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

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

mike.corrieri.3 12/03/2014

DiMarzio DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary : mike.corrieri.3's user review

« Nails the PAF tone in my historic gibson »

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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.