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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Sure I’m opinionated!

I am always getting myself into trouble on internet music forums… probably because I don’t have a tendency to take the party line. I don’t accept that just because something has always been done that way ‘thus must it be - for ever.’ I question, I experiment … I try to innovate.
Take PAF pickups for example.  Accepted wisdom holds up the PAF as the holy grail of humbucker tone. Pundits cite Clapton’s tone on the ‘Beno’ album as nirvana. What they don't know is that in 30+ years of guitar repair I have junked quite a few dodgy fifties PAFs. Quality control was so lax in the early days that no two PAFs I’ve tried have sounded the same.  Added to this, Clapton used a ‘treble boost’ on those recordings, and the alnico speakers of the JTM45 combo he used also coloured that sound.  So how much was really the pickup?
A whole pickup industry has grown up around the ‘magic’ of the PAF, but have that magic comes from lovely, warm analogue recordings and the stuff he plugged into. Not to mention that Clapton himself was ‘on fire’ for that album.
I see claims made by several manufacturers that because they had Seth Lover whisper in their ear, or that because they use the same automatic winding machines Gibson used their pickups will be touched by godliness. Hokum most of it. A moderate output humbucker using the correct grade of alnico magnets, the correct gauge of wire, with isometric wound coils assembled properly will sound like a pretty much exactly like a vintage PAF.  
If that’s what you want.
The secret is to produce something that sounds better!

1 comment:

Ash said...
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