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Topics - darkbluemurder

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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 PAF bridge: 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 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 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

EDIT: The VHPAF I thought I had turned out to be a VPAF bridge

Guitar Lounge / The Sound of Silence - In Practice
« on: November 26, 2021, 03:25:56 AM »
A while ago I found this very interesting article by Dirk Wacker in Premier Guitar:

I tried this with a guitar that has HSS pickup routes. For experimentation purposes I set it up so that in position 1 of the 5-way switch, only the humbucker was active, and in all other positions it was split. I also set it up so that in positions 2, 3 and 4 it was a direct coil split (i.e. the junction between the two coils goes directly to ground), and in position 5 the junction goes

a) through a 0.047uf cap
b) in a second step through a 0.1uf cap in series with a 1.5k resistor

to ground. The goal was that I could directly switch between the "true" coil split and the modified coil split for a direct comparison.

The results:

- Effect on the noise floor (tested in a high gain setting)

In some positions (me vs. the amp) the 50hz hum (I am in Europe) was eliminated, in other positions it did not seem to matter much, and again in one position it made the hum worse. The 100hz hum that is usually also present was not affected by the 0.1uf/1k5 ohms and a tiny bit by the 0.047uf. This was with both the neon lamp turned on and turned off. With the neon lamp turned on, the buzz generally increased and was not affected at all by either the 0.047uf or the 0.1uf/1k5 ohms.

- Effect on the tone

The 0.047uf added a considerable amount of bass. I expected this as with the cap, the coil is not shunted but its resonant peak is lowered to a low frequency, i.e. at low frequencies both coils are active - that is what should get you the humcancelling effect. The cap also seemed to mask the high frequency content to some extent. The 0.1uf/1k5 added less bass and less of the masking effect. I am not sure whether this is due to the cap being bigger, the resistor or a combination of both. Whatever - tonally I prefer this to the 0.047uf.


I did this experiment to decide whether I should do this to the Bluesbucker in my HSH guitar to optimize the hum resistance in the single coil mode.  By way of this experiment I found that it did not help nearly enough to cut hum and buzz, and while the added bass may be welcome on a bridge pickup, in the neck position of any guitar, the last thing I want is more bass. So - no, I am not going to put in the effort of removing the pickguard. YMMW of course.

Cheers Stephan

Everything you wanted to know about .... / The Air Zone
« on: October 29, 2021, 07:42:21 AM »
Since the old thread seems to have gone, I add a new one here. I start with this interesting discussion on it here:

Cheers Stephan

News & New Guys / Upload of Pictures
« on: October 25, 2021, 02:37:34 PM »
I am not sure whether my computer is working wrong but when I click on "Attachments and other options" it only displays the following menue:

- Notify me of replies.
- Return to this topic.
- Don't use smileys.
- Lock this topic.
- Sticky this topic.
- Move this topic.

It used to display an upload box. If you clicked on that, you could select data to upload. It does not do that anymore.

Any input is very much appreciated.

Thanks, Stephan

This topic has been moved to The Pickup Place.
Reason: "Everything you wanted to know ... " is only to describe a particular pickup.

The Pickup Place / Ideas for Pickup Combination for HSH routed Strat
« on: September 30, 2021, 04:28:04 AM »
So I have assembled another partscaster with a HSH routed alder body and a maple neck. I have the following spare DiMarzios:

- Virtual PAF bridge
- Air Norton
- Bluesbucker
- Norton
- Super Distortion (not F-spaced)
- Injector neck
- Area 67

So I can do HSS, HH, HSH or HS in any combination. At the moment I do not have any particular idea what to do with this guitar (i.e. more vintage or more raw). I want a relative balance (so SD bridge Area 67 neck is out).

My ideas so far:

- Air Norton , VPAF or Bluesbucker bridge, Area 67 neck, with 250k pots
- Norton bridge, Injector neck neck, with 500k pots
- Norton bridge, Injector neck middle, Bluesbucker neck, with 500k pots
- Norton bridge, Bluesbucker neck, with 500k pots
- SD bridge, Bluesbucker neck, with 500k pots
- Air Norton or VPAF bridge, Area 67 neck, Injector neck, with 250k pots

What do you think? Any other ideas?

Thanks and kind regards,

EDIT: The VHPAF I thought I had turned out to be a VPAF bridge

The Pickup Place / Stratocaster Wiring - Watch Your Grounds!
« on: September 30, 2021, 04:17:54 AM »
The latest strat set up made problems. I had a bad intermittent cutting in and out in the tone. The culprit? A loose tone pot. Keep in mind that the foil on the back of the pickguard is the ground connection for all pots (this is why the pots are not connected by a wire as in Les Paul guitars) so they need to be screwed to the pickguard tightly for a good ground connection. When I tightend the nut, the intermittent went away.

Hope this helps with troubleshooting.

Cheers Stephan

The Pickup Place / Alternative HSS Wiring Scheme
« on: July 29, 2021, 05:43:52 AM »
I recently acquired an Area 61 which unfortunately has a broken dummy coil. I chose to use it as a single coil in the middle position of a HSS set up (Breed neck in the bridge, Area 67 in the neck, 250k audio volume, 250k audio master tone with 0.0022uf, 500k audio tone for bridge pickup with 0.001uf). I used an Allparts 5-way multipole switch and wired it as follows:

#1 - bridge, coils in series (regular humbucking mode)
#2 - bridge with bridge side coil active + middle for the typical strat quack
#3 - bridge, coils in series + neck (I don't like the middle alone much and much prefer bridge + neck)
#4 - bridge with bridge side coil active + middle + neck (like it much better in this guitar than middle + neck which was too dark for me)
#5 - neck

All combinations are humcancelling. I did not flip the magnet in the breed - I just turned it upside down (cable exit away from the controls).

You can do that with any Area series pickup (you have to split it to keep the combinations humcancelling) or with any single coil pickup which has the same magnetic polarity and two isolated connections (which most single coil pickups have).

Cheers Stephan

Guitar Lounge / Why do the high e (1st) strings always break first?
« on: June 23, 2021, 03:20:31 AM »
Title says it all. I have spares of 2nd to 6th strings all over the place and have to keep on buying single 1st strings. They keep on breaking first - be it on wide bends, on pick attacks or when loosening/re-tightening a string during a pickup change or servicing of the electronics.

It is not on a particular guitar but on every guitar I own.

Is this your experience, too? Why is that?

Cheers Stephan

The Pickup Place / Which Pickup Features Which Technique
« on: April 27, 2021, 03:01:54 AM »
Here is a list of the techniqes employed by various DiMarzio models in alphabetical order. This list will be updated regularly.

36th Anniversary PAF Bridge (DP-223) - Airbucker
Al di Meola Neck - Dual Resonance
Al di Meola Bridge - none
AT-1 - Airbucker, Virtual Vintage
Air Classic - Airbucker
Air Norton - Airbucker, Dual Resonance
Air Zone - Airbucker, Dual Resonance
Blaze II, Neck, Bridge, Custom - Dual Resonance
Bluesbucker - Virtual Vintage, Airbucker
Breed (neck and bridge) - none
Chopper/Chopper T - Dual Resonance
Cruiser (neck and bridge) - Dual Resonance
Crunch Lab - Dual Resonance, Virtual Vintage
D-Activator bridge - Dual Resonance
D-Activator neck - Dual Resonance
D-Activator X - Dual Resonance
D-Sonic - Dual Resonance, Virtual Vintage
Dark Matter bridge - Virtual Vintage
Dark Matter middle - Virtual Vintage
Dark Matter neck - Virtual Vintage
DLX Plus (neck and bridge) - Dual Resonance
Dual Sound - none
Evolution (neck and bridge) - Dual Resonance
EJ Custom (neck and bridge) - Virtual Vintage
Evo 2 - Dual Resonance, Virtual Vintage
Fast Track 1 - Dual Resonance
Fast Track 2 - Dual Resonance
Fast Track T - Dual Resonance
Fortitude Bridge - Airbucker
Fred - Dual Resonance
Gravity Storm Neck (not quite sure) - Airbucker, Virtual Vintage
Gravity Storm Bridge - none (?)
Hot Minibucker (DP-198) - Airbucker
Humbucker from Hell - Dual Resonance
IGNO - Dual Resonance
Liquifire - Airbucker, Virtual Vintage
Megadrive - Dual Resonance
Minibucker (DP-168) - Dual Resonance, Airbucker
Mo Joe - Dual Resonance
Norton - Dual Resonance
PAF (DP-103) - none
PAF Classic (neck and bridge) - Airbucker, Virtual Vintage
PAF Master neck - Airbucker, Virtual Vintage
PAF Master bridge - Virtual Vintage
Paf Joe - Virtual Vintage
Paf Pro - none
Pandemonium neck - Airbucker
PG13 - Dual Resonance (?)
Steve's Special - Dual Resonance
Super 2 - none
Super 3 - none
Super Distortion - none
Tone Zone - Dual Resonance
Tone Zone S - Dual Resonance
Tone Zone T - Dual Resonance
Transition bridge - Dual Resonance
Transition neck - Dual Resonance
Virtual PAF (neck and bridge) - Airbucker, Virtual Vintage
Virtual Hot PAF - Airbucker, Virtual Vintage
X2N - none

Guitar Lounge / Appreciation for Fret Work
« on: April 22, 2021, 04:54:48 AM »
Since it has become increasingly difficult to take instruments to shops/luthiers to get work done I started doing more and more work myself whenever I get the chance. What I did during the course of the last few months was:

- fret leveling and crowning
- removing fret sprouts

Removing fret sprouts went surprisingly well. The neck no longer feels like a nailboard, and I completed the work in less than an hour. Certainly not professional quality but it worked.

The first guitar I leveled the frets on was my former no. 1 guitar I used with the last band I played in. For some reason it had a buzzy grating sound. I checked and found it had a slight rising tongue. I then marked the last six frets with a sharpie and filed them until the marks were gone. Then I repeated this with the last five frets, then the last four and so on. Then I recrowned and polished the frets. When I put on new strings and checked again the rise was gone, and the guitar plays a lot cleaner now. Again, certainly not professional quality but it works well now. The exercise was definitely worth it but the work was harder and more time consuming than I thought it would be. Kudos to all techs who do a good job on such things and are willing to do it.

I repeated the process on another guitar which improved as well but not to the same degree as the first one. I may need to redo that one some time in the future.

Cheers Stephan

The mini bar (off topic & misc) / Frank Zappa
« on: February 02, 2021, 04:02:45 AM »
Not familiar with his music - what would be the tunes to start with (listening, not playing)?

Thanks, Stephan

This topic has been moved to The Pickup Place. Please post only descriptions of specific DiMarzio pickups in this sub-forum.

This topic has been moved to The Pickup Place. Please post only descriptions of specific DiMarzio pickups in the sub-forum.

Guitar Lounge / Out of phase, half-out of phase, power-out of phase
« on: January 22, 2021, 02:26:07 AM »
Do you use any of these?

Just to clarify what I mean by these terms:

- out of phase: two pickups of any kind wired in parallel, where the phase of one pickup is (electronically or magnetically) reversed.

- half out of phase: the same two pickups but the one wired reverse phase has a capacitor in series. Bill Lawrence used a 0.01uf in his schematic. The Jerry Donahue wiring is a variation of this with additional resistors in series. The schematics I have seen show two 6.2k resistors but since 6.2k is not a standard value this may be an error, and the correct value is 8.2k (maybe it is just me but reading big excel files I often mistake 6s for 8s and vice versa).

- power out of phase: two pickups of any kind in series instead of parallel, and one being reverse phased. First seen in Gibson's L6 and popularized by PRS in their first Customs. It is also part of the Brian May Red Special wiring.

Thanks and cheers

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