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P90's vs. PAF's. Think you can hear a difference?

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  • P90's vs. PAF's. Think you can hear a difference?

    I can't unless I have a pair of headphones on and am really paying attention on this clip. I used the EF86 Channel on a handwired Vox AC15 with the exact same settings for both guitars. I used the bridge pickups on both. The amp was turned up half way--there are no real tone controls other than some presets and the Cut control which was turned off. I used the standard old school setting from the late 50's. 

    I will get hammered with comments about "too much overdrive..." etc., but the point here is that using a typical vintage setup, it's very hard to hear dramatic differences between PAF's and P90's. But you may disagree, so make sure you listen to the whole video.

  • #2
    I agree, they sounded similar enough that I couldn't hear a huge difference. I'm sure that'd be especially true in a band context. I expected to like the P90s the best but I think I liked the PAFs slightly more.

    Great video!
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    • Chad
      Chad commented
      Editing a comment

      I'm listening on junk laptop speakers and the difference is rather drastic to me.  The P90s have that single coil clarity.  The humbuckers are much rounder sounding. 

  • #3

    Thank you.  I think you just cured some GAS.  I have no p90 guitar at the moment.  I wanted one bad a few minutes ago, but not so much now.  How about a comparison with clean tones!


    • GilmourD
      GilmourD commented
      Editing a comment
      There wasn't a HUGE difference, but there was the shift in midrange emphasis I expected. The PAF-type does have a certain dip in the midrange while the P90 has an upper mid spike. That is a BB3, though, which does bump the midrange up.

      There were so many variations in PAFs... They used A2, A3, A4, and A5 magnets, all of which change the tone fairly dramatically, and Gibson used them pretty much interchangeably depending on how cheap they were when they were ordering from their supplier.

  • #4
    Given that the paf was to be a quieter replacement for the p90, it goes to show that Seth knew what he was doing.
    We're not in Kansas anymore.


    • Faber
      Faber commented
      Editing a comment

      I hear a difference in that video, but that's because they are side by side. If it was just one guitar on a track I doubt I would know for sure. 


      I does confirm my sentiment that a good PAF style have a lot in common with a fat single coil tone

  • #5
    Nice video.
    I hear quite a bit of difference even though you used the same amp and settings.
    To me there's a clear difference from the single coil pick attack and the bloom of the humbucker.
    I'm sure guys who are tone junkies are gonna hear a difference. Maybe more casual players may not notice as much of a difference. Both guitars sounded very nice.
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