Duncan Distortion

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by backinit, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. backinit

    backinit Well-Known Member

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    I read today that it is the same pickups except for the magnet as a JB. Does anyone have any first hand experience with both and is able to offer a comparison?
     
  2. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    I own both. I've read the same thing about the pickups being the same except for the magnet, though I've also come across debates on other forums in which that point is contested.

    I find the JB more versatile than the Distortion. It's really comes down to what you require of a pickup. I play blues, classic rock, stuff as heavy as VH and G&R, and the JB can do all of these passably.

    I find the Distortion a "one trick pony." Too compressed to my ears. If you're doing heavier music, with precise riffing under heavy gain that needs to be tight and articulate, or you want searing leads, then the Distortion may work for you. It's definitely a popular choice.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  3. golem

    golem Well-Known Member

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    Well they have the same DCR and SD is known for having models that are the same with magnet swaps (although with the Custom it's pretty explicit). I haven't tried both on the same amp so I'll pass on comparing.
     

  4. PsychoCid

    PsychoCid Well-Known Member

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    If I recall correctly, Duncan only makes like 4 original pickups. The rest are all just modifications of those designs.
     
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  5. andrewsrea

    andrewsrea Well-Known Member

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    I think originally they were pretty close. The DD was closely matched coils with a pretty uniform pattern, 44ga magnet wire & Ceramic-8 magnet. The JB was a very slight mismatch, also 44ga wire with a 'calibrated' Alnico 5 magnet. My ears hear some scatter patterns. The DD & JB's DC resistance was in spitting distance from each other.

    Note: I have a 1983 JB in my AMI Strat and have had it apart. I've also rewound a JB (one coil) and a few DD's.

    Early JB's did not come standard with 4 conductor lead wire. It was an option. Now, I think it is standard.

    I think sometime in the late 80's or early 90's they were the same windings, wire, etc. , sans the magnets. I speculate like @PsychoCid insinuated, for production purposes.
     
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  6. mark_morton

    mark_morton Well-Known Member

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    Cats hit the nail in the head. JB is more versatile.
     
  7. andrewsrea

    andrewsrea Well-Known Member

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    ^ Agree.

    I immediately like the DD and then get fatigued on it within two or three songs. With the exception of my 1992 PRS CE-24 with a HFS bridge pickup and also the Joe Barden Tele pickups, I have a deep problem bonding with the ceramic magnet 'stiff' and uncompressed sound.

    Once in a while, I like the sound of the original Dimarzio Dual Sounds - a Super Distortion model that had a coil-tap (not a split), which you could select a hot or less hot sound. I think it used a smaller than Ceramic-8, ceramic magnet. Again this is from memory than recent use. If I recall, the Dimarzio SD was not nearly as hot as the Duncan DD.
     
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  8. backinit

    backinit Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate the feedback. I am only asking about SD Distortions because I have seen a few killer deals on the SD Distortion Mayhem set. It's good to know that physically it's so similar to a JB because if a did get a set I could swap out the magnet and get a JB or a Warren Demartini signature (A2) provided the ceramic is of the thinner variety.
     
  9. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Well-Known Member

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    For your consideration, there are cheaper options similar to what you want out there.

    Guitar Madness
    New York based but imports them from Korea. I think he designs them (not sure). Seller used to work for a NY based pickup company and very knowledgeable. On eBay they sell a variety of affordable pickups cheap enough for you to try and toss if you don't like them but most likely you'll like them! The have a set of GM Dirty Digits which are similar to Gibson's Dirty Fingers and close to what you need for only $28.95 a set (yes you read it right).

    Specs:
    Magnet: Ceramic
    Large Center Magnet with 2 Helper Magnets
    Neck : 10.5k with 43 ga wire
    Bridge : 17k with 44 ga. wire

    Demo:


    Wood Shop Pickups by D&D Research
    They designed and made their Damask Metal bridge humbucker in the USA sold for $35. It is a 44awg wind, using a ceramic 8 magnet, and wound to 17.2k. It is designed with the metal/hard rock player in mind.

    They are a Reverb seller at https://reverb.com/shop/darryls-gear-garage-21

    Demo:
     
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  10. RedLesPaul

    RedLesPaul Well-Known Member

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    I had a DD in my white Strat it was a beast of a high gain pickup. I sold it when I decided to go back to a SSS setup on that Strat just to have something different. Otherwise I wouldn't have sold it.
     
  11. Deadman73

    Deadman73 Well-Known Member

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    I can’t offer an in depth analysis of each model but I’ll chime in since I’m bored at work.

    I have the Mayhem Set in an Explorer and find them excellent, don’t foresee changing them any time soon. Whereas the JB I had I didn’t like at all and tried in many different guitars before selling it on Reverb.

    I have not had the DD apart but something makes me think they have the bigger c magnet - but I’ve used popsicle sticks as spacers when changing those to alnico and had no issues.
     
  12. slaveunit

    slaveunit Well-Known Member

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    Comparison with the low end
    JB=mushy
    DD=tight
     
  13. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    It could be solely the magnet choice but the SD doesn’t sound all that similar to a JB to me in similar guitars.

    I could also be biased because the JB is my favorite bridge humbucker, surpassing my old favorite, the Gibson 498T.

    To my ears, the Super Distortion sounds more like a 498T, now that I think about it, with a little less top end bite. Are they structurally similar?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  14. andrewsrea

    andrewsrea Well-Known Member

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    The 498T & JB are similar. Over-wound, with Alnico 5 magnets. I believe the 498T has 43ga wire and JB has 44ga and more coil windings. The DD is the same windings and wire as the JB, but has a very big Ceramic 8 bar magnet. The Dimarzio SD is a lot like a 498T with the wire & windings, but SD uses a ceramic magnet.
     
  15. PsychoCid

    PsychoCid Well-Known Member

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    Couple of notes...
    1. A DiMarzio SD is more 70s distortion (a la Kiss) while a Duncan Distortion is more 80s (metal)

    2. As far as I know, Duncan only makes about 4 original pickups. The JB is one of the four. The dozens of other pickups are just variants on those 4 designs.
     
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  16. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Well-Known Member

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    I’m about to order a DiMarzio D Activator F spaced bridge and Bluesbucker neck for my Standard 24. I was, and remain, somewhat conflicted about both. My usual choice is a Duncan Hotrodded Humbucker set JB/Jazz or JB/‘59 set. Known quantities and they work well with the rest of my gear.

    I have no experience with DiMarzio, so I’m trying to choose from pickups I haven’t played. I like “mismatched” bridge and neck outputs, so my other option is a Super Distortion bridge, Humbucker from Hell neck.

    I’m most likely going to go with the Bluesbucker because the HFH’s output seems REALLY low, at least on paper, so I don’t think it’ll sound great when I split the coils. And the SD, which I have played and heard, worked great in alder and basswood guitars, but I think may end up too dark in a mahogany slab.


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