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  • Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

    I admittedly don't have a ton of experience with parallel axis pickups, but I recently put a PATB1 in the bridge of my Les Paul again. With almost every other pickup I've put in the guitar, I soon get the urge to tweak or say, "I need to cut the highs a little bit," or "the bass isn't tight enough." I know the pickup won't stay in the guitar forever, but that's just the fault of the operator.

    If overused tone words cause your eyes to roll, you might want to skip the rest of the post. Here's what I like about it over standard humbuckers. The dynamic range is unlike any other pickup that guitar has had, and the list isn't short. It will let me clean up regardless of how much gain I throw at it with a twist of the volume knob. It doesn't need a boost, because it'll roar without any help, but I really like the tone with it boosted. The mids are voiced perfectly with presence but no upper-mid spike or harshness. Highs are the same way, and the bass is not overpowering but also not hidden in the mix.

    The Crazy 8 has spent some time in the same guitar, and it exhibits a lot of the same characteristics: sustain, clarity, and dynamics. I think I like the slight extra frontend push I get from the original PATB better, and I think it might be the A5 that pushes the voicing slightly higher, which to my ears improves clarity ever so slightly over the Crazy 8.

    Regardless, when I play one of these pickups, I wonder why I see so little talk about them. Please chime in with your thoughts or experiences.

  • #2
    Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

    100% agree. The PA design is highly underrated and not enough people are willing to give them a shot based on their looks alone.

    The PATB-1 is an incredibly versatile pickup that the majority of players would be content with. The PATB-3 is a killer "overwound PAF" model and the PATB-2 is one of the hottest, yet most dynamic sounding "distortion" class pickups around.

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    • #3
      Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

      It was the first pickup swap I had done on my first "real" guitar back in 93-94-ish timeframe and it's still absolutely one of my favorites. Truly an underappreciated pickup. I hadn't used that guitar for a long time and decided to pull it out recently and was slackjawed wondering why I hadn't used it in so long, it nailed a heavy tone I was looking for without being bogged down and had perfect aggressive but not shrill mids/highs.

      I went on a youtube search after that and found several videos in the last few months calling it out as an overlooked treasure - I agree.
      Last edited by RexRemus; 05-27-2020, 01:33 PM.

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      • #4
        Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

        I wonder if that design can be modified in a PAF wind. I dig the look, although what was the original idea behind the look? What problem did it solve?
        Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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        • #5
          Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

          I think it was originally intended to minimize dropoff when bending strings.
          But I think it also yielded benefits in terms of sound clarity which may or may not have been expected.

          I bet an underwound PATB-3 would be very PAF-ish.
          .
          "My hovercraft is full of eels."

          .

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          • #6
            Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

            The PA pole pieces increase inductance and serve to create separate "sensing" fields on the sides of the string, rather than a single sensing area right below it like traditional poles. The result is increased punch and reduced harshness, plus they resist note dropout no matter how wild you get with string bends. In my experience, they also differ a little from a traditional humbucker in the way they feel under the fingers. It's a subtle difference but there's definitely a signature feel to the PA design.

            P.S.- If I recall correctly, Mr. Falbo has a PA wound to '78 Model specs by MJ and it is one of his faves

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            • #7
              Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

              Originally posted by Mincer View Post
              I wonder if that design can be modified in a PAF wind. I dig the look, although what was the original idea behind the look? What problem did it solve?
              You gotta try a PATB-3. Very tasty hot wound PAF sound. Mine is 9.4K. And I love it!

              B
              FaceBook; SoundCloud; Barlo's Blues; Barlo Digitalized; Soundclick!;

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              • #8
                Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

                Does the PATB line-up with the string spacing of a Les Paul? Being that they're all Trembuckers, the string shouldn't fit right between the dual magnets as intended due to spacing. Any pictures of them installed in non-Floyd guitars?

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                • #9
                  Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

                  Originally posted by speed2dirt View Post
                  Does the PATB line-up with the string spacing of a Les Paul? Being that they're all Trembuckers, the string shouldn't fit right between the dual magnets as intended due to spacing. Any pictures of them installed in non-Floyd guitars?
                  Good question, I'd like to know, too. While I don't really need a hot PAF replacement, I'd be interested in knowing if the design would change the response of a lower output PAF wind...and how it would change.
                  Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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                  • #10
                    Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

                    Everyone does humbuckers, and there are quite a few actives on the market now, but as far as I know, the parallel axis is only in Duncans, and it’s one of three basic pickup designs. I hope everyone has a chance to try one at least once.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

                      Does that include the Crazy 8 and Fuglybucker?

                      Sent from my Alcatel_5044C using Tapatalk

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                      • #12
                        Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

                        Click image for larger version

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                        My Les Paul is from 2006, and the poles line up perfectly.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

                          I really dug my Crazy8 in a mahogany body strat, and had contemplated putting it back in next string change. Pairs really well with a CRn.

                          Originally posted by Mincer View Post
                          I wonder if that design can be modified in a PAF wind. I dig the look, although what was the original idea behind the look? What problem did it solve?
                          Originally posted by eclecticsynergy View Post
                          I bet an underwound PATB-3 would be very PAF-ish.
                          Originally posted by dr.barlo View Post
                          You gotta try a PATB-3. Very tasty hot wound PAF sound. Mine is 9.4K. And I love it!
                          10-12 years ago I grabbed in the Trading Post a '59 trembucker that was rewound in the SD custom shop to the PATB-3 wind. It's a deliciously-sounding hot PAF that has had a permanent home in my LP Studio ever since. Someday maybe I'll grab a PATB-3 and A/B the two. I'm frankly surprised I never grabbed a PATB-3 for another guitar. I have a project in paint which I intended to go back to a Screamin' Demon because it worked so well in that guitar pre-refin, but maybe now's the time to grab the PATB-3 instead.
                          Duncan Pickups in currently in use: '59 (rewound to PATB-3)/'59, Custom 5/AP2H, Tapped QP set for Tele, Crazy 8/Cool Rails, Custom 5/Phat Cat, SP90-1/SP90-2, SHPR-1b/SHPR-1n, SMB-5D

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                          • #14
                            Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

                            Originally posted by speed2dirt View Post
                            Does the PATB line-up with the string spacing of a Les Paul?
                            Most Gibsons and Epiphones since the mid-'80s have trem-spaced bridges. Drives me crazy that more people aren't aware of this. That's why their newer bridge models are labeled "T" (500T, 498T, 490T, etc) and their neck pickups are labeled "R" (for Regular spacing)

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                            • #15
                              Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

                              I use a two neck models in my G&L Ascari GTS. They sound great. The other models are all too hot and dark for me.
                              Originally posted by LesStrat
                              Yogi Berra was correct.
                              Originally posted by JOLLY
                              I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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