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Vintage Gibson PAF Pickup info|
Gibson Pickup Information:
1956 to Fall 1957: Original PAF. Long magnet, *no* PAF sticker, purple bobbin wire, black leads on both coils, 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. From 1976 to the 1980s they still used the "T bucker" but now they had the correct patent number stamped in the metal bottom plate (no decal).