PAF was a term used to describe the earliest models of guitar humbuckers designed by engineer Seth Lover in 1950. These humbuckers were primarily designed for Gibson and the company used them on all of their models from 1955 to 1962.
It is also important to mention that PAF stands for “patent applied for.” These humbuckers became popular quickly since they altered the guitar sound in ways that were not heard before.
The pickups provided a warm and soothing tone that is today known as the nostalgic, vintage sound.
If you are looking for this kind of sound, you need a high-quality PAF pickup to complement your guitar. The original PAF humbuckers were quite costly back in the day but, luckily for us, today’s manufacturers have created their own version os the vintage pickup available at reasonable prices.
If you want to hear what the original Seth Lover pickup sound is like or if you are nostalgic for the old days, take a look at the five best PAF pickups and choose one that fits your needs and budget.
Let us know in the comment below whether you enjoy the unique and old-school guitar sound!
Table of Contents
#1 DiMarzio DP151 PAF Pro Pickup Black F-Space
DiMarzio is one of the best manufacturers of PAF pickups currently available on the market, which is why the first three-pickup models come from their shelves.
The first is the DiMarzio DP151 model, featuring a durable structure and high-quality components. As the most affordable option on our list, this PAR pro pickup does a very amazing job at cutting through heavier processing.
It features bold lows and snappy highs that result in amazing sound output.
This pickup provides very transparent sounds, which makes it one of the most exceptional bridge pickups in this price range. When used as a bridge pickup, it is very effective with single-coils, even though it can be used as a neck pickup as well.
This versatile PAF pickup model also features a somewhat tweaked treble response that allows high notes to stand out. This is a feature that will truly make a difference in the sound and it will probably be the first thing you notice once you install it.
Most importantly, the sound of the pickup doesn’t get lost within other effects, which makes this unit worth the money.
- Buts through heavy processing
- Retains the definition of sound
- Provides transparent tones
- Does not get lost in other effects
- Outstanding performance in the neck position
- Tweaked treble response
- High notes stand out
- No cons
#2 DiMarzio PAF DP103 Humbucker Guitar Pickup
The second DiMarzio PAF pickup on our list is the DP103 PAF humbucker pickup model that features a soft magnetic field for unique and vintage-like output.
This pickup is one of the best examples of what a PAF pickup should sound like. It provides a sweet tone with just the right amount of warmth and clarity.
These two opposites are perfectly balanced, providing an overall sound that’s almost voice-like in quality. Interestingly, this exact model was made for DiMarzio’s 36th anniversary, which is why it features some of the highest quality components.
Overall, this PAF pickup is very close to the original PAF quality, which is why it is very popular in the market. Thanks to fine craftsmanship and modern potting techniques, this pickup is very durable and provides clear sound without unwanted feedback.
The consistent winding eliminates squealing and other negative factors that might affect the quality of sound. Interestingly, the range of tone this pickup provides is astonishing, as it can go from clean tones to distorted tones within seconds.
- Soft magnetic field
- Smooth and sweet tone
- Vintage sound
- Wide range of tones
- Great balance of warmth and quality
- Very close to original PAF quality
- Eliminates squeal
- Durable and long-lasting
- The high E string might be muted at times
#3 DiMarzio DP155 Tone Zone Humbucker Pickup
Next up is the DiMarzio DR155 version of the humbucker PAF pickup that features a very dramatic tone curve and an open wah-wah feel that professional guitar players are often looking for.
The pickup boosts lows, mids, and highs, and thus provides additional control over the tones. After all, you can never have too much control when it comes to guitar tones.
This specific pickup adds another dimension to the sound of your amplifier and improves the tones from ordinary to impressive.
You can easily control the sounds by adjusting your picking method. For example, hard picking would result in a more powerful sound, whereas softer picking would provide a softer tune.
Thus, you can easily switch between tones and change music styles without having to switch guitars. Besides versatility, this pickup is very durable and provides a dynamic range of tones that meet the high-quality PAF pickup standards.
Overall, it’s a good piece of equipment to add to your setup.
- Dramatic tone curve
- Boosted lows, mids, and highs
- Extra set of controls over the tones
- Change picking style to adjust the sound
- Dynamic range of tones
- Feels like a PAF pro and FRED combined
- No cons
#4 Seymour Duncan SH-PG1B Pearly Gates Humbucker Pickup
We will now move away from the DiMarzio PAF pickups and focus on Seymour Duncan products, which are considered to be some of the top quality pieces of equipment for music instruments, specifically guitars.
The fourth PAF pickup on our list is the SH-PG1B model that features moderate output on the bridge position. If you’re looking for a great crunch in your sound that’s characteristic of punk music style, this PAF pickup will get the job done.
It provides much brighter tones than the ordinary PAFs, which is why it stands out on the market.
The pickup ensures clearer articulation of tones, thus making your guitar sound a lot more powerful and professional After all, you wouldn’t expect anything less from a Seymour Duncan quality product.
The pickup provides warm and clean tones but it can also dive into the other spectrum of sounds and provide a deeper distortion. Most importantly, it provides an amazing response in all ranges, from warm to distorted sounds.
That’s why we call it a PAF pickup with a twist!
- Moderate output
- A perfect choice for punk style
- Provides brighter and hotter tones than an ordinary PAF
- Clearer articulation of chords
- Seymour Duncan quality
- Versatile pickup
- Great response in all ranges
- No cons
#5 Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Electronic Guitar Pickup
The fifth and final product on our list of reviews is the Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates electronic pickup. This is our final and best choice for a reason. It provides far more output than ordinary PAF pickups, as it has more power and extra drive.
It is this power that makes the pickup so special. It provides amazing midrange tones that can transform any kind of guitar into a high-quality instrument.
Even though the pickup is very versatile and suits a variety of guitars, it is best suited to Les Paul style guitars.
However, that doesn’t mean you cannot use it on whatever model of guitar you own. Whichever guitar you put it on, this pickup will do an outstanding job at providing clear and powerful tones while clearing chord articulation.
The two Alnico magnets allow the pickup to cut through stronger tones on the neck position. However, it still retains its airy and open feel that makes it so special.
Overall, this pickup can be considered one of the best PAF pickups with a unique touch to it.
- More output than ordinary PAFs
- Extra drive and power
- Focused midrange tones
- A perfect fit for Les Paul style guitars
- The open and airy feel
- Provides a powerful yet distinctive tone
- No cons
The nostalgic and vintage tones of PAF pickups are not completely gone! You can still find amazing PAF pickups on the market that provide warm and fat vintage tones that used to be so popular back in the day.
The truth is, the popularity of vintage tones never really dies out. That’s why every guitar player should experience what it’s like to play with PAF pickups on the neck or bridge position of the guitar.
If you haven’t used PAF pickups before, our list of reviews will help you find the highest quality products in different price ranges. Thus, you can find a suitable pickup that will provide amazing sound quality at a price you can afford.
Once you make your choice, don’t forget to tell us which PAF pickup you like the best.
Leave us a comment below with your thoughts and opinions about the five best PAF pickups currently available on the market!
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