Author Topic: Finally Tried a Super Distortion...  (Read 4924 times)

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Offline Der JD

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Finally Tried a Super Distortion...
« on: May 01, 2013, 12:34:35 pm »
...and wow, this thing is killer!

I basically just started this thread to mention how great of a lead pickup it is. That's something I wasn't expecting, as I don't often see it mentioned in the "great lead pickups category". The sustain and harmonics are just incredible. It may just be my new favorite pickup.

Overall, it's fat and creamy. There is still high end, but it's smooth. The low end is full, but not muddy. I was surprised that it's really a very clear-sounding pickup. Just excels at an 80s hard rock/metal/shred type of tone.

I've got it in a PRS SE245 (mahogany body and neck, maple top, rosewood board). I've currently got a 36th Anni in the neck. Despite the huge difference in output, they actually work quite well together.

I think there's only one more pickup on my immediate "must try" list, the AT-1. But, I'm noticing that in terms of the Dimarzio EQ chart, they're fairly similar. Still, different magnet, output, and resistance. Plus, I don't ever really trust Dimarzio's EQ charts.

Have any of you tried both the SD and AT-1, preferably in the same or similar guitar? Do they share some common characteristics? How do they differ, other than the obvious output difference?



Offline slugworth

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Re: Finally Tried a Super Distortion...
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2013, 01:46:13 pm »
I have an AT-1 in the bridge of a Dean Cadillac (think fat neck Les Paul tone) where for a long time I had a Super Distortion that I loved in there (and was stupid to get rid of).  My first impressions of the AT-1 weren't extremely favorable, but it has been growing on me. 

Under high gain, the AT-1 is more piercing than the Super D and I usually roll back the tone on it a bit.  It does not have quite the killer mid snarl nor the pretty high end for leads like the Super D, but it has a greater perceived harmonic output, and I think it's fair to call it a cross between the Super D and Norton, at least for high gain. 

However while the Super D is good for medium/low gain stuff, the AT-1 is truly awesome in that respect.  Sweet, saucy, and complex.  Just the right amount of twang.

If you're after *the* hard rock pickup, you've already found it in the Super Distortion.  If you want something more folk rock/roots rock oriented but with more punch and edge than a PAF 36th, then the AT-1 is excellent.
DIMARZIO MODELS CURRENTLY OR PREVIOUSLY OWNED: 68 TOTAL

Offline Speeddemon

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Re: Finally Tried a Super Distortion...
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2013, 03:51:35 pm »
@Slugworth; where would you place the Norton in your description? Especially in a Les Paul?
On one hand I think a Super Distortion might be too much in an LP, otherwise, Ace Frehley & co. can't be wrong, when they defined the 70's/80's (hard) rock tone, right?
In use: 14x DiMarzio (8 gtrs), 3x Duncan (2 gtrs).
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Offline slugworth

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Re: Finally Tried a Super Distortion...
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2013, 04:30:46 pm »
Super Distortions are perfect in Les Pauls.  By comparison I think a Tone Zone is too much pickup in a Les Paul, if that tells you anything.

I mentioned the Norton because the AT-1 can do crazy harmonics like the Norton.  But when I say the AT-1 under high gain is piercing in comparison, I mean it will ice pick your eardrums if you don't roll something back, at least in comparison with the usual suspects from Dimarzio's lineup.  Of course it all depends how your rig is set up, etc.
DIMARZIO MODELS CURRENTLY OR PREVIOUSLY OWNED: 68 TOTAL

Offline Speeddemon

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Re: Finally Tried a Super Distortion...
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2013, 04:09:18 pm »
Super Distortions are perfect in Les Pauls.  By comparison I think a Tone Zone is too much pickup in a Les Paul, if that tells you anything.

I mentioned the Norton because the AT-1 can do crazy harmonics like the Norton.  But when I say the AT-1 under high gain is piercing in comparison, I mean it will ice pick your eardrums if you don't roll something back, at least in comparison with the usual suspects from Dimarzio's lineup.  Of course it all depends how your rig is set up, etc.
I understand what you're saying, but do you think that the Norton would have a similar 'ice-pickyness' as the AT-1, or is it closer to the Super Distortion in that respect, with a slightly better performance in low/med gain situations (but maybe not as good as the AT-1 excels there?)

Since I have a Telecaster (well, actually a G&L ASAT Classic Tribute) since 2 weeks, I'm noticing more that bright(er)/twangy pickups add that extra magic for low-gain sounds. The cool part about the ASAT is, that its MFD pickups (singlecoils) are really quiet and behave extremely well for high gain (I'm talking Metallica's MOP, Slayer, Primal Fear...) applications too! Brighter than buckers, sure, but not ice-picky by a long stretch, yet still they can twang when used clean. Perhaps other pups can twang more, so I got a Dimarzio Twang King neck pup, to try in that guitar, but I digress...  ::) ;D
In use: 14x DiMarzio (8 gtrs), 3x Duncan (2 gtrs).
Got preference? ;)

Offline slugworth

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Re: Finally Tried a Super Distortion...
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2013, 05:56:13 pm »
The Norton is not ice-picky under high gain.  And yes, I'd put it behind the AT-1 but ahead of the Super Distortion in lower gain situations.

Back on-topic, I had some time to do some pickup swapping today, and went back to a Super D in the bridge of my Cadillac.  I was waiting for an older one to show up used at a reasonable price and finally found one.  As expected, I don't love it so much as the AT-1 for low gain, but for medium to high gain, it's heavenly.

The weird thing about Super Distortions is that they really do sound better with some miles on 'em.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 06:07:55 pm by slugworth »
DIMARZIO MODELS CURRENTLY OR PREVIOUSLY OWNED: 68 TOTAL

Offline mi2tom

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Re: Finally Tried a Super Distortion...
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2013, 08:32:16 pm »
I've noticed that most pickup sounded better age but especially ceramic equipped pickup.

Offline RayBarbeeMusic

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Re: Finally Tried a Super Distortion...
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2013, 08:49:27 pm »
I'm not sure how Slugworth sets his amp settings or what the resistance on his volume pots actually measure, but my experience is the complete, diametrically opposed opposite, and I have AT-1s in a lot of guitars and Norton in a couple. 

Norton can be a very ice-picky pickup.  It is bright almost like a PAF, just with more oomph.  I find it to be on the edge of harsh.  The more gain, the harsher it gets.   The 36th bridge I find very harsh and ice-picky unless a 250k or less volume pot is used, then it's just fine.  By comparison, the AT-1 has a very fat, vocal high end that I've never found harsh.  I'd never call it more 'edgy' than a 36th, unless maybe you were using a 1M volume pot on the AT-1 and a 100k pot on a 36th.    I've had all 3 pickups in the SAME custom shop historic LP, as well as in quite a few other guitars, and the impressions above hold true in all those situations.   

In that R0 LP, the AT-1 was just TOO fat, although I love it in other guitars, the 36th lasted about 3 hours before I couldn't stand the brightness anymore, the Norton might be about right in that guitar but only because it is a very dark, fat sounding guitar naturally.  In other applications I've found the Norton to be too bright for my taste.

Offline Jerryman

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Re: Finally Tried a Super Distortion...
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2013, 09:31:48 pm »
I've noticed that most pickup sounded better age but especially ceramic equipped pickup.

I would agree, and cause a ceramic pickup does not "age"/degauss, its a lot to do with the wire ageing.

BTW..I have a really nice odl set of SuperD/Paf just waiting for the day when i can get me a nice Les Paul Std.!
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 09:47:45 pm by jerryjg »
The Norton won't tame anything.  A fantastic pickup, it will make your LP sound like a wild mongoose who is piloting a F-22 raptor and smoking crystal meth

Offline MkIII Renegade

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Re: Finally Tried a Super Distortion...
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2013, 09:52:53 pm »
50 million Super Distortion fans can't be wrong!  8)
Mesa Boogie MkIII Simul-Class w/two Mark 4x12s
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B.C. Rich Eagle Evo2/Air Norton
Ibanez UV7BK Blaze Custom

Offline nkay

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Re: Finally Tried a Super Distortion...
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2013, 09:43:59 pm »
I just picked up a couple of double cream Super Distortions that were dated to the late 70's, pretty decent shape too. They have square tabs, a white hot wire, and black and bare ground.
People always keep saying that the "older ones" are better, and in this case, I think I might agree.

It's not totally drastic, but I find them slightly less hot, less harsh, and have a little more vintage mojo. They measure around 13.1k and 12.8k, which is a fair bit less than the 14k I usually get with the new ones. Maybe that's where the difference is, the newer ones seem to be wound a little hotter, or the older magnets/wire have aged slightly.

I put the 12.8k one in the neck and to be honest, I quite like the Super D there too. I'm not big on neck pickups in the first place, but I do like em hot if I'm going to use them. My only other favourite neck is the PAF Pro.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2013, 09:46:18 pm by nkay »

Offline RayBarbeeMusic

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Re: Finally Tried a Super Distortion...
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2013, 09:30:21 pm »
Pickup Magnets in general don't degauss to any significant degree in in 50 or 60 years, unless they've suffered significant mechanical trauma or been too close to a strong magnet. 

What does wear is the coating on the wire, and people I know who've done this for a long, long time and who I trust tell me that is most of what you hear in an "old" pickup.

Offline Speeddemon

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Re: Finally Tried a Super Distortion...
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2013, 11:15:47 am »

I put the 12.8k one in the neck and to be honest, I quite like the Super D there too. I'm not big on neck pickups in the first place, but I do like em hot if I'm going to use them. My only other favourite neck is the PAF Pro.
Yep, the brother of that Hamer Flying V in my avatar had a late 70's double-cream Super D (actually a Dual Sound) in the neck AND a (2 wire regular old) Super D in the bridge position. (The actual Hamer from my avatar has an Air Norton neck and Super D bridge; both modern and double cream).
I really liked the Super D in the neck, even though I worried that it might be too much. Still, the Air Norton has more nuances and complexity as a neck pickup, hence the change for my 2nd Hamer.
In use: 14x DiMarzio (8 gtrs), 3x Duncan (2 gtrs).
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Offline cragginshred

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Re: Finally Tried a Super Distortion...
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2019, 10:58:50 am »
I'm using Mezzabarba amps (Skill and TRINITY- super high end gear) and Caparison guitars for classic metal VH/Randy Rhoads ect.
I have used the AT -1 for years and owned an Andy Timmons Ibanez. Never ever would I describe that pick up as 'ice picky' it's balanced and just the right amount of hotness to allow me to shred with face melting tone.   I'll post some clips later.

Side note I put a SD in my other Capa guitar and it works but does not knock my socks off at all. It would stay in there if not compared to my AT equipped guitars, but the SD just does not allow the harmonic content of the gain to bring out the mids I like. Of course this is my ears, rig ect.

Just my 2 cents!
 

Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Finally Tried a Super Distortion...
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2019, 05:09:21 am »
I found that the Super Distortion is very guitar sensitive. I did not like it in any of the more resonant guitars I tried it in - always on the edge of being muddy, yet there was an annoying sizzle on top. But I have one in a bright guitar where it added substantial punch. Still it was a bit harsh with 500k pots. I lowered the total resistance to about 375k-380k by adding two 3.3 meg resistors from hot (i.e. tap on the switch where the hot lead of the bridge pickup was connected) to ground, and that was the ticket in that guitar! Now it sounds fat, creamy yet articulate, and there is no trace of harshness left. I like this better than the Breed bridge that was in that guitar before.

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, VV Pro 54, Injector neck, HB2, Cruisers, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T set, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, SD, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, VHPAF, AT-1, Morse set, Super Distortion S; Norton