PAF vs. new DiMarzio

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by two fingers, Sep 26, 2016.


  1. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    So I'm putting together a frankenbass P bass. I have been scouting for a PAF era DiMarzio pickup because it simply has the "vibe" I want. I can't seem to find one so far at a price I'm willing to pay. Looking for a cream ("creme") colored one.

    Is there a huge difference between the old and new? Anyone have both and can offer a comparison?
     
  2. bolophonic

    bolophonic

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Curious to hear more about this. My best sounding bass has a cream PAF Model P that came in the bottom of a $20 grab bag in the classifieds.
     
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Lucky bastard. :cool:

    Yeah I played a few B.C.Rich 70s and early 80s basses with those pickups as well as several P basses. They (to me) are perfect because they sound like a P bass only slightly hotter. But super beefy or super bright. Just a P bass ....only more of it.

    I'm kind of going for this look but on a P bass. Fender_Custom_Bass_VI_Relic_Sonic_Blue_R59920_1.jpg
     
    MYLOWFREQ likes this.
  4. coronado3

    coronado3 Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2008
    Indiana, USA
    I have both old PAF dimarzios and new and they are pretty consistent in tone and output
     
    Snaxster likes this.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Thanks! That's what I needed.

    If you don't mind clarifying, do you recall which newer version model you have?
     
  6. MarkoYYZ

    MarkoYYZ Commercial User

    Jan 31, 2012
    Toronto
    Hammersmith Music
    It's the Model P, or DP122. As noted above, they can sometimes be found in the classifieds for a good price. The older cream covered ones don't have to be PAF to have that tone they're known for. They're probably my favorite P pickup after the Nordstrand NP4.
    .
     
  7. coronado3

    coronado3 Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2008
    Indiana, USA
    the will power billy sheehan model is also great and pretty close tonaly to the model P. Maybe a pinch brighter? Of course these are not available in cream.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
  8. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    Texas
    The cheapo Hondo's here and on ebay usually have PAF's.
    Coronado3 is correct and they do sound a bit different(better IMO, just less high end crispy stuff) than the 122's here.
     
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Noted. Thanks!
     
  10. invalidprotocol

    invalidprotocol

    Dec 11, 2008
    DFW
    Didn't a lot of the off brand instruments have Schaller rather than Dimarzio? They look similar but do they sound similar?
     
  11. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    Dimarzio made some OEM pickups that turned up in Matsomoku instruments, including poverty-spec versions with solid polepieces instead of the hex-poles. Basically if your instrument is Japanese built, from the late'70s or '80s, and has cream pickups then you might be in with a shout! Same applies for guitars, with various permutations of the Dimarzio Super Distortion and Dimarzio PAF set (and their poverty-spec equivalents, such as the K10, which was a Super Distortion with 12 non-adjustable poles).

    I've had a few Dimarzio OEM pickup-equipped basses over the years; a couple of Westones and a Hondo. In the Westones (a couple of Thunders, the second bought to make the 1st more complete) the pickups were black but had hex-poles. They pickups seemed either minimally or totally un-potted and were microphonic.

    I've had a newer Dimarzio Model P set. My biggest pet peeve is that these aren't as 'epoxy potted' as some would have you think. Again I found them a bit microphonic, though I do like their warm powerful tone overall.
     
  12. invalidprotocol

    invalidprotocol

    Dec 11, 2008
    DFW
    Thanks for the background. Fortunately I've not found my newer set to be microphonic. That is quality that would have me tossing out a pickup.
     
    Axstar likes this.
  13. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Interesting discussion so far. Thanks all for your contributions.
     
  14. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    I wouldn't blame you! They weren't the most microphonic pickup going, but with my VTDI on quite a crunchy setting I did notice that tapping the pickup would come through the amp. The old Dimarzios were much worse in this regard, and would scream during rehearsals if I was using a gainy tone.
     
  15. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    The Precision PAF versions and new versions sound exactly the same. I've had many PAF's in numerous basses (including several old BC Rich's)
    and bought brand new ones = no difference. Remember, the original PAF's (both Jazz and P) were that DiMarzio slightly overwound signature sound that made them so desirable. Neither the P nor the Model J have changed at all and maintain the original tones.

    Rather than monkey with their original "flagship" products they just went ahead and created new/different ones. You can feel comfortable buying a brand new one and getting that exact tone.
     
    merseymale, Snaxster and two fingers like this.
  16. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Indeed this is correct. I once contacted DiMarzio to ask about this and they responded Model P's have all been the same since they first came out. There is no difference in tone.
    They further noted that these pickups don't age or demagnetize, the tone stays the same according to them.

    I have had several of these pickups and never found them to be microphonic as somebody posted here. They've been bullet proof in my experience.
    A terrific pickup at a modest price.
     
    jwindham likes this.
  17. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    That's a fact Jack!

    After years of using PAF's I decided to buy a brand new P pickup.
    The only change is they managed to make the new pickups just a touch shallower.

    Otherwise tone is 100% PAF.

    I have always loved these pickups and have had them in numerous basses over the years. They were the first real sonic upgrade to both P and J basses that required no additional work, unless you wanted to route for a PJ. They certainly made their mark and it's good to know they were not diddled with afterwards.
     
  18. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    While I appreciate all input, I ended up building this bass with an actual PAF pickup back when I originally posted the thread back in 2016. :D
     
    mikewalker likes this.
  19. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    I used them exclusively myself and only bought a new one on a whim. It's just good to know we no longer have to hunt them down and the new ones do the trick!.
     
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