We reviewed a set of Monty’s Guitars’ full-size PAF humbuckers two years ago and found them to be among our favorites of several reproduction PAFs tested at that time. Recently, the London-based pickup maker sent us a pair of its Mini Humbuckers designed in the image of the best of the beloved Epiphone/Gibson Minis from the ’60s and ’70s. And where did Monty’s find “the best” to emulate? From none other than Pete Townshend, who has been using Monty’s re-creations in two of his touring guitars ever since the adventure began.
“I got a call from Alan Rogan, Pete’s long-standing tech,” Monty’s proprietor Matt Gleeson tells us. “He said Pete wanted to have two Strats with Minis on them, and would I like to give it a go? Hell yeah, I would! He said there were some early Minis in an old Epiphone Crestwood that Pete loved, and I should come and check them out. That I did, and they had very similar [coil-wind] offsets and magnets to my [full-size] PAFs. Then it was just a case of trying to replicate them.”
The pair sent to us for review measured 7.69kΩ in the neck position and 7.80kΩ in the bridge. Depending on your needs they can be mounted with P-90 soapbar-sized rings — as used in ’70s Les Paul Deluxes — or suspended from an appropriate pickguard. I used the former method to mount them into a Novo Serus J for testing, and played them through a Friedman Small Box head and 2x12 cab and a tweed Deluxe-style combo.
Through either amp, and at a range of settings, the Monty’s Mini Humbuckers exuded the clear, articulate bite and chime that are characteristic of these smaller pickups, but with a surprising dollop of full-size PAF depth and dimension, too. This combination of characteristics made for bold and punchy chordal rhythm work and characterful arpeggio parts alike through a clean-ish amp. It also delivered stinging, cutting lead lines, good sustain and a slightly snarky edge that helped individual notes stand out amid heavier distortion.
In short, these are some of the better Minis I’ve tried. They’re a great option for anyone seeking to upgrade existing pickup slots or go hum-free from a guitar loaded with P-90s. It’s also worth noting that they come in some of the niftiest packaging I’ve seen, right down to the sealing wax stamped with Monty’s crest.
PRICE $338 per pair, street
DC Resistance 7.69kΩ neck, 7.80kΩ bridge
KUDOS Articulate bite and chime, with lots of full-size humbucker depth and dimension