DiMarzio DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary
DiMarzio DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary

DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary, Humbucker guitar pickup from DiMarzio in the Vintage Output series.

All user reviews for the DiMarzio DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary

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Average Score:4.9( 4.9/5 based on 8 reviews )
 7 reviews88 %
 1 user review13 %
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mike.corrieri.3's review"Nails the PAF tone in my historic gibson"

DiMarzio DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary
After listening to the accoustic clips of Larry Dimarzio's actual /59 les paul, I was astonished how closely it sounded to my Gibson Historic & Custom Shop 1958 Chambered Reissue Les Paul. Perhaps it's the chambering - I've heard that mentioned before how some of these sound more like a real burst than the solid ones, oddly enough.

So anyway, I called Dimarzio, and ordered a set with "vintage aged" nickel silver covers, and put them in my guitar. I actually had some small difficulty as the covers were square cornered, but I called dimarzio and got some help.

The result was pretty dang amazing, all I can say folks is you owe it to yourself to try them for yourself. They sounded more legit in this guitar than the original burstbuckers, wolftones, marshallheads, and throbaks. I didn't compare them to my set of True 60's ($450 pickups wound by Fralin for RS Guitarworks), but I did not want to yank those out of my other lester. However, I will say this guitar does sound better.

So here's some finer analysis:

The burstbuckers have that scrambled eggs sound (don't know what else to call it, that mid scramble sound)... these don't.

Wolfs and Marshalls... TOO HAIRY. Great sounding pickups, but real PAFs don't have hair, at least not the good ones.

Throbaks - they are exceptional, but they lack some of the woody-warmth on the neck pickup of the real ones I have played. The bridge was as good or better, but didn't pair well balance wise with the dimarzio neck, the output was louder. I do find an odd artifact in the lower mids on the throbaks, it sounds good, but I hear it every time I do low bends getting a vowel sound on my rig. Nothing bad though.. to be honest I like it, they deserve the reputation of more PAF than PAF.

The Dimarzios. Oh yes, oh yes. How do they make these so cheap? Turned down they clean up wonderfully, without losing that balanced tone or getting muddy, but cranked up through a cranked plexi, they sing, with the trade mark midrange tone, wonderful harmonic overtones. Not as open sounding as the wolfs or marshalls, but no hair... - the originals have a slight compression when pushed, and these nail it. The neck pickup deserves praise above and beyond the set itself - probably the best PAF neck pickup made since 1960, it just spills over in woodiness, the bass does not become muddy or overwhelming, just a perfect balance.

The value for price is ridiculous - making these pickups a no-brainer. When I first heard that dimarzio was going to compete with boutique pickup makers I laughed. I guess the value of the many years of experience of this company cannot be understated. What is impressive is they did not follow the sheeple, and replicate all the additional inflated-aspects of the PAF that have become the bread and butter of most boutique winders, they did a tone reset right back to '59, with the benefit of having real unmodified 59s in an exceptional example burst, to compare to.

Bottom line: If you want the tone, here it is.

RiceEatin2010GT's review"It has that real old PAF sound"

DiMarzio DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary
DiMarzio has been recently delivering some super high quality pickups at great prices. Ever since the boutique pickup market has started to gain some traction, DiMarzio decided to step it up and show the world that they can deliver pickups just as good and at better prices, all made here in the United States. The Anniversary PAF is a great example of one of their best pickups for that lower to mid gain stuff. If you’ve ever played an older PAF, you’ll know what it sounds like. It’s a lower output pickup that really allows the guitar’s natural frequencies to soar through the amp. It’s not like the standard higher output pickups that so many people seem to add in their guitars. This pickup seems to really mate best with Gibsons, in my experience. I’ve found that it can be a bit bright if you install it in a strat and don’t have a tone knob. The pickup just oozes mojo, though. You can really hear that vowel-ish kind of character that is very prominent in this pickup. It’s also extremely dynamic, so if you pick lightly, you’ll be able to get a great clean tone; if you pick hard, you’ll get an amazing hard rock tone that’ll just completely coat the room in amazing tone. It’s pretty crazy how responsive this pickup is when you start fiddling around with the volume knob. Just be sure that your guitar isn’t too bright sounding already. The pickup has some treble in it, and it might not be too pleasing through the wrong amp. I have these installed in my Gibson R7, and they sound absolutely glorious. I highly recommend them for anyone who wants that vintage kind of tone, especially if you’re a fan of Eric Johnson, Gary Moore and so on.

tjon901's review"Vintage style Dimarzio"

DiMarzio DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary
imarzio isnt really known for its vintage style pickups. Dimarzio has been making pickups forever and they are mostly known for their high gain and modern sounding pickups. They are used by people like Steve Vai and John Petrucci along with Joe Satriani. All these guys have a very modern sound and use decent amounts of gain. When most people are looking for a more vintage style pickup they may look towards Seymour Duncan or a boutique company. Dimarzio is looking to change that with this pickup. This is the 36th Anniversary PAF DP103. Everyone wants the PAF tone when they are looking at humbuckers. The PAF being the first humbucker means every humbucker nowadays has some PAF DNA in it. People pay tons of money for original PAF pickups even though they are like 50+ years old at this point and over time the tone can degrade from pickups. There are a ton of modern clones of PAF pickups but this Dimarzio is up there with some of the most boutique ones. This pickup is looking back towards the original. A decently low output PAF pickup like this one works well in just about any guitar. They have a low vintage level output but retain note to note clarity that you do not see often in low output pickups. Its easy for them to become muddy in tone when their output isnt cranked. I only tired this pickup in the neck position so I was mostly using it for cleans and lead tones. The lead tones from this pickup are excellent. The output is pretty low so the sound is not harsh at all and the clarity is great so you can still hear everything. With the lower output you can really play with your pick dynamics and it comes through really well. A high output pickup would just be brickwalled the whole time. If you are looking for a good modern PAF that retains more of the vintage vibe this Dimarzio should be something you look at.

James...'s review"The closest you are going to get in this price range"

DiMarzio DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary
It's no secret that the most chased after pickup design is a perfect 59 PAF replica. It's considered the holy grail of humbuckers. Dozens of high end boutique winders have their clones of them. Everyone swears they have the most accurate one, whether they charge $100 or $500 for them. In the past it's been a consensus of mine and a few other people that the only way to get a good PAF clone was to shell out $300+ bucks for a hand wound set using original materials.

When Dimarzio came out with these I was very very skeptical. I've used dimarzio's with success before, but that was in high gain applications. I've never looked at them as being a good provider of low gain pickups, or even very high quality pickups. Just an okay manufacturer. However, my friend told me I needed to try these. He said they were the real deal, so I figured it couldn't hurt to put them in my Les Paul standard.

I found out later that Larry Dimarzio did some pretty heavy research to make these. He actually simulated the aging of the magnets. On top of that he made sure the materials were all correct and the winding was done right. It makes sense because well...they sound spot on. I've played a lot of high end PAF clones and these are right up there. They just have that tone. Creamy, sweet, mid gain PAF tone. They are well balanced and clean up great. The cleans in the neck are ace. The bridge roars like a PAF should.

You really need to try these in a Les Paul to get the full effect. They were made for that function and they thrive in one. The value is tremendous. They have the boutique tone for a third of the price.

Hatsubai's review"Amazing PAF Neck Pickup"

DiMarzio DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary
Awhile back, DiMarzio released these pickups, and they’re still not as popular as they should be, for whatever reason. They’re aimed to appease the boutique pickup crowd and rival the PAF variants that so many people make. These pickups are open, have amazing note clarity and sound like some of the best PAF clones out there … maybe even better. Like nearly every DiMarzio pickup out there, these come with four conductor wiring, so you can wire it in any way you’d like. The pickup also has adjustable screw pieces on one coil with regular slugs on the other.

DiMarzio really did an amazing job with this pickup. It’s so good that it’s scary. This is one of those pickups that sounds awesome no matter what guitar you put it in. The neck has this low end that just blooms, and the high end on this warm. It reminds me almost of an Air Norton without the muddiness. It has more clarity than the Air Norton and PAF Pro, too. There’s no nasty compression going on that messes up your tone.

Just like the bridge pickup, this is aimed at the more low output pickup crowd. If you’re looking for a pickup more suited for metal, you probably won’t be looking at this pickup as it won’t compress like the other high gain pickups out there. However, it can still do an awesome 80s rock/metal tone going on with the correct guitar. Don’t forget, most of the pickups used back in the early 80s were just regular Seth Lover PAFs in Gibsons.

If you’re looking for a low to medium output neck pickup that sounds like a vintage PAF, sounds open and has tons of note clarity, I highly recommend checking this pickup out. It’ll fit with nearly any tone wood, and it’ll work great with both Les Pauls and Strats alike. The best thing is that it doesn’t cost a ton of money like so many other boutique pickup manufacturers out there.
Audiofanzine FR03/14/2009

Audiofanzine FR's review

DiMarzio DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary
(Originally written by Dima__67/translated from Audiofanzine FR)
I installed the PAF DP103 36th Anniversary two weeks ago on a Les Paul type guitar.

From the first test, I found it sounded much better than original pickup (which sounded good but not full enough) and the Seymour Duncan SH2N Jazz model I had installed two months before. The SH2 sounded very good with a wide dynamic range and a strong sound character. But the DP103 sounds more subtle and smoother when you play soft attacks or reduce the control volume. It has a good dynamic response when you play stronger attacks and it doesn't produce any signal peaks with each attack like the SH2 does. With clean sounds on a lead channel (I use a Laney tube amp and Tonelab LE) the sound ranges from dirty clean to generous, mellow and singing distortion.

Strong and accurate low frequency response. Smooth and consistent high frequency range. Solos with bending sound great. I even tend to play rhythm parts at the top-end and solo parts at the low-end of the neck.

I added a split this week. I get a rich and well-balanced single coil sound useful for clean rhythm parts and distorted solos. In combination with the split bridge pickup (a DSP223 36th Anniversary) I get a well-defined sound perfect for funky rhythm parts. It obviously doesn't sound like a real Strat. But it offers a good-quality single coil sound.

The sustain is better with the DP103 and DP223 than with the original pickups or the SH2 and SH2B combination.

I bought the worn nickel version secondhand on the web. Very good value for money.

I wouldn't hesitate to buy it again! I find this pickup is perfect for almost every music style (from blues to Santana) with a mahogany guitar. With the DP223 in bridge position you get the perfect balance.

Phil7292's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Vintage and shiny"

DiMarzio DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary
Installed in bridge position on a strat Yamaha. Upgrade very nice, punchy, bright c is what I was looking for, but can be a bit too. Also works very well split. I'm pretty happy with my choice, but I think that if he is mounted in the neck position, it is better to mount it on a violin naturally low in acute

DIMA2B's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

DiMarzio DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary
I installed the DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary weeks ago on a guitar type Lespaul.
Ds the first test, I found it much better than the original microphone, which n'tait not bad, but lacked safe, and that SEYMOUR DUNCAN JAZZ MODEL SH2n I install it two months ago. The SH2 silent trs well, with the dynamics and grain. But the DP103 is more subtle, softer when you attack that one sentence or decrease the volume, with a large dynamic ds that attack, but not with the "spike" in attacks that beginners 'was systmatiquement with SH2. Clearly, playing with volume and channel mdiator a well saturated (LANEY lamp and ToneLab LE in my case), moving from one's just a natural distortion crunch trs gn reuse, smooth and flte.
The bass is strong but not absolutely drool. The highs are smooth and consistent. The solos with sharp bends in the show a well "tube" totally enjoyable. I can almost make my rhythm on the treble and go solo on this serious.
This week I installed a split. This gives a rich sound simple, equilibrated trs exploitable clean rhythm and solo saturated. In combination with the microphone too acute Splitt (a DP223, the 36th Anniversary bridge), we obtain a well Tees nickel to make casseroles. This does not apply to simple strat. Srement, but it has its micro crdible simple gadget that is not.
The sustain of the guitar is better with the DP103 and DP223 with the microphones or the original duo and SH2n SH2B.
I bought it on the net to OCCAZ version states "worn nickel" (wholesale antique nickel cover) for 70USD. So I think the report is qualitprix trs good.
I would do without this choice hsitation. This microphone is perfect for little prs my opinion, and great for blues and stuff on a fawn SANTANA scratches in mahogany. Coupled to DP223 in acute, we obtain a perfect balance.