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Author Topic: Bare Knuckles version of a DiMarzio Super Distortion.  (Read 16310 times)

08sg

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Bare Knuckles version of a DiMarzio Super Distortion.
« on: May 14, 2013, 02:19:14 AM »
Hello. I'm new here, looking for advice from anyone who owns any BK pickups who can help me find something LIKE a DP100.

I have an SG Standard with a super distortion in the bridge. I'm into classic rock tones AC/DC stuff mainly. I really like the DP100, despite it being a fairly high output pickup, it really comes close to getting some of those back in black tones - particularly if lower volume is used, and moderately low gain. It's ironic because on the Solo Dallas site, he explains that Angus never used the DP100 - ever, yet that mid-range snarl that Angus gets on the intro to Shoot To Thrill can be hear in my guitar - just not quite as crisp or snappy - but close.

The DP100 has that thick boosted mid range that I love, and a classic snarl unlike anything I've ever heard. But, I do find it compressed sounding at times, and as much as I love that thick mid-range, I'm often straining to hear more snap or crispness in the mid-range. Not necessarily brighter, but more detail, crispness is the best way I can describe it. A tech in my area heard my guitar, and also another Dean Z with a DP100 in the bridge. Despite them being different guitars, he was convinced that the lack of clarity in my DP100 might be attributed to the pickup being over potted.

What BK bridge pickup has the same type of flavour as the DP100 - but with more snap, and detail, crispness? Much thanks.

ericsabbath

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Re: Bare Knuckles version of a DiMarzio Super Distortion.
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 05:25:46 AM »
the aftermath has the closest specs and voicing (ceramic, 43 awg wire, twin coils, fat crispy mids)
and definitely more snap and detail
still a quite different pickup, though
a lot less compressed and more sensitive than the super distortion
output is similar, despite of the higher DC and extra magnets

the cold sweat is common substitute, but sounds nothing like a super distortion
Riff Raff, Mules, Black Dog, VHII's, Cold Sweat

Brow

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Re: Bare Knuckles version of a DiMarzio Super Distortion.
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 07:58:50 AM »
I have 2 guitars with Super Distortions (Firebird Studio and Strat with Kahler trem) aswell as a slew of BKPs in other guitars and can't really think of anything that sounds like a Super Distortion does.

As Eric said an Aftermath is quite close spec wise, but they sound nothing at all like a Super Distortion does. I find them to have a fuzziness in their character, you can hear it in alot of recordings that used Super Ds, whereas BKPs tend to be alot more clear and articulate sounding.
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ericsabbath

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Re: Bare Knuckles version of a DiMarzio Super Distortion.
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 08:35:52 AM »
I have 2 guitars with Super Distortions (Firebird Studio and Strat with Kahler trem) aswell as a slew of BKPs in other guitars and can't really think of anything that sounds like a Super Distortion does.

As Eric said an Aftermath is quite close spec wise, but they sound nothing at all like a Super Distortion does. I find them to have a fuzziness in their character, you can hear it in alot of recordings that used Super Ds, whereas BKPs tend to be alot more clear and articulate sounding.

truth
no bkp has that sort of fuzziness in fact
not even the pigs, but maybe the c-pig might be the closest in that aspect (grinding mids)
may sound bassier and a little less middy, though
still a great pup for an SG, but AC/DC might get weird... but bkps always surprise me on unexpected situations
Riff Raff, Mules, Black Dog, VHII's, Cold Sweat

Slartibartfarst42

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Re: Bare Knuckles version of a DiMarzio Super Distortion.
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2013, 10:43:50 AM »
For AC/DC the Riff Raff is the obvious choice but it will be very different to a Super Distortion. Mind you, a lot of that difference will be the lack of compression and it sounds like that's something you wouldn't mind losing anyway. For that mid-range grind you mention, how about a Black Dog? It sounds like it might fit the bill in many respects; the only thing that would concern me is that it's often mentioned that you need to go either high or low output in an SG and the Black Dog is right in the middle.
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Bridge - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; A-Bomb; Holydiver; Miracle Man; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

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nkay

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Re: Bare Knuckles version of a DiMarzio Super Distortion.
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2013, 12:50:42 PM »
There really isn't a direct comparison, the closest sounding pickups are the Cold Sweat and Holy Diver. The Cold Sweat with its ceramic magnet has the similar crunchy mids, while the Holy Diver has the similar smooth thick low mids.

If you are looking for more AC/DC tones, I would definitely do the Cold Sweat. It is more open sounding and has more of that Gibson rock vibe than the Diver. The Super Distortion is not open enough and too compressed for AC/DC really, I'm surprised you can get close but I guess it's possible working the volume pot.

The Cold Sweat will give you that really hot Gibson-like rock grind but with a lot of clarity. It's just the right amount of output too, you can do lower gain AC/DC type stuff but also heavier sounds with ease. For pure AC/DC tone, there is the lower output Riff Raff of course. But I prefer more power and thickness.

darkbluemurder

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Re: Bare Knuckles version of a DiMarzio Super Distortion.
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2013, 01:16:52 PM »
As Eric said an Aftermath is quite close spec wise, but they sound nothing at all like a Super Distortion does. I find them to have a fuzziness in their character, you can hear it in alot of recordings that used Super Ds, whereas BKPs tend to be alot more clear and articulate sounding.

That is also my observation on the high powered DM pickups - very loud, dark mids and a lot of sizzle on top. May work well for flat sounding guitars, though. BKPs will indeed be much clearer.

Cheers Stephan

BigB

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Re: Bare Knuckles version of a DiMarzio Super Distortion.
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2013, 01:19:54 PM »
For AC/DC the Riff Raff is the obvious choice.

Indeed. Now if you really insist on a hi-output 'bucker, the ABomb with the volume rolled down a bit can do these "shoot to thrill" tones, it's darker and fatter / more massive than the RR but has way enough bite and clarity, a much more organic tone than what you'd get from most ceramlcs (and specially DM ceramics) and outstanding detail and dynamic.
Have: Crawlers, BGF 50/52s, Mules, ABomb, RiffRaff
Had : Slowhands (n&m), Trilogy (b)

08sg

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Much thanks for your input guys. This is the hard stuff to understand, because you can't hear it until it's installed. Let me say this...

Brow:
Quote
I find them to have a fuzziness in their character, you can hear it in alot of recordings that used Super Ds
— Yes, I find that to be true as well. There something underneath the character of the DP100 that I really love, but again, it lacks more clarity and snap in that heavy midrange. I just wish it had more snarl in the midrange, less of that "muted" sound.

nkay:
Quote
I'm surprised you can get close but I guess it's possible working the volume pot.
— I'm surprised too. And yes we installed a 500K volume and tone pot for the bridge, and I work the volume — all the time. I only bought the DP100 by accident. My brother in law had a DP100 in his Dean Z, we have identical DSL-100's, and one day we set his amp on a VERY low volume - 1-2, Gain at about 1.5-2, pushed the presence, treble, mids, and kept the bass at about half. I'm not BS-ing when I say it sounded close to the intro chords to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQz6-MVV-ns It had that flavour - so I put one in the SG with similar results. However, with the Dean Z, I find his DP100 to be much snappier and spankier sounding - I think it might be the way his guitar responds — with that particular pickup.

darkbluemurder:
Quote
The Super Distortion is not open enough and too compressed for AC/DC really, I'm surprised you can get close but I guess it's possible working the volume pot.
— I agree completely, way too compressed. But that mid-range "GEEOWWW" shoot to thrill intro tone is there - under the surface. And I think it's only because we set the amp with moderately low volume, and just use the gain very sparingly to keep the jangle there. But it's still too compressed, and not snappy enough.

Slartibartfarst42:
Quote
For AC/DC the Riff Raff is the obvious choice but it will be very different to a Super Distortion. Mind you, a lot of that difference will be the lack of compression and it sounds like that's something you wouldn't mind losing anyway. For that mid-range grind you mention, how about a Black Dog? It sounds like it might fit the bill in many respects; the only thing that would concern me is that it's often mentioned that you need to go either high or low output in an SG and the Black Dog is right in the middle.
— I'm really open to anything that has that boosted midrange, but with more detail, again, crispness. I find the DP100, as much as I love it's mids, has this kind of BLOWWMP, or BOWNP kind of thing, almost too thick - not enough POWNK and detail.

It really is odd to set that amp as low as I do, but I like the fact that I can play it with less volume, and still get a very respectable "classic" tone out of it. I've tried guitars with lower output PAF pickups, and they can't drive the amp at the same volume - that's what I like about the output of the DP100. With the vintage output PAFS, I find I have to push everything up, then things get louder - which is the point! But I like how I can control the overall volume with a higher output pickup, by dialing down the volume and gain, and still get a very decent tone.

I'm sorry for the long winded post, but I just can't afford financially to try this pickup, and that pickup. I need to find one that fits the bill the 2nd time around. I basically want something with those boosted mids, and upper mid mid spank, more crisp, more detail, not fuzzy or muted like the DP100. Again, the DP100 has a great feel — underneath, but it always seems like someone is cupping their hand over it, restraining it from breathing, as if it needs some air - if that makes any sense.

For tonal reference, this is the best example I can give: The intro to Shoot To Thrill: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gDch1p4c_M

Hear the A chord, immediately after Angus hits it? It has this PEEOWWW kind of thing happpening. I can get close-ish to that with the DP100, but not nearly as crisp, detailed or "pownky" sounding. This is the sound I'm looking for, and to be able to get it at a lower volume with my amp - which means that tone, but in a high output pickup - if that exists. Much thanks for your fantastic input guys.

EDIT: Regarding the BKP Tutorial: Covered VS Uncovered: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D756154qUdo If you listen at 4:20 to 4:32, he's playing an uncovered bridge Riff Raff. That's basically the tone I'd like, but the question is, how easily will this pickup drive the amp at a lower volume? The DC resistance of the Riff Raff is a "vintage" 8.2KΩ. The DP100 is about 13.7KΩ, and outputs about 425mV. In other words, if I was to run the amp with the same low settings as I do with the DP100, it probably wouldn't grind the same way correct?
« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 03:53:37 PM by 08sg »

Slartibartfarst42

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I basically want something with those boosted mids, and upper mid mid spank, more crisp, more detail, not fuzzy or muted like the DP100.

Mmmmmm.......

OK, so you seem to prefer contemporary pickups so I'll try to confine myself to those. There are three that I'd be looking at closely that I think might suit you; two seriously and one a bit of a shot in the dark.

Cold Sweat
This is the only one of my suggestions that I've actually tried myself. It is indeed quite an open sounding pickup but with enough drive to give you that classic Gibson sound. It's a fairly bright pickup and will give you the crispness you're after but I don't think it's as bright as the EQ chart makes it look. It does have the upper mids that I think you'll like and in an SG I think it could be perfect for you. It would be my first choice I think from all you've said.

Painkiller
I wouldn't have thought of this as it's rather hotter than I would normally associate with AC/DC but it does seem to fit your description quite well. It has the boosted mids and quite a bit of upper mids so I can imagine you'd really enjoy this one. It's also hotter than a Cold Sweat so you might enjoy that. I haven't used one of these myself so this is speculation to a degree so perhaps someone with experience of a Painkiller could comment on its suitability to your description.

Black Hawk
This is the left field option. There's no way this should work but I mention it because the EQ looks about right and whenever I hear it, I'm always struck by how versatile it seems. Again, someone with direct experience of this pickup should really comment.

So, I think the Cold Sweat is your safe option, the Painkiller is an option that I think may well suit you and the Black Hawk is a complete shot in the dark!
BKP owned:

Bridge - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; A-Bomb; Holydiver; Miracle Man; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

Neck - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; Holydiver; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

BigB

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If you listen at 4:20 to 4:32, he's playing an uncovered bridge Riff Raff. That's basically the tone I'd like, but the question is, how easily will this pickup drive the amp at a lower volume?

IIRC you're rolling the volume off on your guitar to get your tone ? But anyway: the RiffRaff bridge is not shy but yes it's still a vintage pickup. Now if it's only about hitting your amp's front hard enough, all you need is a clean boost (either full range or treble boost depending on your guitar, amp and tastes).

Just my 2 cents...
Have: Crawlers, BGF 50/52s, Mules, ABomb, RiffRaff
Had : Slowhands (n&m), Trilogy (b)

08sg

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Re: Bare Knuckles version of a DiMarzio Super Distortion.
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2013, 04:52:06 PM »
BIg B.. No, I don't use the bridge volume to generate tone. I tend to set the amp at a given volume, gain at a given level, and if I find it's too hairy, I'll just roll down my bridge volume from 10 - 9, or 8, to clean it up a little.

I'm really a basement player, I don't know about gear and boosts etc. It does seem odd to run a 100 watt Marshall at such a low volume. I have another guitar with a vintage output pickup, wound on the hotter side, but in order for it to spank and growl with my amp, I have to turn it up, and turn up the pre-amp - then it gets much louder.

I find with this super distortion, that I can compensate even with much lower volume, by turning up the presence, mids, treble, shaving down the bass. it's.... acceptable for a classic rock tone at a lower volume, that's all I meant. I can play louder if I want, I live in a single house, but it's my ears I worry about. When I first got a guitar with a vintage output pickup, I was turning the amp up to half, and every time I'd stop playing, I'd having ringing in my ears for the day.

So I've resigned myself to finding higher output pickups - in the 400mV range, LIKE the DP100, or the Steve Morse DP200, that can drive the amp at a lower volume. I just think that maybe the DP100 is too thick sounding for what I want to hear. There's so much mids going on with that pickup, that the upper mids aren't allowed to snap enough. The EQ of the DP100 pickup may not be quite right, but it is damn classic. It's low end, mid heavy, and there's probably not enough balance between mid, upper mid and treble to give it that spank.???

Slartibartfarst42

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Re: Bare Knuckles version of a DiMarzio Super Distortion.
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2013, 05:56:11 PM »
I've no idea what else to suggest! If you're looking at the EQ of the Super Distortion, that would suggest a Warpig but that's a long way from AC/DC to my mind. The Super Distortion is a favourite of Iron Maiden but then they may need a pickup with plenty bass as they use Strats which are naturally a lot brighter than yours. Yours should be a lot darker than that, suggesting a slightly brighter pickup. This view would appear to be reinforced by the fact that the Riff Raff is based on the AC/DC tone in an SG and that's a lot brighter than a Super Distortion. If you really want that AC/DC tone but with more power to the pickup, I'd say you want something with an EQ not a billion miles away from a Riff Raff but in the contemporary range and don't worry too much about what the Super Distortion is doing. After all, if the Super Distortion was what you wanted, you wouldn't be on here. You keep going back to the Super Distortion but I think you may need to ask yourself if you want a BKP Super Distortion or do you want an AC/DC tone with a bit more poke to it or do you want a pickup that's somewhere between the two?

Super Distortion sound
Based on the EQ, that would suggest Warpig but that would be very different to AC/DC
The A-Bomb might also be possible but that's far more aggressive and 90s Metal than AC/DC
The Holydiver isn't a million miles away in practice but again, not AC/DC at all

AC/DC tone
The alnico Black Hawk has a similar EQ to the Riff Raff but I doubt it would give you the same vibe.
Rebel Yell possibly as that's hotter, has a similar EQ and retains a kinda PAF vibe.
Cold Sweat is a good choice as already mentioned.

In the middle
Painkiller. Like the Super Distortion it's a hot pickup but it also has the highs and upper mids you'll need for the AC/DC tone while still having a healthy amount of bass.

From everything you've said, I'd give the Painkiller a shot.

BKP owned:

Bridge - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; A-Bomb; Holydiver; Miracle Man; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

Neck - Emerald; Cold Sweat; Crawler; Holydiver; Sinner; Trilogy Suite

nkay

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Re: Bare Knuckles version of a DiMarzio Super Distortion.
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2013, 05:58:13 PM »
I think you need a smaller amp there! Are you running an old Marshall super lead or something? You'll never get the sweet spot with that in your house!  Those are the kind of amps the Super Distortion was made for, to drive the amp better at lower volume, but they still need to be cranked regardless.

I think you will be better off with a lower output pickup and an overdrive pedal. You don't have to spend a ton of money on that, the simplest overdrive pedals (Boss, Digitech, etc...) are like $40-50 and will cost less than your new pickups! That way you can get the gain you want at a much lower volume, while keeping the openness with a lower output vintage pickup when you decide to get one.

I love the Super Distortion, it's my favorite pickup of all time, it can do pretty much everything. But it was made to thicken up the tone of those low-gain bright amps so it's more compressed and less open in the lower mids. Great for almost everything, but not so good for the open and raw AC/DC type of sound.

BigB

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Re: Bare Knuckles version of a DiMarzio Super Distortion.
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2013, 07:48:22 PM »
BIg B.. No, I don't use the bridge volume to generate tone. I tend to set the amp at a given volume, gain at a given level, and if I find it's too hairy, I'll just roll down my bridge volume from 10 - 9, or 8, to clean it up a little.


Uhu ok.

I'm really a basement player, I don't know about gear and boosts etc. It does seem odd to run a 100 watt Marshall at such a low volume (...) I can play louder if I want, I live in a single house, but it's my ears I worry about. When I first got a guitar with a vintage output pickup, I was turning the amp up to half, and every time I'd stop playing, I'd having ringing in my ears for the day.

Well, may I suggest that going for a 5W amp might be the first thing to do then ? Then you won't have to worry about the pickup output. A 5watters is loud enough to play with a drummer if you don't care about clean tones, and thru a closed-back 2x12 or 4x10 cab it sounds huge. For the record, 100W amps are from a time were there was no decent PA and you had to play 5000+ audiences with just your amp(s).


I find with this super distortion, that I can compensate even with much lower volume, by turning up the presence, mids, treble, shaving down the bass. it's.... acceptable for a classic rock tone at a lower volume, that's all I meant. 

You wouldn't have to go thru this with a lower wattage amp - and even with a 5watters you may have a use for a booster. You say you don't know much about gear etc so here's the pitch: there are three components in blues / classic rock / 70s hard-rock crunch: preamp distortion, power amp distortion and loudspeaker distortion. What you get from hi-output pickups is preamp distortion, and a "booster" -  just a small clean preamp, really - gives the same result (or more) as a hi-output pickup: more voltage to push the amp. It's a classic trick that everyone used in the mid/late 60s and early 70s (Eric Clapton, Rory Gallagher, Brian May, Jimmy Page, just to name a few). wrt/ power amp distortion - the one used by Angus Young -, well there's no secret you just have to crank the amp up. That's where a low-wattage amp is fine, cause you can have at that power section up and cooking at a lower volume (note that 5W fully cranked up is still really loud, but nothing like a 100W marshall - been here, done that, ruined my hears...).  I mentionned loudspeakers distortion but that's not something you'll get with 10'' or 12'' guitar speakers and a 5watters, but you obviously won't have it with your amp runned under half power anyway.

tl;dr  : get yourself a RiffRaff set AND a 5 watt tube amps (a Marshall Class5 should JustWork(tm) for you) and a nice booster (I'd suggest the Xotic EP Booster, great little box, I have it always on on low gain amps).

My 2 cents...
Have: Crawlers, BGF 50/52s, Mules, ABomb, RiffRaff
Had : Slowhands (n&m), Trilogy (b)