Guitar Pickup Review

DiMarzio PAF 57 Humbucker Set

The PAF 57 is the 2024 entry into DiMarzio’s growing catalog of PAF variants. OK, alright. I get it. There are some that find humor in all the different PAF selections that are available. Not just from any one company, but from them all. But it’s actually a very valid approach. Especially with regard to 1957. Let’s look at why.

First things first. And if you’ve been reading my different articles on PAF humbuckers, you already know this. The late-1950s Gibson PAF humbuckers are all snowflakes. Specs on the materials are all over the place. Tolerances on manufacturing procedures are hit and miss. The same person at the same station might not make the same things 2x in the same day. One may be a holy grail and the next might be a door stop. And depending on the listener’s ear, that’s why there are so many hot takes on which one is good.

The obvious elephant in the room is 1957. And that’s what we are really here to get down and dirty about. What’s the big deal about 1957? More than anything else, it’s the Alncio 2 magnet. Is it that big of a deal? When DiMarzio releases and Alnico 2 humbucker, apparently it is! LOL! That’s right, DiMarzio is going with the actual Alnico 2 magnet instead of the patented Air Technology.

DiMarzio PAF 57 Aged Nickel
DiMarzio PAF 57 Aged Nickel

This set is going in to a double-hum guitar. In fact, the same guitar as the one for the articles on the DiMarzio New’Tron, the PAF’Tron, and the Super Distor’Tron pickups. The PAF 57 has vintage style braided lead wire, so it’s a straight-ahead install with no fancy wiring trickery. The harness as Bourns 500k pots, a Pure-Tone 1/4″ jack, and a Switchcraft 3-way toggle. Strings are 09-42 with an E standard tuning.

DiMarzio PAF 57 Black
DiMarzio PAF 57 Black

Out of the box, you know that fun is ahead with the butyrate bobbins. From the slightly sweet-sour smell to the visible characteristics. The paper coil tape, wooden spacers, long mounting legs, and braided lead wire. This isn’t your 1980s shred-centric DiMarzio. The accouterments declare that you are in for a serious heaping helping of tone. The nuances of butyrate bobbins, wood spacers, and braided lead wire all do work together for a viable visible and audible result.

When up and running on a dirty amp channel, you start to think you are finding a familiar PAF stomping grounds. There is definitely a harkening of an intentional tone that tickles your ear holes. As you start to really get in to your repertoire, it’s the finesse that you find between the lines that make the PAF 57 really stand out. The creamy bold low end and the sweetly precise highs. As with the best of the best, the answer can reside with the midrange. There is a delicate balance of a determined even-sounding design that can cover a snarl or a roar. While in the neck, it produces a slightly more vocal reference that you expect from a PAF.

You are in for a treat on a clean amp setting. The dimension and character and voice really shine with the guitar knob at 10. Rolling back a little can reveal a much more detailed response to your picking style and your fretting technique. The mechanical noise of the vibrato as the note(s) decay is truly tasty. The in-between selection is where the fun lives. So much so that it’s almost a dare to do
the “flip” to go all Greeny with this set.

DiMarzio PAF 57 Gold

DP309 PAF 57 Bridge
Series – 8.317 K
Inductance – 4.665 H
Split – 4.149 K
Split – 4.163 K
Magnet – Alnico 2
Output – 240 mV

PAF 57 Bridge Tone Guide
PAF 57 Bridge Tone Guide

DP308 PAF 57 Neck
Series – 8.01 K
Inductance – 4.222 H
Split – 4.032 K
Split – 3.973 K
Magnet – Alnico 2
Output – 220 mV

PAF 57 Neck Tone Guide
PAF 57 Neck Tone Guide

Did you catch that? Yep, no parallel specs. Considering the vintage braid lead wire, it would normally only be the series DCR and the inductance. Just for you special people, my loyal readers, I went to the tails to get specific readings relative to each coil. However, I did not go so far as to separate each of the tails for a parallel reading. The point is to confirm that each coil is mated evenly.

DiMarzio PAF 57 Zebra

Sorry. But as of this publication, there is no officially sanctioned or authorized demo video for the PAF 57 set. When one hits the Interwebz, it will be here.

DiMarzio PAF 57 Gold Rose

The PAF 57 humbucker set is going to be good for blues, funk, reggae, garage, punk, alternative, classic rock, heavy rock, 80s metal, country, jazz, and more. It comes in black, relic white (i.e., cream-ish), and zebra, with options for nickel or rose gold pole pieces. Available covers include nickel, worn nickel, gold, and rose gold. These are available with standard pole spacing and single conductor vintage style lead wire.

For reference, this DiMarzio PAF 57 humbucker pickup set evaluation was conducted with the following: Fractal Axe-Fx II XL+ featuring Celestion Impluse Responses and Fractal MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller. ADA MP-1 Tube Pre-Amp loaded with Tube Amp Doctor ECC83 Premium Selected tubes, using the ADA MC-1 MIDI Controller. Fryette LX II Stereo Tube Power Amplifier. Physical cabs use are Marshall 1960BMojotone British, and Peavey 6505 cabs loaded with Celestion Classic Series Vintage 30s and Classic Series G12M Greenbacks.

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