New Guitar Pickup Conundrum

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Offline Slartibartfarst

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New Guitar Pickup Conundrum
« on: May 19, 2021, 10:37:34 PM »
After searching for the right guitar for me for a while, I've finally taken the plunge and taken delivery of a nice new LTD M-1000 E. I was particularly after a superstrat, ideally with an alder body and this one seems to fit the bill perfectly, with the exception of the EMG pickups and the reverse headstock. It has an alder body, 3-piece maple neck, ebony fingerboard, Floyd 1000SE bridge and a set-thru construction. For a while I thought of changing the pickups to EMG Retro Actives as the easiest option but I think I'd rather stick to passives. I confess that one option I'm seriously thinking about for the bridge is a Classic '83 from The Creamery:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_s3wyPIt28

In many ways it's a lot like a JB with its alnico 5 magnet but wound to a DC resistance similar to a Super Distortion. I've had one before and it's very good indeed but I've also always fancied trying a Super Distortion as I like Adrian Smith who uses one in his alder guitars. Now I have a real problem as I love the rich warmth and fluidity of a JB but I also love the harmonic richness and aggression of the Super Distortion. I don't like too much compression in a pickup, hence my dislike of the stock EMG's in my new guitar. Do DiMarzio make a pickup that has the best qualities of both of these pickups combined and will work well in my guitar?

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Offline Guitar74

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Re: New Guitar Pickup Conundrum
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2021, 03:24:11 PM »
Have you given the Norton any consideration? Has kind of that JB vibe with a little less upper mid spike.
If you're having one of those days where everyone is on your case and is just getting on your nerves, it's probably not everyone else

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Offline Slartibartfarst

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Re: New Guitar Pickup Conundrum
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2021, 08:54:23 PM »
Thanks, it sounds interesting so I'll look into that one further.

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Offline BluesJam

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Re: New Guitar Pickup Conundrum
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2021, 09:43:14 PM »
The DiMarzio 36 Anniversary or PAF Master would be good choices.  The more overwound a pickup the more compression.  A vintage wound/output pickup will be more versatile and it will allow you more versatility to dial in your sound with the amps and effects.  The Super D will be more aggressive sounding.  YMMV

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Offline Slartibartfarst

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Re: New Guitar Pickup Conundrum
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2021, 12:13:50 AM »
I've taken the plunge and ordered a black Super Distortion with the usual silver nickel polepiece screws for the bridge position. I'll have to wait until September/October to receive it, but I'm in no rush and I found it at a good price.

The neck position has proved to be a complete pain in the neck, if you'll excuse the pun. I was all set to get a PAF Pro, but naturally I wanted it with the same silver nickel hex screws as polepieces to match the Super Distortion. This is clearly possible if you look at the DiMarzio website, as are numerous other options. Unfortunately, it seems that the PAF Pro is only made standard with black hex screws and if I wanted the silver nickel colour, it would have to be a special order. I had no objection to the wait, but I did have a serious objection to the £120 price I was quoted when I'd bought the Super Distortion for just £66!!! That's the same price as a Bare Knuckle pickup and I even think they're too expensive. In fairness, a Bare Knuckle 'Emerald' is the best neck pickup I've ever used, and as I know that pickup is alnico 4 with 43AWG wire wound to 9.6DC, I decided to ask Allan at Catswhisker Pickups if he could make me one with flush caphead screws for polepieces to give it a very similar look to the Super Distortion while retaining the tone of the Emerald. I'll have the pickup in just a couple of weeks for just £62 and I've used him before so I know his work is excellent. If DiMarzio are going to offer all these options, they should try making sure you can get them without almost doubling the price.

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Offline buddroyce

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Re: New Guitar Pickup Conundrum
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2021, 06:15:54 PM »
Wow I didn't think it would be *THAT* expensive to get a customized Super Distortion. Was this quoted through DiMarzio directly or through a dealer/distributor in the UK?

Let us know how the Catwhisker pickup works out. It sounds like an interesting configuration that would throw off a bunch of people!
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Offline Slartibartfarst

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Re: New Guitar Pickup Conundrum
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2021, 11:05:07 AM »
The UK distributor simply didn't respond to my emails so the price came from various dealers. They presumably had more luck with the distributor, though I did come across one dealer who had recently stopped stocking DiMarzio because their UK distributor was so awful.

The Emerald neck pickup is unusual one. The alnico 4 magnet helps to keep the pickup quite PAF in nature and the tone is really sweet. The 43AWG wire seems to keep things a bit tighter at the bottom end than 42AWG so it retains clarity even under a lot of gain. It's one of the few Bare Knuckle pickups I would have again, if it weren't for the extremely high cost. The Crawler bridge model is the other one. That was an awesome pickup too! Other than price, after trying loads of Bare Knuckles, I just found I could get better elsewhere for less money. The Super Distortion is better than any ceramic pickup I tried from Bare Knuckle and the Classic '83 from The Creamery is miles better than the Holydiver. On top of that, the Creamery '87 set is better than any alnico 2 pickup that BKP do and it's also better than the Seymour Duncan Slash set. Once I discovered that Jaime at The Creamery and Allan at Catswhisker will custom make anything I want for between £60 and £80, there was no point in spending Bare Knuckle money. Jaime has already made me a version of the BKP Abraxas as well as a couple of designs I came up with myself. Allan has made me a tweaked version a Gibson 498T and an Emerald with an alnico 2 magnet before. In every case, the pickups were excellent. I actually received this latest pickup from Allan in just 48 hours so now I just need the Super Distortion to arrive  :madness: