Author Topic: Talk me out of the PAF Master neck  (Read 765 times)

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Offline Dave J

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Talk me out of the PAF Master neck
« on: January 25, 2019, 02:35:45 pm »
So I have been littering the forum with questions on a neck 'bucker  for my Ibanez RG550 / basswood/ 24 fret/ Edge trem guitar with a Fred in the bridge and no middle single coil. I wanted a replacement for the Air Norton that was a little too dark for my wants. I wanted clearer wound strings, decent harmonics, and something that sits right on that line of rude and 'tude but still workable for more fluid runs. If it crosses the line slightly it should be towards rude and 'tude.

Dimarzio support was great and suggested an Air Classic neck. "Y'all " have provided some great input, and reading thru other threads has also been great ! Based on reading, youtube videos, and Dimarzio's tone charts I think I want the PAF Master neck.  I looked at the 36th neck as well but it seemed a liitle more polite but still not bad.  The PAF Master neck seemed similar to the PAF Joe but not as hot so I'd have more room to play with pickup height. The attack seemed quicker on the Master neck as well.  The Air Classic sounds great but also maybe a bit polite, and the HFH to be honest I couldn't get a great read on from  youtube. I fell back on Dimarzio's tone chart which I know might not be the end all but the Master neck had more mids per that chart. The HFH is a bit hotter so I don't know how that translates  when comparing the toe charts of the HFH and Master neck.

So I think the Master neck is my choice.  Based on what I want is the a good argument for the HFH or Air Classic? 

youse are the best !

Offline 123RnR

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Re: Talk me out of the PAF Master neck
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2019, 03:45:30 pm »
I have a PAF Master (neck) pickup installed on my V.
What would you like to know?

Offline Dave J

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Re: Talk me out of the PAF Master neck
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2019, 03:57:30 pm »
Quote
I have a PAF Master (neck) pickup installed on my V.
What would you like to know?

Well the review you posted in the PAF Master .. Everything you ever... forum was a huge help to me.  Thank you for spending the time to really put it to words! I thought you really gave a lot of details, and I liked what I read. Your V and my Ibby superstrat  are not the same beast, but I did see a couple of videos of the pickup on superstrats that swayed me. The Paul Gilbert video? Meh.  The only thing that would make me decide against it is if you told me it sucked at getting harmonics. ( as much as you can get them on a neck). 
Am I accurate in saying the Master Neck is less polite than a HFH, PAF Joe, 36th, Air Classic? 

Thanks !!

Oh, they are short leg mounts, right?

Offline 123RnR

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Re: Talk me out of the PAF Master neck
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2019, 05:20:20 pm »
Quote
I have a PAF Master (neck) pickup installed on my V.
What would you like to know?

Well the review you posted in the PAF Master .. Everything you ever... forum was a huge help to me.  Thank you for spending the time to really put it to words! I thought you really gave a lot of details, and I liked what I read. Your V and my Ibby superstrat  are not the same beast, but I did see a couple of videos of the pickup on superstrats that swayed me. The Paul Gilbert video? Meh.  The only thing that would make me decide against it is if you told me it sucked at getting harmonics. ( as much as you can get them on a neck). 
Am I accurate in saying the Master Neck is less polite than a HFH, PAF Joe, 36th, Air Classic? 

Thanks !!

Oh, they are short leg mounts, right?

Hi! I'm glad my review was of help to you. I haven't had the chance of trying those pickups myself, but I can contact my former tech that has experience playing those pickups. Once I read your reply, I connected my V into my Fender & Marshall amp. The PAF Master is definitely a classic/vintage sounding pickup with edge. I had the same problems you had with the Air Norton, with a Transition neck pickup. The PAF Master definitely removed the muddy, boomy, horrible clean, and too smooth sounds of the Transition. I can adjust my technique to have a smoother tone with the PAF Master, but they're still quite aggressive. For being a neck pickup, it can easily keep up with the tone of my Super Distortion in the bridge.  About the harmonics, it all depends on the amount of gain you have in your amp, and your guitar volume knob.  I'm not sure it will track fast/rapid notes as well as you may like. I remember everything sounded amazing while shredding with the Transition neck. Felt like a ''guitar god'' at times. The PAF Master won't do that. If you're a fast player, you may need to head in another direction. The pickup also lacks some bass, that will be noticeable in your longer scale guitar.
The PAF Master (neck) has short leg mounts. :)

I will be replacing mine for a PAF Pro in this guitar, so it can keep up better with the Super Distortion output. The PAF Master may be going into my Gibson SG.

Offline DarthPhineas

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Re: Talk me out of the PAF Master neck
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2019, 06:09:09 pm »
ďTalk me out of the PAF Master neckĒ



Ok. Donít get it.
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Offline Dave J

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Re: Talk me out of the PAF Master neck
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2019, 04:23:16 pm »
Quote
I'm not sure it will track fast/rapid notes as well as you may like. I remember everything sounded amazing while shredding with the Transition neck. Felt like a ''guitar god'' at times. The PAF Master won't do that. If you're a fast player, you may need to head in another direction.

Thank you. I do play ( try my best anyway) about as fast as Satriani, Gary Moore ish speeds , or anything Gilbert plays in his demo's on the neck. Nothing like super fast Bumblefoot sweeps. I have never paid attention to how my other pickups note track, it's a new concept to me. What does it sound like when a pickup doesn't track fast notes well? Like just undefined?

Quote
Ok. Donít get it.


LOL, stupid name for a post, I know.


Offline corypheus

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Re: Talk me out of the PAF Master neck
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2019, 07:43:58 am »
IME, Paf Master neck squishes under gain and faster passages on the lower strings turn to mush on a high gain setting. That was a big thing to me, and enough to stay with 36th anny (that don't exhibit the same issue) as my main neck pickup.

This was on modded Marshall 800 (Metaltronix) kind of amp, and I'd expect more mush on a boogie or 5150 and other high gainers for solo, as Metaltronix is pretty tight amp compared to the modern high gain monsters out there.

That said, ymmv.

HTH
Cory

Offline Dave J

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Re: Talk me out of the PAF Master neck
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2019, 02:22:36 pm »
Thanks for that info. You have indeed talked me out of the Master neck. By chance does anyone have a comparison of the 36th neck and the Air Classic neck that Dimarzio tech support suggests?
Gonna quit overthinking and get one of those two
( you and Darth! )

Thanks everyone

Offline corypheus

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Re: Talk me out of the PAF Master neck
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2019, 06:22:13 pm »
Hi,

Sadly, I don't have a comparison, because I tried the Air Classic neck ages ago, and I know I didn't keep it around.

If my memory serves me right, I think my issue at the time with it was it was a bit too quiet compared to my then-bridge, the Super Dee, there was a volume loss, and a huge difference in the amount of mids and I uninstalled it pretty quickly. IIRC, it had a hollow, soft vintage sound, much softer then 36 anniversary.

The 36, on the other hand, is probably the most versatile pickup DMZ produces, and only Paf PRO - it's bigger and more powerful brother, comes close to it. Does everything from vintage-correct tones to metal shred and everything in between. It's also loud enough for the bridge (the neck version), and I felt I liked it better on the bridge, then I did Paf Master bridge, fwiw. I also like it more then BKP Mule in the neck as well... imho can't ever go wrong with a 36th anniversary neck.

HTH,
Cory

Offline Dave J

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Re: Talk me out of the PAF Master neck
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2019, 03:05:00 pm »
Thanks Cory, and everyone!  Just bought a neck 36th. I'll post my "review" once it's in and I have tweaked pickup heights and pole screws. 

Offline corypheus

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Re: Talk me out of the PAF Master neck
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2019, 05:57:20 pm »
Thanks Cory, and everyone!  Just bought a neck 36th. I'll post my "review" once it's in and I have tweaked pickup heights and pole screws.

Congrats on your purchase, mate! Looking forward to the review.

Offline Dave J

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Re: Talk me out of the PAF Master neck
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2019, 01:08:35 pm »
Okay, got the DP103F  36th and it's in the neck. 
Ibanez RG550 24 fret maple neck/basswood body/ original edge locking trem/ Fred in bridge- no middle PU/ 9-46  Dunlop strings re-used

This replaced an Air Norton that I liked by and large but felt was a bit dark for what I wanted from this guitar.
The 36th is a warm pickup, but more open sounding and a little less powerful than the AN. Notes on the wound strings are warm and a little more of a clear, cutting sounding than the AN. Unwound and higher notes are defined but not thin. Note separation under a good amount of gain is good.   I would say overall not as dark as the AN, but not even close to as bright as I "understand " the HFH to be.  Pick attack is good and while not overly so, the pickup does react to varying degrees of pick attack. Hit the string hard and it does give a little more attitude. Relative to the neck position pick harmonics are there but not quite to the level of the AN. ( I can get them easy on even an unplugged electric, guitar willing)   Volume wise,  I have the 36th somewhere between 1/16th to 1/8th inch higher than I had the AN to balance with the Fred as it is set.   As for the line between  smooth and fluid  vs more aggressive  my ear says this pickup in my guitar is about 60% aggressive and 40% smooth/fluid.  I'd say this is a good neck pickup that can do a number of things well without going overboard in one direction or another. I haven't had too much time with it yet and thus didn't play a lot of clean with it, but I will. This is a rock guitar but I do play clean so I'll get some solid time with it this weekend and post an updated report in the "Everything you wanted to know about"  section that will include some clean opinions.  From what I did play clean,  the "does everything well" likely applies.

So am I happy with the swap?  For those of us who  don't swap pickups for the purpose of doing reviews ( and thank you to those that do that for us!) I think we hope to be blown away with our new pickup.  I am not blown away.  I can't say this one is staying.  I can say this pickup moved me more in the direction I wanted to go - overall- than the AN did and that I do like it. I will give it a hearty chance.  There are more height and pole piece adjustments to try.  I do baseline "testing" with my DSL40CR and no outboard effects, but I play with a pedal board  and always have at least my Big Sky reverb  on, and various combinations of delay, chorus  ( hey its an '80s rock guitar!) flanger . etc for some bits. I'll give it the whole 9 yards.  Also, in order to be accurate I kept the same strings on. The strings are not dead by any means but are in the " these can be changed "  window.  I had 10's on this guitar and a while back wanted to try 9-46's and the only set I had were the Dunlops in that gauge.  I have no complaints but I usually stick with tried and true D'addario XL's and sometimes DR tite-fit sets.  I certainly won't make any final decisions without a fresh set on the guitar.
If someone brought a similar RG550 to my house that had the 36th in the neck and I played it thru my rig I am not 100% sure I'd have bought it. ( assuming similar wear on the strings).  I was hoping for a little more " bell like" tone on the wound strings and maybe more harmonics. At the same time I went for this because I was concerned the HFH might be too far in the other direction.  I'm gonna keep it for now and see what I can get out of it.  There are screws to be turned, knobs to be turned, maybe a new string gauge, and for sure it's almost due for new  strings of the same gauge  anyway.
Thanks for all the help you all  have provided on this thread.  Totally fine with buying the pup because ultimately ya never know until it's in the cavity and plugged in, and it's by no means a hard no even early on!

Offline corypheus

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Re: Talk me out of the PAF Master neck
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2019, 04:18:09 pm »
Okay, got the DP103F  36th and it's in the neck. 
Ibanez RG550 24 fret maple neck/basswood body/ original edge locking trem/ Fred in bridge- no middle PU/ 9-46  Dunlop strings re-used

This replaced an Air Norton that I liked by and large but felt was a bit dark for what I wanted from this guitar.
The 36th is a warm pickup, but more open sounding and a little less powerful than the AN. Notes on the wound strings are warm and a little more of a clear, cutting sounding than the AN. Unwound and higher notes are defined but not thin. Note separation under a good amount of gain is good.   I would say overall not as dark as the AN, but not even close to as bright as I "understand " the HFH to be.  Pick attack is good and while not overly so, the pickup does react to varying degrees of pick attack. Hit the string hard and it does give a little more attitude. Relative to the neck position pick harmonics are there but not quite to the level of the AN. ( I can get them easy on even an unplugged electric, guitar willing)   Volume wise,  I have the 36th somewhere between 1/16th to 1/8th inch higher than I had the AN to balance with the Fred as it is set.   As for the line between  smooth and fluid  vs more aggressive  my ear says this pickup in my guitar is about 60% aggressive and 40% smooth/fluid.  I'd say this is a good neck pickup that can do a number of things well without going overboard in one direction or another. I haven't had too much time with it yet and thus didn't play a lot of clean with it, but I will. This is a rock guitar but I do play clean so I'll get some solid time with it this weekend and post an updated report in the "Everything you wanted to know about"  section that will include some clean opinions.  From what I did play clean,  the "does everything well" likely applies.

So am I happy with the swap?  For those of us who  don't swap pickups for the purpose of doing reviews ( and thank you to those that do that for us!) I think we hope to be blown away with our new pickup.  I am not blown away.  I can't say this one is staying.  I can say this pickup moved me more in the direction I wanted to go - overall- than the AN did and that I do like it. I will give it a hearty chance.  There are more height and pole piece adjustments to try.  I do baseline "testing" with my DSL40CR and no outboard effects, but I play with a pedal board  and always have at least my Big Sky reverb  on, and various combinations of delay, chorus  ( hey its an '80s rock guitar!) flanger . etc for some bits. I'll give it the whole 9 yards.  Also, in order to be accurate I kept the same strings on. The strings are not dead by any means but are in the " these can be changed "  window.  I had 10's on this guitar and a while back wanted to try 9-46's and the only set I had were the Dunlops in that gauge.  I have no complaints but I usually stick with tried and true D'addario XL's and sometimes DR tite-fit sets.  I certainly won't make any final decisions without a fresh set on the guitar.
If someone brought a similar RG550 to my house that had the 36th in the neck and I played it thru my rig I am not 100% sure I'd have bought it. ( assuming similar wear on the strings).  I was hoping for a little more " bell like" tone on the wound strings and maybe more harmonics. At the same time I went for this because I was concerned the HFH might be too far in the other direction.  I'm gonna keep it for now and see what I can get out of it.  There are screws to be turned, knobs to be turned, maybe a new string gauge, and for sure it's almost due for new  strings of the same gauge  anyway.
Thanks for all the help you all  have provided on this thread.  Totally fine with buying the pup because ultimately ya never know until it's in the cavity and plugged in, and it's by no means a hard no even early on!

Hello,

Happy you've got closer to what you want. 36th anny is very versatile, sensitive to picking dynamics, and to it's height. You can definitely get closer to what you want by tweaking. In terms of everything else - I'm ultimately sad it isn't what you wanted it completely to be. I seem to get bell-like clean tones, by setting it up brighter on the amp, and having it a bit away from the strings, and then playing a bit with volume pot to get it where I want it to.

In terms of your description of it's sound, I agree with it. I started using the flatter part of the my pick (I use 1.5mm Jazz Dunlop picks), specially nearer the neck, and it transforms it's agressiveness into more fluid like tones. In fact, it's how readily it reacts to all the different things is what I like about it. It kinda works with me not against me. It definitely is a pickup that does everything well.

HFH compared is very bright and stiff, I personally don't think you'd dig it if you're not completely satisfied with 36th anny.


Thanks for the review! Hopefully in time it will start working out for your. If you, down the line, swap it for something else, let us know how it's different and what changes.

Kind regards,
Cory

Offline 123RnR

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Re: Talk me out of the PAF Master neck
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2019, 12:49:13 am »
Something about this thread tells me you should have gone with a PAF Pro.
I installed it, played it, and even my guitar tech will buy one.
It's THAT GOOD!  With your Fred in the bridge, a PAF Pro in the neck will provide you with Satriani's past pickups combination. It will work!

Offline Dave J

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Re: Talk me out of the PAF Master neck
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2019, 12:14:08 pm »
I worked more with this pickup. Height and pole screws, amp settings clean and dirty.  Bass notes still a little too muffled for me. Gonna change out the strings this weekend. Unplugged they don't sound all that dead so not sure what could be in play that would make them sound more undefined  ( wound strings)  amplified but we'll see.
PAF Pro.  This has been a very popular go to pickup for the neck with either a Fred or another PAF Pro in the bridge based on many reviews and posts I have read. I know this was Satch's early neck with the Fred. Somehow I got the impression that based on Dimarzio's advertised output levels that  the Pro in neck might be too strong for the Fred. Yet many swear by it as a neck , even for the same pickup also in the bridge.  This will be my next tryout if new strings don't do the trick. 
thanks!