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Thread: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

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    Mojo's Minions misterwhizzy's Avatar
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    Default 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. #2
    Mojo's Minions Masta' C's Avatar
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    Default 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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    Default 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 at 12:33 PM.

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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default 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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    Mojo's Minions eclecticsynergy's Avatar
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    Default 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.
    .
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    Mojo's Minions Masta' C's Avatar
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    Default 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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    Mojo's Minions dr.barlo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

    Quote 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

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    Butterball speed2dirt's Avatar
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    Default 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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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

    Quote 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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    Mojo's Minions misterwhizzy's Avatar
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    Default 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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    PenultimateTone Member Demanic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

    Does that include the Crazy 8 and Fuglybucker?

    Sent from my Alcatel_5044C using Tapatalk

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    Mojo's Minions misterwhizzy's Avatar
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    Default 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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    Bengalsologist MikeS's Avatar
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    Default 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.

    Quote 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?
    Quote Originally Posted by eclecticsynergy View Post
    I bet an underwound PATB-3 would be very PAF-ish.
    Quote 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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    Mojo's Minions Masta' C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

    Quote 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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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default 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.
    Quote Originally Posted by LesStrat View Post
    Yogi Berra was correct.
    Quote Originally Posted by JOLLY View Post
    I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

  16. #16
    Mojo's Minions dr.barlo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

    Fugly neck and PATB-3 bridge make up a really good sounding set!

    B

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    Toneologist superpete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Masta' C View Post
    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)
    seriously? you just blew my mind! i always thought it was for Rhythm and Treble!

  18. #18
    Mojo's Minions Masta' C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

    Technically it is "Rhythm" and "Treble" (after all, Gibsons don't typically have a trem of any kind), but "T" pickups have 52mm spacing, which is even wider than DiMarzio's "F"-spacing (51mm) and much closer to Duncan's "Trembucker" spacing at 52.6mm.

    My point is that Gibson has been using trem-spaced bridges along with the wider "T" series pickups in the bridge for 30+ years now. People often assume that Gibsons need narrower spacing in both positions, but this isn't true except on special models and vintage-correct reissues.

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    Super Toneologist vinta9e's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by misterwhizzy View Post
    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.
    My guess is that the PATB is not meant to achieve mainstream appeal because it eschews the "JB for hard rock/Distortion or metalheads/PAFs for the classic crowd" clichés. People are maybe even afraid of its non familiar look and they are probably not aware that it's Seymour's design of a novel magnetic circuit. I be the average Joe is more interested in celebrity endorsements rather than pickup science.

    I'm incredibly glad SD makes such pickups available to us even though they're niche. Not appreciated by the most people but much appreciated nonetheless.

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    Default Re: Parallel Axis Appreciation Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by misterwhizzy View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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    My Les Paul is from 2006, and the poles line up perfectly.
    Most modern tune-o-matic bridges are F-spaced. I had a 2000 USA Jackson RR1T that I put a PATB-2 into, and it also lined up perfectly. The pickup sounded amazing, and I recently bought another one to put into something else.
    Click image for larger version. 

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