The Legendary P.A.F

P.A.F. or just PAF is the world's first humbucker guitar pickup, invented by Seth Lover in 1955 as an engineer for Gibson and began use in mass production guitars in 1956 or 1957. However Rickenbacker and Gretsch had developed humbucking pickups also. Rickenbacker released theirs in 1953 but discontinued it in 1954 because of the 'distortion' it caused.

Nowadays, the PAF is considered a vintage humbucker with relatively low output and soft, mellow tone. However, original Gibson PAFs are scarce and very expensive, so most major pickup manufacturers produce copies of original PAF design.

Gibson pickup winding machines were manual-operated at that time and had no mechanisms to automatically cut the wire after a set number of turns. Thus the pickups had a different number of windings and that lead to variation in the output and tone. For the same reason, the two coils within each pickup unit usually also have a slightly different number of turns and are not identical, except by accident.

The range of 1956-1961 is usually dubbed the era of early PAFs. These pickups were first used on lap steel guitars in 1956, on Les Paul Gold Top, and Les Paul Custom electric solid-bodied guitars in 1957.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice poste...my 11 year old was most appreciative. Good for him. The random twists on the copper windings on the pickups is a real novelty for a kid of today.