Author Topic: DiMarzio Injectors (Paul Gilbert Signature Singles)  (Read 22735 times)

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Offline buddroyce

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DiMarzio Injectors (Paul Gilbert Signature Singles)
« on: December 31, 2010, 03:55:36 pm »
The folks at DiMarzio Inc. were nice enough to send me an evaluation set of the new DiMarzio Injector pickups along with an Area 67 a couple of weeks back and they've been sititng on my desk waiting to be installed in a guitar. Wish I had the time to do this earlier but it seems like everyone wants to bring in guitars for setups and upgrades RIGHT BEFORE Christmas and everything, anyways I finally got around to doing it (only because I came down with the flu and stopped taking clients).

NOTE: This review is long and boring, so if you want the summary go right down the end

THE TEST GUITAR:

The guitar the pickups went into is an ESP Vintage Plus strat with a floyd rose trem. The pickups that were on there before the injectors went in were the DiMarzio Cruiser, some stock ESP single coil that I never used, and a Duncan Hybrid that I was going to yank out sooner or later and replace with an AT-1. Needless to say the fact that the Injector Bridge pickup is actually a single coil meant that I wouldn't be using this pickguard. So I went and got myself a stock 11-hole Fender pickguard, but sadly, because this is an ESP strat with a Floyd, the pickguard needed to be *ahem* "modified" to fit. So after about 30 mins of reworking the pickguard with a dremel tool to route out the space for the floyd and the neck pocket (for some reason the neck pocket is actually spaced out like a Tele and not a strat... go figure..)

THE ELECTRONICS:

Anyways, since this was a fresh pickguard it gave me the liberty to screw around with the electronics and since your standard strat config is 1 Vol and 2 Tones it gave me a lot of things to play. However seeing that I never used the tone control and I was too lazy to figure out what I actually wanted I just went with a single 500k volume pot, a tone pot that wasn't conencted to anything and a master TBX tone control (only cause I had it lying around). Also went with a fancy Schaller E+ Megaswitch so I could get the middle position to run both neck and bridge pickups at the same time.

Although the pickups worked with both 250k and 500k pots, the only reason why I chose to go with the 500k pots was simply because I found the 500k pot first so it wasn't done for any tonal purpose although using it will yield a slightly brighter tone.

THE BRIDGE PICKUP:

Ok, first let me say that I have NEVER been a huge fan of single coil pickups in the bridge position. Every guitar I've ever had either had a humbucker in the bridge position or a single coil sized humbucker. Standard single coils just never really cut it for me, until I plugged in this guitar and turned up the volume on the Injector bridge.

The first thing I noticed different about the bridge pickup is how much fuller it sounded in comparison to most standard singles. Where as most singles have a lot of top end, the Injector has a lot of beef to it, which is fantastic for me since the thin bottom end was always my problem with single coils in the bridge position. Clean its got the nice sparkle and jangle you'd expect from a strat single coil but definitely fuller sounding. It's not over the top bright and handles clean jazz stuff fine. With a tad bit more dirt, the pickup starts to really shine. Cranking the gain up yield an awesome crunch tone that's perfect for any kind of blues/rock rhythm tones. Lead tones coming out the bridge pickups cut through easily but aren't over powering. It's got great harmonics and is very responsive to pick attack.

With the gain cranked up to metal levels, the pickup starts to sound a litle buzzy. The girth is there so palm mutes are still good but chords just sound way too buzzy. It's like plugging in a metal zone into a tiny amp. HOWEVER, turning down the tone control fixed the buzziness and the pickup becomes totally usable for metal applications. (thank GOD I had a TBX Tone Control installed!!!). With the top end rolled down a little bit, its starting to sound a bit more like a Crunch Lab with less bottom end and you could totally swear that this was actually a humbucker and not a single coil. Metal/shred lead tones are very articulate and cut through easy and you dont lose out on the harmonics. All and all I'd say that the injector bridge pickup is by far one of the most versatile single coils pickups around. It's not going to win awards for vintage tones but if you're looking for something that can handle a wide spectrum of stuff and always found humbuckers muddy, you should seriously try this out.

THE NECK PICKUP

Now to the neck pickup. Clean, the neck pickup does jazz stuff very nicely, almost like what you'd epect out of a P90 with a tad bit more sparkle, playing rock oriented clean passages, the pickup had a lot of the clarity and glass that you'd expect from a single coil in the neck position. Although I personally preferred the DiMarzio Cruiser that was in there before as it had a more fluid tone.

Cranking the gain on the neck pickup produces a nice fat rhythm tone for blues rock stuff. The bottom end is nice and tight with a fair amount fullness. Think of it as a strat pickup with bigger tighter bottom end or a humbucker with tighter bottom end and more top end sparkle. Blues Rock lead tones are nice right across the fretboard. It handles so well that you could literally get away with just using the neck pickup for an entire song. With the gain reaching metal levels, the pickup starts to sound pretty crappy as a rhythm pickup, but then again, why in the world would you be using a neck pickup for metal rhythms to being with?? For metal/shred style lead stuff and all the Paul Gilbert-esque neo-classical shred stuff, the pickup works REALLY REALLY well. Clean and articulate are two words that come to my mind when it came down to it. The extra brightness DiMarzio added to the neck pickup really helps it cut and when I had someone else shred on my guitar (cause my shred skills aren't exactly up to par anymore), the notes come out very clear and well definited. If you're into the metal shred thing and want something different than the Air Norton or YJM, you should seriously give this a try. To be honest, I actually like the Injector neck a whole lot more than the YJM/HS-4's I used to have in this guitar before I put the cruiser in.

COMBINED WITH THE AREA 67 AND TOGETHER

When either pickup was combined with the Area 67 in the middle position, the tone was very much what you'd expect from any strat in the # 2 and 4 inbetween positions. Nothing truly out of the world note worthy, just exactly the spank you'd expect (it was better than the cruiser and that stock single middle pickup that was in this guitar before). Great clean or with light amounts of distortion. I'd never use the in between positions for high gain applications personally.

With both pickups on, the clean tones sound very nice with an almost acoustic glass like quality. A very note worth combination IMO.

OVERALL OPINION/SUMMARY

Overall, I'm VERY pleased with how these pickups are, and coming from a guy that's predominantly humbucker driven that's saying a lot. I find that the bridge pickup outshines the neck pickup but thats probably because I spend more of my time on the bridge pickup. If you're looking for a set of pickups that are very versatile to handle everything from Jazz, Blues/Rock to Metal (without going super over the top) these pickups are really something to consider. The Injector bridge has given me new faith in my strat to bring as my only guitar out to a gig in how well it handles everything. My only beef with the pickuips is that the bridge pickup can be a bit buzzy when the gain is cranked (and you can hear it off the Fuzz Universe album), but with the tone control rolled down it's totally awesome. The pickups aren't very 'vintage' sounding, so if thats what you're looking for, you're best off elsewhere but if you're out for a modern rock tone or a metal shred tone I'd highly recommend these and I'm sure I'll be recommending them a lot more around here.

 :madness:
« Last Edit: January 09, 2011, 07:32:40 pm by buddroyce »
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Offline wxs3

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Re: Review DiMarzio Injectors (Paul Gilbert Signature Singles)
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2011, 01:52:51 am »
Good review Bud (oh and happy new year also).  What you have experienced about the Injector bridge is what I have found in the Virtual Vintage Solo (the original one).  I have the VV Solo in 2 of my 3 strats with 54 pros in the neck and middle on one and Area 61s neck and middle on the other.  I like the fact that I can cover most any style with these whcih leads me to my question.  How does the Injector sound next to the Solo?
My first aftermarket pickup was a Super Distortion back in the 70's.  I strayed and tried Rio Grandes, Duncans, and EMGs only to come back to Dimarzio.  Funny were life takes you.

Offline buddroyce

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Re: Review DiMarzio Injectors (Paul Gilbert Signature Singles)
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2011, 02:28:32 am »
It's been a while since I toyed around with the original Virtual Vintage Solo but from what I remember it seems like the Virtual Vintage Solo is closer to a regular P90 where as the Injector bridge is has more of a paf/p90 feel. I personally could never get any decent metal/shred tones with the Virtual Vintage Solo or the Virtual Vintage Solo pro that I can with the Injector.

If you're asking about the Injector compared to the Virtual Solo (DP420), I'd say the Injector sounds more "raw" compared to Solo which to my ears is a bit smoother and refined. Both would work well in similar settings but I think the deciding factor on which one to go with would come down to preference of rhythm tones in the bridge position. The solo is warmer while the injector has better crunch.

To be honest I wouldn't be surprised if the Injector was really a tweaked version of the original Virtual Vintage Solo.
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Offline wxs3

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Re: Review DiMarzio Injectors (Paul Gilbert Signature Singles)
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2011, 11:26:05 pm »
Are you playing these with a floyd?  No thinning issues, common with singles and floyds?
My first aftermarket pickup was a Super Distortion back in the 70's.  I strayed and tried Rio Grandes, Duncans, and EMGs only to come back to Dimarzio.  Funny were life takes you.

Offline buddroyce

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Re: Review DiMarzio Injectors (Paul Gilbert Signature Singles)
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2011, 11:46:27 pm »
yeah I got a floyd but all my guitars have the large brass block and esp arming adjuster in them so there's no thinning issues there.
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Offline eMs

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Re: Review DiMarzio Injectors (Paul Gilbert Signature Singles)
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2011, 06:16:26 am »
Great review!  ;)

Offline buddroyce

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Re: Review DiMarzio Injectors (Paul Gilbert Signature Singles)
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2011, 11:10:16 pm »
Thanks. Every time I play this guitar I love these pickups more and more. It's definitely better for hard rock tones than metal tones. Doesn't handle brutal metal tones very well, but the day I play Soil Work and In Flames with a strat is the day I need to be shot cause I have plenty of guitars better suited for that stuff.
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Offline Mpcoluv

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Re: DiMarzio Injectors (Paul Gilbert Signature Singles)
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2011, 08:22:39 am »
So how does it sound for lower tubescreamer into a fender amp gain?
Can you strat pretend to be  Billy Gibbons'  Les Paul?

Offline buddroyce

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Re: DiMarzio Injectors (Paul Gilbert Signature Singles)
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2011, 02:06:14 pm »
It actually works ok with a tubescreamer into a Fender style amp. I don't have a real Fender amp here but I did just test it with an old TS-9 running into an AMT F1 preamp pedal which is supposed to be a Fender Blackface clone (the preamp pedal sounds awesome btw) and it sounds pretty darn good.

As for trying to nail Billy Gibbon's tone out of the Injector bridge, I do believe this is about as close as you'll get without getting into mini humbuckers. You won't be able to nail it with the tone controls all the way up though as the Injector bridge will have too much top end. With a 250k pot or with the tone control rolled down a bit it's doable though (you may have to roll down the tone still even with a 250k pot). The injector is thick sounding enough to sound like a PAF. It's really the top end that makes it sound like a single coil. This is definitely one of the most versatile strat pickups I've ever come across, but you really need to work those controls and play with pick dynamics to really maximize this pickups potential.

PS. If you're worried about dishing out Gibbon's style pinch harmonics with the injectors, if your technique doesn't suck, these pickups won't either.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2011, 02:21:39 pm by buddroyce »
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Offline soundgardener75

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Re: DiMarzio Injectors (Paul Gilbert Signature Singles)
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2011, 10:24:39 pm »
Thanks for the review!

Looks like I found THE neck pickup for the Tele project I'm gonna be doing this year. XD

Offline tonejam

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Re: DiMarzio Injectors (Paul Gilbert Signature Singles)
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2013, 10:11:49 am »
If you want a LOUD and pretty authentic single coil Strat sound, try the Injector bridge wired for just the top coil. Works great in middle position between 2 medium to high output humbuckers.

Offline grumptruck

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Re: DiMarzio Injectors (Paul Gilbert Signature Singles)
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2013, 02:14:19 pm »
This review is pretty on par with mine I typed for SD forum.

Easier to read too lol.

Offline RayBarbeeMusic

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Re: DiMarzio Injectors (Paul Gilbert Signature Singles)
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2013, 05:18:45 pm »
I found the neck version works really well with a 500k volume pot, for situations where you want to pair something with a single coil vibe with a hotter humbucker and need the 500k volume for the bucker.  Most of the Area series can be pretty shrill with 500k pots, these solve that problem and also have the volume in the neck to keep up with a bucker in the bridge.  With a 250k pot I imagine it would be quite dark.

The bridge I'm not sure about.  I found it too dark and compressed in the highs for a good middle pickup, and I like the Vsolo better in the bridge for a single coil bridge. 

Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: DiMarzio Injectors (Paul Gilbert Signature Singles)
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2014, 09:17:33 am »
I just scored a used Injector neck which I put into my H-S stratocaster type guitar. Bridge pickup is a hotter PAF type. The Injector replaced a Bill Lawrence L-200SN and just blows it away - much bigger and fatter sounding but still retaining a single coil vibe. I use 500k pots in this guitar - fits both the humbucker and the Injector well.

This is not even my best strat - I can only imagine how good it will sound in a real good strat.

Cheers Stephan
Own: Area 67, Area 61, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector n, HB2, Cruisers, VSolo, SDS-1, Area T set, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super D, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT-1, Morse set
Owned: PAF Pro, Fred, Mega Drive, HS-1, HS-3T, Shock Wave set, Tone Zone

Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: DiMarzio Injectors (Paul Gilbert Signature Singles)
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2014, 02:59:32 am »
Yesterday I set up my better maple neck strat with the Injector neck in the neck and a Bare Knuckle Holydiver (their take on the JB) - very simple set up, one 500k volume, one 500k push-pull pot, 3-way tele selector that selects bridge - both  - neck. Bridge pickup can be split with the push-pull. I preferred H-S this time since I tend to hit the middle pickup all the time.

That Injector neck sounds incredible - clear, stratty, but punchy at the same time. It can easily keep up with the Holydiver, and both pickups together sound great as well. I can imagine that an AT-1 in the bridge and an Injector neck will make a great combination.

I will change the wiring to a 5-way super switch to do bridge series, bridge parallel, both parallel, bridge split in parallel with neck split, neck for more versatility.

Cheers Stephan

EDITED for typos
« Last Edit: July 08, 2014, 08:46:19 am by darkbluemurder »
Own: Area 67, Area 61, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector n, HB2, Cruisers, VSolo, SDS-1, Area T set, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super D, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT-1, Morse set
Owned: PAF Pro, Fred, Mega Drive, HS-1, HS-3T, Shock Wave set, Tone Zone