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Thread: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

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    Junior Member Icarus's Avatar
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    Default Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    Hey gang, I'm new to the forum and a beginner guitar player looking to make my first adjustment to my Cort M600 (2007). My guitar came with the stock EMG HZ humbuckers but I'm unhappy with the sound. I'm looking to replace the pickups with something that'll give me more of a vintage blues/classic rock sound (think B.B. King). After consulting with both the fine people at Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio, they recommended me the SD '59 (bridge/neck set) and the Air Classic (bridge/neck set). '

    Now I'm looking for some input from the forum. I've read a lot of good things about the SD '59 and mostly positive things about the Air Classics. Nevertheless, I want to know what the people here think about it. Do you recommend I get either one of these sets? Do you recommend I get either a '59 or Air Classic in combination with something else? Alternatives in general? Any comments are welcome.

    Please keep in mind that this will be the first time I'm changing pickups on a guitar. I'm not going to do any major remodelling or install wiring for an active pickup.

    Any comments are welcome!

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    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    welcome to the forum!

    the 59's are a great set of pups for blues and classic rock, i had them in an epiphone les paul and they sounded great. they are similar to what was in the guitars that were used on loads of famous records from the 60's and 70's

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    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
    the 59's are a great set of pups for blues and classic rock, i had them in an epiphone les paul and they sounded great. they are similar to what was in the guitars that were used on loads of famous records from the 60's and 70's
    +1. '59's are often recommended here; great definition and clarity, they take overdrive well.

    Always good to have another blues player on board.

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    Mojo's Minions GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    The '59s are good pickups. I've got them in an Epi Dot and they handle blues/classic rock very nicely. You might also want to check out Seth Lovers or Antiquities if you want to spend more cash for a vintage HB kind of sound.

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    Just A Minion ErikH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    Either the '59s or the Air Classics will serve you well. I myself prefer the Air Classics. They have a little bit more push in the mids and the highs are a little sweeter to me too. As a set they are fantastic, especially in LP style guitars.
    Last edited by ErikH; 08-22-2011 at 01:52 PM.

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    Junior Member Icarus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    for the welcoming words and for the quick responses to this thread. So far, it seems like the sd '59 has a lot of fans. Looking to hear a little more from people who have experience with both the '59 and the Air Classics. Also, alternative pickup suggestions are more than welcome. In any case, really appreciate all of the above comments!

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    Junior Member Icarus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    So you'd put in two SH-55 or Antiquities? Or would you mix it up in some way?

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    Mojo's Minions blueman335's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Icarus View Post
    So you'd put in two SH-55 or Antiquities? Or would you mix it up in some way?
    They're PAF's, as are '59's and PG's. Duncan makes some of the best PAF's you can buy. You can mix and match any two PAF's (like teh originals were in the 1950's).

    '59's have A5 magnets which have a sharp high end, scooped mids, and a strong firm bass. The others (PG, Seth, Ant, A2P) have A2's which though still bright, have fuller mids and a more rounded high end. Output is a little less, and the bass is looser sounding. But what offsets that is the added chewy dynamics of A2's. Some guys use a Seth bridge and a PGN, or a A2P bridge and a '59N. Whatever you want. There's really no such thing as a 'matched set' (that's a marketing term), and you don't have to have the same magnet in both PU's.

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    Tone Member nicholaspaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    Sounds like I have to get some '59s at some point Anything to justify dragging more guitars into the house (or building more!)
    I have a Jazz humbucker in the neck of a mahogany guitar that has a beautiful blues ton when split. Just love it. I would almost say SRV-like, but I'm not a purist. It's pretty sweet anyhow.

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    Mojo's Minions Bludave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    As others have said the 59's are a great set, but IMHO The AII' pros are a warmer sounding pickup especially in a Les Paul type of guitar. I just put a set of the Slash signature AII's in my LP standard and I have fallen in love with her all over again. Its warm with the neck pickup and crisp and articulate in the bridge. Great pickups overall. The 59's are also very good, but I paired my 59bridge with a Jazz in the neck. I also coil tapped this in a Tele for even more versatility.

    You see what happens when you ask a simple question?? OH. Welcome to the forum, stay a while hang out learn. There is a wealth of information here!
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker IanBallard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    If you can really play the blues, any humbucker will work.

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    Mojo's Minions Ascension's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    I own Air Clasics,59's and also others. My favorite pickups for classic Blues tones are Alnico II's . Alnico II Pro Duncans, PG's and the Custom Custom in the bridge are my favorites.
    “Tolerance is the last virtue of a depraved society. When an immoral society has blatantly and proudly violated all the commandments, it insists upon one last virtue, tolerance for its immorality. It will not tolerate condemnation of its perversions. It creates a whole new world in which only the intolerant critic of intolerable evil is evil.”

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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by IanBallard View Post
    If you can really play the blues, any humbucker will work.
    You could really say that about any gear. With a famous example for each case, you may never need to practise, never learn scales, use a solid state amp and make your own guitar out of stuff you find in the alley. But some of us need a little more help to sound good!

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    Junior Member Icarus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    Glad to have all this input coming my way. And... Yeah, if I was a musical genius I'd just make my guitar out of a wooden board, single string, messed up pickup and a beer bottle. But well, I'm just a tone-deaf beginner.

    In any case, always eager for even more comments! Especially from people who have tried both the '59 and the Air Classics and prefer one over the or who want to have their own alternative choice mentioned. Before the end of the week I'm making a choice... :-D

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Franknfilms's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    I've tried both the 59 and Air Classic in the neck position only, can't comment on the bridge. I think these pickups are definitely worth comparing, they are pretty similar. The 59 has very strong lows and highs, somewhat scooped in the mids. Very clean, clear and bright. The Air Classic has softer lows and highs and stronger mids. Cleans are good, but it is hotter than the 59, sounds a little better with heavy distortion, easily beats the 59 in the sustain dept. but not in clarity.

    For your cort guitar, I'm thinking it is a pretty warm instrument and would take extremely well to the 59s. I have a rather bright ebony board guitar that I like the air classic in. So, +1 for the 59s.
    1978 Gibson Les Paul Standard: Tim Shaw's
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Franknfilms's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    Personally, I like single coil blues as well as humbucker. If you want to do coil splitting, just note that 4 conductor 59's might cost you extra. Air Classics come with 4 conductor wire. Also consider buying used pickups, start right here on the Trading Post.
    1978 Gibson Les Paul Standard: Tim Shaw's
    Frankencaster: SM-3n Seymourized Mini, Norton
    Schecter C1+: 59n, Custom UOA5, Triple Shots
    Cruise Strat: EMG 58
    Peavey XXX 40efx head
    Egnater Tweaker 15
    Genz-Benz Tribal 2x12 cab, Eminence Private Jacks
    Crybaby, Earthquaker Tone Reaper, MXR Classic OD, Boss SD-1 keeley stacked, Hardwire Tuner, Ditto Delay, Hardwire RV-5

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    Junior Member Icarus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    Thanks for your input Franknfilms. That was very helpful!

    So, conductors is that the same as "phases"? I like the idea of being able to split my coil. I have one push/pull tone control knob. If I buy the '59, would I buy one with 4 conductors/phases (bridge) and one with only 2 conductors/phases (neck)? Is that how it works?

    Any experience with the Seth Lovers model for blues?

    I'd buy used but since I'm in the Netherlands the trading post might not be ideal for me.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker IanBallard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by nicholaspaul View Post
    You could really say that about any gear. With a famous example for each case, you may never need to practise, never learn scales, use a solid state amp and make your own guitar out of stuff you find in the alley. But some of us need a little more help to sound good!
    I was kinda being facetious. Playing an Invader into a 6505, cranked, probably won't get you "blues tones", even if BB King was playing.... but it would still be the blues.

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    Alnico 6/8 gibson175's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by IanBallard View Post
    If you can really play the blues, any humbucker will work.
    ...in fact any pickup at all will work!


    ....but i like 59s.....

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    Default Re: Blues Humbucker discussion: SD '59 vs. DiMarzio Air Classics, alternatives?

    Personally I like the A2's in the PG for blues when I play through lower watt amps.

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