DiMarzio EBMM Music Man Axis Bridge Humbucker

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Offline JR

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DiMarzio EBMM Music Man Axis Bridge Humbucker
« on: August 11, 2022, 10:51:16 AM »
Again Music Man Axis Pickups ...

based on the post https://darthphineas.com/2016/03/dimarzio-music-man-evh-humbucker-pickups/ I was curious to understand what is going on with the DiMarzio Music Man Axis Humbucker set, especially the Bridge Humbucker. There are many statements made that the coils of this Humbucker are balanced. When measuring my set I found a quite huge offset between the coils (Slug: 8.3K DC, Screw: 9.1K DC). The inductance (measured at 120Hz with Peaktech 2165) of the two coils is quite opposite in difference (Slug: 3.8H, Screw: 3.6H). I would have expected the inductance to be closer, if not greater for the screw coil (based on the higher DCR). This leads me to a few questions:

1. If the coils were balanced, why would I see such a huge difference in resistance and inductance?
2. Other people's measurements are much closer (e.g. Darth Phineas). Why is the difference so huge in my set (It is actually quite high to be explained by manufacturing tolerances in my opinion)?
3. What would be the inductance of each coil in @darthphineas set?
4. Maybe too theoretical: could the offset I see in my humbucker actually make a difference sound wise compared to one that shows more balanced measurements?

Hope this is not too technical ...

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Offline darkbluemurder

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Re: DiMarzio EBMM Music Man Axis Bridge Humbucker
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2022, 04:07:05 AM »
Hi,

No, it is not too technical.

It seems that your measurements of the screw coil are in line with Darth's but the slug coil and the combined inductance seem to be lower in your pickup. And yes, assuming the coils are wound with the same wire gauge, the inductance should be higher on the screw coil. I agree that the quantity of difference rules manufacturer tolerances out. A possible explanation that comes to my mind is that the slug coil had a defect and was unwound to the point where the defect was, and then the connecting wire was attached to that point so that the coil works again, albeit on a lower turn count and thus lower DC resistance. Another potential explanation is that somebody created a hybrid, using a slug coil from another pickup. As regards a sound difference: normally, offset coils cancel fewer frequencies so the resulting sound should be a bit brighter than without the offset but it is almost impossible to quantify the effect (apart from comparing them in the same guitar and same position but the results would then only be accurate for that particular guitar).

The bottom line is always: does the pickup give me the sound I want? If yes, the "how" is less relevant. If no, then the question is "what do I want the pickup to have more of / less of?" and that is where the "how" comes into the picture as this may help you to pick a pickup based on specs.


Hope that helps,
Stephan 
« Last Edit: August 12, 2022, 04:08:39 AM by darkbluemurder »
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Offline JR

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Re: DiMarzio EBMM Music Man Axis Bridge Humbucker
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2022, 07:33:47 AM »
Hello,

Stephan, thanks for the detailed response. Actually my questions do not relate to the fact that I'm searching for a specific sound. It rather comes from the mystery that is made around this pickup and understanding the parameters of influencing a pickup's sound. I also wired a few pickups on my own, which made me curious to understand some specific pickup designs. The lately published article from DiMarzio about EVH described the development of this pickup and similarities (and differences) to the Tone Zone. As I do not like the voice of the Tone Zone that much, but like the Axis Pickup, I wanted to understand the technical differences. Interesting side fact: I measured a couple of different pickups, also a JB (which is also mentioned in the DiMarzio article) with a rough cast A5 magnet. The measured values of inductance and capacitance of the A5 RC JB are very, very close to the values of my Axis Bridge humbucker. Anyhow, tone wise it's very near and probably usable to mimic VH sounds, but it still does not have the bass and low mids content of the Axis Bridge humbucker.

Coming back to the offset of my Axis bridge humbucker: I cannot see any sign of a defect, rewind, repair or whatsoever on the pickup. What I did to understand the offset, is taking it apart to the pure coils (remove all conductive material, base plate, magnet, screws, slugs, retainer...) and take some measurements. The DCR offset is still there (which is natural), but inductance and capacitance are equal to the second digit (Slug Coil: 1.814H, Screw Coil: 1.82H). In terms of inductance and capacitance the coils are balanced. The difference only occurs in assembled state, so there might be variation in the conductive components!?

Regards,
Jörg

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Offline DarthPhineas

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Re: DiMarzio EBMM Music Man Axis Bridge Humbucker
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2022, 09:20:36 AM »
Jörg,

If I could take a look at your post and maybe unpack a few things

"there are many statements made that the coils of this Humbucker are balanced."
are those people saying the pickups sound balanced or have a balanced voice/character/tone?  or are they saying the specs off the meter show a balanced wind from one coil to another? 

What would be the inductance of each coil in @darthphineas set?
how would someone else know the readings that I took?  lol! I don't post every single spec that I get off every coil for this very reason.  it can/will confuse and/or obsess people with minutiae that can keep them from seeing the forest for the trees. 

Why is the difference so huge in my set (It is actually quite high to be explained by manufacturing tolerances in my opinion)?
But manufacturing tolerances are a fact.  I have 2 sets of these and none of the coils on the respective positions are identical.  In fact, one set has higher inductance on both pickups than the inductance on the other set.  There could be any one of a half-dozen solid reasons for the offset you are seeing in your readings.  Your answers will probably be found with DiMarzio tech support rather than on a forum.

I would have expected the inductance to be closer, if not greater for the screw coil (based on the higher DCR).
There's no rule that the higher the resistance, the higher the inductance.  I have examples of the same model where there's a lower DCR and a higher H.  In fact, in instances where I see that, I prefer the sound of a lower DCR and higher H to the same model with a higher DCR and lower H (in the relative comparison) - but that's me.  Yet it is good to be aware of inductance in the same way it's good to be aware of distributed capacitance, as the notion of DCR being "THE" measurement has fooled too many for too long.  If you haven't already, go poke around Bill Lawrence's website (Wilde pickups) to read his take on Inductance as well as the Q Value.



my questions do not relate to the fact that I'm searching for a specific sound. It rather comes from the mystery that is made around this pickup and understanding the parameters of influencing a pickup's sound.

Here's the part that really matters:

At the end of the day, it could be simple.  One coil was made on one machine by one winder, and the other made on a different machine by a different winder.  Or one was made on Friday afternoon, and the other on Monday AM after a fresh calibration of the winder.  Or maybe a setting shifted and the pitch or tension were tweaked.  Or it was the same winder on the same machine made back-to-back with the same settings, but one coil was the end of a spool of wire and the other coil was from the beginning of another spool.  Or the winder did one coil before lunch, came back to do the second without getting all the sopressata washed off their fingers and it got on the tensioner felt.

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Offline JR

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Re: DiMarzio EBMM Music Man Axis Bridge Humbucker
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2022, 04:20:28 PM »
Hello Darth,

thanks for your reply.

Quote
"there are many statements made that the coils of this Humbucker are balanced."
are those people saying the pickups sound balanced or have a balanced voice/character/tone?  or are they saying the specs off the meter show a balanced wind from one coil to another?
The statements are usually based on DCR.

Quote
What would be the inductance of each coil in @darthphineas set?
how would someone else know the readings that I took?  lol! I don't post every single spec that I get off every coil for this very reason.  it can/will confuse and/or obsess people with minutiae that can keep them from seeing the forest for the trees. 
I was hoping to be able to address the question to you in this forum. Also thought that the "@" would trigger a notification maybe ... didn't work. But finally you answered. Appreciate that!

Quote
Why is the difference so huge in my set (It is actually quite high to be explained by manufacturing tolerances in my opinion)?
But manufacturing tolerances are a fact.  I have 2 sets of these and none of the coils on the respective positions are identical.  In fact, one set has higher inductance on both pickups than the inductance on the other set.  There could be any one of a half-dozen solid reasons for the offset you are seeing in your readings.  Your answers will probably be found with DiMarzio tech support rather than on a forum.
Based on the statements found in various forums I was expecting to measure each coil at +/- 8.5K. So, it was surprising to me when the measurement was so different.

Quote
At the end of the day, it could be simple.  One coil was made on one machine by one winder, and the other made on a different machine by a different winder.  Or one was made on Friday afternoon, and the other on Monday AM after a fresh calibration of the winder.  Or maybe a setting shifted and the pitch or tension were tweaked.  Or it was the same winder on the same machine made back-to-back with the same settings, but one coil was the end of a spool of wire and the other coil was from the beginning of another spool.  Or the winder did one coil before lunch, came back to do the second without getting all the sopressata washed off their fingers and it got on the tensioner felt.
I would have expected more consistency and repeatability from a series production like DiMarzio. I'm not a professional winder, just wound a few pickups by myself because of curiosity. Using a very simple winding rig and guiding the wire by hand, I have managed to wind coils that are really close to each other (DCR, Inductance and Capacitance). Would be strange to me that in a professional process there is that much variation.

Another fun thing that I found: In the DiMarzio article about EVH it is mentioned that the "original" pickup  was a JB with the damaged coil that measured at something around 160K. So, I was just wondering what happens if I put a 150K resistor in series with my A5 Rough cast JB (which then is something like total 166K obviously). Tested it and found that it is even closer to my Axis Bridge Pickup than the JB alone. It reduces Output, Treble and the upper mid Honk of the JB, and emphasizes the low mids and bass response. Replacing the 150K resistor with a linear pot to play around with the resistance got me even closer in a range between 150K and 250K. When rolling the volume down the behaviour of that JB (with A5 rough Cast magnet and the added resistance) is very close to the Axis Bridge Humbucker. It cleans up very similar in terms of Output and retaining treble when rolled down. This, of course, is highly perceptive to what I hear in a direct comparison using my rig. For me it's as close as you can get at the moment. Closer than Tone Zone, Half-Aired Tone Zone, AT-1 or whatever other alternatives you can find in many discussions.


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Offline DarthPhineas

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Re: DiMarzio EBMM Music Man Axis Bridge Humbucker
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2022, 10:06:34 AM »
Quote
"there are many statements made that the coils of this Humbucker are balanced."
are those people saying the pickups sound balanced or have a balanced voice/character/tone?  or are they saying the specs off the meter show a balanced wind from one coil to another?
The statements are usually based on DCR.

Chasing DCR can be a fool's folly.  Two coils made with the same wire off the same spool can have the same # of turns and have different DCR.  Any one or combination of what was suggested (in the below quote) can apply, as well as any one of countless other oddities that really don't add up to a hill of beans.



Quote
At the end of the day, it could be simple.  One coil was made on one machine by one winder, and the other made on a different machine by a different winder.  Or one was made on Friday afternoon, and the other on Monday AM after a fresh calibration of the winder.  Or maybe a setting shifted and the pitch or tension were tweaked.  Or it was the same winder on the same machine made back-to-back with the same settings, but one coil was the end of a spool of wire and the other coil was from the beginning of another spool.  Or the winder did one coil before lunch, came back to do the second without getting all the sopressata washed off their fingers and it got on the tensioner felt.
I would have expected more consistency and repeatability from a series production like DiMarzio. I'm not a professional winder, just wound a few pickups by myself because of curiosity. Using a very simple winding rig and guiding the wire by hand, I have managed to wind coils that are really close to each other (DCR, Inductance and Capacitance). Would be strange to me that in a professional process there is that much variation.

and yet the late 1950s PAFs from Kalamazoo are some of the most coveted humbuckers out there.

those were made to a timer, not a counter.  a few seconds off could be dozens (or more) of turns on the coil.  they were tossed in a pile and an assembler down the line would just grab whatever off the top and put it in to whatever slot in the guitar.... no "neck" or "bridge" designation.  the materials used was whatever was available that day/week/month... could be alnico 2 on this batch and alnico 4 on that batch and alnico 5 on another.  the facility didn't have climate control as we know it and environmental concerns were like the wild west back then... so you could expect to find a steaming hot big room in the summer with the windows open and no a/c with a bunch of ladies smoking their unfiltered Camel cigarettes while winding with the ash tray (if there even was one) within inches of machinery that was pumping out pickups that some people are paying thousands of dollars for today just to put in a guitar that hangs on a wall in some lawyer's home office and gets the dust wiped off more than it gets played.

I'm not here to defend defend DiMarzio by any means.  but I might suggest than most current big-name pickup makers have consistency, repeatability, and a professional process that we might consider would blow away the conditions currently priceless Gibson humbuckers were made under.  I think Larry is a jackass and he should replace his office staff with ladies that don't have to ride brooms to work.  just as it's my opinion the Carter Duncan Corp (Seymour doesn't own it... and he's retired) is ran by a cabal of buffoons that I wouldn't trust to operate a deck of cards.  and even so, they seem to do well enough to be above the scrutiny of a set that you happen to have that has a spec that you don't understand.

with all encouragement to your efforts..... wind yourself a few hundred pickups (literally) and discover what anomalies you encounter along the way.  I'm guessing by that time that this random coil will make more sense by then.

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Offline JR

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Re: DiMarzio EBMM Music Man Axis Bridge Humbucker
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2022, 02:27:32 AM »
Hello,

Quote
I'm not here to defend defend DiMarzio by any means.
No need to defend here. There was no intention to offend anybody from my side. I was just curious and surprised. DiMarzio certainly does a great job in producing their specific pickup models with consistent sonic properties.

Quote
with all encouragement to your efforts..... wind yourself a few hundred pickups (literally) and discover what anomalies you encounter along the way.  I'm guessing by that time that this random coil will make more sense by then.
Thanks for the advice ... we'll see ...


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Offline DarthPhineas

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Re: DiMarzio EBMM Music Man Axis Bridge Humbucker
« Reply #7 on: Today at 07:31:08 AM »
if you haven't already, go poke around http://www.billlawrence.com/

it's a must for any one that is genuinely curious about pickups.

he clarifies concepts such as DCR is not Output.  if magnets "age".  eddy currents.  mV output.  inductance.  and more.

there's a snippet in that site about how tolerances of the nature you're asking about can happen.  I've already laid it out, but maybe reading it from someone else might help clarify it better/more.
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