DiMarzio The Tone Zone

Price Paid: 
$69
Condition: 
New
Humbucker/Single Coil/Stacked Single: 
Humbucker
Passive/Active/Not sure: 
Passive
AlNico/Ceramic/Not sure: 
AlNico
Output: 
High
Instrument Installed in: 
Charvel Predator, Charvel USA So Cal Pro Mod
Sound Quality: 
3
Reliability: 

 

 

I found that this pickup began sounding a bit tinny after about a year or 2, when I had it installed on a Charvel Predator.

Customer Support: 

Never dealt with DiMarzio

Summary: 

The Tone Zone is supposed to be a high output Alnico 5 pickup, with lots of dynamic range, and according to DiMarzio the treble is rolled back on this pickup...

I agree, it's a high output Alnico 5 pickup, but disagree with everything else.

Like most high output DiMarzio humbuckers, I find The Tone Zone to be too compressed for my liking, nasaly sounding, but that is simply a matter of taste. What I take issue with is what the name implies, and I have found very few DiMarzio people who really like this pickup... Where they came up with the name Tone Zone I do not know, it is anything but that. I found it funny when I saw that the EQ rating on this pickup has lower treble and higher mid/bass, because in both guitars I had it in, the treble really stood out, and was grating. The Charvel Predator was a used basswood body bolt on maple/rosewood neck, basically the type of guitar mostly associated with DiMarzio pickups, and The Tone Zone was replacing an unknown pickup, probably a stock Jackson pickup, the Pro Mod is alder and maple, and The Tone Zone was the stock pickup, the results were the same, with more than a decade apart separating the 2 pickups and guitars... High levels of treble, and not much dynamics. The sound was very sterile, not very full of harmonics, not much punch, and not only was this in different guitars, but over the course of those years I played a Tone Zone equipped guitar through vastly different amps, ranging from 2 solid state Peavey Studio Pro's, a Line 6 Spider 3 modeling amp, an Egnater Rebel 20/30 tube amp, and Carvin MTS 3200 tube amp. I even played a friend's Tone Zone equipped RG750, the same friend who recommended the Tone Zone to me 16 years ago, through my Randall RM22/Avatar contemporary closed back 2x12, which is a very punchy amp setup, using 4 different modules (Deluxe, XTC, Ultra, and Judge)... The Tone Zone performed poorly across the board, each time it was full of the grating treble, not very punchy, just way too compressed sounding, and nasaly.

Regarding reliability, as mentioned previously, The Tone Zone I had in the Charvel Predator began developing a tinny sound after a year or 2, and was flat. The Tone Zone in the Charvel Pro Mod did not develop such a quality, however, it was not in the guitar very long, having been swapped out for a Duncan Custom Custom.

There are people who prefer Duncan pickups, and there are DiMarzio people, I readily admit to being a Duncan person, but I'm more a convert, as I used DiMarzio pickups for years before buying an Edwards Les Paul that had a stock '59/JB set. There are DiMarzio humbuckers I do like, that do have that more compressed classic DiMarzio sound, that DiMarzio lovers would love, that I think are better alternatives in the bridge position. The Breed is one, and there is a terrific review of both the bridge and neck pickups at the link below. I also happen to like both the Evolution and Evo 2 pickups, had the Charvel Pro Mod come with a set of Evolution pickups, instead of just the Evolution neck and the Tone Zone in the bridge, I probably would have been quite content with it.

I gave The Tone Zone a 2 out of 5, and that may be generous, the fact that it eventually became tinny and flat is the reason the sound is at 3 but the overall is slow that. Enough people like it for DiMarzio to not discontinue it, in fact these people are pretty rabid about it... To each his own I guess... I've seen far better pickups get shelved.

The DiMarzio Breed Review

 

Overall Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)