"Jim, I would most definitely have to say it is YOU who are the king! 

                           Your pickups are the best in the world...nothing else comes close!!!!!" 

                                                    ~ David Thomas McNaught, McNaught Guitars

"Jim, your pickups are the best made.  The Darkbursts are my favorite.  They just have that sound of real woody tone from the old days past.  No matter what amp I plug in, the tone is there and ready to rock.  Madness....I did the Guitar One mag press for studio update, told 'em after I installed Darkbursts we could channel the tone of legends.  Keep on winding with soul!"   ~ Jimmy Allen





Please read before you buy!

Tone Talk

From Jim

The Truth about PAFs from the Rookies to the Pros:

I get calls and e-mails nearly every day from guys who want to know what pickup they need to get the sound of an old PAF.

I can only answer with: "Which one of thousands are you talking about?"

Think about it.  They had machines without counters, at least 4 different magnet types (tons of them were cheap rejects), inconsistent wire (which they finally quit using), MANY different operators, even varying voltages from the public utilities

(which affects motor RPMs, especially back then), etc.   Just look at the DC readings they had.  Anywhere from 6.5k, to over 10k.

Sound consistent to you?   Wire tensions, patterns?  Another guess at best.   Who was running the machines that day? 

Most likely whoever they could drag off the street at extremely low wages. 

At Jim Wagner Pickups, I have narrowed down the field for you.

I have chosen to compare our achieved tones to famous live ones that have been sought after by all types and ages of guitarists

for literally decades.  And in doing so JWP has disproved any and all theories that they had to be built "the old way." 

I have used all new modern materials and designs to not only replicate all the old tones, but achieve fantastic new modern ones

as well, and have done so for MANY years, winning the 2 biggest and best shootouts ever, and even having a modern-design

(The IronMan) named pickup of the year.

When you look at the JWP Artist Page, you will see there are some pretty well-known names that agree with those statements.

Not to mention those who use my stuff anonymously (word of mouth has a lot in this category).

You will see other companies (most of them) that claim they have discovered and use the original alloys, magnets, have the old wire, machines, (and the one that really kills me is rare magnets with magnetic anomalies) etc.

So what?   All hype and malarky. 

They still have the same old hit-and-miss inconsistency, overall junk tone, squealing, etc. and they STILL lost to me...

In fact, the quote from the HollyWood Shootout judges was that I "CRUSHED all others."

And frankly I could wind better pickups with a leather glove and a variable-speed drill for tools.

So I ask:

Why would someone want to spend almost twice what I charge, for pickups that have been proven inferior to mine?

Just listen to clips like Ed Amantia's "Cross to Bear," or the "Stormy" clip in the Sound Clips section of this site.

Or for that matter the modern IronMan tones by Brian Hunsaker.  I have many clips of most of JWP pickups, they can also be

seen all over YouTube.  All clips and vids are done by customers and fans of great tone.  None are made or doctored by me.

By using equipment all designed by me, a different wire type than everyone else, radical proprietary winding and potting

material (and how it is applied), and magnet design for over 14 years, JWP pickups perform as advertised. 

Even BETTER in most instances.

Not only are these tones achieved consistently with JWP Pickups, but you are then thereby given a great platform on which to

base your OWN tone.  These pickups are not one-trick-ponies by any stretch of the imagination. 

I have proven time and time again that there is no need to spend thousands of dollars on pickups that are no more than a crapshoot at best.  Yes.  SOME of the old PAFs sounded fantastic.  Those are the tones I have successfully replicated and surpassed.  But most of those old PAFs are just expensive junk.  Your money is FAR better spent on a choice of JWPs,

boutique amps and speakers and leave you change for other toys... ;-)

Played by thousands, heard by millions, JWP gets it right the 1st time, every time, both VINTAGE and MODERN tones!!

PAF's and Mags...    I don't know about you guys, but from the PAFs that I've had apart, the "machine" aspect in MANY, if not MOST cases looked like a rookie hand-winder did it.  No consistency at all.  The great sounding ones were flukes.  And I will go further to say that by now, almost ALL of

the good ones are either being used, or are in someones guitar, or even pickup collection.  The rest get sold on eBay for stupid money.  

I personally think hand wounds are the top of heap. 

The mags are a different story.  While it is believed that they were all A5's, they were not.  They where whatever REJECTS Gibson could get that week, from 2-5's. Rejects wouldn't hold the spec'd charge, and Gibson would get them for 1/5 the regular price.  THEY don't even know what's in there.

About JWP Caps

JWP's precision wound high resolution capacitors, made in U.S.A.  Considered by many to be the finest capacitors available.

Tension controlled precision wound

High quality metalized film

Epoxy end fill

Sonically transparent.  Cuts highs without muddying up tone.

Definitely sounds cleaner and more natural.

Sounds fundamentally neutral, but its presentation has notable bloom and, as with the very best tube preamps, the ability to portray space -

around performers and as an entity itself.  Its sound is spacious.  There is no tubey glaze, but also no etch or edge.   Instead, there is clarity, vigor,

and grace.  These caps are great parts, and represent a significant step forward in capacitor technology and audio-musical performance...


Brand Equivalent Series Resistance         Dissipation Factor

JWP   15.90 mOhms         .0000 @ 1kHz. & 120Hz.

JWP   12.20 mOhms         .0000 @ 1kHz. & 120Hz.

Jenson   44.20 mOhms    .6000 @ 1kHz. & 120Hz.

Jenson   37.70 mOhms     .6200 @ 1kHz. & 120Hz.

*Jensen Audio Signal Capacitor. Pure aluminum foil. Tinned copper leadout. Paper in oil type. 141269-1


Brand Equivalent Series Resistance         Dissipation Factor

JWP   3.10 mOhms             .0000 @ 1kHz. & 120Hz.

JWP   3.30 mOhms             .0000 @ 1kHz. & 120Hz.

Multicap   7.60 mOhms    .0100 @ 1kHz. & 120Hz.

Multicap   4.90 mOhms    .0100 @ 1kHz. & 120Hz.

About JWP DC Resistance

I wind by EXACT NUMBER OF TURNS, and NOT by exact DC resistance.  The DC resistance will only give you a ballpark number, as there are many things that can alter the reading.  Different meters, different roll of wire, even changes of wire size in a roll of wire itself, room temperature, etc.

About Height Adjustments

Here are some guidelines for almost ANY pickup (how *I* like them anyhow.....lol).

Set the pole-piece screws so they are flush with the top of either the bobbin, or the cover. 

Hold the 2 E strings down at the last fret, and set the pup so the strings are about 1 NICKEL AT THE NECK, AND SLIGHTLY MORE AT THE BRIDGE (LIKE 1-1/2 NICKELS) for starters.

Then set the other screws to sorta match the neck radius.  It wont be as curved at the bridge.  It'll be a little flatter all the way across.

Some like the "B" screw to be the lowest, but you are just going to have to stand there for awhile with an amp and a screwdriver, and tinker with

it to fine-tune them to YOUR ears.  They are very sensitive to adjustment, like all my stuff. 

Turning the pole-pieces in will fatten them a little, screw them out to thin them out.  You should not have anymore than 1/2 of a screwhead thickness sticking out of the top of either the bobbin, OR the cover.   ~ That's it for starters.  The rest is just plain up to you my friend!

About Phasing

Flip the mag in just one pickup the other way.  In other words, the edge of the magnet that is against all the screws, should be pulled and flipped

to be against all the slugs.  All of the screws are one polarity (north or south) and the slugs are all the opposite of that.

I have about 1/2 my guitars like that.  When you're in the middle position, have both volumes on 10. 

Then, back one of the volumes down slowly.  By the time you get to 8,

it will be fat again.  But between 8-10, there are myriad voices to be

found using minute adjustments.

And it will sound differently if you turn the OTHER volume down instead.

Or, you can also just swap the ground wire and the hot wire of that pickup,

but be sure the bare twisted wire is ALWAYS grounded.  And if you do that,

it will kill the screw bobbin instead of the slug bobbin if you are coil-splitting.

I have attached an exploded view of a humbucker ------------------->

so you are more familiar with what is under the hood.  ;-)

There.   THAT will keep you busy and out of trouble awhile... hehhehheh

Moore-Green Info

If you listen to "Still Got the Blues," THAT is what the Moore-Green pups are like exactly.  

And that statement came straight from the people who OWN that axe.  ;-)  

I bought and modified a new R8 with them and my electronics, and was graced with a chance to play with the Marshall Tucker Band Thurs. night. 

I may seem biased, but if it didn't sound as good that night as Gary's axe, it was even better. 

I thought it was the best sounding axe I own, but after Thurs. night I think it is the best axe I've ever HEARD!!!  I am keeping that one like it is

until it rots.... lol

Yes, they are out of phase.  But just like the real ones, the neck pickup has 2 conductor + ground.  That way it can be wired either in or out of phase, OR, it can be wired to a push-pull switch to have that option at will.

PRS Info

Stock PRS has black, red, white, and shield wires.    JWP has black, white, red, green, and shield...

Black JWP goes to black on PRS

Red and white of JWP are soldered together and go on red of PRS

Green of JWP goes to white of PRS

Shield (bare twisted) goes to ground

The magnets need to be checked to make sure they are the same north/south of PRS.  Usually, on a PRS rotary they are opposite poles, or out-of-phase on a normal guitar.  I will phase them like that upon request.

(If the pickups are out of phase in the 2, 3, 4 positions,

you have to reverse the magnet in ONE of the pickups. 

DO NOT swap the wires, if you do it will not work.)

 Here's another way to look at it:

              PRS                  JWP

            White               Green

              Red             White/Red

             Black               Black

            White               Green

              Red             White/Red

             Black               Black

Here is a pic of how to wire to a rotary switch.

Also, one of the mags will have to be flipped if you are using the rotary...

Either by you or us, it is VERY easy to do in any case.

An issue with a PRS is usually the neck pickup cavity being too shallow, and the bucker has to straddle the neck.

In that case, its mostly the pole-piece screws being too long. 

If you tell us it is for a PRS when you order, I will also send along 6-12 "short" pole-piece screws.

Finally, the stock height-adjustments screws on a PRS generally are fatter than vintage stock, and vintage stock screws are also too long.

So, just install the pickup(s) into the mounting ring, lower it so the top of the pickup is as low as you want it to be

(usually about flush with the top of the ring) and snip off any adjustment screw that's sticking out the bottom.

          Guitar Make/Model                                                                       Vintage Kit Type

GibsonLes Paul Standard 1952- 1977                                                         Short Shaft

Les Paul Standard 1977-current                                                                  Long Shaft

Les Paul Custom 1954-1977                                                                          Short Shaft

Les Paul Custom 1977-current                                                                     Long Shaft

Les Paul Deluxe 1968-1977                                                                           Short Shaft

Les Paul Deluxe 1978-current                                                                      Short Shaft

Les Paul Pro 1977-1982                                                                                  Long Shaft

Les Paul Studio All Years                                                                              Long Shaft

Les Paul Classic (1960) All Years                                                                 Long Shaft

Les Paul Jr. All Years                                                                                      Short Shaft

The Paul All Years                                                                                          Short Shaft

SG (all models) All Years                                                                              Short Shaft

ES Series All Years                                                                                         Short Shaft

Melody Maker All Years                                                                                Short Shaft

Flying V   All Years                                                                                         Short Shaft

Explorer All Years                                                                                          Short Shaft

Firebird All Years                                                                                           Short Shaft

EDS-1275 All Years                                                                                         Short Shaft

Historic R2-R0 Standard All Years                                                             Short Shaft

Historic R7 Custom  All Years                                                                     Short Shaft

Historic '68 Custom Reissue  All Years                                                      Long Shaft

Epiphone All Models All Years (*excludes hollow body)                      Short Shaft

Hamer All Models  All Years                                                                       Short Shaft

Paul Reed Smith All Models All Years                                                       Short Shaft

Fender Stratocaster All Years                                                                      Short Split

Telecaster All Years                                                                                       Short Solid

Telecaster Custom All Years                                                                        Short Solid

Telecaster Deluxe All Years                                                                         Short Shaft

Telecaster Thinline All Years                                                                       Short Solid

Jazzmaster (and new reissues) 1958-1964                                                 Short Split

Jazzmaster 1964-1970s                                                                                  Short Solid

Esquire All Years                                                                                            Short Solid

Jaguar All Years                                                                                              Short Solid

Mustang All Years                                                                                          Short Solid

Duo-Sonic All Years                                                                                       Short Solid

Musicmaster All Years                                                                                  Short Solid

Bronco All Years                                                                                            Short Solid

Lead Series All Years                                                                                    Short Split

Shaft Chart


The specs are all approximations, as JWP has found that exact number of winds are far more important than exact DC resistances.

  Even then, they are almost always within + or - .2k.

Resistances will vary with different meters, room temperatures, etc.

BetSet 7.6, 7.5 (Yes, bridge is wound slightly less)

Crossroads 7.8, 8.2

Moore-Green ( measured them myself) 8.2, 8.6

DarkBurst Set (measured by friend) 8.3, 8.7

GodWood Set 8.5, 10.2

CherryBucker Set 8.1, 9.4

Fillmore Set 11, 13.5

IronMan Set 19, 22.5  w/ceramic 8 mag

American Steele - (Crossroads neck, GodWood bridge)  7.8, 10.2

G-90 Set 7.8, 10.2