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Messages - mmmguitar

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Already replaced. The Gravity Storm neck is a keeper at this J.Custom! It has a special character and the harmonics easily come out of nowhere at the slightest touch of the right hand thumb when picking. None of that was present with the Air Norton. It did not sound bad at all (requiring some surgical EQ to make it shine), but just a "correct" pickup without special sauce

I'm glad to read that you're enjoying it. If you think of it, please bump this thread later on with your subsequent impressions of the pickup.

Hopefully I haven’t led you back to the same terrain you were trying to escape!  ;D

For what it’s worth: I’ve owned a lot of guitars that arrived with an Air Norton in the neck, and I always end up replacing them with a Bluesbucker or one of the other pickups I mentioned, for the same reasons you mentioned. I replaced an AN/TZ set in a 24 fret guitar with a Gravity Storm set, then ended up selling the GSs after deciding I preferred lower output pickups. But I did prefer the GS neck to the Air Norton.

All that being said, the AN can make for a great bridge pickup. I just never understood Ibanez and other brands deciding that it was the only Dimarzio they liked in the neck position.

If you don’t mind some counter-recommendations:

If your guitar has 24 frets, I’d suggest a Gravity Storm neck over the PAF Joe (both are medium output tweaks on the PAF Pro, for players who play leads with the neck pup). Same goes for subbing the Bluesbucker for the Air Classic at the lower end of the output spectrum (I find they’re better for clean work while still sounding great overdriven). The GS and BB both have terrific split sounds, as well.

Edit: I looked and saw that you’re already experienced with the Gravity Storm. I found the PAF Joe less aggressive (going for more of a  “Les Paul neck pup without the mud” vibe), with the split tone just not as god as the GS.

The Humbucker from Hell is more on the extreme end of what you seem to be looking for; and none of the others are really a substitute for what it does (neck pup that sounds like a bridge pup).

The 36th is the only one mentioned that I haven’t tried (I tried the PAF Master neck first and have stuck with it, so far).

Everything you wanted to know about .... / Re: Humbucker From Hell
« on: July 01, 2022, 02:19:05 PM »
Overall it definitely does not sound like a single coil - way too much bottom end. To me it sounds like a PAF with an extended treble and high end (which is fine btw), and that extended high end may be what some perceive as "single coil tone".

I had a similar impression of the EJ Custom. I get that EJ asked Steve to wind a PAF-style HB that would make his Les Paul sound like a Gretsch but it, the HFH, and Bluesbucker each have their own vibe, rather than sounding like facsimiles of a Filtertron, hot single coil, or P90 (as the marketing dept has variously claimed over the years).

The Pickup Place / Re: New Tone Charts!?!
« on: June 15, 2022, 06:21:27 PM »
Under the new system, the Air Classics, the PAF Masters, the PAF Pro and the PAF Joe are all suddenly tighter and brighter than the Bluesbucker. What happened?

Marketing happened.

The Pickup Place / Re: Gold Hex's For SDS-1 p/u's
« on: April 23, 2022, 04:08:38 PM »

The Pickup Place / Re: Al Dimeola Bridge
« on: April 11, 2022, 02:55:58 PM »
I’m not Ray but FWIW I use 500k volume and 250k tone in 50s wiring.

The Pickup Place / Re: Al Dimeola Bridge
« on: April 09, 2022, 04:40:27 PM »
The more I play this, the more I like it.  The extra tightness on the wound strings vs. a 36th and the way artificial harmonics just jump out are great.  No idea why it's discontinued, IMO it's one of their best pickups for sure.  Not thin in the bridge like a PAF Pro can be, not as middy as a Breed Neck in the bridge can be, a little more interesting harmonically than a Mo
Joe.  Really, really cool member of their PAF family.   Also, when split, the split coil sound is more robust than a 36th. 

That’s been my experience, as well. I put the DiMeola bridge in a guitar to replace an Air Norton and loved it, tried the Breed neck in another guitar and only liked it, then put a tweaked DiMeola (nickel covered, with a row of fillisters) in the next guitar and found I still prefer it to the Breed. I can see where Larry’s coming from when he said “that’s the most misunderstood pickup we ever made.”

The Trading Post / Re: FS: Mix of pickups from my parts drawer
« on: March 02, 2022, 07:25:30 PM »
Sure. Just let me know what you want and I’ll see if I still have it.

The Pickup Place / Re: 6 Screw Z-Mod - anybody tried it?
« on: February 26, 2022, 01:55:15 PM »
The bluesbucker is hum cancelling.  Are you sure you don’t have it wired in coil split?

I think Darkblue’s saying they want to achieve a humcancelling version of the BB’s split sound. Considering it’s essentially a dummy coil design, I’d try the coils in parallel before removing three of the slugs.

The Pickup Place / Re: H-S-H combination suggestion
« on: November 21, 2021, 05:58:25 AM »
I go for similar tones. For me, I’ve found the key to getting decent n+m and m+b strat tones is to find pickups that end up being more similar than different (Henderson uses three of the same pickup for this reason). This is difficult to achieve when balancing split humbuckers with a middle single (and why players such as Vai, Gilbert, Govan, etc. have signature middle pickups in their guitars which were designed to be in parallel with the split humbuckers).

The Bluesbucker is my go-to neck pup, but I find it so hot in split mode (which is the whole point) that I need a hot middle pup to balance with it. In one guitar, I have a Bluesbucker paired with a Duncan Quarter Pounder middle. It’s in no way a vintage strat sound, but I’m much happier with the combo than I am with the guitar that pairs the BB with an FS-1 (the FS-1 just isn’t hot enough to hold its own in parallel). I have the opposite problem with a guitar in which I have a PAF Master neck paired with a Dark Matter 2 single as an experiment (The DM dominates a humbucker that frankly wasn’t designed with splitting in mind).

Still, the output rating isn’t everything - I tried pairing a Bluesbucker with a Jem single, and found their voicings simply didn’t gel together at all - Same experience in pairing it with a Duncan SSL-3.

Do you have all these pickups on-hand, or are you exchanging/selling them between sets? I ask because a PAF Pro neck paired with a True Velvet is fairly common; and your personal results would help us counter-recommend a pairing.

For the bridge humbucker, the Holdsworth recipe is a low-output, double screw PAF through several gain and EQ stages, along with a lot of processing (e.g. UD Stomp delays). I currently like the Al DiMeola bridge and Breed neck pickups for this, though, because their fatter sounds and medium output means I can get in that ballpark with fewer gain stages. Honestly, you can get that “Fusion”-y, creamy lead tone with all kinds of gear and pickups - So it’s probably going to come down to what your rig is. If you’re using an Axe FX or something, then the pickup is going to end up being one of the least crucial components in the signal chain. But if you’re using something like a Fender amp with two particular stompboxes, then the right pickup will make all the difference in getting you into that ballpark.

The Pickup Place / Re: Which Pickup Features Which Technique
« on: November 13, 2021, 02:11:19 AM »
The Dark Matter neck, single, and bridge pups use the Virtual Vintage screws [edit: I meant SLUGS] with ceramic magnets.

The Pickup Place / Re: Which Pickup Features Which Technique
« on: November 11, 2021, 04:03:05 PM »
Just noticed the PAF Masters aren’t in the list. As I *recall* from researching them somewhat recently when I bought the neck model: the neck uses VV with the usual Air’d A5 magnet, with the bridge using only VV with an A4. Both use unbalanced coils, but not DR. Anyone please correct me if I’m misremembering.

The Trading Post / FS: Mix of pickups from my parts drawer
« on: November 10, 2021, 01:27:38 AM »
Being as this section doesn’t seem to get much traffic, I figured I’d post these before I eventually get around to listing them on Reverb. Free shipping within continental US. If you find any of these listed for lower, I’ll match the price. No screws, springs, or pickup rings included. Will PM photos and seller credentials upon request.

Dimarzio Bluesbuckers, black - I have them in pickguard mount, direct-mount, regular, and F-spacing: $50 each
Dimarzio Satch Track, white cover: $60
Seymour Duncan SSL-3, white cover: $48
Kiesel Allan Holdsworth KH12B bridge humbucker, black, 49.1mm spacing: $50
EMG Select HSS set I pulled out of a MusicYo Steinberger: $40 for all three, or $15 per pickup.

The Pickup Place / Re: Your help needed: identifying PU
« on: November 01, 2021, 04:07:03 AM »
The photos show that they are Dimarzios and…that they are pickups.

A vintage Ibanez group or forum with knowledge of which Dimarzios were included in Ibanez Artist guitars in the 1970s-80s will give you the cleanest info.

All I can really do is ask you to hook the start and finish wires of each humbucker up to a multimeter, note the resistance, then swap one of the wires with the series connection wire so we get the measurement of an individual coil for further reference. The numbers will establish which ballpark we’re in, but it will still end up being an educated guess.

Best guess based on photos is original Super Distortion and original PAF - But a resistance measurement could prove or disprove that.

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