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DiMarzio DP138 Virtual Soundhole Pickup

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by soulman969, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. soulman969

    soulman969 Doctor of Teleocity

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    I just picked one of these up from my soul brother and TDPRI member oldteleguy and I am as impressed as all hell with it. I'm not a big fan of Piezo pickups alone so my Taylor has a blender system with both a Piezo and an internal mic and I figured I could use this one with my Breedlove to accomplish the same thing but with a sound hole pickup.

    I can, and I did, but I'll be damned if this pickup doesn't sound so good that I may forget about blending it at all. The external cord is a little bit of a nuisance but for this kind or transparency and tonality I'll deal with it. It has a beautiful open and natural tone. Kudos to DiMarzio for this one.

    Anyone else using this same pickup and have any thoughts or tips they'd like to share?
     
  2. syrynx

    syrynx Tele-Afflicted

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    I've never heard a DP138, but I'm a mag sound hole pickup junkie, so I'm keenly interested in your experience. "Transparency... open and natural" could describe how I feel about the ancient Lawrence Sound Research pickups I have in most of my acoustics.

    What strings are you using, and what amplification system? Any chance of an audio or audio+video clip?
     
  3. zombywoof

    zombywoof Friend of Leo's

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    I am with you Bro. and still have a couple of Dearmond 210 and Kent WRC-18 soundhole pickups around.

    The DiMarzio that everybody is chasing after is the DP-139. It has been out of production for years but has achieved a well deserved legendary status driving the price way up. But if you run across one you might want to jump on it.
     
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  5. soulman969

    soulman969 Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm a huge fan of Bill Lawrence's pickups too syrynx. I have a set of Keystones in one of my Teles and his P46 and J45 set in my basses. One more Tele will have a set of his Micro-Coils a little later this year. Of course I've never played any of Bill's old acoustic pickups but to me this DiMarzio has many of the same basic characteristics of my Keystones.

    It has that same kind of transparency and it lets the tone of the guitar come through with little or no audible coloration. The Breedlove has a cedar top and there's a certain sweetness to it acoustically that this DiMarzio reproduces extremely well. The guitar sounds very much the same amplified as it does acoustically. To me that's pretty impressive for a magnetic pickup. I'd say it almost rivals close mic'ing it with a condenser. It's that pure tonally.

    The strings are a set of Thomastik-Infeld Plectrums and I've been playing it straight in (no preamp) through the acoustic amp modeler of my Roland Cube 40xl. It's not a dedicated acoustic amp but the acoustic simulation model works fairly well. The output of the pickup itself isn't all that high so I'll probably use a tc electronic booster pedal I have with it but so far I've been content to use it without that so I got the best feel I could for the pickup itself and any limitations it may have.

    Unfortunately I have no recording set up at home and it may be awhile before I get any chance to record with it. Two of my former band mates who do have studios are tied up with their own projects right now. When I do get that opportunity I'd be glad to post some sound samples here but as I say it may be awhile.

    I was somewhat skeptical that it would sound this good but I'm not any longer. It's a great sounding pickup.
     
  6. soulman969

    soulman969 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yeah, very little current info on the DP139 and even a search on Ebay only brings up one sold last February for $150 or a little more than double what the DP138 sells for.
     
  7. syrynx

    syrynx Tele-Afflicted

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    Soulman969, thanks very much for the swift and detailed reply. :)

    I'm especially intrigued because you're pleased with the sounds of bronze-wound strings through the DP138. Either stainless or nickel strings sound wonderful to my ears through my Lawrences, but bronze have always disappointed me.

    What's the magic of the DP139?
     
  8. soulman969

    soulman969 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Those TI Plectrums are incredible sounding strings in their own right syrynx. The guitar came with a set of D'Addario EXPs and it just didn't "sing" like my Taylor. Switched over to the Plectrums and it was like a different guitar. Very clean sounding but not overly bright or tinny and loads of harmonic overtones.

    FWIW I do prefer pure nickel strings with the Keystones I have in one of my Teles.

    All I know about the DP139 is that it's an acoustic reference pickup which indicates to me that's it's also very uncolored but it's no longer made and I wonder just how much more accurate or uncolored it could be that the DP138.
     
  9. Greg.Coal

    Greg.Coal Tele-Afflicted

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    I have the DP 138, Soulman. This is the humbucker with the sliding volume control? Is it also called "Virtual Soundhole Pickup"? I did not know that.

    I never liked it that much! I guess I should dig it out if the drawer and try it again.

    I DO regret giving away a Lawrence Soundhole pickup ....maybe it was B200 it was nice. It looked so insubstantial I disregarded it.

    I don't think Bill Lawrence had any intentional connection to them - he list the use of "Lawrence" to an ex-partner which is why he used "Wilde".

    Greg
     
  10. syrynx

    syrynx Tele-Afflicted

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    My Lawrence Sound Research pickups (four FT145s, an A345, and a never-yet-installed AT170) are absolutely the work of Bill Lawrence. I've had them all since before 1984, the year that Bill Lawrence parted ways with the current marketer of pickups with similar appearance which bear the Lawrence name.

    The "Lawrence" sound hole pickups currently available are visually similar to the Lawrence Sound Research pickups bearing the same model numbers. But I have no idea whether they actually meet the late and much-missed designer's strict specifications and manufacturing standards, and I have no intention of putting a dime in the pockets of "Bill Lawrence USA" to find out whether or not they're any good.
     
  11. soulman969

    soulman969 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yeah Greg, that's the one and "Virtual" is just the marketing name they gave to that model to distinguish it from a couple of others they call an "Elemental", a "Natural" and a "Super Natural". The "Naturals" have a rosewood look finish rather than black and the latter has higher output than mine. I believe the "Elemental" and "Natural" are for smaller bodied guitars like OMs or OOs.

    They also market their "Angel" series which are are more upscale from mine and has a sound hole model that can be connected through an end pin jack and one that also combines a magnetic sound hole pickup with a piezo. I got this with the thought of combining both pickups with my Breedlove somewhat the same way DiMarzio's "Angel" system does but the DiMarzio also sounds great all by itself.

    I'm sure there are those that are even better than this DiMarzio and if Bill Lawrence/Wilde offered ones like those syrynx has I'd be all over them but sadly they do not. Anything more recent that's marketed under Bill's name is a product of Bill Lawrence USA which Bill and Becky had nothing to do with and neither will I.
     
  12. Greg.Coal

    Greg.Coal Tele-Afflicted

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    So I got my Dimarzio out and it sounds great of course. I think I was always comparing it to a brighter piezo because I imagined it was dark. I though this time, too, it was dull but I realized my strings are dull so it was actually doing a great job reproducing the sound.

    Hate banging the pickup with my pick, though .....

    Greg
     
  13. soulman969

    soulman969 Doctor of Teleocity

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    LOL, yeah it's not very forgiving of dead strings. Those TI Plectrums I put on really made a difference. They woke up the whole guitar. With that kind of transparency and a flatter response it pretty much reproduces what it hears and of course it's sitting in the "sweet spot" too so that alone should make it more balanced tonally.

    A Piezo has a much wider range of frequency response but they can be annoyingly brittle sounding and sitting right in the bridge doesn't exactly put them in the best spot to pick up on any "sweetness" or "mellowness" if it's there. That was my reason for wanting both so I could blend them a bit. Each has it's strong point.

    I have a habit of playing slightly behind that "sweet spot" so the DiMarzio doesn't get in my way as much as it probably does for you and others. I just wish I could feed the cord to an internal jack so it wasn't just lying along the body. I guess I could put one in but I don't really feel up to drilling a hole for it in the guitar just yet.
     
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