a specific sound however is another matter. A lot of variables to consider. Have you maaged to get specs off of your friends' paf?
2/10/2006 11:43 AM

BTW, just saw your site. Very nice.
2/10/2006 6:59 PM
Dave Stephens
Thanks I'm a graphic designer, 30 years of it, do mostly album packaging for the big Shrapnel stars.  
I'm seeing my friend at his jam this sunday, last he told me he knows where his PAFs are at a friend's so don't know if he has them back yet or not, I am dying to look at these things and run them through every test on the Extech and substitution inductance alnico grading tests and gaussmeter etc. I'm hoping to be able to get at the coil starts to see what ratio the two coils are against eachother. I have no idea if these are good pickups or not, haven't asked him if they suck or are golden tones :-)  
where did you hear that they used "fillers" in old alnico? Never heard that one before...
2/10/2006 8:14 PM
Ed T.

I first read about the subject of PAF magnets with a filler material on the Les Paul Forum a few months ago - it was mentioned by Wolfe Macleod.  
I'm not so confident in what I hear about PAF magnets being so special for a few reasons - most notably, if they truly were the magic, then PAF rewinds probably would be worth the same as original PAF's; the truth is, they sustain a precipitous devaluation once rewound. Secondly, one cannot discount the fact that the evidence seems to point to Gibson using a variety of magnet grades and compositions during that time.  
If one believes in the "PAF magic" in the first place (which I do), where is the evidence of correlation between the magnet and the magic?  
2/10/2006 10:08 PM

Exactly where I heard it. Gibson did use whatever grade was the right size and available, but I beleive it is the composition that makes the grade i.e. the different quantities of materials. In other words Alnico 2 is Alnico 2, if you use less cobalt and more aluminum it becomes a different grade. So I don't think that the basic formulas have changed over the years ( with respect to the 3 main ingredients). The only thing I have to go by is anecdotal. There are a few guys on the LP forum who have swapped out magnets for 50's paf magnets and claimed to have recreated that paf magic. I recall reading one thread where it was done to Duncan Atiquities with great results. But I have not heard it for myself.
2/11/2006 5:25 AM

Well not all PAFs are great sounding. Duncan Antiquities are no longer handwound either so either those guys on the LP forum had some of the very first ones made or they are just willing their ears to hear PAF magic going on.  
I've never heared of fillers, whatever they are,being used on PAFs. Who's gonna strip the magnets out of old 50's PAFs to try them out in Duncans anyway? Sounds like crap to me.

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