PAF pickups that are close in brightness to singles?

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Offline andrus108

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PAF pickups that are close in brightness to singles?
« on: June 30, 2024, 04:41:11 PM »
Hi,

I have two guitars, one is a Strat with a set of Heavy Blues 2 / Area 61 / VV 54 Pro, and the other is Firebird Studio with PAF Master set. There is a colossal difference in brightness between, and I'd like to reduce it somehow. I used to have yet another guitar where I put the Air Classic NECK in the bridge position, and I remember that being much closer in brightness to the singles. I still have that pickup, so I was thinking of replacing the Masters; I'd put the Air Classic Neck in the bridge, but what would pair well with that pickup in the neck position? Is EJ Custom a good candidate, and would I go then with the bridge or the neck model?

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Offline nienturi

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Re: PAF pickups that are close in brightness to singles?
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2024, 02:02:49 AM »
Definitely "Humbucker from Hell". But it has slightly higher output so you may take it to the bridge or put HFH with lower distance from the strings.
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Offline gregr

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Re: PAF pickups that are close in brightness to singles?
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2024, 01:19:59 PM »
The voicing and output of the EJ Custom Neck allows it to work very well with single coils. I use one in my Tele with an Area Hot T in the bridge. I play another guitar with a Heavy Blues 2 in the neck which I keep next to the Tele. The EJ is a lot fatter of course but it’s also tight and delivers plenty of treble and presence. The HFH, by comparison is a much bigger sounding with a lot more bottom end and scooped midrange, whereas the EJ is more focused.

I haven’t used the EJ Custom Bridge but I imagine it would excel in the neck position with a somewhat hotter pickup in the bridge. Pairing one with a HFH in the bridge would be interesting, though I can’t see myself ever doing that. With the lower resonant frequency I bet the EJ Bridge would provide a lot of cut in the neck position. But with an Air Classic Neck in the bridge I would recomnend the EJ Classic Neck in the neck.

EDIT: In keeping with the topic title, I should mention that the EJ Customs don’t sound like PAFs; neither does the HFH, but the EJs even less so. That said, in terms of tone I find the usage of PAF (as in Patent Applied For) to be quite nebulous. My choice for a PAF-style pickup that plays nice with singles is a Seymour Duncan 59 Neck with an Alnico 3.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2024, 01:44:00 PM by gregr »
Area 58, 61, 67 & Hot T; VVB, 54P & HB2; InjN. FT 1 & 2, Satch Track.
BNIB, PAF Pro, HFH, Air Norton, LiquiFire, EJ Neck. V Mini N & B. Corgan & Timmons sets.
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Offline mmmguitar

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Re: PAF pickups that are close in brightness to singles?
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2024, 04:05:37 PM »
I've used 1M pots with underwound/low-output PAFs for a more strident, single coil-like top end. My first Vigier Shawn Lane used Air Classics with those pot values. Because it used a FS-1 single in a splitting HSH configuration, I subsequently auditioned resistors of various values (332k, 470k, etc.) in parallel with the FS-1 to try to tune the pot loads in the 2 and 4 positions.

For production PAFs which have a lot of single coil character, I've found the Suhr Thornbuckers, Zhangbucker Telebucker and Woodbuckers, and Fralin Unbuckers to get in the ballpark. For Dimarzio offerings, a Bluesbucker in parallel will sound more single coil-like than in series (which is between a P-90 and a PAF), while sounding much like a Fender Texas Special in split mode.

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Offline greenlion

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Re: PAF pickups that are close in brightness to singles?
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2024, 04:14:08 PM »
I don't know where you can still find them, but they make pickup rings that allowed you to put a single coil pickup in the middle of where the humbucker usually sits without modifying the guitar. I used to have one in the neck of a 2-humbucker Jackson because I could never find a neck humbucker I liked for it. If you are really into the single coil sound, that might be the way to go.

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Offline andrus108

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Re: PAF pickups that are close in brightness to singles?
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2024, 05:19:08 PM »
Definitely "Humbucker from Hell". But it has slightly higher output so you may take it to the bridge or put HFH with lower distance from the strings.

Unfortunately, due to screw type it won't take gold covers, and it's a must that it takes gold covers........  ;D

I haven’t used the EJ Custom Bridge but I imagine it would excel in the neck position with a somewhat hotter pickup in the bridge. Pairing one with a HFH in the bridge would be interesting, though I can’t see myself ever doing that. With the lower resonant frequency I bet the EJ Bridge would provide a lot of cut in the neck position. But with an Air Classic Neck in the bridge I would recomnend the EJ Classic Neck in the neck.

Thanks for the suggestion! Bridge EJ seems to be nearly identical specs and EQ of neck AC according to Dimarzio website, aside from being brighter, so was wondering how both would work together, but neck EJ probably does sound like a natural fit.

I've used 1M pots with underwound/low-output PAFs for a more strident, single coil-like top end. My first Vigier Shawn Lane used Air Classics with those pot values. Because it used a FS-1 single in a splitting HSH configuration, I subsequently auditioned resistors of various values (332k, 470k, etc.) in parallel with the FS-1 to try to tune the pot loads in the 2 and 4 positions.

For production PAFs which have a lot of single coil character, I've found the Suhr Thornbuckers, Zhangbucker Telebucker and Woodbuckers, and Fralin Unbuckers to get in the ballpark. For Dimarzio offerings, a Bluesbucker in parallel will sound more single coil-like than in series (which is between a P-90 and a PAF), while sounding much like a Fender Texas Special in split mode.
I don't know where you can still find them, but they make pickup rings that allowed you to put a single coil pickup in the middle of where the humbucker usually sits without modifying the guitar. I used to have one in the neck of a 2-humbucker Jackson because I could never find a neck humbucker I liked for it. If you are really into the single coil sound, that might be the way to go.

I still want the humbucker guitar to sound like it has humbuckers in it, at least the bridge pickup  ;D My aim is to have distinctive sounds, however if possible not requiring adjusting the amp when switching between them, and I found neck Air Classic in the bridge to still be HB-ey enough, so it's just a matter of finding a neck pickup that fits the role.

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Offline gregr

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Re: PAF pickups that are close in brightness to singles?
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2024, 07:34:57 PM »
Bridge EJ seems to be nearly identical specs and EQ of neck AC according to Dimarzio website, aside from being brighter, so was wondering how both would work together, but neck EJ probably does sound like a natural fit.

The EJs were designed to sound like Filtertrons but in a humbucker route. The neck and bridge are the same basic recipe, just calibrated for each respective position. Personally, I would not look to the EJ Custom if I wanted the sound of a full-size humbucker, at least not in the bridge position. If you’re happy with the Air Classic Neck in the bridge I would stick with that.

It was mentioned that a 1M tone pot can be useful in getting more brightness out of a pickup. Choosing a smaller tone cap can also make a marked difference, even with a 500k pot turned all the way up, I would try 15nF or 10nF.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2024, 09:25:20 PM by gregr »
Area 58, 61, 67 & Hot T; VVB, 54P & HB2; InjN. FT 1 & 2, Satch Track.
BNIB, PAF Pro, HFH, Air Norton, LiquiFire, EJ Neck. V Mini N & B. Corgan & Timmons sets.
Duncan SSL-2 & 6T, Lil Demon, JBJrN, HotRailN. 59, Jazz/APH & Full Shred sets. JB, Custom 2, 5 & Ceramic, Seymourizer II, Screamin’ Demon

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Offline greenlion

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Re: PAF pickups that are close in brightness to singles?
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2024, 11:19:25 PM »
I don't know. I have the Air Classic set in 2 guitars, one Les Paul and one Paul Gilbert Ibanez RG. That humbucker set is very bright in both guitars, rivaling the single coils in my Strat.
Have you checked the pot values in your guitar with a multimeter?

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Offline andrus108

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Re: PAF pickups that are close in brightness to singles?
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2024, 06:33:21 AM »
Bridge EJ seems to be nearly identical specs and EQ of neck AC according to Dimarzio website, aside from being brighter, so was wondering how both would work together, but neck EJ probably does sound like a natural fit.

The EJs were designed to sound like Filtertrons but in a humbucker route. The neck and bridge are the same basic recipe, just calibrated for each respective position. Personally, I would not look to the EJ Custom if I wanted the sound of a full-size humbucker, at least not in the bridge position. If you’re happy with the Air Classic Neck in the bridge I would stick with that.

It was mentioned that a 1M tone pot can be useful in getting more brightness out of a pickup. Choosing a smaller tone cap can also make a marked difference, even with a 500k pot turned all the way up, I would try 15nF or 10nF.

I tried searching more for what Filtertrons generally sound like, and I must say, I think I like this direction more. I've never been happy with any traditional humbucker in the neck, and I tried plenty of them. So if the EJ Custom sounds closer to a single coil than PAF, I'd probably like that more.

I don't know. I have the Air Classic set in 2 guitars, one Les Paul and one Paul Gilbert Ibanez RG. That humbucker set is very bright in both guitars, rivaling the single coils in my Strat.
Have you checked the pot values in your guitar with a multimeter?

Would you say then that even Air Classic Bridge is close enough to single coil, especially overwound models like Heavy Blues 2?