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70's Dimarzio model P

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by bassfart, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. bassfart


    May 5, 2008
    Is there a big difference between the sound of a Model P made today vs one made in the 70's? The reason I am asking is I bought a model P that was made in the 70's and it is on its way.
  2. Gord_oh

    Gord_oh Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2008
    I like to think an aged pickup has different tone properties than a recenly made one. The model p has similar properties of an old dimarzio pickup but I would guess it would be different from an original one.
  3. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    No, they are made exactly the same. I have some old DiMarzios from the 70s and they don't sound any different from the new ones.

    They use ceramic magnets, so it's not like magnet is going to "age" (which they really don't do) anyway.
  4. Cadfael


    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    I own a Fender Telecaster copy (quality comparable to Warmoth) with a DiMarzio PAF (1984) and an X2N (1982) in it. I built this guitar in 1984 ...

    Has the sound changed?
    Shurely my ears got worth! But I think the sound changed ...
    The pickups got a little bit more warmth and the 'harshness' decended. They 'sing' a bit more.

    And what I can say:
    The DiMarzio bobins fron the 1980s were not 100% sweat-restistant and abraison-resistant! You can see that the X2N is a 30 y.o. 'road worn' ...

    But the wood of my 'Cadicaster' has become more than 30 years old, too!
    Who can judge what makes the difference?
  5. abemo


    Feb 27, 2012
    Arvada, co
    Btw, on a related note (apologies for replying slightly off topic), I picked up a late 70's p pup a few months back, and it looks identical to a DiMarzio in terms of the pole pieces, etc, but the wiring is a black and a white on one coil and a black and a yellow on the other, with the yellow tied in series to the other ground. It also has two ceramic magnets on each coil (one on either side of the poles) instead of one. From my research, the wiring doesn't match a DiMarzio, the alternate theory would be that its an early schaller pup. Sound familiar to anyone?

    In terms of the sound (assuming its a DiMarzio), huge, growly low mids, non existant high end, good high mids, smooth lows. Very powerful, crunchy pup, lots of versatility. Can go from mildly overdriven heaviness (think early 90's) to smooth grooving (think motown) depending on how you pluck. Love it.
  6. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    The tone of your guitar changed, not the pickups! The basses i built in the mid 90s also sound warmer now, even though I have changed the pickups a few times. But you can hear it unplugged.

    There's nothing in the pickups that will change with age. But the tone of guitars does change.
  7. Cadfael


    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    Hi abemo,

    you do not know if it is really a DiMarzio?
    In the late 1970s loads of Japanese manufacturers produced DiMarzio copies.
    The late 1970s and early 1980s were the age of cream pickup covers - pretending to be DiMarzios ...

    The black/white + black/yellow wires were no Schaller colours as far as I konw???
    BUT these are the classic "two SC colours" for many Telecasters or JBs. So, the colours showed that one is revesed wound with differnet poles. black > yellow > black > white is the right way to wire in series. That's the normal P PU wiring!

    My early 1980s DiMarzio PUs had the normal DiMarzio colours. Maybe the first 70s have different colours??? But I would guess these are Japanese Ibanez / Aria / Maya / Aztec +++ copies?
  8. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    That's probably a Schaller pickup. They are almost exact copies, but their wire colors were usually green, white, yellow and brown. I used to be a Schaller dealer, and their 236 and 246 pickups were copies of the Model P and J and sounded just like them.
  9. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Are the pickups wound the same? If nothing changes in a pickup I can't imagine Fender pickups wound in the 60's are the same as the ones made today? if that's the case then people paying top dollar for vintage pickups are fools?
  10. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    The DiMarzios are wound the same and use the same parts. None of the parts are exotic either.

    Fender made lots of changes over the years. They changed how much wire was wound on the pickups, the type of wire, and the grade of magnets. Also, old alnico magnets are slightly different from the ones made today.

    People often pay top dollar just because they are old pickups. People even pay ridiculous amounts of money for the plastic mounting rings on old Gibson pickups. They have no affect on the sound of the guitar! But they are old. People even pay ridiculous amounts for reproduction parts, like those plastic rings, that aren't old. Or reproduction bumble bee caps made from new film caps. There's a sucker born every minute!

    Back in the 70s I played with a guy that had a late 50s Les Paul. It was originally a gold top with P-90s. Before he bought it someone installed early patent label humbuckers and refinished the guitar brown. Those pickups are the same as PAFs, and were probably installed when they first became available as an after market part, so early 60s.

    It was a nice sounding guitar, but he ended up replacing the pickups with the first DiMarzio PAFs. They sounded better.

    I had those old Gibson pickups for years in my parts box, and ended up using them for experiments. At the time they were just used parts.

    Now, they would fetch a lot of money, but still wouldn't sound any better then they did when they were new. Wish I still had them though (to sell).
  11. Cadfael


    Jan 4, 2013
    Germany, EU
    Yes - they are fools!
    Just imagine what happens when you put an old nitor guitar into a modern stand. :rollno:

    Modern PU wiring isolation is much better than it was 50 or 60 years ago; much more resistable.

    Look how a Fender guitar / bass was made in the 1950s!
    There are videos of the factroy on the internet! I am a Fender fetishist and adore Fender - but this has nothing to do with CNC made consistent quality!

    No argue about sound - but every 2012 made Chinese pickup has a higher manufacturing standard (stressing standard) than any 1950s Fender pickup.

    Old pickups have soul - and in majority the good souls survived while the bad ones ended in the garbage can or were sold to fools ...
  12. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Lots of not that old Fender pickups fail, because of the wire insulation. I recently rewound a set of Jazz pickups from 1976 that had died.

    Here's one of the original Fender winding machines:


    Yes, that is a rubber band on the motor! The rubber band allowed the winder to slip a little and stop from breaking hr wire. This might have been Leo's winder.

    Nothing wrong with a simple machine though, and I use something not that much more elaborate, but I'm making a CNC winder for better efficiency and repeatability.

    The Chinese pickups are consistent, but they often use cheap weak magnets, and the design isn't all that great to start with.
    geoffwaite likes this.
  13. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, CA
    Thanks for all your information and wisdom on this.
    You obviously know a lot about pickups.