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Obrienp

Combine DiMarzio and SD Pickups?

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Apologies if there is already a thread on this. I am thinking of combining a DiMarzio P Bass pickup with a Seymour Duncan 1/4 pounder Jazz bridge pickup in my Fender Aerodyne Jazz bass. I am wondering if anybody has already tried this and how it worked out?

I currently have a DiMarzio P/J set in the bass. I found the OEM pickups a bit lacking and fitted the DiMarzio set a few years ago. As they have four wires I wired them up with push/pull pots to give series/parallel options for each pickup. Not worth the effort in my view but others might feel otherwise. I love the P Bass pickup but the Jazz bridge is so whimpy I don’t know how DiMarzio have the cheek to sell them as a set. The Jazz has about 55 percent of the output of the P Bass. If you move from P Bass to Jazz mid-song it is like somebody muted you. There is also   a big drop in volume with both pickups on compared to just the P Bass.

Now, I know that some volume difference is not unusual with P/J setups but it is ridiculous with the DiMarzio set. I happen to have a Seymour Duncan 1/4 pounder Jazz bridge pickup that I got for another bass but never fitted. On paper it actually has a slightly higher output than the DiMarzio P Bass, so I am thinking that combining them will not produce the huge volume difference I am experiencing with the DiMarzio set. If anything the bridge may be the dominant pickup. However, i know things don’t always work out the way you think they will. Has anybody tried this? Any problems?

While I am doing this mod, I am going to repurpose the push/pull switch on the P Bass volume pot. Instead of switching the pickup between series and parallel, I am going to run it in two wire (permanent series) mode and use the switch to combine the P and J pickups in either series, or parallel. I have done this on another bass and it sounds huge with the two pickups in series. It’s like a huge humbucker.

Stay safe everybody and fingers crossed that we can get back to gigging soon!

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Posted (edited)

Nothing inherently wrong with combining pickups from 2 different brands if you like what they do and they work well together, I for instance plan to upgrade the pickups in my Epiphone SG Special guitar with a Seymour Duncan Jazz humbucker neck and a DiMarzio Super Distortion humbucker bridge, as I really like what they both do in that position on the demos I have watched and once had a guitar that I loved, yet was stupid enough to sell, with a somewhat similar configuration, a PAF '59 Neck and a Super Distortion bridge, and the Seymopur Duncan Jazz is somewhat similar to the PAF, just in my opinion sounding even better.

I would actually expect the Quarter Pounder J and the Model P to have somewhat similar output, one thing to maybe consider though is that while they are both hot quite aggressive  pickups their tonal profile is almost opposite to each other, the Model P being all about mids and the Quarter Pounder having a great chunk of mids scooped out.

Now that isn't necessarily a bad thing, could still sound great, and if you reconsider your wiring, eventually consider implementing a pickup blend control, it might even bring more versatility to the table.

As for using them in series to me that would spell absolute boomy mud fest, especially with both these pickups already having a quite hot output by them self to begin with and with the fact that the Quarter Pounder produces lots of low end and the Model P a lot of lower mids frequency content and those qualities are going to be multiplied when you put them in series, I know it did when I tried it out with my P/J EMG Geezer Butler set, even if they have a considerably more moderate output and not being particularly bassy either, but again who knows, you might still find having them in series useful, I just know for certain that I wouldn't.

Edited by Baloney Balderdash
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I also think it's fine to mix and match, and it's not really a big time investment to check it out.

From your description though I'd be checking the wiring on the existing set up too - maybe take it back to first principles and use the wiring diagram from DiMarzio as a test? Might also be that the jazz pickup is defective?

22 hours ago, Obrienp said:

There is also   a big drop in volume with both pickups on compared to just the P Bass.

This makes me wonder about the polarity. Just a thought as I wired in a split-p pickup recently and had to change the polarity of the bridge pickup to get it to work in context.

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I seem to remember from fitting an SD in a Strat many years ago, that the colour coding for the hot wire on an SD is the reverse of what others use. Things may have changed.

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Thank you for the comments folks.

I hadn’t considered that there might be a fault with the DiMarzio Jazz pup because it’s been like that from when I got it. Also I did read in another forum that somebody else found the DiMarzio P/J set unbalanced.

I think polarity between the DiMarzio P and SD Jazz will be OK. I did a rough test by putting the SD up to the DiMarzio and they were attracted rather than pushing away.

I agree the serial wiring might sound a bit muddy. I was hoping that, with their tonal range, the combination would cover the complete spectrum but the proof will come from trying it. I’ll have parallel in the default down position on the push/pull, so if the series is too muddy, I just won’t use it.

The other bass I have serial wiring on is a home build ‘51 P bass with a DiMarzio One mudbucker in the neck position and a Seymour Duncan 1/4 pounder 51 p bass middle. I was expecting super-mud in the series wiring position but actually it produces a massive rock bass sound with good highs. The idea was to produce a bass with a range of 60s tones and it does that with the pups solo but the combined serial tone is much more hard rock. I then found out Billy Sheehan has a similar combo on his bass -  I should have known! Doh!

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Obrienp said:

Thank you for the comments folks.

I hadn’t considered that there might be a fault with the DiMarzio Jazz pup because it’s been like that from when I got it. Also I did read in another forum that somebody else found the DiMarzio P/J set unbalanced.

I think polarity between the DiMarzio P and SD Jazz will be OK. I did a rough test by putting the SD up to the DiMarzio and they were attracted rather than pushing away.

I agree the serial wiring might sound a bit muddy. I was hoping that, with their tonal range, the combination would cover the complete spectrum but the proof will come from trying it. I’ll have parallel in the default down position on the push/pull, so if the series is too muddy, I just won’t use it.

The other bass I have serial wiring on is a home build ‘51 P bass with a DiMarzio One mudbucker in the neck position and a Seymour Duncan 1/4 pounder 51 p bass middle. I was expecting super-mud in the series wiring position but actually it produces a massive rock bass sound with good highs. The idea was to produce a bass with a range of 60s tones and it does that with the pups solo but the combined serial tone is much more hard rock. I then found out Billy Sheehan has a similar combo on his bass -  I should have known! Doh!

Well the single coil P Quater Pounder got a totally different tonal character than the other Quarter Pound pickup, including the J, for one having a lot more mids frequency content and less bass than mids, if one is to believe Seymour Duncan's own tone charge for the pickup.

Edited by Baloney Balderdash

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Just thought I should complete the thread with the result of doing the modification. I won’t bore you with a photo: it just looks like a MIJ Aerodyne Jazz with a chunkier (Gotoh) bridge.
 

I didn’t do the wiring mod myself in the end. Craig from My Humble Workshop was selling a complete harness on fleaBay  for just under £20 with PIO capacitor. It has mini pots which fit easily into the very small routing for the through mounted controls on my 2014 model: more recent ones seem to have gone for traditional Jazz metal plate mounted controls. To my ears the mini-pots don’t sound any worse than the CTS pots I would normally use and Craig’s harnesses don’t require any soldering. 
 

Anyway, sound wise the DiMarzio P Bass pup and SD 1/4 pounder Jazz go very well together. A quick check on my multi-meter shows them to be very close: about 11 k ohms from the DiMarzio and about 10.5 from the SD. The SD is meant to be 13.5 k according to the website but in this case I am quite pleased it is lower. They work well together with very little difference in output between them solo and I prefer the SD tone to the DiMarzio Jazz. There is a small drop in output when used together in parallel but in series: Wow! Big and clear!
 

Overall, I am very pleased with the combination and the series/parallel wiring option.

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I've got a PJ with a seymour duncan p with a dimarzio stacked jazz at the bridge,  it is a brilliant combination. 

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Once I tried to mix a bartolini J and a Status J. Nearly functional: the Status was a parallel humbucking and only half of the coil was in phase with the bartolini. Status sounded good in the bridge and bartolini in the neck, so the solution was to put a pickup selector switch. One on or the other but not both.

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22 minutes ago, itu said:

Once I tried to mix a bartolini J and a Status J. Nearly functional: the Status was a parallel humbucking and only half of the coil was in phase with the bartolini. Status sounded good in the bridge and bartolini in the neck, so the solution was to put a pickup selector switch. One on or the other but not both.

Fortunately the phasing seems alright in my DiMarzio/SD combination. I am thinking about a blend control rather than a switch but it would be a shame to mess up the very neat wiring harness from Craig: my soldering is pretty rubbish, especially doing earthing to the back of pots!

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Pots just need a more powerful iron, like 60 W, and at least a wide tip shape to transfer the heat.

Bourns makes the blend pot, type MN. It's available in 250 k and 500 k.

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It's relatively easy to tack a wire onto a pot w/o a higher Wattage iron. Clean the spot on the pot with some flux, now put a dot of solder on it.

Tin the wire you intend to attach, put a tiny bit of flux on it & just stick it to the dot you made on the pot, Voila!

The opposite is a problem however, trying to remove a big blob of solder from a pot with a low-Wattage iron is time-consuming & I'd recommend wicking and/or a de-soldering pump.

 

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