Four best PAF pickups

If you're after accurately vintage-spec'ed PAFs, check out our picks of the best examples out there.

PAF humbucker gibson les paul

Virtually every pickup maker in the business has a PAF replica in the product range. Some offer several varieties and others make PAF replicas exclusively. Some are offered pre-aged and the quality of the relic-ing can be terrifying to behold. Even so, the likelihood is that relatively few pickup makers have even been in the same room as a vintage PAF, let alone played one. Here’s a small selection of PAF replicas that are respected by those in the know.

1Stephens Design PG HD/59 HD $785 (pair)

Based in Seattle, Dave Stephens is a bona-fide PAF authority and it’s reflected in the way his PAF replicas are built. I haven’t tried them myself, but friend and colleague Dave Hunter put it this way: “Let’s just say… they deliver to the player wanting to go all out for real deal ’59 tone, and leave it at that.”

2Shed PAF Daddies £220 (pair)

Spencer Mumford uses vintage-correct components and applies his outstanding relic-ing skills to create a PAF replica that looks indistinguishable from a real 55-year-old gig warrior.

3Mojo Pickups “Vintage” PAFs Low Output £190 (pair)

Voiced to capture the early-PAF sound with a brighter and slightly lower output than Mojo’s standard PAF set. Vintage-spec parts include butyrate bobbins, rough-cast magnets, two-stranded braid hookup wire and degaussed alnico magnets. Available relic’d.

4Monty’s PAF £216.99 (pair)

Matt Gleeson has had his hands on countless genuine PAFs as a guitar restorer and repairer and he took his opportunities to analyse and measure those he considered the best examples. We have A/B tested Monty’s PAFs with the real thing and can report we haven’t found any PAF replica that gets closer to the original tone.

Discover all about the history and design of the PAF humbucker in our guide.