Are you familiar with Peter Green’s Gibson Les Paul Standard? Maybe you’ve seen it in the hands of Irish bluesman Gary Moore? Or perhaps when it made news when it made it into Kirk Hammett’s (Metallica) collection? If not, go Google it. I’ll wait. I promise.
The short version is that it was already pre-owned when Green bought it, using it in the Bluesbreakers and Fleetwood Mac. Green loaned, and then sold it to an unknown (at the time) Gary Moore. Since being bought by Hammett, the priceless guitar is being gigged with once again. Hold on! WHAT?!? Er… someone wants a tax write off. LOL!
This can be where some people ask what’s so special that warrants an homage to the pickups. In what appears to have been a slip up during construction at the factory, the magnet is flipped in the neck pickup. Reports are that Bonamassa also has a Les Paul with the same quirk. Maybe that’s why more modern magnets have markings to indicate the polarity. HaHa!
See, reversing the polarity on one of the pickups will result in an out-of-phase effect when both pickups are selected together. In other words, in the middle position of the two humbuckers. Let me cut to the chase on that part. I can dig that some people don’t jive with the OOP middle tone or think it’s a gimmick. And it’s honestly not even why I got the Greenie set.
Then why get them? It’s an attempt to recreate a set from a 1959 Les Paul. This is where someone might ask about the 59 Model or the Seth Lover set. Or any other of the PAF-style recreations out in the market from all the different pickup makers. Well, I’m curious. Yep, that simple. And in the case of the Greenie, it’s a good thing.
This set blew my hair back right away – well, what’s left of my hair. Ha! It went into one of my regular double humbucker test guitars. My set was already made, so it came with the vintage/long legs and single conductor lead wire. If you order yours from Custom Shop Manager MJ, you can get a Greenie set with whatever options you’d like. After a few weeks in that guitar, I was so impressed with these pickups that I decided to find a permanent guitar for them. For a little bit of fun, I went with a black ESP M-II that looks scary similar to a Kirk Hammett model. See what I did there? LOL!
The Greenie set has a really well-voiced personality that makes it super versatile. Lows are full, yet punchy. Mids are pretty balanced. Thanks to Alnico 2 magnets, the highs are sweet, with a bit of edge and a little bite. Driving riffs hit you in the chest and blues lines bloom into music for your ears. Ha! A pun! The set is very well matched when going from one position to another. Clean amp tones reveal a character that is woody and multi-dimensional. Changes in both right and left hand techniques open up a very nuanced selection of results.
What about that middle position? I think it can be considered the Greenie set’s hidden weapon. Dirty amp tones cut right through and clean amp settings deliver more sparkle and chime. Think of a 2 or a 4 Strat position with more grit. Don’t want it, then order it without the feature. You’ll still have a most excellent set of PAF-style humbuckers.
To make your valuable time well-spent, here’s a video of the Greenie Les Paul in the hands of Gary Moore, belting it out with B.B. King:
How about some specs
Series – 8.617 K
Inductance – 4.983 H
Magnet – Alnico 2Greenie Neck
Series – 7.653 K
Inductance – 4.241 H
Magnet – Alnico 2
Lest anyone think the Greenie set is another PAF-style set meant for Grandpa Rock players that want to lay down their Blind Mudcat Jones blues licks, check out the video of Gary Moore performing ‘Parisienne Walkways’ with Phil Lynott. Back up a second. Moore and Lynott. If you didn’t watch that, go slap yo’ mama. Moore clearly has the original pups in his Peter Green guitar, yet the Greenie set nails the character of that ’59 Lester.
For reference, this Greenie humbucker set evaluation was conducted with a Fractal Axe-Fx II XL+ featuring Celestion IRs and my old trusty ADA MP-1. Real cabs used are a Peavey 6505 and a Marshall 1960B cab. Speakers are Celestion G12-65s, Celestion A-Type, Celestion V-Type, and Peavey Sheffield 1200s.
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Darth Phineas is a long time music industry insider who provides his readers with unbiased reviews on musical instrument and guitar gear. You can read more of his reviews and check out industry news on his Facebook community Darth Phineas, Twitter or his website is darthphineas.com