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Messages - darkbluemurder

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Everything you wanted to know about .... / DLX Plus
« on: April 29, 2014, 06:04:23 am »
Inspired by this post of RayBarbeeMusic,4434.msg34371/topicseen.html#msg34371

I kept thinking about my double P90 equipped guitar where I could never bond with the P90s - not enough power or punch at the bridge and even though the P90 in the neck was less muddy than most of the neck humbuckers I played it lacked the sparkle on top. So when I saw a used DLX Plus I took my chance, purchased it and installed it in my double cutaway LP Special/Hamer style guitar. Body and neck wood are mahogany (according to the builder swietenia macrophylla), the fingerboard is rosewood (probably Indian). Bridge is a Tone Pros AVT-II. The guitar has a 3-way toggle, one volume and one tone control (nominal 500k log each, volume about 520k, tone about 490k). The tone control is a push-pull which is used to series/parallel switching for the DLX Plus. Tone capacitor is a Xicon MPP 0.0022uf.

I also bought a DP-240 (more on this in a separate thread) for this guitar. EDIT: link is here:,4977.0.html

I tested this through my self-modded Marshall and a Bassman converted to a D-style circuit for the clean tones.

The output is strong but not over the top. Clean tones are possible but there is a lot of power available to really push the amp.

Reading the website's description and EQ charts you may think that the DLX Plus is scooped in the midrange, and you'd be mistaken. While the midrange may not be as prominent as on other pickups they are still there and it's not shy in the midrange by any means. If I had to describe the DLX Plus with one word it would be "creamy". Bass response is very good but still tight, no mud to be found. Treble response is smooth but not dull (an important distinction), and it retains the smoothness throughout the fretboard. Even the very high notes sound round and fat, which makes it a lot of fun to play lead stuff.

So far I have been describing the DLX Plus in series mode. In parallel mode it has less output, less bass and more highs, just as expected. It's a bit a thinner tone, not bad but not spectacular either. I have not done any resistor tricks to bring down the load in parallel mode yet - maybe that helps. 

As far as tone caps, I started out with the "standard" value of 0.022uf. This made it too dark, only good if you want to do wha-wha effects with the tone control (which I almost never do). I then tried 0.0047uf but that gave me sort of a cocked-wha tone on both pickups which I disliked. For now I settled on 0.0022uf which is very subtle on the bridge pickup when in series mode. In parallel mode the effect is more pronounced. But I really like the effect this cap has on the neck pickup (more on that here:,4977.0.html). Hence I will leave it at that or maybe put the tone control on the neck pickup only.

The DLX Plus is a great replacement for P90 and minibucker equipped guitars where a warmer tone is required without going to really high output pickups such as the SD or TZ in that format. Highly recommended.

Cheers Stephan

Where do I begin...the neck pickup is THE neck pickup to have in a Tele. It's got a nice round warmth yet exceptional clarity that can't be beat. It's beautiful. It's warm enough for vintage style blues and jazz, yet it retains enough clarity for pop, rock, and country. It sounds incredible with light distortion and can take you into a whole other universe. Play with the height on this and you'll find your sweet spot.

A big +1 on this.

Yesterday I put the Area T neck into a Telecaster which has a Curtis Novak Tel-HC in the bridge - a split-noiseless single coil (like a Precision Bass pickup). The Area T neck replaced a Lollar Firebird which sounded great in this guitar but overpowered the bridge pickup so I needed something with lower output. Saw an Area T neck on ebay and scored :)

The Firebird will not have to wait long for a new home, though. Just waiting for the adaptor rings to arrive ...

Cheers Stephan

The mini bar (off topic & misc) / Re: your first guitar idol?
« on: April 14, 2014, 11:52:00 am »
My first guitar heros were Eric Clapton, Rory Gallagher and Michael Schenker. Johnny Winter, Dickey Betts and Duane Allman followed after I got into guitar more seriously.

Cheers Stephan

Yeah, such as the Area series. IMHO there is no comparison for noiseless single coil sized pickups. 

Cheers Stephan

Not me. Never liked any Duncan pickup I played much - sold them all off.

Cheers Stephan

I recently scored a Virtual Hot T but have not yet installed it in anything yet. But I got a Tele which has a Firebird pickup in the neck that is just aching for a hotter bridge pickup ... more to come.

Cheers Stephan

Guitar Lounge / Re: Stratocaster tuning secret
« on: April 03, 2014, 10:33:39 am »
What is in the video works........until you bend a string.  Then that string goes out of tune, and to get it back, you have to dive bomb to reset. 

So while it "works" in terms of being able to dive bomb and come back in pretty decent tune, it does not work in terms of being able to play regularly and expect the guitar to stay in tune without whacking the bar to reset it. 

IMO, that doesn't qualify as really working.  I wouldn't tolerate that from any other Trem and say it "worked" in a tolerable way. 

There are 6 screw replacements like the Super Vee Bladerunner or the Wudtone unit that do take care of the issues with a 6 screw trem.

That was exactly the problem I had with the only guitar that had a Kahler Professional on it, and it was the reason I sold this guitar. Never had such a problem with a Floyd Rose equipped guitar no matter how much I tortured it.

I have one guitar with a 6 screw Wilkinson which works very well for moderate bar use - no tuning issues at all. I have a Callaham on another guitar which I had to block and disconnect the bar because it would not stay in tune even if I only got near the bar - but that could have been due to other culprits than the system itself.

Cheers Stephan 

I just scored a used Injector neck which I put into my H-S stratocaster type guitar. Bridge pickup is a hotter PAF type. The Injector replaced a Bill Lawrence L-200SN and just blows it away - much bigger and fatter sounding but still retaining a single coil vibe. I use 500k pots in this guitar - fits both the humbucker and the Injector well.

This is not even my best strat - I can only imagine how good it will sound in a real good strat.

Cheers Stephan

The Pickup Place / Re: AT-1+Cruisers in a Standard (MIM) Strat
« on: March 26, 2014, 05:11:55 am »
I measure them, too. Most of mine are between 450k and 480k with some going to 510k. I like the higher values for neck humbuckers.

There is another reason that the actual pot value matters. Lower values provide less series resistance when turned down, and less series resistance means less loss of highs throughout the pot travel (unless a treble bypass circuit aka treble bleed is used).

Cheers Stephan

The Pickup Place / Re: AT-1+Cruisers in a Standard (MIM) Strat
« on: March 25, 2014, 05:05:24 am »
going from 500k to 410k

A 2M2 resistor in parallel to the 500k pot would get you to about 410k, which means that if you want the total load to be between 410k and 500k you would need a 2M7, 3M3 or 4M7 resistor. A 4M7 in parallel would get you a total load of about 450k.

Cheers Stephan

Center Stage / Re: my new dimarzio samples
« on: March 24, 2014, 05:25:30 am »
Hi Norbert,

Your sound samples are excellent - great tone, great playing. Many thanks for posting.

Cheers Stephan

The Pickup Place / Re: AT-1+Cruisers in a Standard (MIM) Strat
« on: March 23, 2014, 10:56:08 am »
My guess is he used a 1M trim wired as a variable resistor from the bridge pickup's hot connection to ground. That would not add any series resistance, only increase the load on the bridge pickup while leaving the other pickups unaffected. Of course the increased load would be there with any combination involving the bridge pickup.

Cheers Stephan

The Pickup Place / Re: AT-1+Cruisers in a Standard (MIM) Strat
« on: March 20, 2014, 02:09:45 pm »
I have no idea how AT's guitars are set up

I had a chance to play an Ibanez Andy Timmons model (made in Indonesia) today. In that guitar the humbucker is automatically split when used with the middle pickup. The volume control controls all pickups. The upper tone pot controls the neck pickup. The lower tone pot controls the bridge pickup.

Not sure whether I would want this set up. I would go with one volume and one tone control and use the second tone control as a blend control - more tones available this way. And I would probably follow RayBarbeeMusic's recommendation to use a 5-way super switch so that the humbucker can be wired in parallel when used with the middle pickup.

In the guitar I played the AT-1 was installed very close to the strings. The Cruisers were not as close. The AT-1 was substantially louder than the Cruisers. If the guitar was mine I would have backed the AT-1 off quite a bit.

Cheers Stephan

The Pickup Place / Re: AT-1+Cruisers in a Standard (MIM) Strat
« on: March 15, 2014, 06:33:20 pm »
Have you set the pickups higher than your old ones? If so the strings may hit them on hard attacks. Even if you have them at the same height than the old ones, try to lower them a little.

Ad 4) You always need a pair of coils to get a humcancelling effect. The AT-1 with both coils in series (or parallel) will achieve this, so will the Cruiser with both coils in series. But as soon as you split the AT-1 you will lose the humcancelling effect, either played alone or with the Cruiser.

Cheers Stephan

The Pickup Place / Re: AT-1+Cruisers in a Standard (MIM) Strat
« on: March 14, 2014, 06:05:34 am »
1) What I found just testing with the Cruiser Bridge in the neck (along with the Fender single coil in the middle), a listening test to my ears showed the standard DiMarzio humbucker wiring (white+black connected, red=hot, green+bare to ground) sounds the best alone (switch pos. 5) and when combined with the single-coil middle p/u (switch pos 4).  Does this sound correct?

Yes, I believe series connection is the default standard for these pickups (as for most).

2) I am next going to install a Cruiser Neck in the middle pos, and the AT-1 in the bridge. For the AT-1 if I use the same switch wiring as is already there, I believe switch pos 1 is going to use the AT-1 both coils in series, switch pos 2 is going to use one of the AT-1 coils (split) in combination with the middle (Cruiser Neck) pickup. Will this be acceptable as I believe the Andy Timmons configuration for switch pos 2 has the AT-1 coils in series, and in combination with the Cruiser Bridge (middle pos.) p/u.  Can anyone comment on this?  I don't fully understand (yet) the switching and how to make it like the Timmons configuration (rather than the Fender configuration).

That is correct. Pos. 1 is humbucker in series, pos. 2 is humbucker split + middle pickup. I have no idea how AT's guitars are set up but if you want the humbucker in series also in pos. 2, you can just disconnect the black/white wires from the pickup from the switch but leave them soldered together and put some isolation tape around them. Try both and see what you prefer.

3. On the pots, check with a multimeter what value you have (you need to disconnect the switch before doing that, otherwise you will get the parallel value of pickup DC resistance and pot DC resistance). In general humbuckers are used with 500k log, and single coils with 250k log but that is just a rule of thumb. With a fairly powerful humbucker such as the AT-1 I would go with a 500k log volume pot and add a 470k resistor in parallel for the single coil positions so that they see a load of close to 250k.

4) With only the neck p/u replaced (Fender Single replaced with Cruiser Bridge), the Fender Single coil in the middle by comparison is slightly louder and with lots more treble. Does this sound normal?  I believe it will balance out once I put the other Cruiser (middle pos.) and AT-1 (bridge) in.

I don't know the stock pickups in your guitar so it's difficult to say whether this is normal or incorrect. But with all the pickups replaced at least the Cruisers should be in balance with each other. The AT-1 will have quite a bit more output. Many players like a higher output bridge humbucker in HSS, others want a humbucker that is closer in output to the single coils. It's personal preference.

Cheers Stephan

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