DiMarzio ToneZone and Air Norton for low tunings?

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by soundbase, Oct 5, 2020.

  1. soundbase

    soundbase SS.org Regular

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    How does the Dimarzio ToneZone and Air Norton sound for low tunings? Im wanting to upgrade the stock pickups in my PRS Mike Mushok baritone. And some used DiMarzio's have come up on the local market and wondering how good they are for low tunings. I've got the PRS tuned to Drop F. if they not great, then might just get some Titans or D Activators for it instead.
     
  2. capac

    capac SS.org Regular

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    I'd skip them for low tunings, especially the tone zone. It's great in standard, but for lower stuff, there are much better options IMO (like the ones you mentioned for example).
     
  3. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    I'm not sure how the Air Norton would handle low tunings, as it is quite thick in E standard, but it isn't that hot so it might perform ok. Plus the baritone scale means you won't be using really thick strings. The ToneZone however I'm with @capac above. It's great for standard as it has quite a thick and full sound without being muddy but I don't see it working below D, not to mention F.
     
  4. akinari

    akinari SS.org Regular

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    For Dimarzios, I would recommend a D-Sonic, Titan, Dominion, Evo 2 or D-Activator neck (in the bridge position) for really low tunings. The tonezone is probably too hot and bass heavy for a modern tone. It can sound huge in the bridge of a Floyd equipped guitar in E/D#/D but I have no experience with it in baritone registers.
     
  5. Alex79

    Alex79 SS.org Regular

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    So what wood is the Mike Mushok? Baritones tend to emphasise bass and treble with their longer scale, so mid-heavy pickups always work well. I used both the TZ and the D-sonic in mine, an Ltd GL-something George Lynch model, and I enjoyed the TZ very much. Super fat and aggressive tone, maybe too hot and compressed in terms of output (big strings really drive it). But definitely not loose or undefined. The D-sonic I found stiff, anemic and sterile. It’s a pickup I’d put in a Les Paul to clear up the sound, but not in a baritone that already has the long scale to do the heavy lifting for those low notes. It’s just overkill really, putting a so specialised pickup in an already specialised instrument.

    I did eventually switch the TZ to another guitar to pair with an Air Norton- a classic combo - but I didn’t use the Air Norton in the baritone.

    I have now used a Juggernaut in the baritone for a very long time and I think it’s gonna stay there now forever. In general though for baritones, i recommend going for pickups that are not too hot and mid-focused. Usually the typical hot & tight metal pickup is not the best choice.
     
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  6. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger

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    The tone zone starts to get muddy around D and really bloated at C/B. It’s a pickup that excels at shrapnel style tones but it’s one of the last pickups I’d recommend for low tuning like that.
     
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  7. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    The Air Norton would probably be fine in the neck if you lowered the bass side a bit more than normal, but the Tone Zone would be way too fat for that tuning.

    The Titan would probably be your best bet on the Dimarzio side since it's tailored for modern tones and won't fall apart on the low F. The Dominion comes in a close second place IMO. It's actually my favorite pickup overall, but it may be a bit too thick in the mids depending on how dark/bright your guitar is acoustically. It slays in brighter guitars tuned low, though.
     
  8. Hoss632

    Hoss632 SS.org Regular

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    Edit: didn't realize you were talking about Drop F. I didn't read through the first time. I would say anything below Drop A is not going to sound good on these.
     
  9. Avedas

    Avedas SS.org Regular

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    I didn't like my Tone Zone in C. Can't imagine what it would be like F.
     
  10. capac

    capac SS.org Regular

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    Ideally, I wouldn't use it below D. It can do it with some EQ before amp, but honestly, there are so much better options.
     
  11. Themistocles

    Themistocles SS.org Regular

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    I use the tone zone dropped to D and I love it. That said its in a very bright carvin 747 with an alder 2 piece quartersawn neck witha thick maple top and an ebony board. As others have mentioned it likes thicker strings. Its not muddy at all but I can see where it would be a problem in a darker toned guitar. That said I love the chewyness of the TZ7. Its the first bridge pickup Ive really enjoyed soloing on and I live heavy distortion that still breathes... not simply high gain. The GF described the tone as Tyrannosaurus eating a Triceratops when I dropped it in. Just picked up another 7 and Im trying to figure out what would be different but similar to the TZ7 (just for variety). So Im really interested in what people describe in this thread? Titan, Nazgul, D sonic, Dreamcatcher? I think the huge midrange bump is what is so lovely abut the TZ7. It does cut.... its not just some bedroom guitar player fizzy pickup. It responds to digging in or lightening up.
     
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  12. Hoss632

    Hoss632 SS.org Regular

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    Lowest I've heard this pick up combo played is in Drop A. Angel Vivaldi has this set in his 7 string charvel signature model. I think he plays in B standard most of the time. Ola Englund demoed the guitar in Drop A on his channel very recently. To me it sounds good. Especially boosted to help tighten up the low end. I do however think anything below Drop A is pushing it with these.
     
  13. Quiet Coil

    Quiet Coil Only obsesses over guitars when not playing them.

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    I use the TZ/AN set in my Charvel tuned to drop B, but I’m not going for any sort of “djent” tone. I’d actually prefer the regular Norton in the bridge, but it was just a little too weak for my taste. At the end of the day, I guess I’m trying to find my way to a prog tone via 90’s thrash that can still “chugg”.

    The one big advantage you have going for you is the scale - depending on what gauge of strings you prefer that length will brighten things up considerably.

    EDIT: KnightBrolaire (aka Alex) would probably be a great resource for you as I’m fairly certain he uses that same PRS Mushok as a test bed for his many pickup demos).
     
  14. akinari

    akinari SS.org Regular

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    It's important to note that the 6 string Tonezone and the 7 string model are different pickups. I thought Ola's demo of the Vivaldi sig loaded with the TZ7 sounded great, but also more modern sounding than the tones I've heard out of the 6 string TZ. OP is specifically asking about the 6 string model.
     
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  15. Themistocles

    Themistocles SS.org Regular

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    true, the TZ7 is ceramic and specifically voiced for lower registers... maybe not really really low tunings but still it can handle them.
     
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  16. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger

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    Most of the Dimarzio 7 range doesn’t sound like their 6 string version cause they use ceramics. I wish they put more work in like BKP to make their 6.7.8 models all sound similar cause a magnet changes the sound so much.
     
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  17. duffbeer33

    duffbeer33 Contributor

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    I have a Mushok baritone and swapped that bridge pickup for a PRS \m/ pickup. It roars.

    I wouldn't think the Tone Zone/Air Norton would get you what you are looking for, which I'm guessing is tight metal tones and djenty stuff. When I had a different guitar with the TZ/AN I liked it for leads and hair metal sounds, but not so much for chug-style stuff. So at least take a look at the PRS \m/ (even though it's pricey), I think its a great fit for the Mushok. And then I'd consider the Titan if budget is a consideration. Also I think you'd only need to switch the bridge pickup...frankly I see no need for using the neck pickup on this guitar! Tone is super subjective, but I used my Mushok on the most recent song on my soundcloud page, if that helps you get an idea of the tone at all, in drop A tuning.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
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  18. soundbase

    soundbase SS.org Regular

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    Ive seen this mentioned before, but how come the D Activator Neck in the Bridge position? I have a D Activator Bridge in my 7 string Baritone and it sounds amazing. How different does the Neck sound to the bridge in the bridge position? Is it more suited for low tunings compared to the bridge version?
     
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  19. akinari

    akinari SS.org Regular

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    The neck is lower output, has a tighter bass response and is a bit more relaxed in the mids I would say. It is one of my favorite bridge pickups (that isn't really a bridge pickup :lol:) of all time. It's super clear and has this springy sort of quality on the low strings that makes you want to just hammer them, and there's a really nice grind to the overall voicing despite being lower output. Again, I am comparing it to the 6 string DA bridge as I have no experience at all with either 7 string model.
     

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