Don’t care about ‘authentic PAF’ looks but want the best tone available? You’re in the right place.
More affordable versions of Sigil Pickups popular PAF winds for the working man! 95% of the tone for a lower price.
More affordable, but at what cost?
I could build these cheaper but a lot of the parts I’ve trialed were terrible in some way or another. There’s more important things to all this than making a few extra dollars. Bottom line; I refuse to use junk and most of the differences are cosmetic. I tried to focus on sourcing alternatives to the parts that will least affect tone.
The Bluesman Session Series will continue to feature the same baseplates, slugs and screw poles as the Bluesman Vintage sets because the cheaper alternatives were exactly that…CHEAP junk. The most obvious changes are the wire and bobbins. I’ll be using USA made Poly coated wire instead of plain enamel which gets pretty damn close to the sounds I want; I’d say 95%. Some people say there’s no difference in poly VS plain enamel as far as tone is concerned, but I find PE has a slight edge in darkness and fullness. I’ve adjusted the coil setup and winding technique to account for those differences as much as my ears will allow so had to stray a bit from True PAF specs. Side by side on a clean amp there’s still a slight tonal difference but man, it’s close! Add some gain and the gap closes even more.
Is Poly bad sounding? No. It’s 1/3 the cost of PE, much easier to wind and much, much easier to solder. Saving me time saves you money! The Bluesman Session Series pickups are still PAF style pickups; they look and sound great and are built with the same attention to detail and commitment to Tone as all Sigil Pickups.
Bluesman Session Series
- plastic bobbins instead of butyrate, available in cream, black, zebra and reverse zebra.
- poly wire instead of plain enamel (red color)
- adjusted coil geometry to compensate tonal differences from PE
- no frills packaging ie: no pickup rings, felt bags or COA
- plastic spacer instead of maple
- high quality keeper, but not PAF specs
- paper or cloth tape on coils
- polished or rough cast magnets (USA sourced and hand charged in house).
Similarities between the Session and Vintage Series.
- High quality nickel baseplates modeled after a 1957 PAF. There are cheaper options available but they look terrible and are questionable material. This may change if I find something usable but for now I can’t find anything else worth using and don’t really care to keep looking.
- Slugs and Screws. Again, I’ve tested cheaper options but was not impressed.
- Hookup wire options of vintage braided or 4 conductor
- Wax potting available on request
- Cover options. All my covers are stamped in the USA out of nickel silver and available as add ons; Standard raw or polished nickel and Vintage PAF Premium in raw German nickel.
- Same winding machines and techniques
- Magnets hand picked and charged in house to specs
- Hand built one set at a time; guitar tested in my 2003 Les Paul Standard.
- Same guarantee and 30 day exchange policy
How do they look? You be the judge.