Virgil Arlo 1959 P.A.F. Humbuckers

Virgil Arlo made what many pro guitarist believe were the Best Humbucker Pickups ever made. Read below to learn about the origin of PAF Humbucker pickups, the Virgil Arlo approach to magnets & to discover more about Virgil Arlo.

What is a PAF Style Pickup?

The PAF Humbucker was designed by Seth Lover & first introduced by Gibson in that late 1950’s. PAF stands for “patent applied for”. The original Gibson Guitars from the 50’s & 60’s are much desired because of these pickups. Virgil Arlo’s P.A.F. Humbucker Replacement pickups are considered to be as good or better than the original’s from the 1950’s. 

Virgil Arlo PAF Pickups Review.

Many people wonder if Virgil Arlo Pickups were worth the price. The answer really depends on who you ask, anyone that was lucky enough to play a set will tell you they are amazing pickups. Many pros used these incredible pickups in all of their main guitars. Check out the Virgil Arlo review in the video above.

Considered the Best by Top Pros.

Are Virgil Arlo Pickups Worth It?

Ford Thurston, a pro based in Nashville, compares the Virgil Arlo Pickups to the vintage pickups from the 50’s and 60’s when he says “the original PAF pickups didn’t match the greatness of my 1959 Gibson ES-335″ – “Then I dropped the Virgil Arlo Humbuckers in, and it’s like instant magic, it’s exactly how it should sound”. Now that Virgil Arlo has retired, his Humbuckers are quite expensive on the used market, one might speculate that they’ll get even more expensive in the coming months and years. Just take a look at the $8,000 Klon overdrive pedals and the $200,000 Dumble Amps. 

What Magnets are used in Virgil Arlo P.A.F. Pickups?

Virgil Arlo used a special Alnico magnet in his P.A.F. Humbucker Pickups. Most people say they have the warmth and  feel of a really nice vintage Alnico 2, coupled with the clarity and dynamic range of an Alnico 5.  Take a listen to how they sound at gig volumes.

What Happened to Virgil Arlo?

Virgil Arlo stopped amp modifications and restorations in early 2019. Later in 2019 he retired from winding guitar pickups. Dealers quickly sold out their remaining inventory pretty quickly both of Rudy Pensa’s New York City area stores completely sold out within a couple of days. It didn’t take long for the Virgil Arlo pickups to appear on the used market for $3,000/set.

Who Sells Virgil Arlo Pickups?

When he retired in 2019, the prices for Virgil Arlo Pickups spiked to the $3,000 range. Sometimes you see sets from one of his old dealers show up on ebay or Reverb, there are also a few collectors that will sell sets on these sites. In 2021, Tone Specific Pickups started making the Virgil Arlo Reissues using the remaining part supply from  Mr. Arlo’s shop. They sell them for less than the original Arlo Humbuckers sell for on the used market, according to the Tone Specific website, the expect to completely sell out sometime in late 2021 or 2022. Its not difficult to imagine the used price spiking once again after these Virgil Arlo Reissues are sold out. 


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