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Topics - darkbluemurder

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The Pickup Place / Alternative HSS Wiring Scheme
« on: July 29, 2021, 05:43:52 AM »
I recently acquired an Area 61 which unfortunately has a broken dummy coil. I chose to use it as a single coil in the middle position of a HSS set up (Breed neck in the bridge, Area 67 in the neck, 250k audio volume, 250k audio master tone with 0.0022uf, 500k audio tone for bridge pickup with 0.001uf). I used an Allparts 5-way multipole switch and wired it as follows:

#1 - bridge, coils in series (regular humbucking mode)
#2 - bridge with bridge side coil active + middle for the typical strat quack
#3 - bridge, coils in series + neck (I don't like the middle alone much and much prefer bridge + neck)
#4 - bridge with bridge side coil active + middle + neck (like it much better in this guitar than middle + neck which was too dark for me)
#5 - neck

All combinations are humcancelling. I did not flip the magnet in the breed - I just turned it upside down (cable exit away from the controls).

You can do that with any Area series pickup (you have to split it to keep the combinations humcancelling) or with any single coil pickup which has the same magnetic polarity and two isolated connections (which most single coil pickups have).

Cheers Stephan

Guitar Lounge / Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« on: June 23, 2021, 03:20:31 AM »
Title says it all. I have spares of 2nd to 6th strings all over the place and have to keep on buying single 1st strings. They keep on breaking first - be it on wide bends, on pick attacks or when loosening/re-tightening a string during a pickup change or servicing of the electronics.

It is not on a particular guitar but on every guitar I own.

Is this your experience, too? Why is that?

Cheers Stephan

The Pickup Place / Which Pickup Features Which Technique
« on: April 27, 2021, 03:01:54 AM »
Here is a list of the techniqes employed by various DiMarzio models in alphabetical order. This list will be updated regularly.

36th Anniversary PAF Bridge (DP-223) - Airbucker
AT-1 - Airbucker, Virtual Vintage
Air Classic - Airbucker
Air Norton - Airbucker, Dual Resonance
Air Zone - Airbucker, Dual Resonance
Blaze II, Neck, Bridge, Custom - Dual Resonance
Bluesbucker - Virtual Vintage, Airbucker
Breed (neck and bridge) - none
Crunch Lab - Dual Resonance, Virtual Vintage
D-Sonic - Dual Resonance, Virtual Vintage
DLX Plus (neck and bridge) - Dual Resonance
Dual Sound - none
Evolution (neck and bridge) - Dual Resonance
EJ Custom (neck and bridge) - Virtual Vintage
Evo 2 - Dual Resonance, Virtual Vintage
Fred - Dual Resonance
Gravity Storm Neck (not quite sure) - Airbucker, Virtual Vintage
Gravity Storm Bridge - none (?)
Hot Minibucker (DP-198) - Airbucker
Humbucker from Hell - Dual Resonance
Liquifire - Airbucker, Virtual Vintage
Megadrive - Dual Resonance
Minibucker (DP-168) - Dual Resonance, Airbucker
Mo Joe - Dual Resonance
Norton - Dual Resonance
PAF (DP-103) - none
PAF Classic (neck and bridge) - Airbucker, Virtual Vintage
Paf Joe - Virtual Vintage
Paf Pro - none
PG13 - Dual Resonance (?)
Steve's Special - Dual Resonance
Super 2 - none
Super Distortion - none
Tone Zone - Dual Resonance
Virtual PAF (neck and bridge) - Airbucker, Virtual Vintage
Virtual Hot PAF - Airbucker, Virtual Vintage
X2N - none

Guitar Lounge / Appreciation for Fret Work
« on: April 22, 2021, 04:54:48 AM »
Since it has become increasingly difficult to take instruments to shops/luthiers to get work done I started doing more and more work myself whenever I get the chance. What I did during the course of the last few months was:

- fret leveling and crowning
- removing fret sprouts

Removing fret sprouts went surprisingly well. The neck no longer feels like a nailboard, and I completed the work in less than an hour. Certainly not professional quality but it worked.

The first guitar I leveled the frets on was my former no. 1 guitar I used with the last band I played in. For some reason it had a buzzy grating sound. I checked and found it had a slight rising tongue. I then marked the last six frets with a sharpie and filed them until the marks were gone. Then I repeated this with the last five frets, then the last four and so on. Then I recrowned and polished the frets. When I put on new strings and checked again the rise was gone, and the guitar plays a lot cleaner now. Again, certainly not professional quality but it works well now. The exercise was definitely worth it but the work was harder and more time consuming than I thought it would be. Kudos to all techs who do a good job on such things and are willing to do it.

I repeated the process on another guitar which improved as well but not to the same degree as the first one. I may need to redo that one some time in the future.

Cheers Stephan

The mini bar (off topic & misc) / Frank Zappa
« on: February 02, 2021, 04:02:45 AM »
Not familiar with his music - what would be the tunes to start with (listening, not playing)?

Thanks, Stephan

This topic has been moved to The Pickup Place. Please post only descriptions of specific DiMarzio pickups in this sub-forum.

This topic has been moved to The Pickup Place. Please post only descriptions of specific DiMarzio pickups in the sub-forum.

Guitar Lounge / Out of phase, half-out of phase, power-out of phase
« on: January 22, 2021, 02:26:07 AM »
Do you use any of these?

Just to clarify what I mean by these terms:

- out of phase: two pickups of any kind wired in parallel, where the phase of one pickup is (electronically or magnetically) reversed.

- half out of phase: the same two pickups but the one wired reverse phase has a capacitor in series. Bill Lawrence used a 0.01uf in his schematic. The Jerry Donahue wiring is a variation of this with additional resistors in series. The schematics I have seen show two 6.2k resistors but since 6.2k is not a standard value this may be an error, and the correct value is 8.2k (maybe it is just me but reading big excel files I often mistake 6s for 8s and vice versa).

- power out of phase: two pickups of any kind in series instead of parallel, and one being reverse phased. First seen in Gibson's L6 and popularized by PRS in their first Customs. It is also part of the Brian May Red Special wiring.

Thanks and cheers

Everything you wanted to know about .... / MOVED: "GIFMEN" pickups?
« on: November 11, 2020, 11:16:59 AM »
This topic has been moved to The Pickup Place as it does not describe the tonal properties of a specific model.

The mini bar (off topic & misc) / First time use of Ignore List
« on: October 13, 2020, 11:15:11 AM »
I never thought that I would ever use this feature but given the recent spamming going on here, I added three "users" to my ignore list. I suggest they be banned from this forum as all they are doing is wasting storage capacity.

By looking through the Help functions it appears that you can add attachments to posts but not private messages. Or have I missed anything?


The Pickup Place / Less midrangey alternative to AT-1?
« on: May 19, 2019, 04:31:32 PM »
I have a strat (ash body, maple neck) which has a Virtual Vintage Heavy Blues 2 in the neck, an Injector neck in the middle and an AT-1 in the bridge (500k pots). Love the single coils but lately came to the conclusion that I want something with slightly less midrange and more attack, about the same output.

I am not sure about the Air Zone, even though it gets a lot of praise here. The specs indicate it would have lots of midrange as well. Same with the Transition as I have read that it is darker than the AT-1. Dito the Gravity Storm bridge.

Steve's Special is a potential candidate, as are the Breed Bridge, Imperium and Satchur8.

What do you think? Did I miss any that I should look into?


I just put one into the neck position of a guitar yesterday and had the chance to compare it directly to another guitar with the DP-240 in the neck position.

The comparison between the old and new minihumbuckers was already discussed here:,4367.msg33874.html#msg33874

and I concur with DiMarzio's opinion. The DP-168 in the neck sounds a lot more like a full sized neck humbucker with a bit more high end and a bit less low end, just enough to not be muddy but it is nowhere as bright and tight as the newer DP-240. It is a good pickup with solid output that has no problem in keeping up with the SD Custom 5 at the bridge, but very different to the DP-240 and much closer to the Hot Minibucker (DP-198), on which I commented here:,5416.0.html

My feeling is that the older versions are better suited to the bridge position whereas the newer versions would be better candidates for the neck position, even though I have not yet played a DP-241.

Cheers Stephan

The mini bar (off topic & misc) / 1000!
« on: January 21, 2019, 03:49:49 AM »
Title says it all - my post no. 1000.

Cheers Stephan

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

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