READ THE JANUARY 2015
REVIEW BY DAVE HUNTER
HD59-HDPG COMBO REPLICA SET
The HD PAF replicas are becoming more well known despite my low production of few pickups every year. Dave Hunter is a man who owns and plays real vintage PAF's, as do a large number of my other customers, and knows what they do and what they sound like. Dave's review reflects many of the same statements I hear over and over from customers all the time. If you missed the issue I have scanned them at legible size for you to read.
READ THE FRONT PIECE CLICK HERE.
READ THE HD PAF REVIEW CLICK HERE
VINTAGE LAB HD PAF REPRODUCTIONS-THE FINAL WORD
Stephens Design was the first independent small pickup maker to seriously undertake the problem of recreating vintage PAF humbuckers, 16 years ago. When I started this work no one had any interest in the subject and very little work had ever been done on the solution.
Unlike almost every other pickup maker out there, I don't buy
a pile of offshore pickup parts that everyone uses, wind 'em all
up an call it a "PAF." There is little in those parts
that are true to what you find in vintage examples of old Gibson
humbuckers. That road has been beat into the ground by others
and you find little tonal difference in those products. Many hand
wind these pickups, which is a huge mistake. The signature tone
of a real PAF relies on a "signature" turns per layer
formula that gives a distinctive resonant peak that no hand wound
pickup can match, period. You don't need a vintage winding machine
to replicate that pattern; I built my own machine that can copy
and type of winding pattern perfectly with impeccible results.
I own 2 real PAFs and have repaired many others, and with the
help of many wonderful people in the steel industry in the area
of magnetic alloys, magnet wire, and vintage parts dealers and
historic Gibson experts who consult for other companies, I spent
literally thousands of hours of personal research, experimentation,
and lengthy dissection of real PAFs, noting every oddity every
dimensional measurement, unwound many coils one turn at a time,
got many lab results of chemistries and microphotography of the
crystal structure of every alloy used in the magnetic circuit.
And other things I can't talk about... My results speak for themselves.
I was not trying to "get that sound" by using parts
that have no relation to real vintage PAFs, from modern bulk parts
sellers, I WANTED TO RECREATE EVERY TINY DETAIL I FOUND, HISTORICALLY
ACCURATE, TO NAIL EXACTLY WHAT THOSE VINTAGE TECHNOLOGIES DID
IN AN ELECTRIC GUITAR, AND LEARNED TO MAKE THOSE PARTS MYSELF.
The only thing I wanted to be known as a copycat for was copying
the actual actifacts; I call this "Tonal Archaeology."
I put my heart and soul, and many many hours into these products
and you can be sure you get what you pay for.
REVERSE ENGINEERING IS THE TRUE KEY TO AUTHENTIC PAF TONES
we see a microphotograph of a specific steel alloy; the forms
of steel are endless, I have reproduced the correct forms of PAF
steels, through endless research with the aid of a magnetic alloys
specialist. Also shown are real PAF magnetic circuit parts, compared
to modern sloppy commercial parts and the parts I make and plate
in my own shop. No detail has been overlooked, these parts are
an important piece of the PAF "puzzle."
THE VINTAGE LAB "HD" PAF REPLICAS
The HD formula replica PAF sets represent the end of the research project, as there can be no further progress using modern materials. No one can get any closer. Previously there have been the older sets along the way, (Silver Series, Vintage Lab 1-2-3-PG and JP sets), they were all good attempts but were only steps along the ongoing research route.
There aren't going to be any new PAF replica recipes, I will only be doing refinements to the existing HD replica formulas if needed, and may add one or two other HD models at some point. There is nothing left I don't know about how and why PAF's produce the tones they do, it has nothing to do with cosmetic looks, my working recipes and techniques have taken years to perfect and are unique to SD Pickups alone.
In my research I also dissected and had analyzed
many commercial and boutique pickups claiming to be PAFs. NONE
of them were correct, and none of them sounded right. I GUARANTEE
YOU WILL NOT FIND THE EQUAL OF THESE VINTAGE LAB SETS. The amount
of time it takes to make set is very high, because I am not using
commercial kits like most others do, because kit humbucker parts
have nothing to do with real PAFs. I make all my own magnetic
tone circuit parts myself, using the same authentic methods to
duplicate perfectly as possible the technology and parts of those
days. Making these parts is time consuming and tedious but the
rewards are in the tone. Every set sold so far has only brought
joyous praise from every customer, so the time and effort has
been worth it in delivering a great sounding authentic product.
THE HD PAF REPLICA VIDEO LINKS
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO KEEP THIS PAGE UP TO DATE, HERE ARE SOME VIDEO LINKS, BUT THERE ARE MANY MANY MORE WITH NEW MODELS AND EDUCATIONAL PRESENTATIONS. THESE LINKS WILLTAKE YOU TO MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL, WHERE YOU CAN FIND ALL THE MOST UP-TO-DATE VIDEO WHICH IS CONSTANTLY UPDATED.
Here are the current full 16 videos of all the HD pickup versions:
The stock HD61 bridge - The original big fat sounding bridge, the first HD pickup with over a year of customer satisfaction behind it.
Bright and exceptionally clear.
The HD bridge Lite - A less hot and a little more compression and warmth.
The SN sweet neck - big warm sounding neck
The BN bright neck - bright and clear, a tad brighter and less sweet than the SN.
The PG neck - out of phase or in phase (Peter Green spec)-very accurate Peter Green tones out of phase, or in phase more like Kossoff, Duane Allman etc.
Hot and throaty.
The HD59 uncovered bridge - This is a hot no cover bridge, my hottest PAF, yet sharp edged, chirpy, and classic vowel tones.
CLICK LINKS TO VIEW:
• HD SN "SWEET NECK"
• HD BN "BRIGHT NECK"
• HD PG "PETER GREEN" OUT OF PHASE NECK
• HD PG "PETER GREEN" IN PHASE NECK-(DUANE ALLMAN)
• HD ALL 3 NECKS IN MIDDLE SWITCH POSITION
• MICK GRABHAM FROM PROCOL HARUM DEMO
• JAM TRACK DEMO FOR TRUEFIRE.COM
• HD LITE BRIDGE W/ HD BN NECK:
• HD LITE BRIDGE REVISED SET COMPARED TO
REAL VINTAGE 61 PAF SET
• HD PG NECK COMPARED TO
REAL VINTAGE PAF NECK
• NEW HOT HD59 UNCOVERED
BRIDGE PROTOTYPE RECORDING TEST
• HD59 UNCOVERED-COMBINED WITH
HD PG NECK
• HD'S IN 18 WATT MARSHALL!
• HD'S AND ZEPPELIN TONES ETC.
• Billy Gibbons, VL61HD bridge test drive in a Tao Guitars "El Mirage" guitar.
EDUCATIONAL AND DEBUNKING VIDEOS-LEARN THE TRUTH ABOUT VINTAGE MATERIALS AND VINTAGE PAF'S!
• VINTAGE MAGNETS PART ONE
• VINTAGE MAGNETS PART TWO
• VINTAGE WINDERS DEBUNKED
• THE TRUTH ABOUT VINTAGE
SOME COOL CUSTOMER DEMO'S:
DANNY CLICK WITH BUILD-A-BURST REPLICA ( THE BEST MONEY CAN BUY!) PART ONE
DANNY CLICK PART TWO