When I started out with playing guitar, I quickly realised that if you wanted great guitar tone, then stock pickups on anything but top model guitars were a weak link. I also struggled to find much information on specific pickups, and therefore deciding what pickups I should buy for my guitar was a hard choice.
Now I know a little more, and having advised friends on their choice of pickup, I thought I’d put that info out for others to find.
I once fitted a DImarzio D-Sonic humbucker to an Ibanez with a basswood body, a bolt on neck with maple fingerboard (which usually sound brighter than rosewood) and 9 gauge stings in standard tuning.
Here’s what Dimarzio say about installing the D-Sonic:
“Installation direction makes a noticeable difference in the sound, particularly with overdriven amps. With the solid bar toward the bridge, the sound is a little brighter and better-defined, and this is the direction we recommend for heavy strings and low tunings. With the adjustable polepieces toward the bridge, the sound is warmer and a touch louder, and we think this works best for standard tuning and more solo-oriented playing. Each coil has a unique tonal character, so the two split sounds are different, and parallel humbucking produces a third clean and bright sound.”
I’m sure after that info, you can understand why I installed it this Ibanez with the far towards the neck (just like in the picture above of the John Petrucci signature guitar with the bar towards the neck).
Usually in this situation you would probably wire the pickup reversed to avoid phase issues, but in this particular guitar I was working on, there was a Seymour Duncan APS-1B bridge pickup in the middle position. So although the D-Sonic was physically reversed, the wiring wasn’t. This gave for an interesting pickup switching (see the diagram below). Also I used the old Ibanez trick of a 330pF treble bleed capacitor in parallel with the volume pot input (from the pickup selector) and the vol pot output to the jack socket.
If you want to see an actual wiring diagram for this, then please click the picture below for a larger version. The bridge pickup is replaced by the D-Sonic, but essentially wired the same then the actual pickup is turned around to face the other way. Wire 1 is the green and braid. Wire 2 is white and black. Wire 3 is red.