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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i want to tell you a real simple thing i did to my tone zones that made them sound much better
you take off the fabric tape that wraps the two coils and protects the wires
then take out the screws that mount the coils to the baseplate
now carefully remove the metal bar the screw poles pass through
next you want to make the magnet contact the screw poles now that the metal retainer bar is removed.
the creates the "AIR" gap dimarzio uses on the air buckers but only one coil is air bucker on this version of the TZ
what this does is lower the TZ's output by a small margin and it makes the tone zone not so damn thick and boosted all then time,it is a lot more vocal and open this way now
this version sounds much closer to the custom wound bridge pup eddie used in the EBMM sig guitars
it is a kinder, gentler TZ but still mean as a pissed off lion when you want it to be!
hotter than the air zone and more aggresive still but less than a stock TZ
real cool simple mod that i turned many EVH fans onto
 

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Yeah I've heard that one before. It's a "half air" zone. It sounds like a great mod although I haven't tried it. I would insert a nylon filler so that the poles stay equidistant from the magnet at all times, but it's totally unnecessary. And no, it's not like getting an Air Zone. Because only half the pickup is "aired" the mismatch between the coils starts to add overtones and harmonics that wouldn't be in either the AZ or TZ by themselves.

I don't know why people have to get all juvenile. It's a valid idea. Lately I've been making a lot of custom pickups by winding my own coils, but also by making some coil combinations from multiple pickups. I have a Fred/Tone Zone combo that smokes. Less whineyness from the Fred, less wall of sound from the TZ. It's a great combo. It keeps the desirable qualities of both and eliminates the negative ones. The possibilities are limitless when you can think of humbuckers as two individual coils rather than a single pickup.
 

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Hmm, i want to try this, but i dont want to risk my tonezone. You think it would work if i tested the mod out on an Ibanez V8 pickup?

Edit: How would you go about this step? "next you want to make the magnet contact the screw poles now that the metal retainer bar is removed."
 

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The way I understand it, you could do it either way. You could make either coil be the "air" coil at that point. If you leave the magnet where it is, then the slugs will be touching it, but he screw poles will not. That will be your air gap (also where I'd insert some nylon or even soft wood shim) Otherwise, you can move the magnet over until it touches the screw poles, and now your slug coil will be the "air" coil. I think that's what Roadstar did.

But when Dimarzio does an "airbucker" with slugs, they actually use different slugs. They get smaller right at the bottom, so they are the same diameter of the screw poles. Also depending on the model, they add short slugs in between the slugs you actually see. They are stealth, and sit under the top of the bobbin. Just another magnetic field manipulation.
 

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This thread reminds me of a related question I've had (sorry if this is a thread hijack). When wiring up my guitar recently I faced some clearance issues that compelled me to try to take my Air Norton 7 apart (so as to change the side of the pickup on which the wires come out). Long story short, I got as far as removing the screws on the baseplate and prying it enough so that it separated from the rest of the pickup by a millimeter or two. I gave up and put it back together. My question is this: how fragile are the innards of pickups? Is it possible to muck things about by doing what I did? I've never successfully opened up a pickup, so I don't know exactly what they look like inside. Of course I know there is a magnet with coils of wire wrapped around it, but I don't know the details. Thanks.
 

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The magnets have a little silicone or something sticky on them. You can gently pry it loose, and the stickiness will probably re-stick after you move it over. You might want to wait for Roadstar to come around and confirm that he moved his magnet over to touch the screw poles, and that hte air gap was on the slug coils. Like I said, either way gives you one air coil and one standard coil.

As for the fragility, imagine you're working at the pickup plant, assembling them. That's how delicate you need to be. :) Usually with quality pickups the lead wire extending from the coil itself is very well secured, and you don't have to worry about much while you're in there. But proceed with caution nonetheless.
 

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Just be careful with the hookup wires - the pickup wire they are soldered to is EXTREMELY fragile (thinner than human hair) and it's very easy to accidentally tug on the hookup wire and break the connection with the coil. It's easy to fix again if you're ok with a soldering iron, but better to be careful in the first place. If all you're doing is removing the keeper bar from underneath the screw coil, it shouldn't be tough, just make sure you lift both coils together to stop any undue pressure caused by separating the coils (and hence tugging the hookup wires).

Regards,

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
lyconxero said:
Instead of going through all that, it'd be easier to just buy an Air Zone and either adjust it closer to the strings or just turn your amp up.
NO you are WRONG!
this mod is not the same as a air zone or TZ
it is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT sound altogether
one coil is air and the other is full strength
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
rty13ibz98 said:
sounds like a decent mod, but i love my tone zones just the way they are. mean and fat. my air zone...is exactly the same, but with just a tad more dynamics.

rich
well this mod is in between those two if that is a thing some may want?
some want a pup dead in the middle of those two sound wise and this is it
 
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