There are many, many different pickups out there that are inspired by Gibson’s ‘Patent Applied For’ humbucker invented by Seth Lover. Some makers go to incredible lengths to replicate not only the raw materials but also the chaotic, random unpredictability that went into the creation of those original 50s PAFs. DiMarzio’s PAF® Master bridge and neck models are designed with the spirit of those original PAFs in mind but DiMarzio says they’re more about paying tribute to the original sound rather than cloning it. So these pickups use several of DiMarzio’s patented ideas, and the coils are purposely tuned to specific differing frequencies to generate a version of the legendary PAF snarl without compromising the pickup’s ability to hum-cancel (which can be a problem with some of the originals and some of the more randomly-constructed PAF-alikes of the kind you tend to find from some of the smaller builders). See DiMarzio pickups on eBay here. Read More …
EMG has announced the release of the 57 and 66 humbuckers. You can hear Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner putting them through their paces in the video above. Incidentally, you can read my interview with Richie here.
“A true original, the 57 is a bridge pickup designed for today’s player regardless of style or genre. The unique combination of Alnico V magnets and steel pole pieces evoke an unmistakably PAF-like quality in its tone. The active attributes provide the headroom and punch necessary to deliver unparalleled definition and presence. Designed and voiced specifically for the bridge position, the 57 comes in EMG’s exclusive brushed steel cap giving it a sleek modern look that compliments any instrument.”
“The 66 is a result of pickup design innovation inspired by the specific needs and requests of today’s players. Alnico V magnets provide the warm, smooth mid-range and expansive lows while the ceramic pole pieces bring out the clarity in the upper register. Designed and voiced as a neck pickup, the 66 comes in EMG’s exclusive brushed steel cap giving it a sleek modern look that compliments any instrument.”
Seymour Duncan rates the pickup’s tonal response as Treble: 9; Midrange: 8; and Bass: 7, with a resonant peak at 4.46 KHz. In contrast, the famed Alnico II humbucker favoured by Slash has a DC resistance of 7.6k, and its tonal response breaks down to Treble: 8; Midrange 4; and Bass: 7, with a resonant peak at 7.1KHz, resulting in a more open, airy tone more suited to bands with multiple guitars.
Options include a nickel or gold plated cover, if you don’t like the exposed coil look, and the pickup can be ordered in standard or trembucker size (more info here), the latter spaced for Fender-style or Floyd Rose-equipped guitars. It’s important to buy the right size for your guitar, because if the pole pieces of the pickup don’t line up with the strings, you risk a cataclysmic mismatch in volume from one string to another.
This is one of those pickups that rewards the player for putting in a little more detail and finesse. Every little phrasing choice is presented loud and proud for the audience to hear, which can be either intimidating or liberating depending on your approach. But if you have the guts to take on this monster, it’s well worth the tonal payoff.