Deciding on the best pickup for your guitar can be a tremendous job, especially if you are relatively new, and you have no clue what you are doing. The good news is many guitars come with their own pickups. But then, there are times when you will need a third party pickup in the first place.
Seymour Duncan Vs. DiMarzio Pickups
To help you understand how pickups work, imagine a bunch of magnets wrapped in copper wire coils. They come up with a magnetic field over the strings, which will generate a voltage and travel through cables to come up as sound.
I know, it sounds sophisticated. Plus, many other factors will affect the final design. But then, a little attention to small details can lead you in the right direction. When hunting the best brands on the market, you will inevitably end up comparing pickups.
It is not just my opinion, but a general market idea. Now, what should you know before making a final decision?
Considering the coils
Classic pickups feature a single coil. Modern pickups come with double coils – they are often referred to as humbuckers. The humbucker design came to life in the 1950s and became a better option because it keeps the useful signal, but it cancels out the noise. Other than that, a humbucker has more sustain and stronger output.
Now, both brands are featured with both single coils and humbuckers. Single coils are suitable for clean sounds. They feel crispy and bright, while humbuckers are more suitable for dark and warm tones.
More aspects can influence the sound of your guitar. In terms of pickups, both options are right, and these top brands support both of them. At the end of the day, it is a matter of personal preference.
Active and passive circuits
When it comes to generating voltage, all pickups rely on several methods – some of them are passive, while others are active. The passive ones rely on nothing but magnets, while active pickups are also enhanced with a preamp.
Active pickups have excellent tonal clarity, as well as some consistency at multiple volumes. They provide better results if you have long cables. Given the clear signal, sustain, and sharp attack, they are excellent for bass players.
On the other hand, passive pickups rely on preamps to reduce the necessity of strong magnets. From many points of view, active pickups represent a better choice. But then, passive pickups seem to be more popular. People are just used to them.
When comparing these pickups, you will find both options. However, based on reviews and ratings, passive DiMarzio3 pickups seem to be a bit better rated than Seymour Duncan 4 alternatives. I found it impossible to determine a clear winner at this point.
Considering the location
Where are you planning to place the pickup? A little change can seriously influence the tone. The one closest to the bridge sounds quite bright, while the one by the neck is full and warm. It also has a long sustain. You can also get one in the middle if you want – it is a middle option between the two other locations.
Given the tone they produce, DiMarzio pickups would be more suitable for the sides – either by the neck or the bridge. Seymour Duncan is more general, so its pickups are more appropriate in the middle. However, you can play around with them and switch them until you obtain the perfect tone for your style.
At this point, it is challenging to compare pickups because every player has their favorite style and tone.
Price and value for money
If you shop on a budget, the price will inevitably affect your final decision. At the same time, you want the best value for money too. Generally speaking, DiMarzio pickups are cheaper in most parts of the world. There are certain markets where DiMarzio is slightly more expensive than Seymour Duncan though.
When it comes to value for money, you cannot go wrong with any of them. Both brands seem to dominate the market, so you cannot go wrong.
While there might be many who can disagree, I have played around with both Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio pickups. It is not just my opinion, but a general aspect that I have noticed in numerous reviews. DiMarzio does much better than Seymour Duncan when it comes to high output sounds.
On the other hand, Seymour Duncan seems to run the market in terms of medium output stuff. Although not necessarily my style, I find Seymour Duncan better in vintage output. If you want to achieve the classic sound, this might be the ideal option for you.
Now, as you may already know, the ideal pickup is the one that gives you the sound you want to achieve. Try out a bunch of different pickups from Seymour Duncan, and you will come up with a plethora of different sounds. With time and experience, you will realize that most DiMarzio pickups have a distinctive sound.
I cannot tell whether this is a good or a bad thing. Experienced guitar players can immediately identify a DiMarzio pickup by the sound only, while Seymour Duncan is more diversified.
As a short conclusion, I said it before, and I will repeat it – comparing pickups can be quite challenging. It is like comparing two different car manufacturers. For better results, you need to identify your needs and compare similar models with almost identical sounds.
The good news is that differences between the two brands are hard to identify for a beginner. In terms of pricing, they are relatively close too, while their reputation is mint. If you are new to this industry, it does not make a difference. As you gain experience, you will be able to tell the difference between two similar pickups, so making the right decision is much easier.
I hope you enjoy this brief comparison, while my little educational guide should point you in the right direction. Let me know what kind of experiences you have with these pickups in the comment section.