Tell me about the Super Distortion humbucker

cooljuk

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I have a pair from about 77' that I love. I'm currently on the hunt for a Dimarzio Paf of that same era to use in the neck.

I have a handful of them. Pre and post “foot change” away from square.
 

cooljuk

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And do you ever find yourself wanting to part with any of them? Lol
There's a set on Reverb now: https://reverb.com/item/48027409-dimarzio-paf-70-s-matched-pair-vintage

You just want a single? I might consider selling one. I'll have to go through my collection and pull them out for photos. If you're looking for a budget price, I'm not your guy, though. I'll either ask top dollar or just hang onto them. Only so many out there. Especially in working original condition.
 

copperheadroad

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a SD is no more overwound than some of the hot paf style pickups being in the high 8-9k range .
It uses a smaller wire so it's almost 14k & stays bright . plus the double allen head set screws add punch to the mixture .
 

crazytrain513

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Interestingly, I was experimenting with this exact same situation for customer, earlier this week. Even gold cover related.

I tried a bunch of cover options on both vintage Super Distortions and also my own Super Distinction / VH pickups to see what each one did to the sound.

Short answer is they ALL hurt the sound in treble and volume. Much more than I expected, as it was far more significant than with PAF-style pickups. It was really noticeable. Enough of a problem that I didn't want to ship anything with my name on it without a better solution.

This was my bench, just a few days ago (tried some old DM PAFs, too, just for kicks).
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I didn't have a 12-hole cover but I had a few types of 6 hole covers, plated and unplated, nickel/gold/chrome/raw, copper / no copper, solid covers, and an entirely open cover with only sides and no top. Since the entirely open cover still messed with the sound too much, I think it's safe to say the 12 hole cover would also.

At the end of the day, what I ended up doing to get that treble back, keep a traditional look, and still have the sound of an early 70s Super Dist was to replace one of the bobbins on my build with a typical PAF-style screw bobbin, use actual pole screws and a steel keeper, but keep the pickup otherwise a SD-style build, with the large ceramic magnet, coil patterns, wire, etc. all as they should be (unlike the modern DM version, which has half the magnet and several other important changes away from originals).

The combination of the brighter pole screw coil, the increased inductance from the additional steel, presumably the changed shape of the magnetic field, and the option to use a copperless PAF-replica cover were all enough to get the frequency response back and harm the output the least. The two pickups in the front row (gold and black) sound almost entirely the same (and the black one sounds at least as good as my best vintage example from the back row). I didn't expect any of this to go as it did. Happy coincidence that the PAF-look is a solution and not a further compromise!

Getting a little nerdy, I wonder if the fact that the ceramic magnet's field is much tighter and closer to the magnet, despite being much denser/stronger, is what allows covers to alter the treble and volume so much more than it does in the weaker but broader fields of AlNiCos? ...a very loose theory, though.


My result:

I think it's best to run SD designs uncovered.

If you MUST cover one, some changes to the physical design of the pickup to compensate will help retain the classic sound better, and also give a totally stealth PAF-style look. Those will probably be my only options, going forward.
@cooljuk i just realized I never responded to this incredible post as I somehow skipped right past it last time. Thanks so much for the valuable info.

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FWIW, I did end up swapping in a Manlius Vinyl into my LPC and, while an awesome pickup in its own right for sure, was absolute Ice Pick City!

As a refresher, my LPC is a pretty bright guitar for which I still haven’t found the perfect pickup and the SD was the next option on my list.

Unfortunately @cooljuk I ordered one stock with the gold cover as I got a good deal and upon now reading your post re. the effect of the covers on the SD, I sort of regret not ordering uncovered. But I guess I will drop it in and if it seems overly quiey or muffled, will definitely remove the cover before judging the pickup harshly.

I am optimistic though - I now have a Jackson Adrian Smith USA with an SD in it and I was very impressed with it so my hopes are high!
 

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