So what is wax potting and what does it have to do with a PAF guitar pickup? Wax potting is process now commonly used to eliminate feedback through the pickup by saturating the entire pickup assembly with molten wax. Although common today, wax potted was never used by Gibson when making guitar pickups in the 1950's and 1960's. The question is, does this no wax vintage specification have an impact on the feel and tone of a P.A.F. pickup? In this video I explore that question with an A/B shootout between a P.A.F. repro with no wax vs. the same pickup wax potted.
Our mission at ThroBak is to make the best vintage reproduction pickup possible using the correct materials and manufacturing processes from the 50's and 60's. This includes winding pickups on machines that actually came out of the Gibson Kalamazoo factory. In this video I profile the history and features of one of these unique machines, the KZ/LP-115 pickup winder. Purchased by Gibson in 1950, this machine was present at the start of the P.A.F. guitar pickup era and many of the very first PAF pickups were wound with this machine. Even more compelling is the KZ/LP-115 pickup winding machine was rescued from the Gibson Kalamazoo factory personally by Les Paul, who walked out of the factory carrying the winder after Gibson announced the closing of the Gibson Kalamazoo and their move to Nashville.
ThroBak purchased this historic machine, restored it and has it back to winding our ThroBak KZ-115 vintage replica P.A.F. humbucker.
Over the years I have developed an 8 point checklist that I run through every time I'm interested in buying an electric guitar. With this electric guitar buyer's guide I can quickly evaluate whether the guitar is worth the asking price. The checklist makes sure that as the buyer, I'm aware of any potential issues so I can factor them into the price of the guitar. Great deals go fast and spotting a great deal is the key to getting a great deal. With this checklist you can quickly spot a great deal for yourself. Watch the video below and learn the points I like to inspect when buying an electric guitar.
Congratulations to Frank Kissane of Germantown, WI for winning the ThroBak Guitar Lounge YouTube Subscriber giveaway! Frank chose a set of shiny KZ-115 P.A.F. repro pickups for his prize.
Thanks to all ThroBak Guitar Lounge subscribers that entered the giveaway. In the future I will probably do another giveaway to mark another ThroBak milestone. In total there were 951 entries. The winner was chosen at random via the google random number chooser. Frank's winning entry was number 404.
How to adjust P.A.F. pickup height is probably the number one question I get from customers. In this video I show how adjust P.A.F. humbucker pickup height perfectly for each player's guitar, rig and style.
ThroBak is proud to sponsor www.pafhumbucker.com. This new website is dedicated to giving detailed information about vintage PAF electric guitar pickups. The website includes lots of photos and fine details accumulated by ThroBak over years of vintage PAF pickup repairs and that went into ThroBak PAF reproduction guitar pickups.
Feb. 27, 2016. Sixty-six years ago today the ThroBak KZ/LP-115 pickup coil winder began its journey to Kalamazoo, MI.
On this day in 1950 this Geo-Stevens coil winder (Model 115, Serial # 1307 shown below) was ordered by Kalamazoo based industrial supply house Allen Electric & Equipment. Photographs taken at the Gibson factory from the 1950’s show that at least two similar KZ/LP-115 machines were used to wind pickups in Kalamazoo. The soft aluminum fixtures of the KZ/LP-115 still show wear marks from both P-90 and PAF bobbins, confirming its use as both a PAF and P90 pickup winder.
In the 1970's when Gibson was getting ready to move manufacturing to its Nashville, Tennessee facility they invited Les Paul to take any equipment that was no longer needed. Les Paul rescued this coil winder and took it home. After sitting unused for decades, the original machine and fixtures were purchased by ThroBak at the Guernsey’s auction of Les Paul memorabilia on February 19, 2015.
ThroBak got the KZ/LP-115 working again using the original Gibson made, 50’s era wire guides, bobbin fixtures, traverse gears and non-adjustable lobeless cam. Now out of retirement at the sweet age of 66, the KZ/LP-115 coil winder is working again. All the coils on the ThroBak KZ-115 P.A.F. are wound using this machine which have an unusually warm, low end tone for a pickup with such a low resistance. At ThroBak we've made it our mission to keep the machines that made the earliest and best PAF pickups doing what they do best - making great PAF replica pickups!
Above: Original 1950 Stevens sales record on a re-purposed B.O.M. ledger indicating 59 machines on page. Year date of 1950 is on the item line. Machine sold on Monday Feb. 27, 1950.
Feb. 17, 1967 'A Hard Road', Peter Green's first and only album with John Mayall & the Bluebreakers, is released.
Today is the 49th anniversary of the release of Peter Green's only album with John Mayall & the Bluebreakers. It includes two track written by Peter Green, including the great instrumental 'The Supernatural'. Peter Green's famous Les Paul tone lives on in the ThroBak PG-102 MXV P.A.F. humbucker pickups. With the neck magnet flipped for middle position out of phase tones, these PAF humbucker pickup clones give tonal colors made legandary by the great Peter Green. Take a listen to the clips below.
Today is "Get Out Your Guitar Day". Perhaps this is a promotion that has fallen into a black hole on the web, but I like the sentiment. So dig deep into the back of the closet or under the bed and find that guitar. Dust it off, tune it up and play - now repeat tomorrow!
Collings "Aged" CL Gold Top with ThroBak ER-Custom P.A.F. humbucking pickups at the Music Emporium, Lexington MA.
The Music Emporium in Lexington, MA has a brand new Collings City Limits in "Aged" Gold Lacquer with a set of ThroBak ER-Custom P.A.F. humbucking electric guitar pickups. This example has been subtly and tastefully aged in a way that makes it instantly feel like a 50 year old classic. 8.03 lbs; incredible resonance and volume when played acoustically; round, fat, articulate tones when plugged in (both overdriven and clean).