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Thread: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

  1. #1
    DLT
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    Default Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    Are you one of the lucky ones like me who bought up a pair of these 59 PAF reissues when they came out in the early 1980's?
    My 77 Les Paul Standard came with complete dog pickups on it. Extremely thin sounding lacking tone. When I changed out to the Shaw designed pups...whoa what a HUGE difference! I am to believe these are the best reissues ever made.

    Your opinion?
    Last edited by DLT; 10-06-2009 at 11:14 AM. Reason: correction: 59 PAF not 57.

  2. #2
    Mojo's Minions metlking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    I took mine out 20 years ago, luckily I kept them in Duncan boxes in a drawer for safe keeping. I never get rid of stock pickups! I should reistall them and give them a shot. I had no idea back then they'd be so sought after. My 81' Standard LP and My 81' Custom LP both have them, but have been removed in favor of Duncan's long ago............I've seen them go for stupid money on Ebay....$400+ a pair!
    Only you can decide what "good" sounds like!
    "I learned a long time ago that one note can go a long way if it's the right one, and it will whip the guy with twenty quick notes." ~Les Paul

  3. #3
    DLT
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by metlking View Post
    I took mine out 20 years ago, luckily I kept them in Duncan boxes in a drawer for safe keeping. I never get rid of stock pickups! I should reistall them and give them a shot. I had no idea back then they'd be so sought after. My 81' Standard LP and My 81' Custom LP both had them............I've seen them go for stupid money on Ebay....$400+ a pair!
    Yup...they are like gold!

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    Mojo's Minions metlking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by DLT View Post
    Yup...they are like gold!
    You really make me wanna break out the soldering iron!
    Only you can decide what "good" sounds like!
    "I learned a long time ago that one note can go a long way if it's the right one, and it will whip the guy with twenty quick notes." ~Les Paul

  5. #5
    DLT
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by metlking View Post
    You really make me wanna break out the soldering iron!
    metlking,
    I highly recommend it!

    My friend bought a used 74 Les Paul Custom with some stock "freak" hum-bs on it a long time ago. I mean these things were smokin'!!! We had identical amps at the time - Music Man HD-150 Stacks with stock speakers. He would put me to shame.

    When I changed out to the Shaws, I matched his sound identically in volume and in tone. Well...maybe mine sounded a tad fatter.

    He took his guitar into a shop a while back to have a pup selector switch replaced. The guitar tech who did it played the guitar thoroughly and commented how HOT his pickups were.

    That guy gets lucky like that all the time. Pisses me off!

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    Senior Member RHOADS TONE's Avatar
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    Exclamation Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    Some of the best Neck pups I have heard. I wish I could find one that was @ about 8.35K for the Bridge. 7.3 thru 7.7K is good for neck pups...but a bit light it the lowend for me when it comes to the Bridge.

  7. #7
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by DLT View Post
    Are you one of the lucky ones like me who bought up a pair of these 57 PAF reissues when they came out in the early 1980's?
    My 77 Les Paul Standard came with complete dog pickups on it. Extremely thin sounding lacking tone. When I changed out to the Shaw designed pups...whoa what a HUGE difference! I am to believe these are the best reissues ever made.

    Your opinion?
    Well, my opinion is that you have to try everything before you can say anything is the best ever made.

    Best you've ever owned or tried? OK...that's fine.

    I've not tried the Shaw humbuckers. I've read nothing but good things about them but everyone who owns something special like that thinks they now own the holy grail.

    After owning real 50's Gibson pafs, and custom wound pickups from Lindy Fralin, Harmonic Design, Seymour and others, my quest ended when I got my first set of Tom Holmes humbuckers.

    I now have a second set in my ES-335.

    But you know what? Others (Dr. Barlo for one) prefer the Duncan Antiquity humbuckers over anything else that's out there and those are fabulous pickups too!

    I'd love to hear some Shaws. I'll bet they're great.

    Congrats!

    Lew

  8. #8
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    Here's some info on the Shaws. They are not an exact replica of a Gibson paf because they were designed while Norlin still ran Gibson and Norlin wouldn't go all the way. That would have to wait until Tom Holmes came on the scene and designed the 57 Classic. But here's the article:

    The Shaws have numbers ink stamped on the back to differeniate them from the run of the mill pickups.

    Number 138 880 at the bridge position and 137 880 at the neck position. These are inked on not stamped in the metal.

    this site has a photo:
    http://www.gibson-talk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=600

    Here's what past LPF poster Big Al had to say about Shaws and what Gibson has said:

    Shaws - per Big Al:
    They were all made in the same place. They all had a seperate inked in number on the base plate in addition to the stamped patent number.

    The first three digits will tell you the type. 137 is a neck pickup with less windings and 138 is a bridge pickup with more windings. There is a date code after the fist three digits. 1381280 would be a bridge Shaw made in December 1980. Not all of them had the silver PAF sticker.

    They had PAF coilforms with the square/round inspection holes and no T on top. The wire is a bright copper color. The magnet was a special Alnico V that was longer like the 50's style and rough cast. This is a special magnet and the closest to a vintage PAF in tone to my ears. They had white plastic spacers and braided connecting wire.

    They typicaly read under 8Kohms and seem to average out in the middle 7's. They sound very big and powerful in spite of the low readings.

    Tim Shaw who designed these pickups under Norlin restraints did a remarkable job IMO. They really are a neat sounding alternative to most humbuckers. the Magnet , as was explained to me was "Unoriented AlnicoV" I do not know what that means other than it isn't a regular AlnicoV. It seems that AlnicoV has higher gauss mesurments or something to that effect than any other type of pickup magnet, and Tim said that by deleteing a final step that puts a full charge or orientation on the magnet, the tone was closest to what he was after. It was a long time ago, but that is how I remember it. I really don't understand all the fine points of Magnetism so I could have some terms mixed up. Basicly it is a real cool sounding, Big Al approved magnet. This is what I put in my Antiquities.

    From Gibson on Shaw:

    "Whether it was rivalry between plants or increased market awareness, the Nashville plant jumped into the reissue action in 1980. By this time, one of the most glaring deficiencies of new Les Pauls (compared to the originals) was the humbucking pickup. In preparation for its first attempt at a reissue, Gibson assigned engineer Tim Shaw the job of designing a reissue of the original Patent-Applied-For humbucking pickup-within certain restrictions. "This was 1980 and Norlin was already feeling the pinch," Shaw said, referring to Gibson's long decline through the 1970s and early '80s. "We weren't allowed to do much retooling. We redid the bobbin because it was worn out. We got some old bobbins and put the square hole back in. We did it without the T-hole, which stood for Treble."

    To replicate the magnets, Shaw gathered up magnets from original PAFs and sent them to a lab to be analyzed. "Most were Alnico 2's," he said, "but some were 5's. In the process of making an Alnico 5, they stick a magnet in a huge coil for orientation, but an unoriented 5 sounds a lot like a 2. They started with Alnico 2 and then switched to Alnico 5."

    Shaw discovered that the original magnets were a little thicker than 1980 production magnets. "Magnetic strength is largely a function of the area of the polarized face; increasing the face size gives you more power," he explained. So he specified the thicker magnet for the new PAF.

    Wiring on the originals was #42 gauge, which Gibson still used. However, the original wire had an enamel coating and the current wire had a polyurethane coat, which also was of a different thickness or "buildup" than that of the original, which affected capacitance. Norlin refused to go the extra mile-or extra buck, as it were. Enamel-coated wire cost a dollar more per pound than poly-coated. Shaw could change the spec on the buildup without additional expense, so the thickness of the coating was the same as on the original wire, but he was forced to use the poly coat. The difference is easy to see: purple wire on the originals, orange on the reissues.

    more...

  9. #9
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    continued: Shaw later found a spec for the number of turns on a spec sheet for a 1957 ES-175. "It specified 5,000 turns because a P-90 had 10,000 turns and they cut it in half," Shaw said. In reality, however, originals had anywhere from 5,000 to 6,000 turns, depending on how tight the coil was wound. Shaw later met Seth Lover, who designed and patented Gibson's humbucker, at a NAMM show. Lover laughed when asked about a spec for windings, and he told Shaw, "We wound them until they were full."

    The spec for resistance was even less exact, Shaw said. The old ohmeter was graduated in increments of .5 (500 ohms). Anywhere between 3.5 and 4 on the meter (3,500 to 4,000 ohms) met the spec. Consequently, Shaw pointed out, there is no such thing as an exact reissue or replica of the 1959 PAF pickup. There can only be a replica of one original PAF, or an average PAF. As Gibson would find out in the early 1990s, the same could be said about the entire guitar.

    Shaw's PAF reissue debuted on Gibson's new Nashville-made Les Paul Heritage 80 in 1980. Compared to anything Gibson had previously made (which is to say, compared to nothing), it was an excellent reissue of a sunburst Les Paul Standard.....

  10. #10
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    Here's the whole article: http://www.thegearpage.net/board/arc.../t-330932.html

    Facinating!

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker hamerfan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    I have two sets of Shaws, from 1980 and 1981, one covered, one not. First thing: They are prone to feedback and they are not potted. You can easily stop this by dampening the cover (double sticking tape, silicone blob) and waxin in the magnet bar. Potting them would destroy its vibrant tone.
    I compared them with a non covered pair of Seth Lover/Ants with a A2 and A5 magnets. The shaws have an unique cello like low voice while retaining a lot of clearness with its low wind (7.2 to 7.7k). They give a certain fullness in the lower register which the Seths/Ants cannot supply. i liked them in a 335 clone more than in its original LP, which had a bass boomy low E with the neck Shaw. The bridge pickup (7.7k) makes also a great neck in low bassed guitars (eg semi-acoustics, 24 fretter) but is a little bright and wimpy (to modern hearing standards) in the bridge.
    This brought up the rumour that a LP Heritage 80 would sound bright like a Telecaster. I have now a 8.9k Custom made PAF (and before that a 10k Brobucker) in the Bridge of the Heritage. I tell you in this LP Heritage the Bridge is full sounding and a great compliment to a neck Shaw.
    I did some mag swapping with the Shaw. I have to say the degaussed A2 Ant mag and a Fralin supplied A4 are my favs in the neck. While the Bridge Shaw is best with the stock A5, despite the fact they are still very bright.
    Last edited by hamerfan; 06-15-2010 at 11:01 AM.

  12. #12
    DLT
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by hamerfan View Post
    I have two sets of Shaws, from 1980 and 1981, one covered, one not. First thing: They are prone to feedback and they are not potted. You can easily stop this by dampening the cover (double sticking tape, silicone blob) and waxin in the magnet bar. Potting them would destroy its vibrant tone.
    I compared them with a non covered pair of Seth Lover/Ants with a A2 and A5 magnets. The shaws have an unique cello like low voice while retaining a lot of clearness with its low wind (7.2 to 7.7k). They give a certain fullness in the lower register which the Seths/Ants cannot supply. i liked them in a 335 clone more than in its original LP, which had a bass boomy low E with the neck Shaw. The bridge pickup (7.7k) makes also a great neck in low bassed guitars (eg semi-acoustics, 24 fretter) but is a little bright and wimpy (to modern hearing standards) in the bridge.
    This brought up the rumour that a LP Heritage 80 would sound bright like a Telecaster. I have now a 8.9k Custom made PAF (and before a 10k Brobucker) in the Bridge of the Heritage. I tell you in this LP Heritage the Bridge is full sounding and a great compliment to a neck Shaw.
    I did some mag swapping with the Shaw. I have to say the degaussed A2 Ant mag and a Fralin supplied A4 are my favs in the neck. While the Bridge Shaw is best with the stock A5, despite the fact they are still very bright.
    Yes! With my former Music Man rig, I discovered that. On other amps though, it did not happen at all. I am wondering if the EVM series II 12" speakers (massive speaker magnets) helped with the feedback? Of course it was at higher volumes in a smaller room.
    Last edited by DLT; 10-06-2009 at 03:50 PM.

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    Mojo's Minions Christopher Caruana's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    So, not knowing anything about them myself......are these Tim Shaw PAF's the Gibson "T" tops? or were they before/after?
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewguitar View Post
    They had PAF coilforms with the square/round inspection holes and no T on top.
    ......
    We did it without the T-hole, which stood for Treble."
    Looks like they came after the T-Tops.

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    PRSlustologist Luke Duke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    I've got a set in my 335, GREAT set of pups. They're really weird because they SOUND like they're a lot more powerful than they are. Mine aren't really all that feedback prone honestly, but I've got covers on them and haven't messed with them all that much other than unsoldering them to replace pots and caps.

    I like them better than any of the Gibson pups I've ever used and even some SDs. I know a lot of folks like the 57s, but I just don't care for them they've got a graininess to them I just don't care for.

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  16. #16
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Caruana View Post
    So, not knowing anything about them myself......are these Tim Shaw PAF's the Gibson "T" tops? or were they before/after?
    No Christipher, the T-Tops were created by Gibson/Norlin before the Shaw pickups and the Shaw pickups were Tim Shaw's attempt to improve the quality of Gibson humbuckers and get as close as Norlin would allow to a late 50's Gibson paf.

    If you remove the cover of a stock Gibson pickup from the Norlin period of ownership of Gibson you'll usually find a T-Top in there. There's a T molded into the top of the black bobbin. T-Tops have a shorter magnet than a 50's Gibson paf or a Duncan 59.

    I like T-Tops for the neck position. Some of them can be nice and clear and lively.

    Lew

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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    So what is a current production equivalent of the Shaw PAF?

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    Mojo's Minions LtKojak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by Mpcoluv View Post
    So what is a current production equivalent of the Shaw PAF?
    '57 Classics.
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    Fuzzy. Guitars the guy who invented fire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by LtKojak View Post
    '57 Classics.
    Sorry bro...not at all.

    Classic 57's and Shaws are worlds apart...different wire, different magnets, different winds...the only things those 2 pickups have in common is that they are both humbucking Gibson pickups, end of story.

    I know that the great Tom Holmes designed the Classic 57's but they are still turd pickups IMHO.

    Shaws on the other hand...amazing, if you want that sound hunt down a set of Shaws and pony up!!!

    There is a reason they sell for $300+ a set!
    Last edited by the guy who invented fire; 06-15-2010 at 02:21 PM.
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    Mojo's Minions LtKojak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tim Shaw designed Gibson Humbucking Pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by the guy who invented fire View Post
    Sorry bro...not at all.

    Classic 57's and Shaws are worlds apart...different wire, different magnets, different winds...the only things those 2 pickups have in common is that they are both humbucking Gibson pickups, end of story.

    I know that the great Tom Holmes designed the Classic 57's but they are still turd pickups IMHO.

    Shaws on the other hand...amazing, if you want that sound hunt down a set of Shaws and pony up!!!

    There is a reason they sell for $300+ a set!
    Yes, you're right. The '57 Classic were indeed designed by Tom Holmes, NOT Tim Shaw.

    Sorry! My bad... (whips himself)
    Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
    Milano, Italy

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