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According to DiMarzio, here are the characteristics that make a great vintage humbucker: a soft magnetic field, sweet tone, perfect balance between warmth and clarity, the ability to go from clean to distorted by pick attack alone.
For the PAF 36th Anniversary Neck DiMarzio wanted to continue in the path of pioneers such as Seth Lover (designer of the original Patent Applied For humbucker) and create pickups that combine all of the characteristics of great vintage humbuckers. These pickups are not merely clones. DiMarzio re-engineered the PAF® using their patented technology and Larry DiMarzio’s own 1959 cherry sunburst Gibson® Les Paul® as the reference. Larry’s Gibson® Les Paul® has a uniquely amazing sound and it’s not only due to the pickups — it’s the total fusion of many elements of the guitar itself. Although the pickups have a weak magnetic field, the sound is well defined: almost like a single-coil.
DiMarzio duplicated the weaker magnetic field in order to allow the strings to vibrate longer, as well as focus and articulate the attack and output. Using computer-controlled winders to consistently layer the 42-gauge custom-coated wire, DiMarzio achieved the exact frequency response they wanted. Then it’s dipped in their custom formula to eliminate squeal and microphonics.
The cover is made from nickel-silver and their new plating makes it more magnetically transparent than the originals. The PAF 36th Anniversary Neck is smooth but not muddy. It performs equally well in the neck or bridge, just as the best humbuckers from the 50s did.
Wiring: 4 Conductor (1 Conductor optional)
Magnet: Alnico 5
Output mV: 250
DC Resistance: 7.31 Kohm
The sound of a Norton is right between FRED and The Tone Zone. It’s got some FRED-like harmonic overtones that can only be described as nasty, with more of the power and mid-range of the heavyweight Tone Zone. The same patented dual-resonance design used in FRED and The Tone Zone delivers a sound that’s hotter and “bigger” than any vintage model, but not as loud as a distortion-class humbucker. Norton might be DiMarzio's most versatile bridge pickup. Combine it with a wide choice of neck pickups like the Air Classic, PAF 36th Anniversary, PAF Pro, and Air Norton.
Wiring: 4 Conductor
Magnet: Alnico 5
Output mV: 352
DC Resistance: 12.62 Kohm