The 'Fillmore Set' is the set of P.A.F. Pickups currently residing in Duane Allman's 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard Cherry Burst, although it is essentially a tale of two guitars as the history of those pickups goes back a little farther than the Cherry Burst.
Serial Number 7 3312 belonged to the 1957 Gibson Goldtop Duane played before getting his Burst, and is perhaps most notable for its presence, along with Eric Clapton, on the legendary Layla Sessions. Duane purchased this Goldtop from Lipham Music in Gainsville, Florida in the late ‘60s.
Duane acquired his Cherry Burst in September of 1970 in a trade with Rick Stine (Stone Balloon’s guitarist) for his 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop, a 50 Watt Marshall head, and $200 cash. Duane purchased the Cherry Burst under the condition that Duane got to keep the P.A.F. pickups from the Goldtop so that he could install them in the Cherry Burst.
PAF Pickups from 1957 were normally lower output than those installed in 1959, yielding greater clarity and articulation. As was usual for 1957, these pickups had fatter wire, double black bobbins and were both wound with a DCR of approximately 7.0kΩ. In 2013 the Gibson Custom Shop had this guitar in house for replication and the resistance decided on for the #3 Custom Buckers in the Gibson Les Paul ’59 Duane Allman Signature Cherry Sunburst pickups was 6.97kΩ in the neck and 7.04kΩ in the bridge. Those are the measurements Wizz provides in the Fillmore Cherry Burst Set in an attempt to get as close as possible to the amazing tones heard on the immortal 'At Fillmore East'.
The Fillmore Cherryburst Set features double black bobbins and comes with the covers on. I've never seen a picture of Duane playing either his Cherry Burst or his Dark Burst with the covers off. While it can be rather subjective I find that keeping the covers on tends to make the highs a bit rounder and eliminates unnecessary interference... which can have a subtle effect on tone.
Cherry Burst (Layla/Fillmore Set)
- Conversely, Duane tended to keep the covers off when the same pickups were installed in his '57 Goldtop. This shows how the same set of pickups can respond differently to different guitars (either that or he just like the way it looked).
While AlNiCo 3 Magnets were the magnet of choice in legendary P90 pickups, they were being phased out when the humbucker came along. So while there were some humbuckers made with A3 mags in 1957, these are rather rare. Regardless, today's magnets are manufactured differently than they were in the 50s, and specs changed from factory to factory and even from run to run, so there truly is no apples to apples comparison. The only tool qualified to determine which set of magnets resided in a particular set of pickups is a qualified set of ears. Even dismantling a set of pickups will not yield the results you need as there is a very good chance the magnet specs drifted and are not the same as they were 40 or 50 years ago.
Another aspect to consider is that the sound on 'At Fillmore East' is different depending on how it is listened to and that the engineered sound on the album/CD is no doubt quite different than that heard by the audience. So in duplicating such a set of pickups you have to determine exactly which Duane Allman Cherry Burst sound you are duplicating. The only way to accurately do so is to be familiar enough with enough of the variations to be able to determine a baseline that can provide a suitable foundation... and that is precisely what has been accomplished with the Wizz Fillmore Cherryburst Set.