The Sonic Difference

PAF Humbucker

In opposite to Fender Pickups, the sounds of Gibson PAF and P90 constructions are influenced by a variety of components and a few different parameters.

Each metal part of the construction moves and damps the generated frequencies. After having worked with imported parts, I started drawing plans for my own parts in 2003. I found some manufactureres near my home town and in spring 2005, I finally could make my first PAF Humbucker from my own parts. The base from real german nickel-silver, a milled keeper bar and bobbins from my own molds. That was expensive, but worth the efforts.

The only Les Paul Sunburst I knew at that time, was the the 1958 owned by Peter Weihe (he once purchased it from Ronnie Montrose and is a piece of Rock n Roll history itself and meanwhile german pop history, too). For this reason and because I was born 1958 myself, I called my first PAF Set the “HB58” .

Rainer Gaffrey HB59

HB 58 Set

HB 58 Set. Since I was quite familiar with the sounds of Peter Weihe´s original ´58 Les Paul Standard, it´s no surprise that the HB58 Set is a close replica of these PAFs. The HB58 neck Humbucker offers a brighter and clearer tone than you´d expect from a neck Humbucker and the lower strings stay defined while the whole sound keeps a kind of vocal character. The bridge pickup is very dynamic with nice wide bloom and might remind some of you of an old Blackguard Tele’s Bridgepickup. Dickey Betts „Jessica“-sound is a good example for the vivid elegance and clarity of these pickups.

HB 58 Les Paul in R7 VOS Clean

HB 58 in Les Paul R7 VOS Crunch

HB 58 in Les Paul R7 VOS Driven

The HB 58/59 Set. is a mixture of the HB58 Neck and the HB59 Bridge. This combination has become very popular for it’s versatility.

HB-58 Unaged / 1

HB 59 Set


HB 59 Set. This is my interpretation of the mystic and legendary ´59 PAFs. Some years ago I had the pleasure of playing some ´59 Les Paul Bursts and these beauties sounded different than the ´58 Burst I knew so far. This experience gave me the inspiration for my HB59 Set. The overall tone is more raw and bolder with richly detailed and complex harmonics. In simple words: the HB59 is more „in the face“ and seems to beg for some rootsy Blues & Rock licks…..think Clapton´s Beano sound or all the early Billy Gibbons stuff he played with his ´59 Les paul called Pearly Gates! The HB59 is also avaliable as LC Version (less covers), which is a matter of personal taste.

HB 59 in Les Paul R9 VOS Clean

HB 59 in Les Paul R9 VOS Crunch

HB 59 in Les Paul R9 VOS Driven

Here are a few soundclips of the coverless version HB 59 LC CC in a Les Paul Standard.

HB 59 LC CC in Les Paul Clean

HB 59 LC CC in Les Paul Crunch

HB 59 LC CC in Les Paul Driven

HB 57 Set

The HB 57 Set After having played a ‘57 Gold Top Les Paul, I knew there was something special about these Instruments and of course, the pickups. This was darker and brighter at the same time, than the Bursts that I knew. Robben Ford, Snowy White and the legendary Slide-Maestro Duane Allman are some famous users of the ´57 Goldtop. Like in all calibrated sets, the neckpickup is a bit lighter than the bridgepickup.

HB 57 in Les Paul R7 Clean

HB 57 in Les Paul R7 Crunch

HB 57 in Les Paul R7 Driven

HB 60 Set

HB 60 in Les Paul Standard

The HB 60 Set is a combination of the new HB 62-Neck and the HB 60-Bridge that was overworked in co-orporation with Germany’s most succesful guitar studio artist Peter Weihe. It features a tonal mixture of the HB 57 andHB 59 Set. It combines the direct tonal emulation of the HB 59 with the darker character of the HB 57 Set! Sounds much better than I’m able to describe, so listen to the new soundfiles:

HB 60 in Les Paul Standard clean

HB 60 in Les Paul Standard Crunch

HB 60 in Les Paul Standard driven

HB 59/60 Set

HB 59/60 Set. This Mixed Set is for more modern Humbucker sounds. This combination is mostly used as the LC version (less covers) and is definitley the choice of the youth!

HB 59/60 LC in Les Paul Historic C. Clean

HB 59/60 LC in Les Paul Historic C. Crunch

HB 59/60 LC in Les Paul Historic C. Driven

All PAF Humbucking pickups are available with aged nickelsilver-, with unaged nickelplated or goldplated nickelsilver covers. Coverless PAFs available in double black, double creme, zebra (slugcoil creme) and reversed zebra (slugcoil black).