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Topics - darkbluemurder

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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
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
Crunch Lab - Dual Resonance, Virtual Vintage
D-Sonic - Dual Resonance, 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
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
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 Joe - Virtual Vintage
Paf Pro - none
PG13 - Dual Resonance (?)
Steve's Special - Dual Resonance
Super 2 - none
Super Distortion - none
Tone Zone - 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

Everything you wanted to know about .... / MOVED: "GIFMEN" pickups?
« on: November 11, 2020, 11:16:59 AM »
This topic has been moved to The Pickup Place as it does not describe the tonal properties of a specific model.

The mini bar (off topic & misc) / First time use of Ignore List
« on: October 13, 2020, 11:15:11 AM »
I never thought that I would ever use this feature but given the recent spamming going on here, I added three "users" to my ignore list. I suggest they be banned from this forum as all they are doing is wasting storage capacity.

By looking through the Help functions it appears that you can add attachments to posts but not private messages. Or have I missed anything?


The Pickup Place / Less midrangey alternative to AT-1?
« on: May 19, 2019, 04:31:32 PM »
I have a strat (ash body, maple neck) which has a Virtual Vintage Heavy Blues 2 in the neck, an Injector neck in the middle and an AT-1 in the bridge (500k pots). Love the single coils but lately came to the conclusion that I want something with slightly less midrange and more attack, about the same output.

I am not sure about the Air Zone, even though it gets a lot of praise here. The specs indicate it would have lots of midrange as well. Same with the Transition as I have read that it is darker than the AT-1. Dito the Gravity Storm bridge.

Steve's Special is a potential candidate, as are the Breed Bridge, Imperium and Satchur8.

What do you think? Did I miss any that I should look into?


I just put one into the neck position of a guitar yesterday and had the chance to compare it directly to another guitar with the DP-240 in the neck position.

The comparison between the old and new minihumbuckers was already discussed here:,4367.msg33874.html#msg33874

and I concur with DiMarzio's opinion. The DP-168 in the neck sounds a lot more like a full sized neck humbucker with a bit more high end and a bit less low end, just enough to not be muddy but it is nowhere as bright and tight as the newer DP-240. It is a good pickup with solid output that has no problem in keeping up with the SD Custom 5 at the bridge, but very different to the DP-240 and much closer to the Hot Minibucker (DP-198), on which I commented here:,5416.0.html

My feeling is that the older versions are better suited to the bridge position whereas the newer versions would be better candidates for the neck position, even though I have not yet played a DP-241.

Cheers Stephan

The mini bar (off topic & misc) / 1000!
« on: January 21, 2019, 03:49:49 AM »
Title says it all - my post no. 1000.

Cheers Stephan

Hi folks,

I noticed that the topics in this section were all about guitar pickups and none about a bass pickup. So please let me be the first to change that ;D

While I played guitar for most of the time I actually started out on bass (because there were enough guitar players in the first band already). Since then I only played bass on one gig where the bass player could not attend. A few months ago I picked the bass up again. My four string bass is a partscaster with a precision ash body (maker unknown), a Jazz bass neck from Allparts, a solid brass bridge (maker unknown) and PJ routes. The bass is acoustically on the bright side and originally came with a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound P and a Hot Jazz. Both sounded OK but the Hot Jazz hummed which is a no go in my instrument world. Controls are VVT (initially all 250k log but I replaced the volume for the P with a 500k linear later) with a 0.027uf tone cap.

Enter the Ultra Jazz bridge. Here is what DiMarzio says about it:

"The hum-cancelling Ultra Jazz™ takes a traditional Fender® Jazz Bass® sound and really opens it up. Lows are deeper, highs are more percussive, and the mid-range is round but not muddy. Harmonic overtones jump off the strings. It’s also quick; with instant response to either fingers or pick-style playing."

After having the pickup in the bass for about a month now I have to agree to this description. It sounds much clearer and brighter than the Hot Jazz it replaced. No hum whatsoever. The big surprise was how responsive this pickup is to EQ adjustments on the amp - turn up the mids and it gets honky, turn up bass and turn down mids and treble, and you get a solid low end whereas the Hot Jazz seemed to be honky no matter where the EQ was set. It also sounds very good together with the P. Since the QP sounded quite boomy and dull next to it, I replaced that pickup as well (the new pickup is a Delano PMVC FE4/M2 which sounds a lot more open than the QP).   

I still have to adjust the EQ on the amp when changing from the P or both to the J but it is manageable by adjusting the bass control - up for the J, down for the others. Mids and treble can stay the same.

Conclusion: the Ultra Jazz is a great pickup and a lot of fun to play.

Cheers Stephan

The mini bar (off topic & misc) / Allan Holdsworth
« on: October 20, 2016, 12:27:06 PM »
Hi folks,

not familiar with his music at all - only know that there are milestones of fusion guitar playing and also experiments with the Synthaxe. I am not interested in the Synthaxe stuff but in the stuff that made him famous.

What are the tunes to listen to?

Thanks in advance,

I had always wanted to try the bridge pickup since it came out. So when a set popped up on the bay I purchased it. I put them in a dual humbucker "Frankenstein" tele partscaster with a poplar body (which was sold as alder - thankfully so since I may not have bought it had I known it was poplar but I am glad I did), a maple neck w/ rosewood board that was left over from a parted out strat (but magically it fit the tele body) and a Callaham Amercian Standard Hardtail bridge. Electronics are two 500k log pots for volume and tone, a 0.0015uf tone cap and a 3 way toggle switch to give b, b+n and n - no splits, series, out-of phase, local parallel selections whatsoever.

I was surprised to see quite a lot of negative comments about these pickups, mostly saying that these are rather bland pickups and are there just for the sake of being there. Well - I have not yet tried any other pickups in that guitar, and I am not sure why I should. The guitar sounds great with them. So far I tested it through two self-modded Marshalls for higher gain, a Bassman modified to a *umble style circuit and a Bandmaster for the Fender clean tones plus various overdrive pedals.

The bridge pickup is powerful, yet tight in the low end. Don't let the relatively low DC resistance of 9.5k fool you, this one is really loud - I guess it's due to the strong ceramic magnet. The pickup has a strong mid peak but at the same time it has a certain element of spank to it. It's a tonal combination that I never heard from any other pickup. The closest thing I can think of would be a wide range humbucker but the Morse bridge is more powerful. High notes sound fat, low notes sound articulate and clear. It sounds good clean (for a bridge humbucker which is not my preferred choice for clean tones) and can take any gain I throw at it. I am sure this pickup will cut through easily in a band mix.

I was not sure whether I would like the neck pickup given the fact that I find most neck humbuckers too muddy. But I had to take it to get the bridge pickup, thinking I can always swap it for something else if I don't like it. At a DC resistance of over 20k one would guess that it's a very loud pickup but it isn't. Probably DiMarzio used a very thin wire for this one - AWG 44 or even 45, I don't know. Whatever - this pickup in this guitar is giving me some of the fattest neck tones I ever had. On the high notes it is a thing of beauty - fat and fluid. Sure it can get muddy in the lower register, especially when the gain goes up but not really worse than most other neck humbuckers. 

The middle position (both humbuckers together in parallel) sound very good as well, both clean and dirty. It's a sound I don't use too often but it's a nice extra.

Since both pickups are bright enough I don't really miss extra pickup combinations.

It took a while to dial them in to get them balanced since the bridge pickup is a good deal louder than the neck. I have backed off the bridge pickup a little farther than I usually set them (which is very close to the strings) and adjusted the neck pickup as high as it reasonably went (which is higher than I set them usually) but I achieved a suitable balance in the end. The bridge pickup benefitted from setting it a bit lower as that tamed any excessive brightness.

As I said I used a 500k volume pot, knowing that Steve Morse uses 250k pots in his signature guitar. I can imagine that the bridge pickup would get more warmth with the lower pot value but the neck pickup would definitely suffer so I will keep the 500k. Maybe I will experiment with additional resistors to check lower impedances for the bridge pickup but at the moment I am happy with the tone at 500k for both pickups.

I have not put a treble bleed on the volume control. I tend to like this on guitars with single coils but don't care much for it with humbuckers. So far I am satisfied with my choice - both pickups clean up beautifully.

For the tone control I started out with a 0.0022uf cap but surprisingly that made the neck pickup sound too dark and the bridge pickup too much like a cocked wha. 0.0015uf did the trick on both pickups, making them even warmer and fatter than they are already. 

In conclusion I can say I am very happy with the guitar and pickups. I have read that these pickups were designed to work in guitars with poplar bodies. If so, then the designer succeeded.

Cheers Stephan


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