Seymour Duncan Parallel Axis Trembucker 3 (PATB – 3) and 1N (PATB – 1N) Review
Seymour Duncan is my favorite humbucker producer, but because of this them, i’m in a deeply annoying dilemma . That’s not uncomfortable, not kind of bad, but annoying. How? I’ll explain why...
Let me talk about PATB-3 firstly. This pickup model was designed for great musician and guitarist Blues Saraceno. People who are familiar with him probably know that he used to get an Ibanez RG550 during the his first solo album was released. After that he has preferred his own signature Yamaha and Samick Superstrats that are carved as HSH and HH. Saraceno is a musician prefers that kind of superstrats having a Floyd Rose tremolo due to ergonomic or periodical (you know the guitars of 80s, you never see a superstrat without a floyd trem) reasons and likes to achieve the old-school PAF humbucker tone on his Floyd equipped superstrats. He comes to Seymour Duncan Facilities with a certain tonal expectation and the doctor (Mr. Duncan) diagnoses: Cronical PAFology associated with Floydius Rosa. After some attempts for his cure, the remedy has been found and called, as you may guess, PATB – 3 (It is a weird name actually. It’s like 3rd episode of the film named “Parallel Axis Trembucker”). Let’s stop talking and check technical specifications;
Wire: 42 AWG
Leg Type: Short Leg
D.C. Res. : 9,8K (Mine has 8,98K)
Resonance Peak: 6KHz
EQ: 6 – 3 – 6 (B-M-T)
Magnet: Alnico V
You may get “What the hack is that!?” impression at the first sight. Moreover, some people don’t like it just because of the appearance. Yes, it looks different. There are 12 pole pieces and they’re not placed right under the strings directly. They are balanced to two sides of each sting and this causes less string pull hence more sustain. At least manufacturer’s commitment is like that. Also it has rectangular bobbin form instead of standard rounded ones (as a note, because of that unique shape, it comes with its own pickup rings in its box). But let me tell you; the people stepping back because of its look have absolutely no idea what they’re missing. That pickup would still be my choice even if there was a sign like “jackass” on it or it was full pink colored or something.
You can hear people talking like “I will buy a guitar, it must fit for almost every situation” or “I will buy an amp, bro! I will play every kind of death metal. But i'll also play Pink Floyd, SRV, NoFX, Joe Pass & Slash and i must still sound excellent for all those”. I think of versatility is like a Swiss army knife. Increased functionality causes the functions to become less practical and less comfortable. You can eat fork part of swiss army knife but not as comfortable as a individual fork. I eat all of my words (or at least most of them) for this pickup and if there’s a humbucker for all purpose, it must be PATB – 3. But I still respect the people who don’t like it or it may not fit to whole guitars, it can be, O.K! Nevertheless, this pickup is awesome!
To say “a modern, overwound A5 PAF” is the best way to summarize this pickup. It gets different from standard PAF clones with slightly less than 10K value. Especially if you play hard rock instead of Fleetwood Mac, it allows you to reach solid tones thanks to its overwound wiring. But because of it is not extremely wound PATB 3 is still not too compressed, on the other hand. Even if EQ values on Duncan's website are given midfrequency is like scooped (which is true), I think they're pretty balanced on frequency. Basses are tight, clear and pronounced thanks to alnico 5. Mid frequencies are scooped – maybe because of my mahogany bodied and necked Hantug Titania guitar - but still i can get them nice and clearly. Highes are pretty clean and sweet, too. Even if that pickup is slightly more compressed compared to 7.5K A5 PAF clones there is still enough openness and liveliness. This very little compression doesn't affect your playing, your phrasing which is the reason I don't like that very well known active pickup brand. PATB 3 keeps it clean under more drive situations. I like it more because of that. Also we can say that it's kind of warm yet clear in the manner of audibility and quite different than Seymour Duncan Custom Custom I reviewed before. I wrote for CC is very suitable for Satriani-like licks but i must say this one is also good for Satriani type of melodic things (like ‘Always with me...’). You can play and enjoy these lickes with PATB-3. Furthermore, I've realised that I can get brutal hi-gain tones when I drop tune of my Titania. There is even a humble record of it on my youtube page (http://www.youtube.com/nienturi).
Click this link below to see my video of PATB-3 on hi-gain tone;
On the other hand, you can get nice twangy and single tones when you split the pickup. As you know, every humbuckers’ split tone is not so good. I'll talk about it soon when I mention about PATB-1n. But this one's single coil tones are really effective and usefull. Do not underestimate it if you put a PATB-3 on your guitar.
In the parting let me emphasize it again, PATB-3 is really successful overwound A5 PAF about articulation and playing sensibility.
Now let's take a look at PATB-1n... We can think that this pickup is calibrated neck version of PATB-3, PATB-1 or PATB-2 Distortion. Here is the catalog information:
Wire: 42 AWG
Leg Type: Short
D.C. Resistance: 7,5K (Mine has 7K)
Resonance Peak: 6,9KHz
EQ: 5 – 4 – 7 (B-M-T)
Magnet: Alnico V
I guess I can summarize that pickup is somewhere between the two pickups; Duncan '59 and Jazz. I thought it's child of '59 and Jazz with my setup. It's a pretty clear humbucker. It is not as clear as Jazz, but it is more clear than '59. It has more PAF taste than Jazz but sounds more modern and balanced than ’59. Mid frequencies are very lightly boosted - maybe because of my guitar, as I said - compared to Jazz and '59. But I never liked this pickup because of two main reasons in the first couple of months; Split tone is the first reason and I miss my old neck pickup (Duncan Pearly Gates) when I remember my very Strat-ty neck single tone. 4th position of 5-way switch (neck split + mid) tone is good, there's nothing bad to say about it. But its split tone alone is not what I like. I just couldn't like that. It was not bad but Pearly Gates' split tone was more Strat-ty. Other reason was about more personal preferance. I may not want that much clear pickup on the neck, all the time. It's good to have clearity but I think little bit more turns wouldn’t hurt. Plus, my PATB-1N i read 7 K value on my multimeter which is kind of a low somehow instead of official 7,5K. I NEVER call PATB-1 is a bad pickup but I guess it was not exactly what I looked for as a neck pickup at the first months. But now, yep, i really love my dear PATB-1N even if i still miss my Pearly Gates but i wish to have 7,5-8K PATB-1N.
Let's come to the recommendation part: To whom having guitar with Floyd Rose or Fender kind tremolo and playing almost every kind of rock, blues, metal, shred; to whom having only one guitar and playing various music genres; to whom being interested in "honk" sound like Blues Saraceno; to whom being enthusiastic about making tones in a wide spectrum via volume, tone pots and humbucker splitting operations; powerful A5 PAF bridge tone lovers; to whom not enjoying with humbuckers with standard pole pieces and fans of Blues Saraceno, i recommend this pickup. I am not insistent on neck that much but don't miss the bridge, I can tell you that.
P.S 1: I said annoying at the beginning, let me tell you why. Custom Custom was my favourite standard production bridge pickup, until I got this pickup. Now I have PATB-3 and i like it VERY MUCH. But I still like CC, too. Which one will I choose? It's both easy and hard. It's easy, because I've chosen PATB-3 and it is tough, because it's hard to say goodbye to CC easily. This conflict is the annoying part. I guess I need another guitar to put CC on :)
P.S 2: Thanks to Mehmet Barlo (Dr.Barlo) for introducing this pickup to me. It's one of the most beautiful pickup I’ve ever tried because of him. Thanks to Scott Olson from Seymour Duncan for achieving those great pickups.
PS 3: Thanks to Bilgehan Ozkan for the translations.