Dimarzio conversion?

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by Eric R, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Member

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    I wouldn't take those mV values seriously. DiMarzio doesn't reveal what methods they use to derive the mV output. A pickup doesn't have a fixed mV output, the voltage output is dependant upon many factors, such as how far the pickup is from the string, how hard you strum, and how permeable your guitar strings are. To assign a fixed mV value to a pickup the way they do, is strange to begin with.

    I've actually studied and used both sets extensively:

    Humbucker from Hell
    http://guitarnuts2.proboards.com/thread/7754/dimarzio-humbucker-analysis-review

    EJ Custom set
    http://guitarnuts2.proboards.com/thread/7780/dimarzio-ej-custom-analysis-review

    The inductance of the EJ Custom and the HfH are nearly identical, at 2.3 henries, and both use AlNiCo 5 1/8" bars, and both conform to the same PAF layout, so there is no mechanism through which one of those pickup can produce a tone that is much different from the other. It gets to that point where you have to decide if you believe the hype, or if you're going to stick with science.

    As an aside, you will notice that the HfH has a lower DC resistance, the reason for that is that DiMarzio patented the bizarre practice of mismatching the wire diameter of two coils, while retaining the same number of winds. There is no known benefit to be had by doing such a thing. I took a picture of it here, you can see the cream coil is more narrow. The black coil is using 42 AWG, the cream 43 AWG:

    [​IMG]

    The EJ Custom shows a higher resistance because both coils are wound with 43 AWG (possibly 44AWG), the especially thin coils can be seen:

    [​IMG]

    If you read the product description and "tech talk", none of this is mentioned, though if you look at the HfH product page, http://www.dimarzio.com/node/2142 , the patent number is listed where in DiMarzio tries to claim there is a benefit to mismatching the coils "Patent: 4501185", which you can reference with google: https://www.google.com/patents/US4501185

    When it comes to technical details, most all of the pickup makers play fast and loose with the facts, they would rather sell the pickup with words. DiMarzio says "This pickup is the cure. With some guitar/amp combinations, it can sound almost acoustic. With others, it's real Strat®-like" They'd rather not say "it's the EJ Custom with hex poles instead of screws and slugs", for obvious reasons.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
  2. Eric R

    Eric R Member

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    Ok Antigua, so,.. you are saying that a name such as Dimarzio with artists such as John Petrucci, Joe Satriani, Rick Derringer, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert and so on and going back decades in the pickup making business, has a marketing strategy that is (in your opinion) throwing sand in consumers eyes with a couple fancy terms instead of telling em what they are really getting? And,.. you think they are not “correct” on what they are specifying on theyre website?

    I highly doubt this! But then again, I aint the expert.. and not pretending to be.

    I do appreciate the pictures, makes sense though. But, in the end I have experienced the EJ and it’s not adding up to my experience with the HFH.
    So I’m back to square 1 with the wish to have a HFH lookin’ like a vintage bucker.
     
  3. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Member

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    Just remember that "appeal to authority" is a common logical fallacy, and celebrity testomonials have been used to sell wares for a very long time. Those celebrity guitarists are usually paid a fee for their endorsement. Yngwi Malmsteen, for example, switched from endorsing DiMarzio over to Seymour Duncan in the past decade, and Seymour Duncan now produces a pickup set with his initials on the covers, we can assume that arrangement wasn't free of charge.

    At the end of the day, how a customer feels about a product matters more than how the product actually is. For every Malmsteen, you have a Hendrix, who thought pickups made no real difference, and yet that didn't dissuade Seymour Duncan Co. form working out an endorsement deal with the estate of Jimi Hendrix, just in the past year, and now they have a pickup set with Jimi Hendri'x name on the covers, too.

    I deal with technical details, and I can't know your personal experiences, though the pickups do sound very much the same to my ears. Note however, that it's the bridge EJ Custom that matches the HfH spec-wise, intended to be a "neck" pickup, according to the mfg., so you'd have to put the EJ Custom "bridge" model in the neck of your gutiar to get that identical inductance value. The EJ Custom neck has a lower inductance than the HfH, but they're all still in the "Filter'tron" range of inductances.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
  4. Eric R

    Eric R Member

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    I’ve looked into it again and indeed I discovered that the bridge version of the EJ custom has more output than the HFH.
    Along with that it also has a higher DC resistance! So, basicly it should have more output than the HFH.

    DC res on DP212 EJ custom = 7,85 Kohm
    DC res on DP156 HFH = 5,89 Kohm

    With the “normal” spacing it would also fit the neck spacing on my les paul.

    So this is worth trying though!

    Found an EJ custom bridge with nickle cover for € 88,- ( 104,50 USD ) new at online shop.
     
  5. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Member

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    We went over all of this already. They have nearly the same inductance. The DC resistance of the EJ Custom is only higher because it uses a finer wire gauge. The output rating listed by DiMarzio are unrelieable, because nothing is known about how those values are derived. The biggest difference between them is cosmetic.
     
  6. Eric R

    Eric R Member

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    Yes but it was only today when I finally discovered you were talkin' bout the bridge model. I must read better.
    I had the neck model before but that one lacked output for my preference.
     
  7. Eric R

    Eric R Member

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    Strangly enough I found myself a HFH for only € 40,-
    Will be delivered tomorrow.

    So, I will try to post pictures of the conversion.
    And afterwards I will try to make a video of the guitar in action with this converted pickup.
     
  8. freefrog

    freefrog Senior Member

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    [PARENTHESIS - Although I’ve dealt with a case of unwanted squealing due to a simple flipped mag not later than yesterday, I won’t repeat what I’ve said above about mods ending with loosened components and causing related issues: after all, with a favorable material configuration + a careful AND lucky operator, squealing won’t necessarily sing its hideous song after a pickup “conversion”. The pickup conversions that I’ve done myself until now were successful most of the time, although they had always a tonal impact.

    Now and FWIW, I’ll share a thin slice of my own tests about pickups (which are not supposed to be published online: actually, I wouldn’t even post this answer if EricR hadn’t replied again above).

    This summer, between other experiments and just to check honestly if my statements above translated a pure nonsense, I’ve done something close to what the OP says: I’ve took a “dual resonance” DiMarzio model with two symmetrical rows of poles. I’ve modified it temporarily and I’ve tested it after each modification.

    Below is a comparison involving the stock pickup and one of its modified versions, with a row of longer screw poles protuding below the baseplate (itself changed, but simply for another DiMarzio brass plate with holes, so it wasn't really a different baseplate: with a NS baseplate, differences were worse). On the whole assembly, there was a typical cover borrowed to a Duncan Seth Lover. The 2d coil had been left intact.

    The DiMarzio used was a DP210 and therefore, not at all a HBH… but it doesn’t matter: I don’t see any reason why a pickup with lower DCR/inductance than a DP210 would be immunized against the side effects shown below.

    This pic involves the DP210 measured electrically through the equivalent of a volume pot + a tone pot + a guitar cable plugged in a typical 1M amp input.

    The scale in the graph is linear. Each vertical column = 1000 hz. Each horizontal line = 3dB.

    Pink and black lines translate the (raw) “dual resonance” of the stock PU.

    Green and red lines show what the mods do to this dual resonant peak and how they consequently affect the high end content/harmonic response of the pickup.

    There’s a difference of 2dB @ primary resonant peak, 6dB @ secondary peak, 12dB just below 20khz.

    We may think that such alterations can’t be heard through a typical guitar cab, whose bandwidth is restricted…

    On the other hand, 3dB of difference are not that negligible :
    http://www.gmarts.org/pix/amps/power-db.jpg

    Anyway, let’s keep in mind that these resonant peaks in my screenshot show only the simplest part of the picture: they don’t reveal anything about the effects of mods on the dynamics, like the perceived compression effect potentially due to an added cover.

    Oh, and of course, after each mod, I’ve played the mentioned DiMarzio in my “switchable bridge pickup” testing Strat: as suggested by my screenshot, the tone of THIS model was totally altered by longer screw poles + cover.

    Nevertheless and obviously, this testimonial doesn’t mean that a similar alteration WILL happen with a conversion involving a HFH. Prudence is something that I cherish, epistemologically...

    END OF THE PARENTHESIS. No more free time to spend in it. Thx for your understanding.]


    EricR, if your mod succeeds, if you end with a pickup without feedback issues and a tone close to the original (or different but fulfilling your needs), I’ll simply be sincerely happy for you and, consequently, I’ll be glad to have been wrong in my expressed fears for a fellow musician. :)

    Good luck!
     

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    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  9. Eric R

    Eric R Member

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    FF, thank you so much for your epistel.
    Basicly you are saying that I am a stubbern bloke, but you succeded to do so in pretty words.

    I do appreciate your concern and thanks to your post I now realise that I am going for a leap where many others allready have gone before.
    And also knowing that proceeding this project, failure is more evident than succes.

    Nevertheless I will proceed this project.
    I know,… I am stubbern but in the end it might be an education to a wider view on pickups.

    Thanks for taking the time for me!
     
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  10. freefrog

    freefrog Senior Member

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    LOL!

    No mate, I don't think that you're a stubborn bloke: I think that each of us must follow his own way and that you're totally right to do it.:)

    I don't think either that your project MUST fail: as I said, I've already done a few conversions myself (lthe simplest consisting to add a keeper bar, a regular P.A.F. style mag and a N.S. baseplate to a pickup initially built without keeper, with a brass baseplate and a double thick ceramic mag).

    And most of the tiime, my own "conversion"' attempts have succeeded, even if I have necessarily killed a couple of pickups and gone through a few other failures in 36 years of tinkering on guitar gear (I've even killed the output transformer of a tube amp once because I had decided to try a mod despite of warnings: I guess that I'm stubborn too sometimes).

    Maybe your project will succeed because the HFH is a basically modifiable design. Maybe you'll be happy beyond expectations. That's all I wish for you, really! :)

    Now, after your previous post, I HAD to share an excerpt of my own estival experiments: with a DP210, it's not a good idea to mount longer screw poles and a cover (at least with THE DP210 that I've modded, it hasn't been productive). I would have felt culprit if I hadn't shared my conclusions about that with you and the community, that's all.

    Once again, good luck. I'll follow your initiatic trip with respect and interest.
     
  11. ashbass

    ashbass V.I.P. Member

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    Call Dimarzio customer service and get the slotted screws from them. Perfect replacements. I did this about 10 years ago when I wanted slots for dimarzio/ibanez pickups. Easy. IIRC they charged me $1 a screw.
     
  12. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Member

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    The bobbin plastic is pretty soft. I've swapped similar sized screws that had different threadings without trouble. The plastic held whatever just fine. I think one time the holes in the base plate put up a little resistance, but those are easy enough to enlarge if needed. I thought the hex screws looks alright with the cover, though. DiMarzio even sells some models that come stock like that.
     
  13. Who

    Who are you? Who who who who.... Premium Member

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    C'mon.... this is cosmetic. No need for all this science....


    A) Turn hex screws CW a couple turns.
    B) Slice screw heads off regular pickup screws
    3) Glue screw heads to hex screws
    4) Install covers.


    ;)
     
  14. Eric R

    Eric R Member

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    Ok here we go, came home late last night after bandrehearsal.

    First thing I began doing when I got home was pour me a drink and get to work on this project.

    Removing an placing went like a charm, perfect fit, no complications what so ever.
    Ik did discover that the magnetic charge of the "hot" side of the pickup is significantly higher than the other side.

    Cover is on its way, keep you guys updated.
     

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  15. Eric R

    Eric R Member

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    I just measured the dcr and that still is 5,8
     
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  16. Who

    Who are you? Who who who who.... Premium Member

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    Thank goodness. Because we all know the only thing that affects the sound a pickup makes is ohmmage.









    Posting from my iPad makes it hard to use purple. ;)




    On a serious note, did you measure the DCR with screws removed? My guess is that it also did not change (as measured by the equipment you own). https://electronics.stackexchange.c...e-have-a-higher-resistance-than-straight-wire




    I realize I'm making an uneducated assumption of the equipment you own.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
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  17. freefrog

    freefrog Senior Member

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    That's normal and that's a good thing because any change in DCR would mean that you've pinched and/or damaged the end wire of a coil.

    The pickup as you've modified it has probably now a slightly increased inductance and a slightly altered mag filed but it shouldn't alter its tonal profile as long as the other row of hex poles stays intact. Actually, if you put a cover on the pickup as it is now and notice a change in tone, this change will probably come mostly from the cover.
    [IMHO and on the basis on my own experiments]

    Regarding squealing issues, things should stay under control as long as you don't dismantle the whole pickup to change other components (a row of slugs touching hardly the baseplate being a good way to make the thing squeal like a pig, IMHO and on the basis of my own experiments).

    If you mount a cover and if it causes squealing issues, stick it with a drop of silicone on the hidden coil...

    Let us know how your half modded pickup sounds! :)
     
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  18. Eric R

    Eric R Member

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    FF I will let you know. And I will post a video of it by then.
     
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  19. Eric R

    Eric R Member

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    So,.. the cover came in the mail yesterday. Inmediatly sanded it down with 1000 grit so it would'nt shine that much en would have a more vintage vibe to it.
    Mounted it on the HFH. Allmost perfect fit. Holes in the cover seem a bit large for the polepieces and a tiny bit wider spaced. But I can live with it.
    I've allready installed the pickup in my Les Paul. looks neet! Not in any way recognizable as a from hell pickup though :)

    Have to wait until fridaynight before I am back in the rehears studio where my amps are located. (Egnater Rebel 20 / Hayden Mofo 30 MKI -> on 2 2x12 V30 cabs)
    Pictures and video will follow.
     
  20. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Member

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    I'd be interested in seeing a pic. I wonder if the cover has a mismatched hole spacing. When I tested this on page 1, everything lined up perfect.


    [​IMG]
     

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