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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:19 am 
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Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
You know I've experimenting with pickups.

Had swapped a Suhr SSH+ pup in the bridge position of my X935. Great pup. But I really had it in me to try a Dimarzio DP100, the Super Distortion. So I sold a Carvin pup to fund it, bought a zebra Super Distortion. Popped it in last night.

:-? :hyper: Whoa, this is the ticket. Made it come alive, this may be my best sounding guitar right now (for rock-hard rock). Best word I can use to describe is "tasty". Just absolutely bursting with flavor, rich with harmonics all over the place. Being completely honest, the MMK53 sounds thin, dull and honky by comparison.

Anyone listening, you may want to try a Dimarzio Super Distortion. They really nail the era and the vibe of these old Electra's.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:25 am 
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Aria had Super Distortion pups as a standard upgrade on many models for a while. I figure their was a reason.

I have never tried a guitar with 53's. I have several with 45's and they vary. Then again, when you take a close look, there was more than one design for 45's.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:18 am 
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Interesting that it was an upgrade, makes sense since they had to pay more for them.

It's interesting how big a sonic difference the SD's made over stock, I really wasn't expecting that. The MMK53's are great pickups, don't get me wrong. I wonder if the MMK53's were designed using the Dimarzio SD as a design basis :huh:

The SD's are a great choice, they even look stock like the 53's, same hex head pole pieces and same cream color (except for my zebra, I wanted to be different). I play my guitars live so I'm interested in the performance end of things. These SD's sound "better" and aren't microphonic, can't wait to get them on stage.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:33 am 
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I would guarantee that the super distortion was the basis for the MMK45 and 53 versions that had the allen poles on them. They were the most desired pickup then. SD was still considered a startup in the early 80s. And all the Japanese makers started copying the look of the super distortion pickup. Some are almost spot on perfect. But MMKs did not specifically clone them, or they would have had ceramic magnets and about 13K resistance. They took it a step further, they altered the spacing for the neck and bridge pickups BEFORE dimarzio to my knowledge. Early dimarzios were all the same "gibson" spacing. My MMK 45s have different spacing in different positions. MMKs have less windings but still a lot more than a stock PAF or Gibson T top of that time. Somewhere around 11-12K for both coils, and that is closer to a SD of that time (and incidentally about the same as a fender single coil per coil, so split sounds were not too weak). I don't know about the magnets. I looked it up and someone listed it as a different magnet type. Not alnico. Not listed as ceramic like a super distortion (although, I don't know if it is another name or a completely different type). Oh yeah, and the early super distortions WERE NOT POTTED. That is part of the mystique of why people like early super distortions, they were a bit brighter and "livelier" because they were not potted. I would bet a new super distortion would sound nearly identical to an old one if it were not potted. As long as an unpotted pickup doesn't squeal like an errant microphone in front of a PA speaker, leave it alone.

Dimarzio Super Distortions were popular for a reason. They sound very good - even today - because people have forget how good they sounded. Everybody was ripping their T top gibson pickups out of their guitars to put these in. It is the sound of the 70s, including bands like Boston. And combine that with a dimarzio PAF from that era (unpotted as well) and you are in for a treat (as long as it isn't microphonic). The original dimarzio PAF sounded amazing, and even sounds good today. It is a perfect partner in the neck position with the right amount of clarity.

If you play super high gain, you are going to likely need that pickup potted. If you play with that much gain, the nuances of an unpotted pickup would probably be lost anyway in the loads of gain involved. But for more classic rock and roll many unpotted pickups are fine, and in fact preferred.

You can recognize older dimarzios because they have square "feet" to their pickups. The newer ones have triangular feet. I am not certain when the potting started, whether the later square feet versions could be potted or not. Also, I am pretty sure the "F" spacing started as an option at or after the "triangle" feet versions. Back then, 4 conductor wiring was an option and the super distortion with 4-conductor wiring was called the "dual-sound" pickup. So old dimarzios frequently are only two-conductor pickups. For those of you that are into Matsumoku guitars and old dimarzios, look at the Westbury guitars. They were made by Matsumoku and came with Dimarzio pickups stock. They are fantastic sounding and playing guitars. I had a "standard" and it was a terrific guitar. They came "pre-hotrodded" with real dimarzios installed. And still later, Japanese and possibly Korean makers started offering dimarzio optioned versions with the cheaper non-named non-adjustable slug model dimarzios - a cheaper alternative to the full blown US models. A pair of real dimarzio pickups might cost nearly half of what you paid for the entire import guitar back then. Not unlike today really. But today there are more "mid-level" and high-end models with premium pickups pre-installed. It all was starting back then.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:51 am 
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Great info as always Thorny, thanks! :up:

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:29 am 
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Almost and pup can become microphonic if it isn't factory potted. The when to tell of the pup magnets are ceramic or metallic (usually some kind of Alinco) is ceramic pickups are not electrically conductive. If you measure resistance on a ceramic magnet, it will be infinite. A metallic one will be very low.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:37 am 
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excellent info - it makes a lot of sense, but I simply have never thought of that. Thanks for the info on ceramic vs. alnico-based magnets.

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