Gravity Storm

  • 14 Replies
  • 22238 Views

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

*

Offline buddroyce

  • *Fake VIP*
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2832
  • 95
  • Founder
    • View Profile
    • BRL Guitarworks
Gravity Storm
« on: January 14, 2013, 05:40:00 PM »
OK, so I got these the same day I got the Transition pickups from DiMarzio to review and to be totally honest, I had mixed feelings about them right from the beginning. This was mostly because all the YouTube reviews I found of these really sounded REALLY bad to my ears and not offense to Steve Vai, but I wasn’t really too stocked about his tone on Gravity Storm. Hearing a bunch of people playing the same song poorly didn’t really help sell me on the pickups even though the folks reviewing them were saying great things about them.

With the Evolution, Evo2 and Breed all being really awesome pickups, I really had high expectations from the pickups and really hoped all the video reviews were just doing a bad job at show casing them.

Seeing that if I’m not too sold on them, there was no way I could ever recommend them to anyone and there was no better way to prove myself wrong than to test them out myself. Because honestly, I can’t be the only person out there that thought the YouTube video reviews of the Gravity Storms sucked.

So before I start the actual review, let me set the stage by saying right off the bat that these pickups completely restored faith I had lost from those videos. They definitely lived up to any expectations anyone would have for a product associated with Steve Vai.
Founder - DiMarzioForum.Com
Follow me on Twitter

*

Offline buddroyce

  • *Fake VIP*
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2832
  • 95
  • Founder
    • View Profile
    • BRL Guitarworks
Re: Gravity Storm Review
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 05:40:40 PM »
With regards to the actual pickups, I ended up getting a complete set of the neck and bridge humbuckers with the really awesome black covers and black bolts. I’ve installed countless DiMarzios and while this isn’t the first time I’ve seen something like this as I’ve had Bare Knuckles with the same look, it is the first time I’ve had DiMarzios with this look and do these ever look super awesome!! They have this great aggressive look that just screams METAL and definitely an option I highly recommended for those of us that are looking for something different.

The guitar I decided to install these pickups in was my Caparison Dellinger II MC Titanium. It’s a mahogany bodied super strat with a true metal finish and black hardware.  It was the only guitar I had that seemed like a natural candidate to complement the look of the pickups. The guitar itself was plugged straight into my Egnater Seminar amp as well as through a Diezel preamp for really high gain stuff and a Fender Blackface preamp for really clean stuff and now, the actual review.

Plugging into the low/medium gain channel of my amp, I was very impressed with the tight crunchy tone I was getting. It had the presence and punch you’d expect from something like the Evo2 but with more body and a smoother top end. I can totally understand why Steve Vai described the sound as a thunderous cloud of ice cream. It’s got the roar you’d expect from a thunder cloud but the sweet smooth texture of ice cream. I know I’m talking abstractly here but it’s definitely a great definition of it. The lower gain setting was really great for blues/rock tones where you want solid crunchy distortion that doesn’t sound thin.

The note definition the bridge pickup has is fantastic. When playing complex chords, all the notes ring through without any problems. Moving over to some higher gain sounds, the tone got thicker and meatier but still had that awesome bite that cuts through without any added fuzz, perfect for any hard rock or metal application. I actually had so much fun playing that I actually forgot I was supposed to focus on the subtleties of the pickup to do a review on.
Founder - DiMarzioForum.Com
Follow me on Twitter

*

Offline buddroyce

  • *Fake VIP*
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2832
  • 95
  • Founder
    • View Profile
    • BRL Guitarworks
Re: Gravity Storm Review
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 05:41:06 PM »
Lead tone wise, the tone from the bridge had enough cut but wasn’t piercing and quite ear pleasing. The neck pickup had a much smoother rounder tone but is nowhere near as round as an Air Norton or a LiquiFire and definitely rounder than the Evo neck while being thicker than the Breed Neck. Great for solo instrumental playing, which makes a lot of sense since this was a pickup designed for Steve Vai.

Rolling down on the volume to get a cleaner tone though, I wasn’t really all too impressed. No matter how hard I tried to get a nice clean sound using my volume control, I just wasn’t able to get anything that I would consider acceptable for a clean sound. The bridge rolled down had this brittle crackle to it and the neck was only a marginally better.  Usable for some dirty blues but not really a clean tone worth I’d use. Seeing that it’s something I actually do a lot, I probably wouldn’t use these pickups in a guitar when I’m using an amp that doesn’t really have a real clean channel. They are however, definitely pickups I’d use for recording any kind of stuff where I want my tone to sound like I’m getting hit by a brick wall.

On a proper clean channel, the bridge pickup actually impressed me quite a bit. Normally bridge pickups sound too brittle and piercing for clean sounds but surprisingly, the Gravity Storm bridge had this sound that reminded me of a thicker single coil neck pickup which was really awesome. The actual neck pickup on clean wasn’t quite as impressive tough.

On the plus side the neck pickup isn’t very boomy sounding. Something I find as an issue with a lot of neck pickups but on the downside, the top end sounded a bit muffled to me. Single notes jazz lines on the neck maintained a very consistent fat tone throughout the fretboard with a softer attack, almost like a semi hollow body with some flat wound strings. Although I did find that I had to cut back on the bottom end and mids a bit to help make it shine a bit better though. Using the same wide open setting as I was with the bridge pickup, the neck pickup sounded a bit dull.
Founder - DiMarzioForum.Com
Follow me on Twitter

*

Offline buddroyce

  • *Fake VIP*
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2832
  • 95
  • Founder
    • View Profile
    • BRL Guitarworks
Re: Gravity Storm Review
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2013, 05:41:29 PM »
Overall, I’m quite impressed with these pickups. They have the power, tightness and crunch that you’d want from a pickup design for hard rock/metal or anything you’d play with a bit or a lot of distortion from blues right up to really aggressive metal. The bridge pickup definitely blew me away here and I do see the neck pickup taking over a lot of the recommendations that the Air Norton and LiquiFire tend to get, especially for solo instrumental/shred stuff. The inability for me to get a clean sound just by rolling down the volume takes a bit away from the versatility of the pickups, but that’s easily remedied by switching to a proper clean channel.

If you’re looking for a set of pickups for instrumental metal/shred but want something more aggressive than the Tone Zone and don’t want the darker rounder sound from the Air Norton in the neck? Get the Gravity Storm set. If the key words in your tonal description includes tight, aggressive and crunchy, get the Gravity Storm set. Heck if you have a single humbucker guitar and need an awesome bridge pickup that’s got versatility, GET THE GRAVITY STORM. It’s that good!
Founder - DiMarzioForum.Com
Follow me on Twitter

*

Offline mi2tom

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 893
  • 20
  • I love playing guitar :D
    • View Profile
Re: Gravity Storm Review
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2013, 07:05:38 PM »
Awesome review budd :)

*

EternalReturn

  • Guest
Re: Gravity Storm Review
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2013, 08:00:36 PM »
Great review - thanks for the work you put into these!  The funny thing to me is that the song Gravity Storm is listed on Dimarzio's website as a clip representing the Evolution.  So, I don't know what the story is there.  Maybe they put it in the wrong place, or maybe the accidentally let the cat out of the bag! 

The obvious question - Transition or Gravity Storm?  Which neck is tighter and punchier? My first thoughts were that the GS would be less prone to mud than the Trans, but based on your reviews, it seems the opposite is true.  Which bridge would you choose for an all-around versatility?  Thanks again! 

*

Offline sveto

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 85
  • 0
    • View Profile
Re: Gravity Storm Review
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2013, 02:50:52 PM »
Very informative review, thanks Budd. Since you know how the Breed bridge sounds and can compare it to the Gravity Storm bridge, i have 2 questions.

1) The Breed has a good attack in the mids, not super punchy, but good. Is the GS softer in the mids attack, like other Airbuckers? (according to DiMarzio's specs, it is an Airbucker)

2) Do the high notes scream less than the Breed? I have heard many Airbuckers that sound tired & lifeless in the high registers, and don't like that at all.

*

Offline slugworth

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1137
  • 67
    • View Profile
Re: Gravity Storm Review
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2013, 03:32:22 PM »
Thanks for the review.  One thing I've learned is that anybody can make even the best pickup sound BAD.  But in the hands of someone skilled in the art of tone, a great pickup can make the difference between sounding good and sounding phenomenal.
DIMARZIO MODELS CURRENTLY OR PREVIOUSLY OWNED: 68 TOTAL

*

Offline buddroyce

  • *Fake VIP*
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2832
  • 95
  • Founder
    • View Profile
    • BRL Guitarworks
Re: Gravity Storm Review
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 12:41:29 AM »
Great review - thanks for the work you put into these!  The funny thing to me is that the song Gravity Storm is listed on Dimarzio's website as a clip representing the Evolution.  So, I don't know what the story is there.  Maybe they put it in the wrong place, or maybe the accidentally let the cat out of the bag! 

The obvious question - Transition or Gravity Storm?  Which neck is tighter and punchier? My first thoughts were that the GS would be less prone to mud than the Trans, but based on your reviews, it seems the opposite is true.  Which bridge would you choose for an all-around versatility?  Thanks again! 

The Gravity Storm would be the tighter one. As for punchier, the Gravity Storm is more like a punch to the face while the Transition is more like a solid punch to the chest. The versatility really depends on your what you're playing predominantly and what you consider as a nice to have. For my needs, I find the Transition to be more versatile.
Founder - DiMarzioForum.Com
Follow me on Twitter

*

Offline buddroyce

  • *Fake VIP*
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2832
  • 95
  • Founder
    • View Profile
    • BRL Guitarworks
Re: Gravity Storm Review
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 12:55:25 AM »
Very informative review, thanks Budd. Since you know how the Breed bridge sounds and can compare it to the Gravity Storm bridge, i have 2 questions.

1) The Breed has a good attack in the mids, not super punchy, but good. Is the GS softer in the mids attack, like other Airbuckers? (according to DiMarzio's specs, it is an Airbucker)

2) Do the high notes scream less than the Breed? I have heard many Airbuckers that sound tired & lifeless in the high registers, and don't like that at all.

The Gravity Storm does seem to have a softer attack. It's not as aggressive as the Evolution of Evo2 I find. Granted it's about as soft as getting punched with punching gloves. It still hits hard just less of the edge. As for the scream, it's not as lifeless and tired as some of the air buckers. The Gravity Storm is unique when it comes to playing high up the neck. The fatness the pickup has really prevents the tone from sounding thin and lifeless. The scream on the Gravity Storm is more like the big guy at a football game during a scoring goal than a teenage girl at a some boyband concert. It definitely has some solid power behind it.
Founder - DiMarzioForum.Com
Follow me on Twitter

*

Offline CityofBlindingLights

  • *Site Supporter*
  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 3358
  • 87
  • THIS IS MADNESS
    • View Profile
Re: Gravity Storm
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2014, 12:26:13 AM »
Time for me to FINALLY weigh in on the Gravity Storm.

I'll start by saying that the Gravity Storm bridge model is now my go-to in EVERY humbucker-equipped guitar I own. I like it that much. I should also start by saying that I'm by no means a shredder, I play mostly ambient music these days with some late-'60s psychedelic/acid rock thrown in for good measure.

I started using this pickup after calling DiMarzio about a year ago and chatting with their techs. I had a '70s Japanese lawsuit LP that played like butter but I just couldn't get to agree with my amp. It had a Duncan '59/JB combo installed - the '59 sounded great but the JB was just too harsh and brittle, and in this guitar it only really did the Jimmy Page thing. I called up DiMarzio with the following requirements in a bridge pickup:

-uncompressed and dynamic
-smooth rolloff on the top end without getting muddy - fat on the top, clear on the bottom
-VERY high harmonic content
-able to cut through long signal chains
-less bite, more bloom to notes

Without hesitation, the tech recommended the Gravity Storm. I was obviously hesitant at first, especially given the fact that it's a Steve Vai pickup, but I have to say that DiMarzio really hit the nail on the head, save for maybe the last point (more on that later!).

Installing the pickup and setting my amp's EQs to flat made a remarkable difference. Whereas previously I was fighting with my amps and pedals to get the sound I wanted, I now had precisely what I was going for. A strong, present midrange. A fat top end that rolled off RIGHT before the sound got brittle. Extreme dynamics. A loud and clear tone, even with a ridiculously long effects chain. Oh yeah, and HARMONICS. There when I wanted them, not distracting when I didn't.

Thundering cloud of ice cream is, in my opinion, spot-on. This isn't your daddy's Evolution. There's lots of roar, burn, and sear to this pickup. It can and will drive in an extremely pleasant and musical manner. It isn't harsh, brittle, or screaming like I was expecting. The cocked-wah sound is mild at most; raising the pickup accentuates this.

Oh, and output. Yeah. This thing sits RIGHT where I want it to. Enough to really drive my tube amps and pedal distortions, but not so high that it won't play nice with the gain backed off. The way the pickup hits the amp and senses strings is really interesting too. It's less like a blade, and more like a sledgehammer. Sure, notes are immediate and hard. But they also evolve very musically; as a note fills out, more harmonics are present. I find this pickup is great at picking out different harmonics and making them distinguishable. In a mid-heavy guitar like a Les Paul, it's got some serious character. I use a cello bow a lot, and this thing is able to pick up on every nuance of my bowing and pick out all the harmonics I want (similar to Sigur Rós in many respects) without getting to harsh or biting on the top end. This is a very controllable pickup, but that doesn't mean it's polite  :madness:

I've since also put it in another Les Paul (a Gibson LP Special from '02) and an '01 strat. In the Paul, it's got a similar effect, albeit with a hair more bite and growl; in the strat, it's a similar beast but a bit more present and clear. Now that I've finally found the pickup to end all pickups for me, it's really nice to be able to swap guitars and understand a pickup so well that it makes that element of my tone thoughtless. I'm super happy with this one, DiMarzio really knocked it out of the park with the Gravity Storm bridge.

I've currently got a new pickguard on order, as soon as that gets in the Gravity Storm neck will be going into my strat to turn it into an HSH monster; I'll report back with my findings once that happens.

*

Offline jsims

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 116
  • 7
    • View Profile
Re: Gravity Storm
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2014, 02:33:20 PM »
Hey City,

Did you ever get the GS Neck into that strat?  Seriously considering swapping my Norton for GS Bridge and thinking about swapping the LiquiFire for the GS Neck in my strat copy Zion.  Would love your thoughts.

-John

*

Offline bluediamond

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 60
  • 2
    • View Profile
Re: Gravity Storm
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2015, 01:45:06 PM »
Would you recommend this pickup for drop tunings?

*

Offline gauchosilvertone

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 59
  • 6
    • View Profile
Re: Gravity Storm
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2015, 02:32:25 PM »
Overall, I’m quite impressed with these pickups. They have the power, tightness and crunch that you’d want from a pickup design for hard rock/metal or anything you’d play with a bit or a lot of distortion from blues right up to really aggressive metal. The bridge pickup definitely blew me away here and I do see the neck pickup taking over a lot of the recommendations that the Air Norton and LiquiFire tend to get, especially for solo instrumental/shred stuff. The inability for me to get a clean sound just by rolling down the volume takes a bit away from the versatility of the pickups, but that’s easily remedied by switching to a proper clean channel.

If you’re looking for a set of pickups for instrumental metal/shred but want something more aggressive than the Tone Zone and don’t want the darker rounder sound from the Air Norton in the neck? Get the Gravity Storm set. If the key words in your tonal description includes tight, aggressive and crunchy, get the Gravity Storm set. Heck if you have a single humbucker guitar and need an awesome bridge pickup that’s got versatility, GET THE GRAVITY STORM. It’s that good!
You may have just sold me.  At least on the bridge.
My main ride is a mahogany set neck, maple carved top hardtail double cutaway, but is nothing like a Les Paul or SG (It's a Jack Dent Raven for the record- NC builder).  The neck tenon goes all the way through the one-piece body.  It's full and balanced but extremely bright.  Strong but tight bass. 

I CANNOT get the pickups right.  I love the Tone Zone, especially for cleanish-mid gain playing.  I love the harmonic complexity.  But it's too dense.  Not too bassy exactly-too dense, when playing gained out.

I use a clean amp (Fender 75) and dirt pedals.

Duncan Custom-tight but too stiff.  Harsh highs.

Crunch Lab- Nice harmonics and definition, but very boxy/stiff for cleans and too polite/polished with gain. 

I could go on.  I wanted a Tone Zone with tighter bass and some space in the mix (less lower mids is what this amounts to).

I had also considered the Dominion bridge.

NECK: this one scares me a little. Any pick up that gets recommended for people who want more clarity out of the neck is generally something I avoid like the plague. This guitar is so clear already that it needs a fatter neck pickup to get any sing out of it. So the thought of a ceramic neck pickup does not appeal to me. I love for you to prove me wrong because I like the idea of a matched set. I am tired of fighting volume and color differences when mixing and matching pickups.

*

Offline KH Guitar Freak

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 844
  • 5
    • View Profile
Re: Gravity Storm
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2015, 02:21:08 PM »
Overall, I’m quite impressed with these pickups. They have the power, tightness and crunch that you’d want from a pickup design for hard rock/metal or anything you’d play with a bit or a lot of distortion from blues right up to really aggressive metal. The bridge pickup definitely blew me away here and I do see the neck pickup taking over a lot of the recommendations that the Air Norton and LiquiFire tend to get, especially for solo instrumental/shred stuff. The inability for me to get a clean sound just by rolling down the volume takes a bit away from the versatility of the pickups, but that’s easily remedied by switching to a proper clean channel.

If you’re looking for a set of pickups for instrumental metal/shred but want something more aggressive than the Tone Zone and don’t want the darker rounder sound from the Air Norton in the neck? Get the Gravity Storm set. If the key words in your tonal description includes tight, aggressive and crunchy, get the Gravity Storm set. Heck if you have a single humbucker guitar and need an awesome bridge pickup that’s got versatility, GET THE GRAVITY STORM. It’s that good!
You may have just sold me.  At least on the bridge.
My main ride is a mahogany set neck, maple carved top hardtail double cutaway, but is nothing like a Les Paul or SG (It's a Jack Dent Raven for the record- NC builder).  The neck tenon goes all the way through the one-piece body.  It's full and balanced but extremely bright.  Strong but tight bass. 

I CANNOT get the pickups right.  I love the Tone Zone, especially for cleanish-mid gain playing.  I love the harmonic complexity.  But it's too dense.  Not too bassy exactly-too dense, when playing gained out.

I use a clean amp (Fender 75) and dirt pedals.

Duncan Custom-tight but too stiff.  Harsh highs.

Crunch Lab- Nice harmonics and definition, but very boxy/stiff for cleans and too polite/polished with gain. 

I could go on.  I wanted a Tone Zone with tighter bass and some space in the mix (less lower mids is what this amounts to).

I had also considered the Dominion bridge.

NECK: this one scares me a little. Any pick up that gets recommended for people who want more clarity out of the neck is generally something I avoid like the plague. This guitar is so clear already that it needs a fatter neck pickup to get any sing out of it. So the thought of a ceramic neck pickup does not appeal to me. I love for you to prove me wrong because I like the idea of a matched set. I am tired of fighting volume and color differences when mixing and matching pickups.

Try the Air Zone, Al DiMeola bridge, or perhaps Transition