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SliderJeff 09-30-2002 01:53 PM

Air Norton vs. Humbucker From Hell in
Hey guys,

If any of you have been following my threads over in the USRG series forum here on Jemsite, I'm sure you have seen some of this before. For those of you that haven't, I need to pick your brains.

I recently got a transparent blue, 1996 USRG30 with stock PAF Pro and Tone Zone pickups. I have made up my mind that I will replace the Tone Zone with a Steve's Special. The plans for the neck humbucker have been narrowed down to two choices:

1.) DiMarzio Humbucker From Hell
2.) DiMarzio Air Norton

I currently own brand new versions of both pickups. I REALLY don't want to install and remove them one at a time and see which one I like better because I TRULY do NOT enjoy working on my guitars. I want them to magically be setup with ultra low action, no trem issues and perfect intonation. Unfortunately I don't live in that fictional world where chocolate horse roam the streets and I play guitar like John Petrucci... SOOO. Here's my questions:

Has anyone placed a Humbucker From Hell into a USRG Series guitar and what did you think of its sound in the alder body with the maple cap? Was it too thin? I pretend that I can shred and enjoy playing nice and sloppy sweep picking. Ok, I don't enjoy either of those, but if/when I get GOOD at shredding I want the pickups to reflect my ability and not the lack thereof. My thoughts on the tonal differences of the two pickups I am considering are that the HFH would probably sound great with a nice high end and considerable lack of any kind of mud for sweeps... though I am not certain if it would "sing" on melodic solos. The Air Norton would most likely sing better for melodic stuff, but I am not certain if the sweeps would have the same bite as the HFH. Also, with the rather strange wiring patterns that the USRG has (thanks, macsen):

1) Neck humbucking
2) Inside coil of neck and inside coil of bridge
3) Neck and bridge (both humbucking)
4) Bridge humbucking and inside coil of neck
5) Bridge humbucking

I am wondering if I could get something similar to the HFH if I ran the Air Norton as just the inside coil or just the outside coil for position 3 instead of both full humbuckers in that position as it is wired now. That "both humbuckers" position is truly useless for me. Anyone ever run just one of the coils of an AN by themselves? Any idea how this sounds?

I'd appreciate any thoughts you can throw my way.

Thanks and regards,

RSVampire 09-30-2002 02:22 PM

I have an Air Norton in my JS1000 basswood body and I think it rocks. It's totally a sweeper pickup and fast Malmsteen type runs. Really liquidy but not muddy. If I split the coil on JUST the neck it's totally an SRV type sound. Very blues and sparkly with some single coil bite to it. I wouldn't buy any other neck pickup for my guitars now. I'm in love with this pickup, I just gotta find a bridge pickup to get my tone completed.

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