The original poster's experience mirrors my own. Growing up seeing Satch, Vai and Gilbert pimping DiMarzio in the pages of magazines, using their pups in the signature models, I just assumed these were the best pickups in the world. Advertising really works, I guess.
Then BrianH from these forums recommended a Seymour Duncan Hot Stack years ago for a project I was working on (very short clip here
) and when I fitted it I was astounded by the tone. Probably my favorite pickup.
"What else have I been missing?" I wondered.
It gave me the curiosity to stray from the DiMarzio box. For my next project I may use Duncans, or Laces, whatever seems right. It used to be a case of researching 'what DiMarzios would be right?' for a given replacement or project, but now it's a case of 'what pickups
would be right?'
That's got to be healthier.
DiMarzio still makes great products, though, and helped me out with some custom stuff. Amazing customer service. But it can only be good to broaden your horizons. Even if it's an Ibanez you're fitting, it doesn't have
to be a DiMarzio.