Pickup selection advice: Norton bridge, which neck pickup should i choose? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-24-2014, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Pickup selection advice: Norton bridge, which neck pickup should i choose?

Hey all,

I just picked up a Dillion Les Paul. It has a mahogany chambered body (with hardtail, 2 volume and 2 tone knobs), 24 3/4" mahogany set neck with rosewood fingerboard.

i play mostly classic and hard rock. i don't have an amp that I own, i just use the amps that are available at the venue i'm playing at, or rent for the gig (which is usually a mic'd combo amp).

After doing some reading and listening, i've decided on a Norton bridge.

For the neck, it's a toss up between the PAF joe and Air Classic.

The PAF Pro is also a contender, but i read somewhere that when soloing high up on the neck with the PAF Pro it sounds brittle. Don't know how true that is, though.

I'd like to hear any thoughts or your experience on any of these configurations and if you've had any experience with any of these pickups with a chambered guitar.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 01:17 AM
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Re: Pickup selection advice: Norton bridge, which neck pickup should i choose?

Dimarzio recommends an Air Classic, Paf Pro, Paf 36th or Air Norton and although I haven't tried the Air Classic or Paf Pro I do have a paf 36th and an Air Norton in 2 of my RG's in the neck positions and I think I like the Paf 36th a little better than the Air Norton, although the Air Norton is nice for leads the Paf 36th seemed stronger for clean tones and it also had nice lead tones… I think it would would be hard to go wrong with any of the above. imho, I think if you play with high gain I might go for the Air Norton cuz it seems to smooth out high gain a little better but if you play with a more traditional classic / hard rock set up like me I think I would lean towards the paf 36th…my 2 cents
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 06:57 AM
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Re: Pickup selection advice: Norton bridge, which neck pickup should i choose?

I have an Air Norton in the neck on one guitar.
I also have PAF Pros in the neck on several guitars.

I like the PAF Pro better.
It has a really warm hummy tone to it.
When I play up high and pick hard I get a really nice clicky, chippy sound I love.

The Air Norton is okay, smooth.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 10:23 AM
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Re: Pickup selection advice: Norton bridge, which neck pickup should i choose?

I had a Seymour Duncan '59 in the neck of a semi-hollowbody so that would probably be somewhat like a chambered guitar.

There was no issue with any brittle sounds and it got just the right amount of mids with just enough high end, too. It's a common pickup in a lot of OEM guitars and while affordable, it's rarely a bad choice. It's like a Gibson PAF of old but with more output and more mids and my best guess for a similar DiMarzio would be the DiMarzio PAF or 36th PAF.

That being said many of the 1957 through mid 1959 Gibson PAFs were basically wound the same but not in any standardized way so they all sounded different and didn't come into their own as a standardized entity with same amount of winds for all PAFs until later in 1959 and beyond.

That later 1959 PAF, and then the early 1960s PAFs are a common baseline from which you can either go with more highs, mids, or lows, or a combination of the above. Duncan and DiMarzio are experts in fine tuning this basic PAF design ad nauseum. If you want to do so but with something handmade, then there are the Fralins, Bardens, Bare Knuckles, and "The Creamery" humbuckers.

What a lot of people don't talk about as much besides the body and its density or type of wood is the neck. A big fat neck could change the way a pickup sounds adding more sustain and the 57s and 58s could have a fatter neck and 59 somewhat less with different angle to body, and then yet a different beast in thinner 1960 necks and beyond. While not as important as pickup, it's still a factor. But a bright maple neck, as found on some really high end Gibsons as seen on L5s or Super 400s, can tend to add high end to the included humbuckers. So when a person says it's a basic humbucker sound from a typical Les Paul, there are so many shades of grey so there's nothing better than buying different pickups for your specific guitar and swapping them out from time to time.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 02-25-2014 at 11:03 AM.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-25-2014, 10:47 AM
Join Date: May 2008
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Re: Pickup selection advice: Norton bridge, which neck pickup should i choose?

Personally I'd go with a Liquifire. It's like a better Air Norton and would go well with a Norton in the bridge.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-01-2014, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Re: Pickup selection advice: Norton bridge, which neck pickup should i choose?

hey guys,

thanks for your input. and thanks for the history lesson 63blazer. i forgot to mention that i eq my amp to the neck pickup to get the tone i like, which is bright. and i adjust my tone knob on my bridge pickup lower cuz at this time the bridge is really bright.

i emailed dimarzio and they recommended a f-spaced norton in bridge and a air classic in neck. has anyone tried an air classic in a chambered body and what is f-spaced?
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