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The PAF - What's the big idea?

It seems more and more these days that the term PAF gets thrown around like a football at an early Fall picnic in the park. Lots of pickup makers out there simply chunk that moniker on some average set of nickel covered  pickups and then make all kinds of erroneous claims. Most sorry to say, simply use that term to get your attention and tell you (or sell you) what they think you want to hear. There are no regulations on what gets called a PAF. Its not like organic fruits and vegs... basically anybody can say anything they want! So… they don’t use butyrate bobbins, and they use cheap stainless steel baseplates with short legs, and plastic spacers, Korean covers, and prefab magnets, and whatever pole screws they have lying around, and whatever wire is cheapest - but somehow magically they are PAF pickups! Uh… what the what? 


We use nothing but the finest and highest quality vintage correct parts, components, and processes to hand make these fine artisan pickups, one at a time. No detail is spared and our meticulous manufacturing spec is second to none. We took the very best characteristics from all the finest early Kalamazoo Patent Applied For pickups we've known over the last 60 years... and have painstakingly recreated the ultimate archetype of what the perfect PAF could and should sound like.

Description of the sound that we have created for you in our pickups:

Chimey, bell-like, articulate, mean when pushed, smooth when rolled off, clear and crisp with lots of string definition… 3D holographic harmonic overtones that bloom and rise with tons of sustain and that sweet upper mid-range, with that slightly microphonic  effect that lets you hear a well defined pick attack, fat and complex, tons of grunt and growl when distorted, woody smooth and airy in the neck position… sparkling and crisp in the bridge, with lots of punch and tonal definition… even on the lower bass strings!

Often the term PAF (Patent Applied For) Humbucker pickups are more of a concept or perhaps a stereotype than any one actual specific pickup per se… and what we mean by that is most of those old pickups from Kalamazoo back from 1957 and onward varied dramatically and were very inconsistent. Most everyone has heard the lore about “wind them until they’re full”... and that these bobbins were wound by hand, by regular people who had no idea how more or less turns would affect the overall sound of the pickups they were making! Some were hot, some were weak, some were bright, and some were dark, some sounded honky and nasal, some mushy, while others sounded clear and articulate! So when someone says “PAF”, what are they talking about? You can listen to 10 different sets of old vintage real-deal PAF humbuckers from back-in-the-day, and no two sets sound alike… Hell, no two individual pickups sound alike for that matter. So that’s why it is important to recognize that the term PAF Humbucker Pickup is more of an archetype… the ideal, the holy grail, that quintessential sound everybody hears in their head, or heard on their favorite hard rock album growing up. You get the picture. Now that’s not to say that PAF pickups don’t have a sound you can “pin down”... they do, certainly. That’s where Tom Doyle’s 60+ years of expertise working with Les Paul directly comes in.



The PAF Humbucker Clone - Let's Buck the Hum & Buck the Bullsh*t

When it comes to what makes PAF’s, PAF’s… So many go on and on about cosmetic matters such as “tooling marks”, stickers, and other such nonsense. That’s basically just smoke and mirrors. If you know anything about how pickups actually work, its all about magnetic induction & resonance... and then how the pickups interpret that information, and then how that signal gets sent to your amplifier. That’s what makes a PAF Humbucker pickup sound as it should. It seems that many pickup makers these days are only concerned about making pickups that look like PAFs. Of course Doyle Coils TRU-CLONES PAFs do indeed look like the real thing, but more importantly, they have that elusive authentic tone that only comes from a true understanding of this exclusive, very specific formula and proper building technique. Our Doyle Coils TRU-CLONES PAF pickups are meant to be Vintage correct in how they look and feel, certainly… However, we don’t spend a whole lot of time on things like tooling marks, and circles inside of squares, etc, etc. That stuff brings absolutely nothing to the party… we assure you! We are not trying to fool anyone that these pickups are the actual original late 50's PAF pickups. They are not meant as an attempt to be a counterfeit product, hence you will not see the “Patent Applied For” sticker on the back of Tom’s pickups… just his proud maker’s mark.

There’s an actual science to why those old PAF pickups sound as they do… and sure a little “black art” and mojo get thrown in for good measure. What we spend our time creating here is all about understanding electronic and magnetic induction, transduction, proper magnetism and flux field, improving the signal-to-noise ratio, vibrational resonance, current flow and hysteresis... and of course, all of that equals TONE. Oh that sweet, sweet tone… the one that’s in your head, and on that favorite album you grew up listening to. We get it… after all, Tom was there! He has enough stories to fill ten books. You should hear the one about Les dragging Tom into NYC back in ’69 to meet these young English guys that were recording their 2nd album. Turned out to be some band calling themselves ‘Led Zeppelin’ or some such! Tom had already been working with Les for 5+ years at that time.

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Tom has handled and worked on countless early Kalamazoo Gibson pickups with Les Paul right there at his side. Tom and Les took them apart, put them back together, reverse engineered them, experimented on them, installed them in countless guitars, rewound them, added stuff, took stuff away, compared them, and explored the innumerable variables that made these humbucker pickups sound the way they do. They changed the magnets, degaussed them, added copper winding wire and took some off, changed the pots and caps, switches, signal paths, etc, etc… All in the interest of chasing that elusive balance, signal, and “perfect tone”. Tom has been making custom hand-made pickups since the mid 70's... way before it was "the thing to do" or cool, or trendy. Hell... even before most of today's pickup makers were out of junior high school, for that matter!


Now all of that knowledge, experience, understanding, and decades of hands-on experience with “The Master” is available to you in these amazing PAF reproduction humbucker pickups. Our Limited Edition Doyle Coils TRU-CLONES PAF Humbuckers...

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