Tele pickups: Dimarzio vs Seymour Duncan

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by fakeplastic, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,305
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Sounds good to me.
     
  2. AngelDeville

    AngelDeville Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    108
    Posts:
    1,732
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Location:
    Albuquerque
    I truly believe it is difficult to find a bad telecaster pickup.

    Even the Mexican Fenders are quite nice. But my favorite are the CS Nocasters.

    Between Duncan and Dimarzio its kind of like picking out my favorite double mint twin.
     
    sothoth likes this.
  3. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,760
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    .

    I tend to buy a lot more used guitars than I do new ones. So I often acquire guitars that the previous owners "upgraded the pickups!" and they changed out the stock pickups to SDs. I haven't really come across a used guitar with Dimarzios yet. However, the SDs are always too muddy to me. I end up yanking them and putting in a particular import factory that sells on ebay through various and changing sellers which sound more hand-scatter-wound to me (and capacitance measurements have proven that out, bonus they are less than $15/set). So when I see someone write in their guitar description "upgraded to SD pickups!" I automatically insert 'downgraded'. Some people love them and that's ok. I hear the founder is a great guy. But those pickups are often (a few have been 'ok') way too muddy.

    So I'd suggest spending time mining the Dimarzio models to find something. Or even chase the Cavalier/Rose/Lawrence/etc small boutique pickup winders -- that might be more fun.

    .
     
  4. Hobs

    Hobs Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    139
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I've had and enjoyed both. Both companies make excellent products, IMHO, and have good reputations for customer service. I haven't ever needed service from either one. I will agree with the previous point that the visible branding on some of the Duncans is obnoxious, but there's none at all on many of the models.
     
  5. rich815

    rich815 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    55
    Posts:
    2,442
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2016
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area
    DiMarzio Twang King and True Velvet. Fantastic tele pickups.
     
  6. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,353
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    Location:
    west coast
    DiMarzio vs SD is an 80's concept. With players like Tonerider, Donlis, Tone Emporium and BYO all offering comparable quality at at least half the price, that two party system is an antiquated concept. And unlike DiMarzio and SD, they don't plaster their name on the tops of their pickups, so your guitar won't look like it somehow fell out an 80's hair metal magazine.
     
    parademe likes this.
  7. fakeplastic

    fakeplastic Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    388
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    Location:
    NV
    I think comparing SD/Dimarzio to those companies is apples and oranges. From a consumer's standpoint, you can go to SD/Dimarzio and see that they each have 10+ different Tele pickup models. Everything from vintage winds, to modern hot noiseless designs. Tonerider and Donlis have what like 3 options each? While I don't necessarily dispute that there are more affordable and decent pickups out there now compared to the 80s/90s, the big boys have a much bigger selection, and arguably more interesting designs (because they have more resources).
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
    rich815 and JayFreddy like this.
  8. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,636
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
    Location:
    South Australia
    Seymour Duncan's IMHO.
     
  9. NiceTele

    NiceTele Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,117
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    Location:
    Australia
    DiMarzio True Velvet is my favorite Tele bridge pup
     
    TequilaCaster, rich815 and JayFreddy like this.
  10. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,353
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    Location:
    west coast
    Most of the overlap between DiMarzio and SD is in the vintage range anyway. When you get into the niche pickups, their offerings become unique unto themselves. They both have stacked humbuckers, and there aren't many of them in the lower priced tiers, but I think that's about the extent of where they're competitive, apples to apples.
     
  11. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    8,427
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Dallas TX USA
    I'm going to keep this simple.

    I love the SD Jerry Donahue set.

    I love the Dimarzio Twang King set more.

    If a Tele needs new pickups, the Dimarzio Twang King set is my first choice.

    If a Telecaster has Seymour Duncan Donahues in it, it doesn't need new pickups.
     
  12. El Marin

    El Marin Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    666
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain, EU
    Some "acetona", sorry, don't know the name in English will erase the name.... "nails color remover" works as well


    I have been using Dimarzio Twang King and recently changed to SD Broadcaster.... none of them are bad at all but... I am considering going back to Twang King. At least in my SG, yes a SG with Tele pickups. I think SD broadcaster sound thinner, just a tad, but I miss something and will go back to Twang King.

    I mean Bridge pickups, my guitars all have a humbucker at the neck position
     
    TequilaCaster and Tommy Biggs like this.
  13. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,796
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    I have far more Dimarzio pickups than I have Duncan pickups... I guess that says something about which I prefer.

    I love the Dimarzio Area T pickups... they sound awesome, are totally noiseless, and the price is great. Slam dunk easy choice in a Tele.

    I like Dimarzio PAF Master humbuckers also - I have them in neck position of two Teles and bridge position in a Strat.

    Dimarzio has a number of other pickups that I am really interested in checking out, as well.

    Duncan... I don't know... sort of 'meh' for me, I guess - not sure why.
     
    TequilaCaster and Bartholomew3 like this.
  14. sothoth

    sothoth Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

    Posts:
    612
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    Location:
    Kepler-186f
    Thanks for mentioning those alternatives. I will probably try something from Tonerider and Emporium.
     
  15. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,989
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    Location:
    Northern NJ

    I agree, it’s an easy fix. I just don’t see the need to even bother to do it. Acetone is the name in the US. It is mostly sold as “Nail Polish Remover” (for the ladies fingernails).

    I’ve used DiMarzio and SD on my Tele, honestly it’s not the brand, but the specific pickup that matters. I’m more of a rock Tele player than a twanger, but it still has to have good Tele character.
    I liked the old DMZ Pre-B1, but it got a little noisy in crappy bars, with a little gain. Sounded nice and ballsy while you were playing, but I needed to manage it between songs.
    I didn’t like the SD Hot lead Stack at all, (long story how it even got there) and swapped it for a Vintage Lead Stack (STK3) that’s really great. Both are SD Noiseless and dead quiet.

    I have an SD Lil 59 in a HSS Strat, that is pretty good for that guitar, but for me it would be too much for a Tele. I’ve used DMZ HBs in an SG and was happy enough, and like the SD set in my current Les Paul. Maybe I’m easily pleased, but to me it’s the output, the magnets and the character- not the brand.

    If I had to do it over I’d try the 36th Anniv HBs in the Gibson guitars, and the Areas in the Tele. I see no need to change anything I have though. None of those pickups were available when I swapped out.
     
  16. LoveHz

    LoveHz Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    644
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2014
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    Check out the Duncan Tele Quarter Pounder demo on YouTube by Rodney Gene -- great tone and, as usual, terrific pickin' from RG.
     
    Mincer likes this.
  17. Mincer

    Mincer Tele-Meister

    Age:
    48
    Posts:
    401
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2017
    Location:
    Tampa Bay Area
    I totally get this. I fight the power by using Brasso to take the logos off of the pickups I don't want logos on. Comes off cleanly with no scratches.

     
    Tommy Biggs likes this.
  18. Elmore

    Elmore Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    622
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta
    I have a Duncan vintage Tele stack in my Tele bridge, and it plays nice with the neck Gibson mini-humbucker. 500K CTS pots and Jensen paper in oil cap(s) really open things up. Great sounding bridge pickup for country twang with no hum. I painted over the SD logo on the pickup with flat black model paint.
     
    Tommy Biggs likes this.
  19. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    686
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2014
    Location:
    Lititz, PA
    Whatever pickups you use, I find on Teles that you need to over exaggerate the volume balance between the neck and bridge for a good middle tone - in other words, make the bridge much louder than the neck. And they should be in-phase, despite the benefits of noise cancelling from OOP. You get the clarity and chirpiness instead of a “bland compromise”.
     
    aland1505 likes this.
  20. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,353
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    Location:
    west coast
    Regarding the use of acetone to remove the logo from pickups, acetone destroys various plastics. Way back when I ruined a pick guard trying to remove some painted on graphics with acetone. The the plastic a pickup cover or bobbin will stand up to acetone is fairly risky, especially if you did spend more than $100 on the pickup. If there is a bad interaction, and best the plastic loses it's glossy appearance, at worse it will warp the plastic and leave visible streaks where the acetone has been wiped across it.
     
    Tommy Biggs likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.