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When we started working with Billy Corgan on the pickups for his signature Strat®, we sent him several models to try out. He liked the Air Northon S in the neck, The Chopper in the middle and The Tone Zone in the bridge. After playing them on several gigs, he asked for some changes in the neck and bridge pickups. He wanted a deeper sound from the low strings without losing any punch, and he didn't want the sound to get muddy with high-gain amps. To do this, we lowered the frequency response of one of the the coils in each pickup just enough to boost the bass while opening up the mids. The end results are the pickups that are now in Billy's signature Strat®. They do exactly what he wants in humbucking mode, and he's found they work really well in split mode as well.
What do you need in order to play blues with a Strat®? The Virtual Vintage® Blues has more power and warmth than a typical single-coil. You can really hear these qualities when you’re playing the Virtual Vintage® Blues. It withstands hard picking and opens up when you’re playing with an overdriven amp. Instead of shrinking away, the sound jumps out of the speakers. These qualities are really useful for getting a fat neck position sound, but they’re outstanding for the bridge position — particularly if you have a thin-sounding guitar or use light gauge strings. It’s a tough sounding bridge pickup with warmer guitars, and makes a good neck and middle choice to match with a full-size bridge humbucker. As the rest of the Virtual Vintage® family, it’s dead quiet; there’s practically no hum at all.
The Virtual Vintage® 54 Pro uses the same ground breaking technology as our Area 58 and Area 61 pickups. The Virtual Vintage® 54 Pro replaces the Virtual Vintage® 54 and VirtuAL 2® middle pickups. It has a warm, smoky sound, fattens up when you pick hard, and has a special grade of Alnico 2 magnet to reduce string pull. Like all of the Virtual Vintage® models, it’s dead quiet.
If you’ve heard the cliché that Alnico 2 means warm, soft sound, prepare to be surprised. This is not a polite pickup, and the closer it’s adjusted to the strings, the more raw it gets. In particular, the Alnico 2 magnetic field opens up all of the attack and definition of the low strings. It’s a hot pickup with a strong attack in the bridge position, and its Alnico 2 magnets allow it to work very well in the neck position as well, for players who want a very warm, round sound. If you want an in-your-face-and-proud-of-it sound, the Virtual Vintage® Heavy Blues 2 is the top pick.
DiMarzio® has been working on serious vintage single-coil design with no hum for eight years. Our goal has always been to capture the best qualities of pickups we heard from the 1950s and early ‘60s. We’ve played several pickups from the early ‘60s that had a unique tonality: they were steely, yet woody-sounding. Naturally, we wanted to nail this sound, and we wanted to do it with no hum and less magnet-pull. This is it. It’s good in all three positions, and it’s a perfect bridge pickup with a pair of Area ‘58s if you want to go all the way from Nashville to Texas in one guitar.
The Monterey Pop Festival of 1967 was a watershed event in American music. When it was over, the world had heard and felt the sound of a Strat® in the hands of a master. Single-coils in 1967 were bright and very clean. And, of course, they hummed. We've captured the classic bright and clean sound but totally eliminated the hum with our patented Area™ technology. We've also reduced magnet pull by 40% for improved sustain and clarity. The Area 67™ has the chime of 60s pickups, and the 2 and 4 positions are light, bright and quack-happy.
We first heard about Paul Gilbert in the 1980s. Billy Sheehan told us about an amazing 18-year-old who had recently arrived in California and had blown everyone away with his musicianship, speed, and awesome technical ability in Racer X. Naturally, we immediately asked Paul to become a DiMarzio® endorser. It was the start of a great relationship.
Recently, Paul has been heavily into our Area™ pickups. He’s also been playing a lot of Racer X-style instrumentals, so the time was right for signature Paul Gilbert single-coil sized DiMarzio® pickups. The outcome of our teamwork are the new Injector™ Neck and Bridge Model pickups. Paul loves the results, and you can hear them on his latest CD, “Fuzz Universe”.
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