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DimarzioForum.Com => The Pickup Place => Everything you wanted to know about .... => Topic started by: CityofBlindingLights on June 01, 2009, 11:49:36 PM

Title: The Bluesbucker
Post by: CityofBlindingLights on June 01, 2009, 11:49:36 PM
A highly overlooked pickup, the Bluesbucker is imho one of DiMarzio's best pickups. It's meant to sound like a P90 that looks and fits into a rout for a humbucker, and it does its job beautifully. Oh yeah, and it's fully hum-cancelling.

Where the Bluesbucker REALLY shines though is when it is tapped. Since the screw coil is activated whenever this pickup is tapped, it also sounds really neat when installed backwards, in either neck or bridge orientation; it almost sounds Tele-like.
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: buddroyce on August 31, 2009, 10:44:55 AM
I would like to add that in addition to being a great pickup for vintagey tones, it also handles lighter modern rock tones quite well as well as working extremely well under high gain as a neck pickup.

Running the Bluesbucker in parallel yields a tone that's somewhere in between a P90 and a true single coil, which is actually quite nice!
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: slugworth on November 09, 2009, 04:37:54 PM
Some thoughts about Bluesbucker in the neck...

I don't have extensive experience with P90's but I have played my share.  Bluesbucker to me sounds like a sweet, delicious P90.  Maybe not quite as gritty as some.  In parallel it sounds a *LOT* like position 4 or 5 in a strat and is quite a bit brighter than in series.  This pickup is very sensitive and responsive to volume and tone adjustments, even more so in parallel.  And coil tapped is in the telecaster realm.

If you are considering a Duncan P-Rails, then you should also consider a Bluesbucker.  I have a P-Rails in the neck of one guitar, set up for switching between series, parallel, P90, and single coil.  If you set up the Bluesbucker to switch between series, parallel, and single coil, it definitely covers the same ground as the P-Rails, with the only exception being the full series humbucker mode of the P-Rails.  The P-Rails is a hot, beefy humbucker with a considerable amount more balls than I would have expected.  But if you can do without the humbucker balls, then Bluesbucker is the ticket.

I think the Bluesbucker just sounds sweeter than the P-Rails, though.  I know that's a completely subjective thing, but I don't know how else to put it.  If you're one of those guys who doesn't believe that volume and tone knobs are necessary, then either the Bluesbucker will teach you that they ARE, or you will probably not be crazy about it.  Also, personally speaking, having a Bluesbucker in the neck completely solves my previous need for a strat, because it will do absolutely everything I'd want (and more) from a strat. 
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: jkrguitar on March 18, 2010, 11:01:11 AM
I'm very excited about the bluesbucker....I'm trying to find a place that has it in stock.  I'll post a good review here when I get her up and running.
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: jkrguitar on April 27, 2010, 12:41:09 AM
Ok that being said, here's an updated review of the Bluesbucker.

Ok, the cleans are killer.  Pos 2(split) is very very stratty, and pos 1 is very neck single with a touch more mids and chunk and power....in a very good way. Has some of the quack and thonk, with some of that greasy single coil stuff in the mix....Since it is more focused it makes the bass more controllable.  The amount it has is perfect.

Have to say it does what they say it does.  I would say it sounds more single than p90 but with more power.  Which is a good thing.  It gets nasty but still refined when you dig in and can sweeten nicely when you soften your attack.....

I still have the screws towards the neck.  This pickup is staying.....you want neck shred....It does it.  you can really hear how it's more focused...since I tweaked my setup(previous post).....I'm totally stoked with the stratty sounds it brings to my ibby.  This pickup is a definitely keeper.

Still amazed how much the copper effected the tone of my instrument.
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: jkrguitar on June 07, 2010, 01:08:24 PM
This is a bit later with some tweaks I tried.  Tried raising the poles on a few strings and lowering the pickup at the same time.  B4 I thought it could use a few tweaks:

I felt the g string could use more cut and volume, the d string was a lil' lower in volume and that all of the lower 4 strings could use a bit of snap and could perhaps be a bit more open.(

After raising the poles on the last 4 strings by ear and dropping the bass side slightly, raising the 2 middle strings the highest to compensate for radius I can say this is pretty much a dream come true for guys with RGs who want the fat single coil sound out of the neck position.......

Really a trip....even with very high gain it stays clear....playing some rhythm(w/hi gain) on it, even some pinch harmonics.

It works for this guitar, 92' RG550DXPN....maple fretboard....single rs superpot 500k and a 5-way soldered all with ocean wire.
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: slugworth on November 05, 2010, 07:21:46 PM
I want to update my continued experience with the Bluesbucker.  I'm normally a humbucker-only guy, but I've spent a lot of time with real P90s and other single coils since my earlier post here to give me a better perspective.

First off, if you are looking for a strat-a-licious tone in a warm/darkish guitar (i.e. mahogany), get a Bluesbucker, install it in normal orientation, and wire it up for switching to parallel.  You are in for a treat.  I would compare it to the Dimarzio Chopper but with less mids... which is a great thing for mahogany because the wood is going to give you all those mids.

In series installed in normal orientation, this thing is kinda halfway between a P90 and a PAF, in a very good way.  It is a little smoother than a typical P90, and it has a little more mass behind the tone than single coils.  It's got a very sweet sound, though.  The harmonics are very, very nice.  Nothing overboard, but definitely the bubbly kind of neck harmonics you'd expect from Slash or similar.

If you are looking for vintagey single coilish sounds in a humbucker spot, this has you covered.  To me the touch of PAF flavor is an added bonus.  As time has passed, my love for the Bluesbucker has only grown, where my love for the Duncan P-Rails has completely vanished.
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: JohnnyGtar on August 10, 2012, 08:33:41 AM
Wow. I LOVE this thing. It's in the neck position of my 1977 Ibanez Artist model #2618. Mine was modded...the previous owner had a Floyd Rose installed in 1986. This model guitar has 24 frets as opposed to 22. The Bluesbucker is great in a 24 fret gtr with the screw polepieces *toward* the neck. Lots of ppl don't like the sound of a neck humbucker in a 24 fret guitar, but using the Bluesbucker in the manner I've stated bring back a LOT of that juicy throatyness, since only the screw coil is producing sound. (It's all about the aperture with this bad MO FO! Also, I used a Bluesbucker in the bridge of a Charvel 475. (Basswood body) It KILLS for hard rock and metal. I installed it with the screw coil facing the neck as well. The extra definition and screaming harmonics when installed in my Charvel were a flat out revelation.
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: Butch Snyder on April 21, 2013, 04:21:47 PM
So, if I had a Telecaster, and I wanted to put a humbucker in the neck position, and keep the 250k pots, the Bluesbucker might be the answer?  I have just that; a Telecaster with a Strat pickup in the middle position.  I want to install a humbucker in the neck position, but in my experience, humbuckers with 250k pots tend to be too dark; while single coils with 500k pots, tend to be too bright.

I could get a Tone Shaper from Acme, but I think a Bluesbucker would fit the bill and be cheaper.
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: darkbluemurder on March 10, 2014, 07:15:47 AM
Another Bluesbucker fan here.

I use it in the neck position of a bright Telecaster, together with a Chopper T at the bridge. I have a Megaswitch Type E which gives me full humbucker bridge, single coil bridge, both as single coils, single coil neck and full humbucker neck. I use a 500k log pot for volume and a 250k pot for tone. In the switch positions #2 and #4 a 470k resistor is added in parallel so the single coils "see" a load close to 250k.

The Bluesbucker shines both in humbucking and single coil mode. While to me it does not "exactly" sound like a P90, it really has that P90-like clarity on the low strings without being muddy. Yet it does not thin out on the higher strings but keeps a fat tone even in the upper registers of the fretboard. And the split tone is almost as loud as the humbucker tone - no significant drop in gain, which is definitely a plus. I don't know of any other humbucker who achieves this. Very very nice indeed.   

Cheers Stephan
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: Marco78 on July 27, 2014, 04:26:43 PM
Hi boys, I'd to install this pickups in a Ibanez Ar220. This guitar have the tri switch so each pickups can be selected as single, hb series or parallel. Is it good in this way too???

Thanks
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: slugworth on September 16, 2014, 05:25:52 PM
Yeah, you'll like it. Maybe not as huge of a difference in the split and parallel modes as other pickups, but it will be great in that guitar.
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: morski on December 26, 2014, 05:04:19 PM
Hi guys!

I recently installed the bluesbucker into the neck position of my old Ibanez Blazer. I wanted to replace an early eighties DP103 that the previous owner had installed that I found to be kind of a muddy sounding. The difference was astounding, sweet and glassy tones while retaining the beefynes of a humbucker. I dont think the bluesbucker sounds particularly like a P90. In my opinion it's more like a very airy and 3d sounding humbucker. I think I still need to adjust the PU height though.

Here's a link to a sound clip from my bands rehearsal (excuse me for the sloppy playing). I had the PU selector in the middle position, the bridge PU is an Ibanez Super 70 and the solo is purely the Bluesbucker. The recording is done with an Zoom H4 from a couple of meters away from the guitar cabinet.

https://soundcloud.com/alicealoof/st-james-infirmary-blues-cover

Cheers!

-K
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: mertay on January 05, 2015, 02:28:04 PM
Played it first time today on a 20 year old Epi LP (neck only). Vintage humbucker-like sweet top end but overall brighter. I wouldn't say single coil like glassy but pretty close, maybe closer if tapped.

On distortion though it gets more humbucker like, reminds me of a paf pro actually but lighter. It can do extreme distortion but not the most ideal neck PU, the definition is not very fun sounding on shred.

I'd take the bluesbucker for the cleans and distortion for the paf pro on neck if it makes sense...

My friend paired it with a screaming demon, I felt the bluesbucker's low-end was a bit overpowering the demon (on cleans!) so we raised the demon a bit to make the middle switch position sound more mid dominated.

Worked really nice, endless LP sustain on distortion with bridge PU and open but ballsy cleans on neck. Now the guitar has a uniqe vibe to it :)
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: darkbluemurder on January 19, 2015, 04:57:32 AM
Just very recently I found that the Bluesbucker sits really well in the neck spot of 24 fret guitars.
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: bubs_42 on February 16, 2015, 09:58:42 PM
Ok, I've read in this thread how well they work for the neck with a hot bridge or in the bridge, but how does a Set sound? Do they make a "calibrated set" for Bridge and Neck? If not hows the balance between them?
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: darkbluemurder on February 17, 2015, 03:55:02 AM
As far as as I know there is only one model which can be used in both positions. Unfortunately I never used one in the bridge so I cannot comment on how it balances in a set.

Cheers Stephan
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: mertay on February 21, 2015, 03:03:50 AM
Ok, I've read in this thread how well they work for the neck with a hot bridge or in the bridge, but how does a Set sound? Do they make a "calibrated set" for Bridge and Neck? If not hows the balance between them?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIS52q18RKU
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: Kelly Briggs on December 30, 2017, 09:30:26 PM
Ok...just to bring a thread back from the dead; I'm dying to get one of these Ibanez, but I'm lukewarm on the stock pickups. Would a Bluesbucker bridge with a Twang King or True Velvet T neck blend together well?

http://ibanez.wikia.com/wiki/FR365
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: darkbluemurder on January 08, 2018, 05:35:33 AM
The problem with all tele neck pickups I played so far is low output. The Area T neck is fine but is already overpowered by something like the Area Hot T, so even a low output humbucker like the Bluesbucker could be too much for either the Twang King or True Velvet T neck. Unless you really like this particular guitar I would rather pass.

Cheers Stephan
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: darkbluemurder on January 15, 2019, 04:40:41 AM
Yes. If the harmonics do not come out well it is something else.

Cheers Stephan
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: blueman61 on January 26, 2019, 07:37:16 AM
continuing the vampire thread.....I'm going to put a Bluesbucker in the neck of an SG. I'm interested in any and all reactions to the following bridge possibilities:

1) Super Dist.
2) Fred (very intrigues with this choice, especially because Michael Thompson apparently uses one)
3) Air Norton(had a reg Norton in this guitar once, liked it, but less might be more)
4) Air Zone (Had a tone zone in an 80s brick of an LP year ago...ballsy but very dark, air zone maybe less so? ...dark that is.)

I'm a typical dinosaur, Blues Rock guy....Cream, Beck, Hendrix, Allmans, the usual suspects.  I also dig old school metal and hard rock...Montrose, Hunter/Wagner, Dio, AC/DC etc. Plexis and tweeds thank you. Very intrigued by these pups. May have to try them all. Had Super D's back in the 70s in....gasp...a 335. Worked pretty well as I recall. Never tried the others. But it's been a long time. Your reaction? Any other ideas? Let the fun begin.
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: corypheus on January 26, 2019, 04:58:22 PM
continuing the vampire thread.....I'm going to put a Bluesbucker in the neck of an SG. I'm interested in any and all reactions to the following bridge possibilities:

1) Super Dist.
2) Fred (very intrigues with this choice, especially because Michael Thompson apparently uses one)
3) Air Norton(had a reg Norton in this guitar once, liked it, but less might be more)
4) Air Zone (Had a tone zone in an 80s brick of an LP year ago...ballsy but very dark, air zone maybe less so? ...dark that is.)

I'm a typical dinosaur, Blues Rock guy....Cream, Beck, Hendrix, Allmans, the usual suspects.  I also dig old school metal and hard rock...Montrose, Hunter/Wagner, Dio, AC/DC etc. Plexis and tweeds thank you. Very intrigued by these pups. May have to try them all. Had Super D's back in the 70s in....gasp...a 335. Worked pretty well as I recall. Never tried the others. But it's been a long time. Your reaction? Any other ideas? Let the fun begin.

Hi,

I won't be much of a help regarding the Bluesbucker (I understand the irony of posting in this thread about it), because I never tried one, but I had all the others mentioned in the bridge, so I'll strictly speak of the choice of bridge pickups here, from my experience. I'm not primarily a blues player, but I do all sorts of covers and I do play in a club regularly (as much as health allows).

Super Dee's been my favorite for years, although I started digging Evo2 last year a bit more. Can't ever go wrong with Super Dee. If you're guy that likes to fiddle with volume and tone, you can get any kind of sounds out of Super Dee. It never has issues cutting through the mix, it's loud and has enough presence - and it has tons of mids so it's actually great for thickening single note solos, bends ring longer - it's compression prolongs sustain (of course, it was one of the reasons it was made the way it was made, back at 70s). If you find it is not expressive enough for you, take some of the mids down, or take it away from the strings, you will find almost a totally different beast of a pickup with it.

With that said, I wouldn't necessarily take Super Dee primarily for blues - not that it can't do it - it certainly can, it just doesn't excel at it as some other pickups in DMZ line up do.

Fred is a very peculiar pickup, in essence it's done as a big modern PAF, it has a very vocal quality to its mids (it also has alot of high mids), and it's low enough output to make it very expressive with different picking techniques. It's great rock pickup, for sure, but it's equally as great blues pickup.

It does have a waah kind of midrange of some other DMZs, a kind of sound you either dig or you don't, so something to have in mind about it.

Air Norton is, obviously, Norton with air technology, you can mod the one to be the other and vice versa. The airing makes the pickup sound weaker, and by proxy - more vintage in character. I love AN in the neck - in the bridge, I feel it can sometimes sounds too squishy, and compressed. It's bass can sometimes sound blurry and lack articulation to my ears, which is why in general I prefer it in neck as solo pickup and never used it as rhythm.

Air Zone is something I tried in both bridge and neck, and could never gel with the pickup. Possible reason is that, unlike Tone Zone that punches with power and presence cut, Air Zone had it's presence lowered thanks to airing technology, which to my ears accentuated some of the negatives of the design (depth of bottom end, flabby bass, really fat lower midrange), while not doing much in terms of highs. It does have a waah vocal quality to it, though, and I can see it working for a certain kind of solos, but again I wouldn't pick it for rhythm.

What I'd also consider is 36th anniversary bridge model, while it's a PAF design it's still more then powerful enough for any kind of metal as well and unlike PAF Master, generally doesn't turn into flabby mush for power chording with a high gain amp. It's an excellent blues and blues rock pickup, it's very expressive and has enough mids and presence to cut through any kind of mix. This pickup will also balance volume wise with Bluesbucker excellently as well.

Mo'Joe is another one of those open-sounding vocal pickups from DMZ, a variation of the Fred, if you will, which makes it a bit more punchier and modern sounding, imho, but doesn't take away anything of it's melodic quality. It's very versatile, and will happily do everything from funk, blues to rock and metal.

AT-1, Andy Timmons has a specific playing style and specific sound, but it's definitely an expressive and warm, pleasant sounding one, and my experience with AT-1 is that it captures that sound very nice, it's warm on the bottom end, have a push in the middle and have open highs. It's a nice sounding pickup, specially for softer playing and it's thick enough for simpler but more expressive solos.


Personally, as a safe bet, I'd take 36th anniversary, or either the Mo'Joe or Fred on the bridge, with a Bluesbucker on the neck. Those combos will do everything you want them do, and more.

HTH
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: blueman61 on January 26, 2019, 08:00:49 PM
Thanks. Very nice and complete response. I actually had a set of 36s in this guitar for a while. Can't remember why I took them out because, as I recall, i liked them. Maybe I'll get one of those again and give it and maybe the Fred a whirl. Certainly any other opnions would be welcome as well. thanks again.
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: darkbluemurder on February 08, 2021, 10:50:45 AM
Recently I set my guitar with a Super Distortion in the bridge and the Bluesbucker in the neck for the following wiring:

neck, coils in series
neck, coils in parallel
bridge (coils in series) in parallel with neck (coils in series)
neck, screw coil in parallel with bridge, bridge side coil (hum-cancelling)
bridge (coils in series)

The Bluesbucker with the coils in parallel sounds a bit weak and the output drop vs. the coils in series is significant. I probably switch that to either neck split (screw coil) or to bridge parallel.

Cheers Stephan
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: PaganScience on February 17, 2021, 05:13:19 PM
Is the split or parallel sound louder? I've used the bluesbucker split before and liked how it stayed about the same volume when tapped as opposed to the typical humbucker.
Title: Re: The Bluesbucker
Post by: darkbluemurder on February 22, 2021, 03:04:36 AM
I have not tried it in the same guitar but my guess would be that split is louder than parallel.