The acronym PAF come from the words "patented applied for". The fact that the “golden age” humbuckers are known with this name is because it had a sticker on the base with these words written, indicating that the design was in the process of recording the patent. The humbuckers made during those years (1956-1967), had some characteristics with respect to the manufacturing method and the materials used which makes them readily distinguishable. To make a good PAF replica need to follow the original "recipe" and get that characteristic sound:
"Plain enamel" 42 AWG copper wire: is the material that makes the difference between a good humbucker and a PAF. This copper wire has a coating with very particular characteristics which causes the electrons of the copper wire are in a very close arrangement of the magnetic field, producing this great note definition and clarity.
"nickel silver" baseplate and steel spacer: the nickel silver (also known as german silver) is a metal that has a great insulating effect and that also is transparent to magnetic fields, making it perfect for use in guitar pickups. The spacer beneath the coil with screw-shaped poles, is made of magnetizable steel, that efficiently transmit the magnetism of the magnet bar.
Maple Shim: Allows a perfect fit of the bobbins, this helps to not have unwanted vibrations that produce microphonies.
Screws and "slugs" made of low carbon alloy: The presence of carbon subtraction metal hardness and causes the material to transmit a magnetism in a poorly way. That is why the use of a low carbon alloy was used in the original PAF.
Bobbins: the dimensions of the bobbins are very important in any pickup, because they define the position of the copper wire with respect to the magnetic field. The search for this part ended when I found a dealer that had replicated exactly original PAFs bobbins. They are available in butyrate (as the first era) or ABS.
Magnet: In the '50s the alnico was a totally new material, so many companies using these magnets not know all the possibilities. To make the PAFs, alnico was ordered without specifying the grade of this, so it’s easy to find different alnicos in PAF pickups. In the mid 50 cobalt was still a scarce element in the manufacture of products for non military purposes, so that at this time most alnico were 2 and 3. Years after, this material started to become more readily available, so the formulas 4 and 5 were more common after the passage of years. Such is the degree of diversity in the magnets used in these years, that they even use alnico 5 with a consolidation process different from that used today. This alnico, discovered by the work of Tim Shaw (alnico 5 "old formula") has some very special properties that make it the holy grail of the magnets for a bridge pickup.
Because each customer has specific needs, I always try to offer a variety of options:
Magnets: Bar Alnico 2, 3, 4, 5, 5 "old formula",
Cover: raw, nickel, gold, chrome
Bobbin: Black, Cream, Aged white
Lead wire: 4 wires+bare, Gibsonish braided shield
Price: 60 € without cover 70 € with cover
Plain enamel 42 AWG copper wire
Nickel silver baseplate and steel spacer
Covers: Raw, nickel, chrome or gold
Bobbins: black, cream or aged white
Lead wire: braided shield or 4 wire + ground