Author Topic: PAF MASTER SET REVIEW  (Read 10590 times)

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Offline buddroyce

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PAF MASTER SET REVIEW
« on: November 05, 2014, 05:19:26 pm »
PAF MASTER Neck & BRIDGE REVIEW

SoÖ I woke up on my birthday to the sound of the mailman knocking on my door to be pleasantly surprised by a parcel from DiMarzio. It turns out they were nice enough to send me an evaluation set of the awesome new PAF Master humbuckers!!



PAF Master neck with the worn nickel cover and the bridge in the ever elusive double cream vintage glossy bobbins. Both standard spaced with vintage long legs and single conductor cables. Basically, a true vintage set.

Side note: This is the first time Iíve ever got the worn nickel covers from DiMarzio and I gotta say, I kinda like them!

Pic of the front of the neck pickup with the worn nickel cover
http://www.buddroyce.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/NeckFront.jpg
Back of the neck pickup.
http://www.buddroyce.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/NeckBack.jpg
Long legs with the awesome DiMarzio sun logo on the side!
http://www.buddroyce.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/BridgeSide.jpg

Seeing that the majority of my guitars are either routed for the triangular ears that are standard on most DiMarzio pickups, the number of guitars I could fit these pickups in were pretty slim. Since the pickups were probably a perfect fit in an old Les Paul that I donít own. I decided to put them in the next best thing, My ESP Potbelly!!

http://www.buddroyce.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/HostDone.jpg

The setup: ESP Potbelly, 9-50ís strings (yes I'm weird that way), tuned E-Standard to a concert pitch of A432 (I said I was weird right?). The amp is my ever trusty Egnater seminar amp I built a few years back with a DiMarzio cloth covered cable in between. No effects, amp EQ set wide open.

First Impressions

Time to plug in the guitar, turn the amp to 11 and whacking the E power chord!! My first impression isÖ. :D (yes, the smiley face is the first impression. If a picture is worth 1000, an emoticon is worth at least 200). Itís got some really nice crunch, tight bottom end and enough roar to scare away little animals in the vicinity or at least my dog. Itís 110% Rock Ní Roll attitude.

In more detail

Compared to the PAF 36th, the bridge is definitely brighter with more bite and definition. The added upper mids gives the illusion of having more output than the 36th. The bottom end feels more defined and rounded than the 36th but doesnít quite have the body that Iím used to having with the custom DiMarzio on the EBMM EVH. Itís great for everything from blues to Hard Rock but not so much for modern metal but definitely can pull off more of the vintage metal stuff.

Iím really impressed by how well the bridge pickup reacts to pick dynamics. Easing up on the attack almost feels like Iím rolling down the volume or cutting back on the presence, making it really easy to take everything down a notch or building up energy in a song really easy. What I used to do with my volume control with the higher output pickups Iím used to, I can do with my picking alone.

Switching over to the neck pickup with a decent amount of gain, the first thing that came to my mind oddly enough wasÖ Slash.

Iím normally not one to refer to Slash and his tone but busting out pentatonics high up the fretboard just had a tone that screamed Sweet Child oí Mine. Which is great for those that wanted that Slash sound but wanted to stick with the DiMarzio family of products. I honestly wouldnít be surprised if the PAF Master was really DiMarzioís take on the Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro Slash pickups. Itís got nice body but with enough bite for a really smooth throaty tone. Dig the pick harder and you can hear the tone get a bit more aggressive, lighten the attack and it gets rounder. Very nice!!!!

(Now that I think about it, the bridge pickup through a modded JCM800 did have that Appetite For Destruction vibe to it).

Itís not quite as smooth and liquid like the Air Norton or liquifire but definitely can hold its own with the shredders. Especially for those looking for something closer to what Joe Satriani has without being too much like Joe, although I can totally see him using the bridge pickup in the neck position.

Going to the clean channel and staying on the neck pickup, it has the same bell like top end I found in the PAF 36th but with more body. Very nice for blues and jazz without any harshness. The low notes are clear and well defined without getting muddy. Multi note chords ring through without the notes getting lost. This gives the bluesbucker a run for the money as my go to pickup for clean tones.

The bridge on clean is a bit harsh as most bridge position humbuckers normally are, but crank up the gain on the clean channel and itís got this fantastic sound when you just want a semi-clean tone with just little bit of break up. Here I can really feel how much my picking affects the tone. The notes break up while picking harder and then quickly clean up as I ease up. Normally I donít typically use the bridge pickup on clean much but the PAF Master is slowly making me change my mind.

Thatís it for my initial impression of the pickups. Iíll definitely have to give it another go, but I can definitely see the PAF Master set as having a permanent home in my guitars and definitely a pickup Iíll be recommend to others. If you wanted something like the PAF 36th bridge with a bit more attitude and bite while still maintaining that vintage PAF vibe, this is it!! Now if only they made a 7 string version.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 03:25:30 pm by buddroyce »
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Offline DarthPhineas

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Re: PAF MASTER SET REVIEW
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2014, 05:29:39 pm »
This set keeps sounding better and better.

Could you say how the neck position handles low chords with a dirty tone?  Things in the area of the E and A strings on and down past the 5th fret?  How is the boom/thump/woof with relation to other pickups?
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Offline buddroyce

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Re: PAF MASTER SET REVIEW
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2014, 05:37:03 pm »
It definitely handles it better than the most neck pickups. Add 9 and 7th chords still chime through nicely with a bit of bite on the neck pickup. I'll have to give it a shot with a significant amount of gain but I don't think it's going to be any worse than the PAF 36th. If anything the extra top end would give the notes more clarity. Give me a day or two to test that out to give you a definitive answer.
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Offline DarthPhineas

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Re: PAF MASTER SET REVIEW
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2014, 05:41:20 pm »

IGive me a day or two to test that out to give you a definitive answer.


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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: PAF MASTER SET REVIEW
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2014, 03:49:29 am »
Love your reviews! And sure an additional report of how the PAF Master neck handles high gain on the low strings would be very much appreciated.

You mentioned the Bluesbucker for comparison. Where do you hear the most differences between those two?

Thanks,
Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector neck, HB2, Cruisers, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T set, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, SD, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT-1, Morse set, Super Distortion S; Norton

Offline buddroyce

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Re: PAF MASTER SET REVIEW
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2014, 03:24:46 pm »
The bluesbucker is definitely brighter with more spank compared to the PAF Master Neck. Pretty different sound really. I find the PAF Master neck to be smoother on the upper registers but that's kinda expected since the Bluesbucker is designed to sound like a P90.
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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: PAF MASTER SET REVIEW
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2014, 03:46:09 am »
Many thanks, that is very interesting. What about the lows - which one of those two is clearer and less muddy?

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector neck, HB2, Cruisers, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T set, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, SD, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT-1, Morse set, Super Distortion S; Norton

Offline buddroyce

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Re: PAF MASTER SET REVIEW
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2014, 01:26:21 pm »
The lows feel about the same to me although the PAF Master does have more body to it than the Bluesbucker and a bit more crunch. The more I play with this, the more I'm tempted to just swap the Bluesbucker with the PAF Master as a permanent replacement.

I did finally, get a chance to try out the PAF Master neck in a high gain setting. Chords and what not on the lower registers definitely come out clear with without any mud.  Although I have to admit, it's probably not a sound I would use often as I do prefer how the bridge handles it the low notes better and I typically don't use the neck pickup for chords under high gain settings anyways.

Interestingly enough, after mentioning the Slash sound in my initial post, I decided to take a quick listen to some GnR and more specifically Appetite For Destruction since it's a sound that gets referenced pretty often by clients. With Slash's tone off the album fresh in my head, I tried to replicate the sound with the PAF Masters and my hot rodded Marshall clone and remarkably, it didn't need much tweaking!!! I don't know how close it is to the album, but compared to all the other pickups I've tried from DiMarzio it's the closest thing without requiring a lot of work. While the pickups don't do modern metal, they definitely do that hard rock without much problem.

Seriously guys, you need to try these out.
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Offline DarthPhineas

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Re: PAF MASTER SET REVIEW
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2014, 04:11:23 pm »
I actually don't really play barre chords down that low, as much as using that as a an indication of the pickups voice and clarity. Might sound odd, but it's what has worked for me.

I do have a Slash neck pickup and hearing that comparison actually turns me off from the PAF Master neck model.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 05:02:15 pm by adampone »
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Offline slugworth

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Re: PAF MASTER SET REVIEW
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2014, 02:15:10 pm »
Thanks for the review, Budd. This plus the Youtube vid comparing PAF Masters to the 36th set pushed me over the edge to order a PAF Master neck for myself.
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Re: PAF MASTER SET REVIEW
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2014, 05:29:29 pm »
Awesome review man! Aside from the 80's EVH era sound, one of the tones I always really dug was Slash's tone of Appetite For Destruction. I really should order myself a set. How tall is the pickup itself? I'm thinking of installing it in a EBMM Axis and it doesn't have a whole lot of room. I can't install a D-Sonic because of how tall the pickup is from the baseplate.

Offline Bucksears

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Re: PAF MASTER SET REVIEW
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2015, 09:49:19 am »
Bumping this one.
Would you say the PAF 36th Bridge and the Master Neck would be a good pairing?

Interesting you say the Master has more 'bite' than the 36th as I've always heard the opinion that the 36th bridge was too bright.

Offline gauchosilvertone

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Re: PAF MASTER SET REVIEW
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2015, 10:02:12 am »
PAF Master Bridge in Neck:  Sweet glorious glory.  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MCVW1dB4Edw&feature=youtu.be

Offline 123RnR

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My take on the PAF Master (neck)...
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2019, 11:58:17 pm »
PAF MASTER Neck & BRIDGE REVIEW

SoÖ I woke up on my birthday to the sound of the mailman knocking on my door to be pleasantly surprised by a parcel from DiMarzio. It turns out they were nice enough to send me an evaluation set of the awesome new PAF Master humbuckers!!



PAF Master neck with the worn nickel cover and the bridge in the ever elusive double cream vintage glossy bobbins. Both standard spaced with vintage long legs and single conductor cables. Basically, a true vintage set.

Side note: This is the first time Iíve ever got the worn nickel covers from DiMarzio and I gotta say, I kinda like them!

Pic of the front of the neck pickup with the worn nickel cover
http://www.buddroyce.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/NeckFront.jpg
Back of the neck pickup.
http://www.buddroyce.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/NeckBack.jpg
Long legs with the awesome DiMarzio sun logo on the side!
http://www.buddroyce.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/BridgeSide.jpg

Seeing that the majority of my guitars are either routed for the triangular ears that are standard on most DiMarzio pickups, the number of guitars I could fit these pickups in were pretty slim. Since the pickups were probably a perfect fit in an old Les Paul that I donít own. I decided to put them in the next best thing, My ESP Potbelly!!

http://www.buddroyce.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/HostDone.jpg

The setup: ESP Potbelly, 9-50ís strings (yes I'm weird that way), tuned E-Standard to a concert pitch of A432 (I said I was weird right?). The amp is my ever trusty Egnater seminar amp I built a few years back with a DiMarzio cloth covered cable in between. No effects, amp EQ set wide open.

First Impressions

Time to plug in the guitar, turn the amp to 11 and whacking the E power chord!! My first impression isÖ. :D (yes, the smiley face is the first impression. If a picture is worth 1000, an emoticon is worth at least 200). Itís got some really nice crunch, tight bottom end and enough roar to scare away little animals in the vicinity or at least my dog. Itís 110% Rock Ní Roll attitude.

In more detail

Compared to the PAF 36th, the bridge is definitely brighter with more bite and definition. The added upper mids gives the illusion of having more output than the 36th. The bottom end feels more defined and rounded than the 36th but doesnít quite have the body that Iím used to having with the custom DiMarzio on the EBMM EVH. Itís great for everything from blues to Hard Rock but not so much for modern metal but definitely can pull off more of the vintage metal stuff.

Iím really impressed by how well the bridge pickup reacts to pick dynamics. Easing up on the attack almost feels like Iím rolling down the volume or cutting back on the presence, making it really easy to take everything down a notch or building up energy in a song really easy. What I used to do with my volume control with the higher output pickups Iím used to, I can do with my picking alone.

Switching over to the neck pickup with a decent amount of gain, the first thing that came to my mind oddly enough wasÖ Slash.

Iím normally not one to refer to Slash and his tone but busting out pentatonics high up the fretboard just had a tone that screamed Sweet Child oí Mine. Which is great for those that wanted that Slash sound but wanted to stick with the DiMarzio family of products. I honestly wouldnít be surprised if the PAF Master was really DiMarzioís take on the Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro Slash pickups. Itís got nice body but with enough bite for a really smooth throaty tone. Dig the pick harder and you can hear the tone get a bit more aggressive, lighten the attack and it gets rounder. Very nice!!!!

(Now that I think about it, the bridge pickup through a modded JCM800 did have that Appetite For Destruction vibe to it).

Itís not quite as smooth and liquid like the Air Norton or liquifire but definitely can hold its own with the shredders. Especially for those looking for something closer to what Joe Satriani has without being too much like Joe, although I can totally see him using the bridge pickup in the neck position.

Going to the clean channel and staying on the neck pickup, it has the same bell like top end I found in the PAF 36th but with more body. Very nice for blues and jazz without any harshness. The low notes are clear and well defined without getting muddy. Multi note chords ring through without the notes getting lost. This gives the bluesbucker a run for the money as my go to pickup for clean tones.

The bridge on clean is a bit harsh as most bridge position humbuckers normally are, but crank up the gain on the clean channel and itís got this fantastic sound when you just want a semi-clean tone with just little bit of break up. Here I can really feel how much my picking affects the tone. The notes break up while picking harder and then quickly clean up as I ease up. Normally I donít typically use the bridge pickup on clean much but the PAF Master is slowly making me change my mind.

Thatís it for my initial impression of the pickups. Iíll definitely have to give it another go, but I can definitely see the PAF Master set as having a permanent home in my guitars and definitely a pickup Iíll be recommend to others. If you wanted something like the PAF 36th bridge with a bit more attitude and bite while still maintaining that vintage PAF vibe, this is it!! Now if only they made a 7 string version.


Hi there!
I hope you're well!
I own the PAF Master (neck) pickup and as of January 2019, it's installed on my Gibson Flying V.
What can I say about this pickup?

It's a Dimarzio ''PAF'' whatever. While some may diss Dimarzio as a vintage style pickup maker, I have to say that this pickup is actually vintage responding. You can clean it up and get it to break-up with your volume knob, something I have managed to prove on my Blackstar HT-40 and Marshall MG15CD amps.
It's a pretty ''clean'' pickup, but with ATTITUDE. With this I want to express that it's an aggressive pickup. Want something smooth for your neck pickup? Look elsewhere. This is aggressive lead/lead/lead tone all the time. Having owned the Slash Alnico II Pro set, I really do have to differ with Budd Royce comparison of Slash's AII Pro set to the Dimarzio PAF Master. Just in the neck, the Slash APH-2 pickup was smooth, big, woodier sounding, and even more ''tamed'' than the PAF Master. The PAF Master definitely has a different kind of tone more in the vein of ''Victim of Love'' by The Eagles. The tone/brightness can keep up at ease with the Dimarzio Super Distortion I have in the bridge, while always being in the vintage tone realm.

What kind of pickup is the PAF Master for? For all the guitar players that want to control their tone with their volume knobs, and the intensity of the distortion with their pedals. YES! This is the kind of pickup you can use in one channel (already overdriven) amps, and take it off to HEAVEN (or HELL) with your OD or distortion pedals. I can nail Gary Moore tones with it, of course with a more aggressive tone, but it can clean up so nicely!

My veredict at the moment, while I don't plan to keep it installed on my Flying V, I do believe I'll purchase the bridge pickup in the future, and install the set on my Gibson SG.

CONS:
The neck pickup can be bass lacking. It's preferred if you don't like that much bass in the position, want clarity in your bass strings tone, and you have an amp with a ''BASS'' knob.

That would be all for now. Feel free to ask any questions, and I do hope my honest review somehow helps forum members and online visitors alike. YES! I was also looking for information about the PAF Master, and there's so little. Feel free to make an account here, and ask any questions while I still have it installed!

Offline corypheus

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Re: My take on the PAF Master (neck)...
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2019, 12:49:42 am »
To be fair, I think most of people that dis on DiMarzio and their vintage line, don't like the aggresiveness/punch that DMZ pickups have, it's a common quality that all posess. It's the way how they react to pick attack, as opposed to for example Duncan which reacts more like a vintage pickup. And it is largerly a matter of taste. No good or bad, no worse or better, just different.

I tried PAF Master and just couldn't gel with them. They definitely felt more "PAF" then 36th anniversary, more old school, but that aggressive feeling to them made them feel like they were trying to be something else. FWIW, I do like 36th anniversary a lot, and recently started rolling it into most of my guitar's necks, as I generally find it more versatile and musical then what was there before - a Paf Pro. I have a les paul that previous had A2P which went and gave room to 36th anny set now, and I could swear it can still nail those GnR tones, to a T. But I digress.

There's a lot of different "PAF" sounds, and alot of qualities that people tie to that name, it's good to see there's more then one model catering to specific tastes. I hope DiMarzio will continue to add models in their vintage lineup (which is imho currently weakest/least developed).

So yes, thankful for the reviews and happy to see people dig them, they are great (if different) offerings in PAF pickup arena in the sea of custom shop replicas (a whole ordeal that is kinda getting silly already).