Gear talk for the GAS-afflicted.

Dimarzio Tonezone vs D-Sonic!

Dimarzio Tonezone vs D-Sonic!

Sep 11, 2013

Mark Hunter is the lead guitarist of the hard rock band Setting Fire to Stacey, who are currently making waves in the local music scene with their singles “Something Out of Nothing” and “No Rhyme No Reason” currently airing on radiowaves near you! Mark likes long walks on the beach (with John Petrucci) and sunsets (with John Petrucci) and pina coladas (with John Petrucci). Hahaha oh  no he’s going to kill me.

Hey everyone! I recently did a pickup swap in one of my guitars and thought I’d share my thoughts on them, as well as some sound clips I recorded to help anyone who might be tossing up a similar decision.

My goal was to get my two primary guitars (Musicman JP6 and Ash Customworks Kelly, pictured below) to sound a little more similar to each other as I was finding the EQ differences between them a little too drastic to make mid gig swapping work without having to alter the EQ on my amp. I was really happy with the tone of my Musicman JP6 and after doing some tests I decided the Ash had quite a bit more mids and wasn’t as bright. It also seemed to have a bit of a looser sounding bottom end.

Ash Customworks Kelly and Musicman JP6


In the current setup, the JP6 has the stock Dimarzio pickups, a Crunchlab and a LiquiFire. The Kelly had a Dimarzio ToneZone in the bridge and I think a Seymour Duncan Alnico Pro 2 in the neck position.

After talking with The Samurai about it (The Ash Kelly was originally mine – built to my specifications by Adrian at Ash Customworks, but since I’m an old fogey now who plays Strats, Mark and I decided to do a long-term swap for another guitar ~Ed) we decided to replace the Dimarzio Tonezone in the bridge. He happened to have a Dimarzio D-Sonic sitting around unused, so I liberated that from his house to try it out. (Oh, so that’s where it disappeared to… ~Ed)

For those unfamiliar with these two pickups… essentially, Tonezone = Paul Gilbert, while D-Sonic = John Petrucci! (which also represents our respective preferences for high octane shredders, haha ~Ed)

So… here are the clips. The demos were recorded with my Mesa Boogie Mark V head into a Vintage 30 equipped cab mic’d with a Shure SM57 into Logic 9. The song is a portion of the latest song (still unnamed) I wrote for Setting Fire to Stacey. Please excuse the sloppy playing, I hadn’t originally intended to put them online, so they are pretty rough. But they should be good enough to give you an idea of the tonal differences between the two pickups. (And also for your reference, the Kelly is a 5-piece maple/bubinga neck through with alder wings ~Ed)



For comparison, here’s the EBMM JP6 with Crunchlab bridge pickup:

I’m really happy with the result! The D-Sonic is quite a bit brighter with less mids and a considerably tighter bottom end than the Tonezone, which is quite obvious in the demos. My two main guitars sound much more similar now, which makes things easier for me come gig time – so mission accomplished!

Hope that helps, if you’re looking to shift from a Tonezone to D-Sonic, or vice versa! See you guys next time.

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