Dimarzio SuperDistortion/PAF Pro or EMG 81/85


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03-01-2006, 06:41 PM
Hey im having trouble choosing a good set of new pickups for my custom strat.
I play most 70s and 80s heavy metal and classic rock. I play some other stuff occasionally like blues, classical... Um I would like pickups good for heavy metal/classic rock of the 70s and early 80s. I like to play stuff like early Priest, Sabbath, Zeppelin, Ozzy, Maiden, AC/DC, Metallica, mostly the very early seventies metal + a load of lighter classic rock floyd also I play some finger picking classical like clean stuff. I was pretty set on getting a Dimarzio super distortion in the bridge and a paf pro in the neck. I know Randy Rhoads and Dave Murray used the super distortion and PAF Pro which are my favorite 2 guitarists which is a bonus. I think i like the Dimarzios but how would the EMGs compare? Out of the 2 sets in my name what do u think I should get for my purposes. Please vote for what would be best for me not what you like the best thx.

03-01-2006, 06:42 PM
if you want the classic sound, go for the DiMarzios... plain old better for the situation

03-01-2006, 06:45 PM
get the dimarzios, emgs cant get a good clean sound

03-01-2006, 06:48 PM
also the super distortion may get muddy when ran clean. the paf pro is your best bet.

03-01-2006, 08:43 PM
yeah i was also planning on have a fender single coil in the middle for cleans aswell as the pafpro in the neck

03-01-2006, 11:03 PM
i have a strat on which i installed a dimarzio super dist. I LOVE IT. I play a lot of Hendrix, so i use my neck pup a lot, but the dimarzio is great for an early 70's rock sound.

03-01-2006, 11:05 PM
i have a super distortion and an air norton - great pickups for anything - definitely go with the dimarzios

03-02-2006, 07:58 AM
if you want the classic sound, go for the DiMarzios... plain old better for the situation


03-02-2006, 10:20 AM
would the dimarzios be able to pull off some metallica or megadeth? I guess it could but not sure

03-02-2006, 10:22 AM

03-02-2006, 10:25 AM
^definitely megadeth, and probably metallica (i haven't tried the super D, i'm going by specs here). Most of it's in your amp, of course.

03-02-2006, 10:36 AM
i think the emgs r the better ones from the amount of overdrive and heavy bass they can pump out, and i think that they have a good clean sound too

03-02-2006, 11:07 AM
^yeah, but that's better for more modern styles of music, and 90%+ of the stuff he wants to play is more vintage...


perpetual shred
03-02-2006, 11:14 AM
Dimarzio's can deliver everything you want the super distortion in bridge can do the heavier stuff and the paf pro in the neck can do solo's an stuff. it'll sound awesome!! trust me

03-02-2006, 07:35 PM
ok thanks everyone this is very helpful. I also just discovered Bare Knuckles and listen to some sound samples and they sound magnificant. How do you think these would work for my liking? The company seems to be focusing toward vintage but they seem for more 80s metal focused in the sound samples. How are bare knuckles?

03-02-2006, 11:09 PM

03-02-2006, 11:20 PM
BKP cost an arm and a leg- look at nearly $400 for a set of pickups from them if you're from North America.

On a side note- If you're going to buy the super D for classic rock you might as well use an EMG of some sort- honestly they're both geared towards the thing which is a highly distorted tone. at least the EMGs have better cleans (they do, I have both..)

03-03-2006, 12:20 AM
yeah im going to have a single coil in the middle for cleans also the paf pro. so the Bare knuckles are they for strictly hardcore metal or more what i am looking for classic metal? and also what range of tones can they produce?

03-03-2006, 02:29 AM
Bareknuckle produce pickups for ALL styles of music, ranging from screaming bone-crushing metal to country twang and blues.

they can also custom make you pickups if you ask, they can alter any existing model they have and do just about anything including rewinds if you ask.


You should keep in mind that a middle single wont give you the same sound as a neck single or a bridge single- its very much in between. Its not smooth and glassy like the neck pickup and its not twangy like the bridge, its more of a weird 'quacky' tone... Which is generally why I don't use my middle pickups too often for cleans.

03-03-2006, 11:56 AM
^yeah, seconded, genocide. The middle pickup is great for bluesy tones, though, IMO.

But yeah, i'll defer to your opinions on the EMG's, since, as you say, you have them.

Bear in mind though, it'd awkward to mix and match active and passive- you can do it, but it's awkward.

Anyway, as for a BK based on those tones, for the bridge: probably a nailbomb- it's supposed to be the most versatile of the BKP's- covering everything from metal to good cleans.

But as genocide says, they are very dear compared to a lot of stuff you can get in the states.

Did you say you wanted a recommendation for a middle pickup as well?

03-03-2006, 04:01 PM
Seymour Duncan are probably the best cheap pickups you can get in the USA- they have tons of selection that spans tons of genre, their pickups are generally well built (they're notably higher quality than dimarzio supposedly- thats what I've heard from people who rewind pickups and the like)

Some people like dimarzio but I dont have excessive experience with them- I'm bigger on duncans because I dont like alot of the tones dimarzio produce. However, both are good.

You just have to shop around until you find what you like.

03-03-2006, 04:07 PM
^i actually prefer DM tones to the duncans i've tried, but i think that's because they suit my style of playing more ( i like satch-type stuff), and i have no idea about the build quality thing- as genocide says, you have to shop around.

03-04-2006, 12:17 PM
Ok, I think Im still Liking the dimarzio idea. What about vintage vs new ones. I have been really into vintage parts, pedals and amps i think they sound much better and work better but for pickups i havent heard alot about. Do people hunt down vintage pickups for theyre sound? Because i have a mostly vintage rig i though i should get vintage ones. how do they compare? thanks

03-04-2006, 05:01 PM
^some pickups do change their specs over the years (i hear the old duncan JB is much better than the new one, for example), but i don't know any specifics other than the JB, sorry i can't be of more help.

If you really want to get a vintage-accurate one, and don't want the risk of second-hand, a lot of the hand-winders (bareknuckle, harmonic design etc.) wind a lot of their vintage-specced pickups with the vintage-correct materials, so they'd be worth a look.