Author Topic: The AT-1  (Read 4257 times)

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Offline tonejam

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The AT-1
« on: October 25, 2013, 09:31:48 pm »
I've had one of these things in bridge position for a couple of weeks now. Here's my thoughts so far.
It replaced an Airzone, a VERY hard act to follow. Frankly, I was very happy with it, and surprised I removed it. However, I kept reading posts gushing about how the AT-1 had this extra little thing, this "swirl of harmonics" around each note. The specs on the Dimarzio site are pretty similar for both pickups, so I decided to give it a try.
   Please note that I don't play anything much heavier than AC/DC, Gary Moore, stuff like that. I'm primarily interested in clean sound. I play quite a bit of country music. I was a little concerned when I hit that first chord with the AT-1, and realised that one man's "swirl of harmonics" may be another man's "dirt". It was only when I turned the amp up and gigged that I became relieved. No, not dirt, it's character! The Airzone is like the guy everybody likes. Solid, dependable. The At-1 has attitude, you either like it or you don't. I like it a lot. Its more cutting than the Airzone, but in no way brittle. Not QUITE as much bottom end, but still plenty.
              As I said, I need some country twang, and let me say, the AT-1 doesn't split anywhere near as well as the Airzone. From what I've read, NOTHING does, the Airzone is superb in that area. When I tried splitting the AT-1, I was very disappointed, I'd been spoiled. In desperation, I tried it in parallel, and bingo! I've never been a big fan of parallel wiring, but it just works with this thing. There have been moments onstage where I've been wailing away, thinking I'm in series mode, and suddenly realised I'm in parallel, there's nothing thin or artificial about it. You can get satisfying country twang out of it, unless you're a died-in-the wool Tele fanatic.
          So, at the moment, although the Airzone is not yet for sale, I can say that I'm very satisfied with the AT-1. It covers a lot of ground, and does it with style, and some attitude.     Highly recommended.

Offline A-Bomb

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Re: The AT-1
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2013, 11:08:08 am »
Glad you like it, love it in my Strat as well.

I'd say it would work for everyone who thinks the TZ/AZ is too warm/dark/bassy and the Norton is too bright. Lots of people say it sounds like a JB with 250K pots but I think there's more to it than that.

The bottom end is quite big actually, not TZ/AZ or SD huge, but I never feel like needing more bass.
Also it's quite smooth sounding to me, compared to the SD in my Ibanez.
I'd say it's quite a modern, yet versatile tone. Can handle drop tunings (Drop C on my Strat) quite well, too.
Also I want to point out the singing lead tone. It just doesn't get thin, no matter how high up the fretboard you're playing.

Overall, very versatile pickup and I highly recommend it to anybody who plays more than just br00talz metal.

Offline tonejam

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Re: The AT-1
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2013, 11:46:47 am »
Agreed, A-Bomb, a very singing lead tone, that doesn't cop out as you play higher up the neck.
Another thing worth mentioning: its not a finicky pickup, like the Tonezone, which needs to sit at just the right height to sound its best, I've had the AT-1 extremely close to the strings, as well as quite far from them. While there is a difference in tone, it sounds good regardless.

Offline Speeddemon

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Re: The AT-1
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2013, 02:25:19 pm »
Interesting! I just installed a Norton in the bridge of a Burny Les Paul, where previously sat an Air Norton.
I was looking for something more bright-ish than standard PAF's, and the Air Norton already did that, but it does seem to have that tone to it, that says "please put me in the neck position. I'll be way better there". Still, all in all not a bad tone. Now, the Norton is a bit more crunchy/focussed, but not extremely aggressive, which I like and installed a coil-split push/pull volume pot.
Split, the Norton sounds brighter and more jangly than my G&L ASAT Classic Tribute, but those G&L MFD have more output and sound beefier than standard Tele pups (like Tele on 'roids), so I figure that the Norton split may come close to a regular Tele.
Still, I am still interested in how the AT-1 compares to the Norton.
In use: 14x DiMarzio (8 gtrs), 3x Duncan (2 gtrs).
Got preference? ;)

Offline A-Bomb

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Re: The AT-1
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2013, 04:56:01 am »
My guess is warmer and smoother.

Offline Speeddemon

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Re: The AT-1
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2013, 07:28:42 am »
My guess is warmer and smoother.
Would you say it's so smooth that it wouldn't do typical Joe Walsh classic crunchy/bright tones (think the intro of "Life's been good") ?
In use: 14x DiMarzio (8 gtrs), 3x Duncan (2 gtrs).
Got preference? ;)

Offline A-Bomb

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Re: The AT-1
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2013, 10:56:18 am »
Not really, that intro sounds WAY too twangy.
You'd rather want something more PAF-ish and brighter IMO.
Actually I think that tone sounds quite singlecoilish.

Offline Speeddemon

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Re: The AT-1
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2013, 12:29:43 pm »
Not really, that intro sounds WAY too twangy.
You'd rather want something more PAF-ish and brighter IMO.
Actually I think that tone sounds quite singlecoilish.
Yep, I was under the long impression that that intro was done on a Tele, but heard mention of a Les Paul a few times...who knew?  ???
In use: 14x DiMarzio (8 gtrs), 3x Duncan (2 gtrs).
Got preference? ;)

Offline gauchosilvertone

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Re: The AT-1
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2015, 05:51:04 pm »

Offline Speeddemon

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Re: The AT-1
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2015, 12:27:48 pm »
Couple med-high gain demos.

https://youtu.be/u70PIa0aUG8
https://youtu.be/trn4hnd11S4
It seems to have some nice 'spongey' qualities, maybe a tad too loose in the lows, but to me it also seems to lack some bite that I'm looking for.
Then again, it would probably pair awesomely with an EVH 5150 III 50W head and Vintage speakers; bite aplenty.
In use: 14x DiMarzio (8 gtrs), 3x Duncan (2 gtrs).
Got preference? ;)

Offline gauchosilvertone

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Re: The AT-1
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2015, 05:16:54 pm »
Couple med-high gain demos.

https://youtu.be/u70PIa0aUG8
https://youtu.be/trn4hnd11S4
It seems to have some nice 'spongey' qualities, maybe a tad too loose in the lows, but to me it also seems to lack some bite that I'm looking for.
Then again, it would probably pair awesomely with an EVH 5150 III 50W head and Vintage speakers; bite aplenty.
I'd agree with all that.

I've had it in three guitars...and I don't own it any more. 


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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: The AT-1
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2017, 07:10:26 am »
I have a covered AT-1 in an alder bodied telecaster with maple neck and a Pau Ferro board. The guitar is rather bright sounding acoustically and the AT-1 fills the low end and midrange nicely to balance the inherent brightness. I love it for crunch to high gain lead tones - never harsh, never muddy, never bloaty or tubby in the mids, just a sweet warm singing tone with enough bite. Since I have not tested this pickup in a different guitar (and I don't think I will because changing bridge pickups on that guitar is a genuine PITA - you have to take the bridge off ...) I cannot say whether the bite comes from the guitar or the pickups but I guess that the guitar contributes a lot.

The original wiring in the guitar offers split tones, and the AT-1 does that OK but I use the humbucking mode mostly and the split tone only for cleaner stuff.

The neck pickup is a Bluesbucker which is a nice match to the AT-1.

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