Monday March 12, 2012

DiMarzio PAF Pro

The benchmark of all humbuckers has to be the original PAF. PAF is an acronym for Patent Applied For and relates to the 1955 Les Paul vintage humbucker invented by Seth Lover an engineer for Gibson. The patent was issued on July 28, 1959, but guitarists had already dubbed the nameless pickup PAF. The PAF is a relatively low output pickup and designed to “buck the hum” of the noisy Fender single coil pickups of the time.

Today all major pickup manufacturers have produced some kind of PAF variant. One of the most popular is the DiMarzio PAF Pro. A full review can be found here: DiMarzio PAF Pro Review.

DiMarzio PAF Pro Chrome Top

DiMarzio PAF Pro Chrome Top

The (RRP $109, street $60-$70) pickup has an Alnico 5 magnet and standard or F-Spaced pole pieces that’s designed to work in both the neck and bridge positions. They are medium 300mV output with a moderate DC resistance of 8.4K. For an additional $75 you can also buy the mirror finished plated Chrome Top or Gold Top.

The DiMarzio PAF Pro pickups are tight in the lows, smooth in the highs and have a more pronounced mid-range. Combined with these characteristics is a growling low resonance that sounds open in the overall voice. This results in an extremely clear tone that is rounded out. The DiMarzio PAF Pro comes across as having that very 80's metal sound, which is not suprising since it was originally released in 1986. A good example of the tone qualities of the can be heard some of the Racer X albums in particular Technical Difficulties. Though I'm not sure if Paul Gilbert used a Tone Zone on the bridge as well.


DiMarzio PAF 36th Anniversary

In 2008 DiMarzio re-released the original PAF (DP103) as the PAF 36th Anniversary humbucker which came in two different flavours, the neck or bridge pickup. These replaced many of the discontinued PAF pickups as seen in the chart below.

Discontinued Pickup Replacement Pickup
PAF (DP103) Re-released as PAF 36th Anniversary Neck (DP103)
PAF Classic Neck (DP194) Air Classic Neck (DP190)
PAF Classic Bridge (DP195) Air Classic Bridge (DP191)
Virtual PAF Neck (DP196) PAF 36th Anniversary Neck (DP103)
Virtual PAF Bridge (DP197) PAF 36th Anniversary Bridge (DP223)
Virtual Hot PAF (DP214) PAF 36th Anniversary Bridge (DP223)


Guitarists using the DiMarzio PAF Pro

Famed users of the DiMarzio PAF Pro include Dweezil Zappa, Steve Vai (used on early JEMs) and Vinnie Moore. Paul Gilberts’ Ibanez PGM300RE and PGM100RE are armed with a DiMarzio PAF Pro in the neck and bridge, matched with a DiMarzio FS-1 single coil in the middle. Munky from Korn uses the DiMarzio PAF 7 on the seven string Ibanez APEX1 and 2 on the neck and bridge. Joe Satriani’s Ibanez JS20TH, JS1600, JS1000 all have the PAF Pro in the neck, paired with a DiMarzio FRED in the bridge. Just a note Satch didn't use the DiMarzio PAF Pro in Surfing with the Alien they were Seymour Duncan JB's and a '59 on a Kramer Pacer. However Vai during the David Roth era used this pickup extensively.

 “The PAF Pro was created when chops-intensive playing was first starting to happen, and high-gain amps and rack systems were getting popular. A pickup was needed that combined a lot of presence and cut with an open-sounding PAF vibe. The transparency of its sound lets the DiMarzio PAF Pro slice through heavy processing, where darker-sounding pickups get lost in the mud of the effects chain. Low notes have both snap and chunk, and there is a spike in the mid-range that gives the pickup a subtle “aw” vowel sound, like a wah-wah pedal stopped in the middle. Treble response is tweaked, so high notes stand out without getting brittle. The DiMarzio PAF Pro makes an outstanding neck pickup in almost any guitar, and it’s an exceptional bridge pickup when high output isn’t required.”

“Tech Talk: This is a great building block pickup, because it's effective in many different situations. Try it in the neck position with a hotter bridge pickup - anything from a Norton® to a Super Distortion® will create a calibrated two-humbucker match. As a bridge pickup, it's really effective with single-coils, because it won't drown them out with too much power, and it's bright enough to blend in tone-wise.”

DiMarzio PAF Pro Unboxing

DiMarzio PAF Pro boxed

DiMarzio PAF Pro boxed

DiMarzio PAF Pro Instructions

DiMarzio PAF Pro Instructions

DiMarzio PAF Pro Side View

DiMarzio PAF Pro Side View

DiMarzio PAF Pro rear view. Note the unstripped cable.

DiMarzio PAF Pro rear view. Note the unstripped cable.


See the DiMarzio PAF Pro Review

See the DiMarzio PAF Pro Part 2

See the Seymour Duncan PAF Chart

Return to the Ibanez Mods Main Page

Video Review


For people that like reading maps...

Sitemap »
Terms & Conditions

Nothing to see here, move along...

Terms and Conditions »
Help & Support

What is the tallest mountain in the world, and other useful answers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) »
Get in touch