Author Topic: Vintage Dimarzio PAF Pickup  (Read 10984 times)

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Offline Jerryman

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Vintage Dimarzio PAF Pickup
« on: February 07, 2010, 04:09:49 pm »
As far as I know, these pickups ar very good, but not widely regarded  to be anything extra ordinarilay  special ?
Pity it is, because the 70's models  by now may be aged to perfection, just like real vintage Gibson PAF's.
I do know the Old Dimarzios seem to finally be going for a premium, including the older Super D's and PAF's.
I do happen to have a set socked away of the earliest Super D and an early Dimarzio PAF aiting for the right guitar one day, so I'm wondering if anyone mught have any input on this?
The Norton won't tame anything.  A fantastic pickup, it will make your LP sound like a wild mongoose who is piloting a F-22 raptor and smoking crystal meth

Offline 5150

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Re: Vintage Dimarzio PAF Pickup
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2010, 06:43:48 pm »
I don't know how much of a premium you would fetch for the older dimarzios. No idea if there's anything special about them. I mean I'd assume that a Super Distortion from the 70's would sound the same as a Super Distortion that was just freshly wound by dimarzio.

Offline Jerryman

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Re: Vintage Dimarzio PAF Pickup
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2010, 06:59:33 pm »
I don't know how much of a premium you would fetch for the older dimarzios. No idea if there's anything special about them. I mean I'd assume that a Super Distortion from the 70's would sound the same as a Super Distortion that was just freshly wound by dimarzio.

Well, it wouldnt sound the same, that much I'm sure of. Every pickup undergoes changes with aging, and mostly for the better in regard to vintage PAF's..
The Norton won't tame anything.  A fantastic pickup, it will make your LP sound like a wild mongoose who is piloting a F-22 raptor and smoking crystal meth

Offline zenmindbeginner

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Re: Vintage Dimarzio PAF Pickup
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2010, 10:08:17 am »
They are gonna be very collectible in the future. I have been trying to buy as many as I can get my hands on... I've got around 9 or 10 of them. The zebras seem almost impossible to find. Naval Jelly gets rid of the pole rust (applied by toothpick and removed with a Q-tip) and I use Dr. Duck's Axe Wax to condition the plastic and provide a barrier to future moisture. They are absolutely amazing pickups and have the mojo that everyone is looking for. The OP has the right idea.  ;D
Set it where you want... and WAIL!!!!

Offline Matt_B

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Re: Vintage Dimarzio PAF Pickup
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2010, 07:21:54 pm »
I don't know how much of a premium you would fetch for the older dimarzios. No idea if there's anything special about them. I mean I'd assume that a Super Distortion from the 70's would sound the same as a Super Distortion that was just freshly wound by dimarzio.
Well, it wouldnt sound the same, that much I'm sure of. Every pickup undergoes changes with aging, and mostly for the better in regard to vintage PAF's..
Pickups made in the 70s were made with more consistent materials so they don't age nearly as quickly as those made during the 50s. Look it up for yourself. Magnets don't mellow anywhere near as quick as they did back in the beginning. We're talking about the magnet losing around 2-3% of its magnetism over a a few (2-3) decades. If you think you can hear a difference and are willing to pay more than so be it but I will let science dictate my purchases and not false mojo. ;)
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 07:28:01 am by Matt_B »

Offline Jerryman

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Re: Vintage Dimarzio PAF Pickup
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2010, 07:34:56 pm »
Good thread people. In the democratic spirirt, it is not so much as who is right or wrong, as the free exchange of ideas that is important. By the way...you are wrong!!  ;D
The Norton won't tame anything.  A fantastic pickup, it will make your LP sound like a wild mongoose who is piloting a F-22 raptor and smoking crystal meth

Offline Matt_B

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Re: Vintage Dimarzio PAF Pickup
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2010, 07:30:11 am »
Like I said, believe what you want. I'd be happy to sell anyone some "vintage" Dimarzios that have been "aged to perfection". I am a firm believer in the philosophies of a Mr. P.T. Barnum. ;)

Magnetism FAQ

Will magnets lose their power over time?
Modern magnet materials do lose a very small fraction of their magnetism over time. For Samarium Cobalt materials, for example, this has been shown to be less that 1% over a period of ten years.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 07:36:58 am by Matt_B »

Offline zenmindbeginner

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Re: Vintage Dimarzio PAF Pickup
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2010, 12:24:41 pm »
As far as the magnets losing power over time, that is not what gives a vintage PAF it's mojo. Clapton, Page and Beck used actual Gibson PAFs in the 1960s and their sound is the definitive vintage PAF tone. There is no chance that their alnico magnets weakened in a space of months or a few years... nope, weakened magnets didn't contribute to the sound of the PAF. So are the DP103 pickups that they make today identical to the PAFs that Dimarzio made in the 70's and the early 80's? I doubt it. Guitar World's review of the 36th Anniversary PAF® was lackluster and the pickup came off sounding rather bland and unexciting. Larry redesigned the PAF recently, here's the quote from Dimarzio's website: The PAF® 36th Anniversary model has the best qualities of the Virtual PAF® and Virtual Hot PAF® pickups and then some. It’s as loud as the VHPAF™, but has as much low-end and midrange definition as the VPAF™ model. The highs are actually bigger and smoother than either model.

By Dimarzio's own definition, the current PAF bears little resemblance to their original design. There were deliberate changes made to the materials and production, there is really no way that they can sound the same and they don't, IMHO. Nobody tinkers with their pickup designs like Larry Dimarzio. He is a constant innovator and experimenter. I like Larry's original pickups much like I like "Van Halen I" as opposed to "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge". The latter my be a better record using high tech recording techniques and the latest trial and error methods of producing superior sounding albums... as well as having Eddie's years of wisdom behind him and the 30+ years of accumulated knowledge to avoid pitfalls and errors. Yet, "Van Halen I" is a superior record because it has mojo.

I have new Dimarzios and older Dimarzios... they all sound crazy different. The newer Dimarzios are truly amazing accomplishments and are extremely innovative. They have a HUGE sound compared to the vintage versions and have very little noise, they are in all respects better pickups. They just lack the sweet harmonics and slightly complex treble of the vintage versions. They also lack the almost acoustic like response of the original PAFs and that almost crystalline like high end that we associate with the vintage tone.

It might all be a placebo effect though... one's ears can fool one into believing something will sound a certain way due to an expectation of a certain outcome. I would swear that they sound different, but I could be wrong and they really don't, I've never been able to do a double blind test.

The vintage PAFs sell for a bit less than a brand new PAF® 36th Anniversary model does... unless they are zebra or have an output higher than 8K, then they don't ever sell for over $150. The only used Dimarzio pickup that consistently sells for over $100 is the Musicman Axis bridge model. Us vintage Dimarzio PAF fans are actually paying less for our pickups and are actually doing the environment a favor by recycling a perfectly good pickup that has already been created.  ;D
Set it where you want... and WAIL!!!!

Offline Matt_B

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Re: Vintage Dimarzio PAF Pickup
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2010, 01:44:19 pm »
I will believe that an older Dimarzio sounds different than a new version of the same type of pickup just because it's made differently, not because it's "aged". Any variance in magnetism between old and new magnets could can easily be attributed to a host of other factors besides time passing.

The only way to be absolutely sure of precisely how much magnetism a pickup magnet loses over time is to measure a specific pickups when brand new than remeasure it every X years.

Offline yankeerob

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Re: Vintage Dimarzio PAF Pickup
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2018, 10:06:20 pm »
I'm a newbie to the forum but was researching PAFs and came across this thread...

In my experience - the original DiMarzio PAFs are quite a bit different to the new ones - they seemed to have more clarity - it's hard to describe but I think it's what people have come to call transparency.

I couldn't tell you why or discuss the materials, aging of magnets and all that jazz... I just know what I've always heard - in the way of a difference. I always just assumed - rightly or wrongly - that it was more likely to do with the volume of sales.

Whatever the reason - I simply just thought I'd offer my two penneth worth... I also had a very early Pre-B Tele bridge pickup that was massively better than a later one... again no idea why... ;D ;D ;D

Offline Matt_B

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Re: Vintage Dimarzio PAF Pickup
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2018, 12:44:36 pm »
In my experience - the original DiMarzio PAFs are quite a bit different to the new ones - they seemed to have more clarity - it's hard to describe but I think it's what people have come to call transparency.
When we're discussing Dimarzio PAFs we really need to compare apples to apples because Dimarzio has offered a slew of PAF variants over the years (Virtual, Virtual Hot, Air Classic, PAF Master, 36th Anniversary, etc.).

Offline DarthPhineas

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Re: Vintage Dimarzio PAF Pickup
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2018, 09:28:31 am »

In my experience - the original DiMarzio PAFs are quite a bit different to the new ones - they seemed to have more clarity - it's hard to describe but I think it's what people have come to call transparency.


I like the Virtual PAF Bridge and the Virtual Hot Bridge. Have not laid hands on a Virtual PAF Neck... yet. I also like the 36th Anniversary Bridge.

Try to keep my eyes open for the old DP103.

The newer PAF Master Set and the PAF 59 Set were both disappointments for my goals.
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Offline Matt_B

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Re: Vintage Dimarzio PAF Pickup
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2018, 11:31:53 am »

In my experience - the original DiMarzio PAFs are quite a bit different to the new ones - they seemed to have more clarity - it's hard to describe but I think it's what people have come to call transparency.


I like the Virtual PAF Bridge and the Virtual Hot Bridge. Have not laid hands on a Virtual PAF Neck... yet. I also like the 36th Anniversary Bridge.

Try to keep my eyes open for the old DP103.

The newer PAF Master Set and the PAF 59 Set were both disappointments for my goals.
I've been interested in the VHPAF but have chosen to not try one because if I really liked, I'd have to get like 14 more for all my guitars. ;)

Offline DarthPhineas

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Re: Vintage Dimarzio PAF Pickup
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2018, 06:00:16 am »

In my experience - the original DiMarzio PAFs are quite a bit different to the new ones - they seemed to have more clarity - it's hard to describe but I think it's what people have come to call transparency.


I like the Virtual PAF Bridge and the Virtual Hot Bridge. Have not laid hands on a Virtual PAF Neck... yet. I also like the 36th Anniversary Bridge.

Try to keep my eyes open for the old DP103.

The newer PAF Master Set and the PAF 59 Set were both disappointments for my goals.
I've been interested in the VHPAF but have chosen to not try one because if I really liked, I'd have to get like 14 more for all my guitars. ;)


Haha. I liked mine so much a pal wanted to borrow it. He liked it so much that he just bought new a new one rather than take it out of his guitar. Of course, that’s when they were still available. I hear that’s about the time that banjomike realized there were some left and bought them out.
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Offline perrygoround

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Re: Vintage Dimarzio PAF Pickup
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2018, 08:57:43 am »
Hi, I am new in this forum. I have just won an ebay auction for a pair of DiMarzio PAF Classics (DP194 and DP195). As they are not currently on production it is hard to find reviews, oppinions, videos or audio samples of those pickups. For what I have researched they seem to be slightly overwound PAF with alnico V and the air technology to weaken the effect of the magnet. Hopefully I will receive them during next week.
Meanwhile, anyone here has direct experience with those? what can I expect?
I was looking for PAF pickups with a little extra output, to play classic and Hard Rock. Aerosmith, Guns & Roses, Pearl Jam, etc... for the neck I would like being able to get some Gary moore tones.
What do you think, will these pickups fit my needs?
On paper it seems so, but I would like to hear oppions of somebody that had played them.
The will go on a 2018 Gibson Les Paul Tribute which currently is fit with the 490/498 combo.

Finally, last question, since they are 4 conductor, will they split well?