62 SG - are those real PAFs?

Discussion in 'Vintage SG' started by seattlegrunge, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. seattlegrunge

    seattlegrunge New Member

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    Hi
    I have an offer on this beautiful 62 Sg.
    But I’m having troubles to verify if the PAFs are original.
    Hopefully someone can help me here.
    Thanks!


    ED17DDF3-25B3-4503-81C4-19486BEF4096.jpeg 00D4DFFF-2D27-4D56-9E0F-52B94D7272A3.jpeg 525DD439-458E-4A69-942C-ED6EAF23E4AF.jpeg
     
  2. Paul G.

    Paul G. Well-Known Member

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    1962 would probably have PAFs if the guitar is unmolested. The control cavity looks correct in the photo. So my guess is, yes those are PAFs. Probably. Maybe.
     
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  3. Paul G.

    Paul G. Well-Known Member

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    Although officially PAFs stopped in '62, they were sitting in bins for a while after. It is not unusual to find later guitars (Especially archtops) with at least one PAF as well. The archtops had longer leads, so those pickups were used more slowly than the others.
     
  4. Gibbo SG

    Gibbo SG Active Member

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    Hey if it sounds good, play it all night.
     
  5. Wildeman

    Wildeman Active Member

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    Looks legit to me.
     
  6. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Being PAF pickups can swing the price of a vintage Gibson thousands of dollars it is very important to be able to properly identify a real one as well as a fake!

    That means there is lots off self educating needed before taking on the task. Personally, I would need even clearer pictures of the tops, bottoms & sides to even fell certain that they really are PAF pups from the 60's.

    Here is some fantastic in depth information for you to read on PAF pickups should you care to really up your PAF game. Best of luck with everything.
    .......................

    PAF Pickup Detail Summary.
    Here's a summary of Humbucking pickups. Just be aware that changes occur over time. When I say "1965" that does not mean January 1, 1965. All changes transition in as parts are used up and replaced by new parts.

    • 1956 to Fall 1957: Original PAF. Long magnet, *no* PAF sticker, purple bobbin wire, black leads on both coils, brushed stainless steel covers, phillips screws on base, ohms can run from 7k to high 9k ohms, black bobbins PAF style bobbins ("circle in a square"), "L" shaped tool marks on feet. PAFs were first installed on lapsteels in 1956. The long magnet dimensions are 2.5" long, .5" wide, about .125" thick.
    • Fall 1957-1960: Original PAF. Long magnet, "Patent Applied For" (PAF) sticker, purple bobbin wire, black leads on both coils, nickel covers, phillips screws on base, ohms can run from low 7k to high 9k ohms, black bobbins PAF style bobbins ("circle in a square") until 1959 cream colored pickup bobbins are often seen, 'L' shaped toolmarks on feet.
    • 1961-1962: last PAF pickups. Short magnet (starting July 1961), PAF sticker, purple wire, black leads on both coils, nickel covers, phillips screws on base, both bobbins are black again, PAF style bobbins ("circle in a square"), "L" toolmarks on feet. The short magnet dimensions are 2.37" long, .5" wide, about .125" thick (decreased magnet length 1/8").
    • 1962-1965: Early "patent no." sticker, nickel cover, short magnet, PAF style bobbins ("circle in a square"), redish/copper colored bobbin wire (probably happened in 1963), some point in here bobbin lead wires change to one black and one white, phillips screws on base. Plastic on bobbins more durable and bobbins are flat (PAF style pickups often have bowed pickup bobbins), "L" toolmarks on feet.
      Note the last version of the PAF (1961-1962) is basically identical to the nickle plated 1963 Patent# pickup (and on guitars with gold parts, probably as late as 1967 Patent# pickups are equivalent to 1961-1962 PAFs, since Gibson used less gold plated parts and inventories lasted longer). Because the wire color changed around 1963 from purple to a redish/copper color (and some other changes, listed above), technically the 1964-1965 Patent# pickups are different than the 1963 Patent# and late PAF pickups (though the tone is very similar). Also keep in mind gold plated PAFs used in archtop electric guitars (especially varitone guitars) can be seen as late as 1965 (yes PAFs as late as 1965!) The reason for this was simple - Varitone guitars had gold plated pickups with one pickup having a reversed magnet. This style of pickup was used far less than a nickel plated pickup. Hence these gold plated varitone equipped archtops are sometimes seen with one or two PAF pickups into 1965.

    • 1965: Late "patent no." sticker with no T-top, covers are now chrome, orange wire, one white bobbin lead, short magnet, phillips screws on base, "L" toolmarks start to disappear off feet (but can be seen as late as 1972), ohms run pretty consistent at 7.5k ohms.
    • 1965-1975 (note overlap with prior bullet point): T-top, "patent no." sticker, no longer has hole in bobbin showing wire, orange wire, short magnet, screws on bottom of base are usually slotted but could be phillips. "L" toolmark can be seen on early T-top pickups.
    After PAF pickups were gone, the patent# pickups were next and used from 1962 to 1965. Then from 1965 to 1975 (note overlap) the next Gibson humbucker is known as the "T bucker" or "T top". They are called this because of a "T" that is part of the molding on the front of the two pickup bobbins. These also had the decal with "Patent No 2,737,842" (still the patent number of Les Paul's trapeze tailpiece). The only way to see the "T" is to remove the pickup cover. A small change in late patent# pickups was white PVC bobbin wires instead of black (black was used on pre-1965 humbuckers). Also T buckers can use either slot or phillips head screws to hold the bobbins to the base plate.

    When buying used Gibson pickups, many people will buy the "Patent No." style with an unopened nickel-plated cover. This pretty much guarentees you'll get a "good" pickup at a fair price (opposed to buying a PAF pickup with the "Patent Applied For" decal intact, which sell for more money). Sonically the nickel plated covered patent# pickups are excellent values, as they are very similar in sound to a real PAF pickup (but are much less expensive). Note if you buy a chrome covered Gibson pickup, it's a crap shoot as to what's inside - it could be either a T-bucker or not (but chances are good it will be a T-Top). For this reason I would generally avoid chrome covered Gibson humbuckers (unless they are really inexpensive), as the odds are against you in hopes of finding a non-Ttop.

    Here's the 1962 and to 1965 style "Patent Number" pickup, which followed the PAF.
    Note the "L" toolmarks are still present.

    [​IMG]
    The later "T bucker" T-top pickup used from 1976 to the 1980s.
    [​IMG]
    PAF Forgeries.
    PAF forgeries are fairly common. Aside from the physical characteristics of the pickups, through the years PAF decals have been re-created. These are usually easy to spot though. For example, below is a picture of real versus fake PAF decals. The original PAF decals will have clear yellowed borders (because the original decals have a coating of clear lacquer over the decal), and often the fakes have a gold border. Also the font and letter clarity are different. Pics by AtomEve.

    Top: real Gibson PAF decal.
    Bottom: fake PAF decal.
    [​IMG]

    ...................................
     
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  7. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Still hungry for more?? OK, read on my friend....

    ...............................

    Because of the amount of "bogus" PAF (Patent Applied For) Gibson humbucker pickups out there, I was asked to create this web page (thanks to GW Dean and BurstMeUp for information and pictures). This web page includes information on the pickups themselves *and* their plastic mounting rings. The originality of the pickups and their mounting rings are both important factors in the integrity of a vintage Gibson guitar.

    There are some basic facts that should be known about these first-generation humbucking pickups. First PAF pickups came about in 1956 on Gibson steel guitar models, and on 1957 on many Gibson spanish guitar models, and lasted to about 1962 to 1965. Nickel plated part models transitioned away from PAF pickups first around 1962, since these guitars were sold in greater numbers. Gold plated part guitars can often be found with PAFs (or one PAF and one Patent# pickup) as late as 1965. PAF pickups of course have two internal coil bobbins under a 1.5" x 2.75" metal cover with one bobbin having a row of six adjustable slot-head poles, and the other bobbin being non-adjustable.

    PAF History.
    I guess we should start with a little history of the Gibson PAF pickup. By the mid-1950s, Gibson wanted to counter the latest electric guitars introduced by Fender. Leo Fender had built a company that was a sizable competitor in the solid-body guitar market place. Gibson believed they could beat Fender with their high quality Les Paul, and by developing a low-noise pickup.

    The problem with Gibson's P-90 and Fender's single-coil pickups was inherent in their designs, allowing 60-cycle hum (noise) to interfer with the sound. Seth Lover was the Gibson engineer assigned to solve the problem. Seth connected two single coil pickups in series (opposed to parallel) and connected the coils out-of-phase electrically and magnetically. Thus the signal noise of each separate coil canceled out the noise of the other coil. That is how the pickup came to be known as a "humbucker".

    Seth/Gibson filed their patent for the pickup design on June 22, 1955. Gibson added the new pickups to steel guitars in 1956, and in 1957 on electric solid-body and arch-top guitars including the Les Paul Model. During late 1957, a small black decal with gold lettering was added to the underside of the pickup that read, "PATENT APPLIED FOR" (hence the PAF abbreviation).

    Seth Lover received his pickup patent #2,896,491 on July 28, 1959. By mid to late 1962, Gibson changed the pickup decal to read, "PATENT NO 2,737,842". Interestingly the patent number listed on the decal was not for Seth's pickup design but was for Les Paul's trapeze tailpiece! Perhaps this was a research roadblock for the competition, or maybe just a mistake?

    PAF Magnets.
    From 1956 until 1961 Gibson used different Alnico magnets in their PAF pickups. Alnico magnets (alloys ALuminum, NIckel, and CObalt) come in a different grades based on their magnetic strength. Gibson generally used the same magnets (size/grade) which was available for their P-90 pickups. But Gibson randomly used Alnico 2,3,4,5 grade magnets in PAFs until 1961 (remember the higher the magnet's number, the higher the magnetic strength). This can often account for how two PAF pickups can sound quite different. In July 1961 Gibson began consistently using a smaller Alnico 5 magnet (smaller as in the flat top side of the magnets were smaller length-wise). Since inconsistency was king at Gibson during this time, Alnico 2 short magnets are sometimes seen too. By 1965 though Alnico 5 was the standard for all Gibson humbuckers.

    The original PAF magnet length was 2.5" long, which was decreased by 1/8" to 1/4" to around 2.25" in July 1961. But the "short magnet" PAF can be seen as early as 1959 and is still original. Gold plated guitars (ES-345, LP Custom, etc) seem to use the short magnet PAFs before nickel plated guitars (like the ES-335, LP Standard, etc). Just from a consistency point of view, July 1961 is the date considered by most as when short magnets were the norm for PAFs. Generally speaking decreasing the length decreases the power of the pickups, but this was somewhat counteracted by the Alnico 5's added strength. When new, the shorter A5 magnet is more powerful than the longer A2 magnet. So do short magnet PAFs sound worst than 1957-1960 long magnet PAFs? NO. In fact, they may sound better in many cases. But there are lots of things that effect sound, with the magnet only being one piece of the equation.

    Dimensions of PAF magnets follow (measured using a micrometer, and obviously this will vary a bit from magnet to magnet): 2.509" long ("long magnet" version), .506" wide, .131" thick. The "short magnet" PAF length was the a bit different: 2.371" long, .491" wide, and .121" thick.

    Another interesting point are the magnets in 1950s P-90 pickups (remember P-90 pickups are single coil predecessors to PAFs). There are *two* magnets in the P90 pickups, and yes they are identical to the 1950s PAF magnets (rough sand casted). Because of this, there has been a fair bit of "magnet hijackings" where players take p90 pickup magnets and put them into newer pickups, hoping to get that original PAF sound.

    Pickup Wire and Winding Methods.
    The pickup were wound with #42 plain enamel wire. On original PAFs the bobbin wire appears purple, versus later PAF and patent# pickups that appear reddish. Gibson eventually switched to polyurethane coated wire around 1963. When wire coatings change, the sound of the pickup does change, contributing to the PAF following. The amount of wire (and coating) wound on each bobbin determines the pickup's resistance. When the bobbins are wound with more than a nominal amount of wire (either on purpose or by accident), they are more powerful with fatter midrange but less treble. Due to the human factor and the wide tolerance of the manually-run pickup winding machines used by Gibson from 1956-1961, PAF pickups usually measure between 7.5 and 9.0 thousand ohms (K ohms). By 1962 (the end of the PAF era), Gibson was making pickups very consistently with 7.5k ohms of wire (give or take .25k ohms).

    The separate bobbins of a PAF can measure very differently due to Gibson's manufacturing techniques. For example one bobbin could measure 3.5k, and the other 4.5k ohms (for a total of 8k ohms). This mis-matched ohms is actually a good thing, as certain frequencies will stand out if both bobbins have different resistance. This contributes to why two PAF pickups can sound quite different. The coil winder was a Leesona 102, and did have auto stop counters to keep pickups windings consistent. But these winders ran using a fiber gear and were prone breakage. The work around to fixing the counters is to time the winding process. That is one reason for the randomness of PAF pickup resistance.

    Around 1965 to 1968 (exact date unknown), Gibson changed from a manually-run pickup winding system to a fully automated system. Because of this their humbucking pickups all became a consistent 7.5k ohms from 1965 and later. The manual-run system had a machine operator that decided when a pickup bobbin reach about 5000 turns of wire. So there was plenty of room for under and over-winding. When the fully automated system came into place, the pickups were very consistent in their windings (and hence total ohms).

    Gibson Models which Used PAF Pickups.
    The 1957 to 1962 Les Paul Standard model is probably the most famous of the models to have PAFs pickups, though other models had them too. Like the ES-175, ES-295, Byrdland, ES-350, ES-5 switchmaster, L-5CE, the Super 400 and the ES-335/ES-345/ES-355 (when introduced in 1958/1959).

     
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  8. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Still hangin in there?? OK, one more & we done

    .....

    Jazz Guitar PAF Versions.
    The hollowbody jazz guitars often used a slightly different PAF in the neck position which had different (narrower) string spacing, where the bridge position jazz PAF was identical to the neck & bridge PAF in say a Les Paul Standard. The models that used this narrow spacing neck PAF was the Byrdland, ES-350T, L-5CE, S-400CE and some Barney Kessel models. The distance on a narrow PAF from center to center of the two "E" adjustable poles is 1 13/16", compared to 1 15/16" on the "normal" spaced PAF pickup. Also since most of these models had gold plated parts, the narrow spaced PAFs would be gold plated (except on some Barney Kessels). If the pickup cover is removed from a narrow spaced PAF pickup, the "normal" pole position tooling marks can be seen on the narrow spaced PAF pickup.

    A narrow spaced neck position PAF on a 1959 L-5CES.
    [​IMG]
    A "normal" spaced bridge position PAF on a 1959 L-5CES.
    [​IMG]
    The internals of a narrow spaced neck position PAF pickup.
    Notice the tooling marks (circled in red) where the "normal" spaced poles would be.

    [​IMG]
    PAF Guts (Covers, Decals, Bobbins, Tooling Marks, etc).
    First and foremost, never ever remove the cover from an original PAF pickup, unless you have a darn good reason. There is just no need for this, and it really makes the pickup "unoriginal" if you remove the metal cover. If you are dying to see the color of the pickup bobbins, just remove one of the underside bottom mounting screws and look in the hole, instead of removing the pickup cover.

    Early P.A.F. pickups as used on the 1956 lapsteels and 1957 Les Paul Standard had brushed stainless steel pickup covers (brushed to make them look nickel plated). This quickly changed to brass covers with a nickel plating. If the cover was gold, the brass was first nickel plated and then gold plated. Early PAFs also have four brass bobbin attachment screws, instead of steel screws. Also the early PAFs with stainless covers often did *not* have a PAF decal on the bottom (so some 1957 Gibson guitars will have unlabeled PAF pickups with brushed stainless covers).

    With that in mind, the first picture shows the bottom side of the PAF pickup, and the decal that declares the humbucker is "Patent Applied For" (PAF). Note the lettering and style of the decals. The lettering is gold, and sometimes the gold does turn green just a bit. The clear edge decal border around the black PAF decal has a slight green tint to it. Again remember very early stainless steel covered PAF pickups will not have any decal on the bottom. Also note the untouched solder joints holding the pickup cover to the pickup base plate. And the single stranded black cloth-covered lead wire, which is shielded with a braided metal wrap.

    The "L" shaped tooling marks can be clearly seen on the feet of these PAFs

    [​IMG]

    Here is a pre-PAF sticker 1957 Les Paul goldtop pickup. Notice the lack of a PAF sticker, which is common for many 1957 PAF guitars.
    [​IMG]

    Double black bobbin PAF. Note the "circle around the square" tooling hole at the top of both bobbins. Notice the hole on the adjustable pole piece side has a smaller circle around it. The non-adjustable side always has a slightly larger circle. Reissue pickups copy this somewhat but don't copy it just right. Also on newer pickups the circle and square is very clean and crisp. On original PAFs they are less perfect. Also look inside the bobbin holes for the bobbin wire color. It should be a copper wire with a purplish hue. The color of the wire is very important, and it shouldn't look too clean (the pickup is 40+ years old!)

    One bobbin removed on an late PAF pickup, showing the magnet.
    The length of this magnet changed in summer 1961 from 2.5" to around 2.25"
    (decreased in length 1/8 to 1/4")

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Gibson also had PAF mini-humbuckers, used on Epiphone guitars in 1960 to 1962
    [​IMG]

    This picture shows the tape that is used to wrap the bobbins. It is *not* a PVC plastic tape, but instead is a black paper-ish adhesive tape. It should not look like it was ever removed, unless the pickup was rewound (rewinds are a bad thing).
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    ..........................

    There ya go buddy. If you made it through all that intense PAF info you are now as educated as I am in the PAF field! Hopefully this info will not only help you but also make you a bit more confident negotiating the purchase.
    Best wishes.
     
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  9. Susihukkanen

    Susihukkanen Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Relic for the excellent compilation of the topic!
     
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  10. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Bud.

    Obviously not my personal work but I've been holding on to that info for years both learning from it, referring to it many times & knowing it would come in handy for sharing in this exact type of question. I honestly find it fascinating & very well done.
     
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  11. Notabot

    Notabot Member

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    Great information on the real stuff, Relic. Using my highly corrected vision, to me, it seems the sticker ain't quite right. Based upon what you're seeing, do the PAF stickers appear genuine to you?
     
  12. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    The sticker definitely was something I thought looked a bit different. But the definition of your pics leaves it very hard for me to try to express a solid opinion.

    Also, the L shaped tool marks on the pups in question don't seem as pronounced they are on most every old Gibby pup I've seen.

    I have to ask, what price range are we talking about for this guitar? A couple years back a certifiable PAF was fetching 5 grand by itself! They since have come down considerable but,.. the asking price for this guitar just might be the biggest tell of all!

    At this point with the pics I have to look at I'm just not convinced they are real. And it's definitely better to be safe than sorry.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
  13. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Also important, Check these things out too if you can...

    [​IMG]

     
  14. Wildeman

    Wildeman Active Member

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    Good info, thanks. My thoughts were just that they look original to the guitar ( by the soldering) i hadn't considered the decals being faked. I agree, if we're talking thousands of dollars added to the price then it warrants more research.
     
  15. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    That's right. Sometimes the temptation to make fairly easy money can overcome some peoples better judgement! And beyond that, even if the current owner didn't do something nefarious, who can say they didn't get 'played' & are simply naive?

    Hey by the way, I couldn't make out any pot codes to help date them either.
     
  16. Wildeman

    Wildeman Active Member

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    Some pots have the codes on the side.
     

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