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  • Writer's pictureBarış Şahin

Seymour Duncan Parallel Axis Trembucker 3 (PATB-3) Review

Updated: May 9

Seymour Duncan Parallel Axis Trembucker 3  Blues Saraceno Signature
Seymour Duncan Parallel Axis Trembucker 3

Blues Saraceno is very special kindo guitar player, i believe. His talent discovered very early and teamed up with milestones in the rock history, yes, i mean Cream guys particularly. He could jam with those guys before he can buy alcohol legally :) So a pickup for his taste and needs had to have something special, too.

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 debut solo album was released. After that he has preferred his own signature Yamaha and Samick Superstrats that are carved as HH. Saraceno was a musician played that kind of superstrats having a Floyd Rose tremolo (you know the guitars of 80s, you could never see a superstrat without a floyd trem) but his tonal desire was to achieve the old-school PAF humbucker tone on his floyd equipped superstrats. He comes to Seymour Duncan Hospital 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;

Blues Saraceno
Blues Saraceno with his plaid guitar

Seymour Duncan Parallel Axis Trembucker -3 (PATB-3)

Magnet – Alnico 5

Advertised DCR: 9K Ohm (now- several years ago it was9,8K Ohm) (Series)

Measured DCR: 9,04 K Ohm (Series)

Measured DCR: 4,47 K Ohm (Screw Coil)

Measured DCR: 4,66 K Ohm (Slug Coil)

Inductance@100Hz: 5,84H (Series) (with Alnico 4 magnet)

Inductance@100Hz: 2,47H (Screw Coil)

Inductance@100Hz: 2,45H (Slug Coil)

Resonance Peak: 6,00KHz (advertised)

Measured C: -33,2 nF (Series)/ -61,16nF (Screw Coil) / -64,8nF (Slug Coil)

Gauss: 210G slug, 190G screw

Output: Medium Output

EQ (T/M/B) – 6/3/6 (advertised)

Wire Gauge: 42 AWG

Blues Saraceno and his signature PATB-3 humbucker
Blues Saraceno on Seymour Duncans Ad from 1992

You may get “What the hack is that!?” impression at the first sight. Moreover, some people don’t like it just because of its appearance. Yes, it looks different, not ugly. 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 claim is like that. Also it has rectangular bobbin form at the corners 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 that; the people steps 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 writing “jackass” on it or it was full colored in pink or something.

Here’s why:

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 an 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 with clarity” is the best way to summarize this pickup. It gets different from standard PAF clones with slightly less than 10K value with its clarity. Especially if you play hard rock instead of Fleetwood Mac, it allows you to reach solid tones thanks to its tamed overwound wiring. But because of it is not extremely wound PATB 3 is still not too compressed and still articulate, on the other hand. Even if EQ values on Duncan's website mids are 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 - 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 8K A5 PAF clones but there is still enough openness and liveliness. This very little compression doesn't affect your playing, your phrasing in a negative way ( which is why i don't like that very well known active pickups without sensitivity and full of compression). PATB 3 keeps it clean under more driven 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 those lickes with PATB-3 with more brightness. Furthermore, I've realised that I can get brutal hi-gain tones when I drop tune of my Titania.

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.

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.

Soon i'll publish my review on PATB-1n...


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