Comparison Virtual Hot PAF - Air Norton - Breed Neck - FRED

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Guitar:
Parts-Stratocaster, alder body, maple neck w/ rosewood board, Wilkinson trem.
Other pickups: Area 67 neck, Area 61 middle
Electronics: 250k volume, 250k tone w/ 0.0022uf cap for neck, 500k tone w/ 0.001uf cap for bridge
Possible pickup combinations on the 5-way super switch: 1: bridge humbucker, 2: bridge split + middle (which is in permanent split mode), 3: bridge + neck, 4: bridge split + middle + neck, 5: neck. All positions humcancelling as usual for my guitars.

Virtual Hot PAF: solid output, bright but not too bright, very articulate, responds well to the tone control. The combination split with middle split a bit thin for my taste.

Air Norton: similar output to Virtual Hot PAF, a bit less bright and a bit more midrange, maybe a bit too smooth with the 250k load, responds well to the tone control, more robust split bridge/middle combination.

Breed Neck: more output than either of its predecessors so I had to back it away from the strings a bit further. More attack than the Air Norton but also a lot more midrange to the point of being too dark in that guitar for my taste. Going from the neck to the bridge was like having another guitar. Turning down the tone control made it even darker. I had toyed with the idea of going to a 300k volume pot and bringing down the load with resistors in the other positions to balance it out but never got around to do it. Split combination excellent, though.

FRED: I could get one at the old retail price (prices for new DiMarzios increased in Germany by approx. 20%). It is currently in the guitar and my favorite so far. Output is between Air Norton and Breed Neck but it seems to be closer to the Air Norton - I could put it closer to the strings and still achieve a balance to my taste. The midrange color is not as dark as the Breed Neck but warmer than the other two. Harmonics jump out at will, and it is closer for tonal balance with the neck. Does not respond to the tone control as well as the Virtual Hot PAF and Air Norton - this is due to the fatter midrange. I am not sure I really need the tone control with this pickup. If I ditch it that would give me the option to move the volume control out of the way and going with two knobs only. Split combination with the middle works very well, it is bright and quacky but not too thin.

Cheers Stephan
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VHPAF, AT-1, Mo' Joe, FRED

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Offline buddroyce

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Re: Comparison Virtual Hot PAF - Air Norton - Breed Neck - FRED
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2022, 12:17:49 PM »
Thanks for the review and comparison. Any reason why you stuck with the 250k pots?
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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: Comparison Virtual Hot PAF - Air Norton - Breed Neck - FRED
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2022, 03:55:25 AM »
The main reason for the 250k volume pot was due to the Area 67 and Area 61 pickups.

For once I had a pickguard with two injector necks and an Norton in that guitar. With that combination I used 500k for the volume pot but I did not like the injectors with 500k better than the Area 67/61 with 250k so I put the other pickguard back in.
Area 67, Area 58, Area 61, VV Pro 54, Injectors, VV HB2, Virtual Solo, SDS-1, Area T, Area Hot T, Area T 615, Virtual Hot T, Chopper T, Bluesbucker, Breed set, Air Norton, Super Distortion, DLX+, DLX-90, DP240, DP198, DP168, VHPAF, AT-1, Mo' Joe, FRED

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Offline RayBarbeeMusic

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Re: Comparison Virtual Hot PAF - Air Norton - Breed Neck - FRED
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2022, 03:05:43 PM »
High end of the Fred always struck me as close to a single coil in the bridge, very strident. Maybe it needs 250k pots; it's harsh with 500s.