The DiMarzio Norton bridge pickup

Rocco Crocco

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I don't even remember why I chose this pickup.... someone on a forum probably recommended it. I installed this pickup into an Epiphone Les Paul last year, and finally got around to spending a lot of time with it. It absolutely kills. It has great bottom while staying tight, great cutting mids, and definition with gain. Its been around forever yet nobody ever talks about it, especially around here. This is a really underrated pickup if you are looking for something MORE (lows, mids, output) than a PAF.

I post this now because I am eyeing a pickup swap in a Les Paul, and will probably grab a Norton if I make the jump.
 

BDW60

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Amen to that.
I feel like I should have the ability to buy double cream pickups from any USA winder I want. Every time I look around and realize it‘s double black (yuck) or zebra (meh) or double freaking white (nope) that he’s making me settle for, I get miffed. Some guitars just look best with double cream.

He’ll not get a dime of my dough. And I’m hardly affected by it compared to you.
 

tonybony

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The Norton is really underrated. I used to put them in the bridge of PRS CU24's when I played them more.
 

GUITARFORCE Pickups

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I feel like I should have the ability to buy double cream pickups from any USA winder I want. Every time I look around and realize it‘s double black (yuck) or zebra (meh) or double freaking white (nope) that he’s making me settle for, I get miffed. Some guitars just look best with double cream.

He’ll not get a dime of my dough. And I’m hardly affected by it compared to you.
You can make a special request from winders and they will accommodate you with double cream. Keep it discreet.
 

dc007

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But my disdain for Mr. Dimarzio and his double cream “trademark” stops me from giving him my money.
Not crazy about that trademark thing but Larry did make it possible in the 70's to kick the front of the amp a little harder when we didn't have gain pedals.
Best regards
Boomer
 

Antigua

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The inductance of my Air Nortons were 6.2 henries, which may or may not be quite the same as typical Nortons. For comparison, a Pearly Gates bridge measured 5.0 henries, and a 8 henries, so the Norton is sort of "hot PAF".

Some suggested them for hollowbodies on some forum way back when, so I had two of them in a hollowbody, even though I think it's meant to be a bridge pickup. It was dark for my tastes so I replaced them with typical PAF-like pickups, 4 henry neck, 5 henry bridge. I think I would have liked the regular Nortons with the stronger magnetic field a bit better.
 

AJK1

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I had an Air Classic in the neck and an Air Norton in the bridge of a Jap Tokai Custom I once had and the combo sounded great
The Air Classic was one of the best neck pickups I’ve ever, ever played, period
 

robalx9

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I had an Air Classic in the neck and an Air Norton in the bridge of a Jap Tokai Custom I once had and the combo sounded great
The Air Classic was one of the best neck pickups I’ve ever, ever played, period
How would you describe the AC neck?
 

Antigua

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I've got a set of Air Classics, they're still in a guitar so I don't dislike them, but they're rather low output for a PAF type pickup. Both the neck and bridge have inductances in the 4 henry range. I'm not sure what they're good for, but I use them when I'm planning to play Eagles, or want PAFs that remind me somewhat of a Tele.
 

robalx9

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I've got a set of Air Classics, they're still in a guitar so I don't dislike them, but they're rather low output for a PAF type pickup. Both the neck and bridge have inductances in the 4 henry range. I'm not sure what they're good for, but I use them when I'm planning to play Eagles, or want PAFs that remind me somewhat of a Tele.
They seem to be popular and I like the description, but I'm worried that they would be a bit too polite and neutral sounding. Obviously, I could be wrong, since I haven't tried it. But looking for a low output PAF with some character.
 

AudioWonderland

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I don't even remember why I chose this pickup.... someone on a forum probably recommended it. I installed this pickup into an Epiphone Les Paul last year, and finally got around to spending a lot of time with it. It absolutely kills. It has great bottom while staying tight, great cutting mids, and definition with gain. Its been around forever yet nobody ever talks about it, especially around here. This is a really underrated pickup if you are looking for something MORE (lows, mids, output) than a PAF.

I post this now because I am eyeing a pickup swap in a Les Paul, and will probably grab a Norton if I make the jump.
I would have to disagree. I picked one up and tried it in a couple of builds. It was just... Not good... for me. The best description I have for it would be that it had very disonant harmonics. Ugly sounding to my ear.
 

Antigua

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They seem to be popular and I like the description, but I'm worried that they would be a bit too polite and neutral sounding. Obviously, I could be wrong, since I haven't tried it. But looking for a low output PAF with some character.
They have character to me, in the guitar they're in, unfortunately I'd say it's a weaker, softer sort of character, like a pickup that has been lowered too much, but looks like it isn't. The guitar is all mohogany body and neck though, they might sound better in brighter bodies.

DiMarzio's "air" method of making the magnetic field weaker by putting a gap between the magnet and the screws and pole pieces is supposed to mimic the sound of an AlNiCo 2 magnet while using AlNiCo 5. But they're changing more than just the strength, they're changing the whole magnetic reluctance path. Where as AlNiCo 2, 3 and 4 increases the permeability along the bottom of the pickup, DiMarzio's method does the opposite and reduces it, which is to say, it's just not the same thing.

Therefore I think that if you get a regular PAF type pickup, and then swap the magnets to change the strength, you'd have more control over the outcome. Another way to change the character is to clip off excess length from the filister screws, it will make the screw side of the pickup a little stronger than it would be otherwise, without changing the look of the pickup. I like these sorts of mods because having a guitar look stock is often important to me, which is another problem with the DiMarzio's, many of their models don't have a stock appearance.

Some would say that the boutique pickup makers sell pickups with the most character, but the pickups that I've installed and have been most surprised with how the resulting sound was both strange and pleasant, have been some cheap import pickups form Amazom.
 
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AcVox

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Wouldn't clipping the length of the adjustable pole pieces reduce their magnetic pull ?
It has been my understanding that the slug coil is dominant due to the greater mass of the slugs as compared to the fillister screws.

Could you clarify this point please ?
 

geddyleefan

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I didn't mind the Norton but I do love the Air Norton for its versatility in the neck or bridge and the fact that I love 3 pickup Les Pauls and SGs I like em smack dab in the middle position. Then again I can always put a PAF Pro neck, Air Norton or Norton in the middle and leave the Steve Special in the bridge
 


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