NAMM 2024: Two things are not a secret: most of us can never afford a Custom Shop '59 reissue Les Paul, let alone a vintage original. But we can upgrade the guitars we can afford to get closer to those hallowed sounds. And pickups are the obvious way. Now Gibson wants to help us by selling what it's touting as the ultimate PAF recreation. The originals are the pickups that feature on its late '50s / '60 golden age guitars, namely the 1959 Les Paul 'Bursts you'd have to sell your house for and still need a loan to buy.
Some would say the company is long overdue a piece of the PAF action many pickup makers have been in on for years. Seth Lover's design is up there with the very best guitar pickups of all time, and the finest examples are the best for many. Well now it's arrived and it's packing a very confident statement:
'Gibson’s original 'Patent Applied For' humbucker pickups from the 1950s are considered the holy grail of humbucking pickup tone," says the company. 'They have been highly influential, with many imitations. The originals are some of the most highly valued vintage pickups on the used market – when you can find someone willing to part with theirs.
'Using a combination of 3D scanning, scientific analysis, reverse engineering of original examples from the late 1950s, and specifications from the Gibson archives, the Gibson Pickup Shop has developed the most accurate recreations of these acclaimed pickups ever made.'
If any company has access to the finest selection of originals, it's Gibson. So there's every reason to be very excited about this development. The bad news is there's only 1,000 sets being made, each with serialised 1959-style numbering and a Lifton presentation case (with case candy), Vintage White butyrate bobbins, Alnico 4 roughcast magnets, and vintage-accurate nickel covers.
How much will they cost? $999, so more than most but nowhere near the thousands original PAFs shift for on sites like Reverb. We've been told the first batch has already sold out, but you can register to find out as soon as more go on sale over at Gibson.com