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Topics - darkbluemurder

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1
Hi folks,

I noticed that the topics in this section were all about guitar pickups and none about a bass pickup. So please let me be the first to change that ;D

While I played guitar for most of the time I actually started out on bass (because there were enough guitar players in the first band already). Since then I only played bass on one gig where the bass player could not attend. A few months ago I picked the bass up again. My four string bass is a partscaster with a precision ash body (maker unknown), a Jazz bass neck from Allparts, a solid brass bridge (maker unknown) and PJ routes. The bass is acoustically on the bright side and originally came with a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound P and a Hot Jazz. Both sounded OK but the Hot Jazz hummed which is a no go in my instrument world. Controls are VVT (initially all 250k log but I replaced the volume for the P with a 500k linear later) with a 0.027uf tone cap.

Enter the Ultra Jazz bridge. Here is what DiMarzio says about it:

"The hum-cancelling Ultra Jazz™ takes a traditional Fender® Jazz Bass® sound and really opens it up. Lows are deeper, highs are more percussive, and the mid-range is round but not muddy. Harmonic overtones jump off the strings. It’s also quick; with instant response to either fingers or pick-style playing."

After having the pickup in the bass for about a month now I have to agree to this description. It sounds much clearer and brighter than the Hot Jazz it replaced. No hum whatsoever. The big surprise was how responsive this pickup is to EQ adjustments on the amp - turn up the mids and it gets honky, turn up bass and turn down mids and treble, and you get a solid low end whereas the Hot Jazz seemed to be honky no matter where the EQ was set. It also sounds very good together with the P. Since the QP sounded quite boomy and dull next to it, I replaced that pickup as well (the new pickup is a Delano PMVC FE4/M2 which sounds a lot more open than the QP).   

I still have to adjust the EQ on the amp when changing from the P or both to the J but it is manageable by adjusting the bass control - up for the J, down for the others. Mids and treble can stay the same.

Conclusion: the Ultra Jazz is a great pickup and a lot of fun to play.

Cheers Stephan

2
The mini bar (off topic & misc) / Allan Holdsworth
« on: October 20, 2016, 12:27:06 pm »
Hi folks,

not familiar with his music at all - only know that there are milestones of fusion guitar playing and also experiments with the Synthaxe. I am not interested in the Synthaxe stuff but in the stuff that made him famous.

What are the tunes to listen to?

Thanks in advance,
Stephan

3
I had always wanted to try the bridge pickup since it came out. So when a set popped up on the bay I purchased it. I put them in a dual humbucker "Frankenstein" tele partscaster with a poplar body (which was sold as alder - thankfully so since I may not have bought it had I known it was poplar but I am glad I did), a maple neck w/ rosewood board that was left over from a parted out strat (but magically it fit the tele body) and a Callaham Amercian Standard Hardtail bridge. Electronics are two 500k log pots for volume and tone, a 0.0015uf tone cap and a 3 way toggle switch to give b, b+n and n - no splits, series, out-of phase, local parallel selections whatsoever.

I was surprised to see quite a lot of negative comments about these pickups, mostly saying that these are rather bland pickups and are there just for the sake of being there. Well - I have not yet tried any other pickups in that guitar, and I am not sure why I should. The guitar sounds great with them. So far I tested it through two self-modded Marshalls for higher gain, a Bassman modified to a *umble style circuit and a Bandmaster for the Fender clean tones plus various overdrive pedals.

The bridge pickup is powerful, yet tight in the low end. Don't let the relatively low DC resistance of 9.5k fool you, this one is really loud - I guess it's due to the strong ceramic magnet. The pickup has a strong mid peak but at the same time it has a certain element of spank to it. It's a tonal combination that I never heard from any other pickup. The closest thing I can think of would be a wide range humbucker but the Morse bridge is more powerful. High notes sound fat, low notes sound articulate and clear. It sounds good clean (for a bridge humbucker which is not my preferred choice for clean tones) and can take any gain I throw at it. I am sure this pickup will cut through easily in a band mix.

I was not sure whether I would like the neck pickup given the fact that I find most neck humbuckers too muddy. But I had to take it to get the bridge pickup, thinking I can always swap it for something else if I don't like it. At a DC resistance of over 20k one would guess that it's a very loud pickup but it isn't. Probably DiMarzio used a very thin wire for this one - AWG 44 or even 45, I don't know. Whatever - this pickup in this guitar is giving me some of the fattest neck tones I ever had. On the high notes it is a thing of beauty - fat and fluid. Sure it can get muddy in the lower register, especially when the gain goes up but not really worse than most other neck humbuckers. 

The middle position (both humbuckers together in parallel) sound very good as well, both clean and dirty. It's a sound I don't use too often but it's a nice extra.

Since both pickups are bright enough I don't really miss extra pickup combinations.

It took a while to dial them in to get them balanced since the bridge pickup is a good deal louder than the neck. I have backed off the bridge pickup a little farther than I usually set them (which is very close to the strings) and adjusted the neck pickup as high as it reasonably went (which is higher than I set them usually) but I achieved a suitable balance in the end. The bridge pickup benefitted from setting it a bit lower as that tamed any excessive brightness.

As I said I used a 500k volume pot, knowing that Steve Morse uses 250k pots in his signature guitar. I can imagine that the bridge pickup would get more warmth with the lower pot value but the neck pickup would definitely suffer so I will keep the 500k. Maybe I will experiment with additional resistors to check lower impedances for the bridge pickup but at the moment I am happy with the tone at 500k for both pickups.

I have not put a treble bleed on the volume control. I tend to like this on guitars with single coils but don't care much for it with humbuckers. So far I am satisfied with my choice - both pickups clean up beautifully.

For the tone control I started out with a 0.0022uf cap but surprisingly that made the neck pickup sound too dark and the bridge pickup too much like a cocked wha. 0.0015uf did the trick on both pickups, making them even warmer and fatter than they are already. 

In conclusion I can say I am very happy with the guitar and pickups. I have read that these pickups were designed to work in guitars with poplar bodies. If so, then the designer succeeded.

Cheers Stephan

 

4
The Pickup Place / Partscaster Mason Style
« on: June 29, 2016, 04:12:15 am »
I wanted to post a pic of a partscaster I put together but I have to resize it first.

The pickups are a DiMarzio Virtual Hot T in the bridge, a Virtual Vintage 54 Pro in the middle and a Lollar Firebird in the neck. 250k volume, 500k tone, 0.0022uf tone cap, regular 5-way switch to select b, b+m, m, m+n and n. The mini switch is intended to add the bridge pickup to any selection to get b+n and all three. All combinations are parallel in phase. I am not a fan of series combinations of pickups and/or out of phase combinations. I could have used a three way switch and add the middle pickup but the five way was more intuitive to me with three pickups.

Before I added the mini switch i had a third pot there to have two independent volume controls (one b+n, one m) but I scrapped this arrangement rather quickly. Apart that the controls were so close together that it was difficult to use, the blend tones were so subtly different that I decided it was not worth it.

The Virtual Hot T really shines in this guitar - it twangs, sings, screams and does whatever I ask from it. I started out with a Kinman AVn-48b but that was too bright and thin here. The VHT beefs it right up. I believe either of the Area T or Area Hot T would sound great in this guitar as well.

The VV 54 Pro by itself gets the "Sky is Crying" tone without trying too hard.

The real surprise was the combination of these two. I had played other teles with three pickups, seeking for the #2 strat quack tone but never got it - either it was not open enough or too thin. This one finally does it right. Not sure whether it's the pickups or the combination of pickups and guitar but this outquacks all my strats. 

And I got a very nice and useable neck tone as well. I am normally not too fond of the neck + middle combo but it works OK as well. I am looking forward to hear the bridge + neck combo on this one - should be great.

Cheers
Stephan

5
The mini bar (off topic & misc) / Al di Meola
« on: June 15, 2016, 05:53:15 am »
Starting to get into jazz rock and fusion more lately. Not familiar with Al's music at all. 

What are the tunes to start with?

Thanks, Stephan

6
Hi all,

From the specs published by Di Marzio it appears that the bridge model has slightly more bass and that's basically it.

Has anybody used both models in the same guitar and can comment, please?

If - like me - one has one model each - which should go in the middle and which should go in the neck position?

At the moment I have the bridge model in the neck position and the neck model in the middle, and that's mainly because my neck model's wire was too short to put it in the neck position, and I did not want to extend the wire at that stage.

Many thanks,
Stephan

7
The Pickup Place / Di Marzio Virtual Hot PAF bridge + Area 67 neck?
« on: July 17, 2015, 08:10:00 am »
Hi,

has anybody ever tried this combination in a guitar?
If so what were the results?
Specifically - can the VHPAF keep up with the Area 67 in terms of brightness?

Many thanks,
Stephan

8
The Pickup Place / Chopper - Cruiser - Cruiser in a Strat
« on: May 02, 2015, 03:21:16 pm »
Has anyone tried this combination in a strat with 500k pots? What were the results?

The reason I am asking is that I am not quite happy with the Chopper - 58 - 67 and 250k pots in that strat. The 58, 67 and the combination Sound fine but the Chopper in the bridge is too soft and the bridge + middle combo does not quack properly.

I am thinking of either replacing the Chopper with a Virtual Solo or replacing the 58 and 67 with a pair of Cruisers (I still have one left over) and change the pots to 500k. The Chopper T in my telecaster with a 500k pot sounds terrific.

Any particular preference whether to use the Cruiser bridge or neck (my model is a bridge one)? I am thinking to get a neck model to put in the neck and put the bridge model in the middle.

Thanks for your input,
Stephan

9
Gear Closet / Mesa Boogie Flux Drive
« on: April 21, 2015, 03:54:50 am »
Had a chance to play one in a shop for about an hour through a clean amp next to a TS-9.

My impression was that compared to the TS-9 it had "more of everything" - more drive on tap, more bass and more bite.

Not that I really "need" another OD pedal but I really liked this one.

Any other experiences with this pedal?

Thanks, Stephan

10
Everything you wanted to know about .... / DP-198 Hot Minibucker
« on: February 02, 2015, 04:30:55 am »
I had this pickup lying around for quite a while before I got around to put it into the guitar - it went into the bridge position of a three pickup Firebird monster and replaced a Lollar Firebird bridge model. I only spent a short time with it so far but here are my first impressions.

The pickup's DC measured 13.1k. Wire guage is probably 43 ga. Output is noticeably hotter than the pickup it replaced but not over the top hot. It still balances well with the Lollar FB neck and middle pickups.

I expected the Hot Minibucker to be a definitve step toward a full sized humbucker tone but that was not the case. It does not at all sound like a full sized humbucker, not at least any that I played before. Tonally the Hot Minibucker retains the Firebird bite but with a lot of low end and a healthy dose of midrange added. The good thing is that low end still retains clarity as well. Very cool tone indeed.

I think this is a great pickup for all LP Deluxe and Firebird owners who want to retain the treble bite but want to add girth and power to the tone without going to a full sized humbucker tone.  My vote is to bring it back into the regular DiMarzio line - there is always a place for a vintage minibucker and a hot minibucker.

Cheers Stephan

11
The Pickup Place / How to Narrow Open Pickup Mounting Threads
« on: November 14, 2014, 05:32:09 pm »
Just scored a Duncan Custom off ebay. Pickup measures correct DC resistance but apparently (one of) the previous owner(s) has filed the mounting screw holes in the bottom plate for direct to wood installation. Is there a way to get the regular mounting screws to fit - soldering, adding a nut etc.?

Many thanks,
Stephan

12
Surprised that there is no thread on that one - given it was introduced in 2006.

I put it in the neck position of a maple neck/maple board/ash body partscaster strat. Middle pickup is the Injector neck (which was in the neck position before), bridge pickup is a Bareknuckle Holydiver (the closest DiMarzio would probably the AT-1). In #2, the bridge pickup goes to parallel. 500k pots, tone cap is currently a 0.0033uf Orange Drop (subject to change).

Since there is already a detailed thread on the Injector neck I will focus on the difference between that and the HB2.

Output is roughly the same - 170mV vs. 160mV does not matter much really. The balance with the bridge pickup is fine since I like the bridge humbucker to have a bit more output in a HSS set up.
 
The tone charts (B/M/T) are similar: IN 6/6.5/7, HB2 6/7/6.5, and in that case I would agree that the pickups do not sound vastly different from each other. What is noticeable though is that the HB2 has a bit less highs than the IN and significantly more midrange content. I really like this for overdriven solo tones as it makes the guitar sing better and provides for a good tonal balance with the bridge pickup. It does work well for clean tones, too, provided you can accept that it is warmer than a typical low output vintage strat type pickup - these are really bright, and the HB2 won't give you that sound. The Area 67 would be a better choice in that case. 

Now - how does it quack together with the IN in the middle? It does quack well but it's a middier quack, not that super hollow clucky quack of low output singles. Again if you want that, get two Area 67s or an Area 67 for the neck and an Area 58 for the middle.

I have not yet tested the HB2 together with the bridge pickup since the wiring set up in that guitar currently does not provide for that combination. But since I got a spare tone pot that's doing nothing at the moment I may wire it up as a blend control so I can give you an idea of how that works.

Cheers Stephan

13
The Pickup Place / A4 in a Rio Grande Genuine TX?
« on: September 11, 2014, 04:59:09 am »
Anybody tried it?

Many thanks,
Stephan

14
Title says it all. The pickup will go into the bridge position of a Les Paul.

Any input very much appreciated.

Many thanks,
Stephan

15
The Pickup Place / DP 241 Bridge Minihumbucker
« on: July 01, 2014, 05:36:51 am »
I have a DP 240 (the neck version) but has anybody tried the DP 241 (the bridge version) in the bridge position?

Looking to replace a Firebird bridge pickup which is simply too bright, even with 300k pots but wanting to retain the looks.

Thanks,
Stephan

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