Brian’s Blog: More About the Anthem PAF’s

We’ve been working on better defining some of our pickup models for a few reasons:

1. To make sure you get the set with the right tone you are after

2. When we design a pickup model, it serves a purpose. We want to communicate the purpose of the pickups that we make. Look for more on our website soon, and we’ll dive a little into the process of why we make each model, our goals and some of the process from idea to official product. I’ll plan on going deeper in these blog posts than the general website descriptions.

The Anthem PAFs: Visit the website page

It seems every winder has their vintage model pickups. We also have an array of vintage inspired winds and pickup models within several of the most popular configurations. When people think “TONE” they often associate it with their favorite guitarists or classic recordings they love. The PAF (and humbuckers in general) has been one of the most important designs in the history of electric guitar pickups. The Anthems were one of the first humbuckers I wanted to wind since those old PAF tones were so sought after.

A little backstory: How the Anthems got their name

When we first were preparing to release the Anthems, we want to make sure some of the things were spec about them. I’ve never been too anal about some of the parts, material composition and all that, but we wanted the classic look, but more importantly the classic sound. We went for the classic string spacing, metal braided hookup wire and long leg baseplates as standard options. All the things you need to start with for a good PAF. We wanted to come up with a name for the Anthems, so we held a contest. We eventually settled on the name Anthem after it beat out “Stirling” and some other names I can’t remember!

Reason For building

When I start out to design a humbucker model, i’m usually going for a few things: I’m trying to fill a need tonally, and in this case the goal was to recreate some of the things people love so much about older PAF.s. One of the things you’ll find about PAF’s is that they have a very loyal and sometimes crazy following from tone junkies. People have their favorite years, favorite magnets or DC reading levels. Many people go to great lengths to find the right “Magic” wind. There was and still is an increasing need for pickups voiced to sound like all those classic recordings, and even more so to match the guitars they usually go in.

The Goals and the Process

Knowing that most PAF’s will be loaded into Gibson guitars like the Les Paul, 335 or SG, I started by asking players who played those guitars what they liked and didn’t like about them or the current pickups. The response generally was that they sounded too muddy or lifeless. Those were two reoccurring themes, and were the intended things to avoid with our Anthem winds. After trying different magnet combinations, numbers of turns and wire spec, tension and pattern I came up with a wind I felt accurately represented what I felt like a true PAF should be: Dynamic, Full of Tone, Great Sustain and Good Clarity. I wasn’t out to make a “clone” of the pickup so much as the goal was to have my take on what I thought made those pickups so great. Many people go to great lengths to prove they have the ultimate PAF. My goal is tone first, and also to give my representation of the pickup i’m creating, but I wanted the pickup serve a purpose. People obviously have to like it, but it’s about giving them something they will remember and that will transform their guitars sound and tone.

Testing

During the process, i’ve been able to test and compare several older PAF’s to the Anthems. We’ve had some from just about every year through the shop to repair, add lead length etc. I’ve installed and done some AB tests with different PAF’s up against the Anthems. I feel confident the Anthems have some of the special qualities those older pickups have and i’m excited to share our take on the PAF with those who haven’t tried them.

-BP

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