Seymour Duncan SH13 Dimebucker review
If you’ve heard Pantera, Damageplan or any other project that Dime was involved in, you’ll probably have a pretty good idea of how this pickup sounds. Dime’s sound was a mix of screaming treble and harmonics, with a resonant low end. The searing, sharp and biting high end is probably what Dime is most famous for.
Many people hate the extreme high end of Dime’s tone. In fact, if not handled properly the Seymour Duncan SH13 Dimebucker might have a bit too much high end! You have to remember that Dime’s tone on records was double-tracked left and right, and live he was going through a large Randall stack.
If you put this in a guitar then play through a 10watt Fender, you’re asking for (deafening) trouble! That’s not how metal is supposed to sound, and that isn’t what this pickup does!
The Dimebucker uses a powerful ceramic magnet with two stainless steel blades. The key features of this pickup, though, is the small metal mass in the core. This gives the pickup high D.C. resistance and a high resonant peak.
Now, in layman’s terms, higher D.C. resistance means a higher output. This means the pickup sends a stronger signal to your amp (resulting in bigger, heavier sounds). The high resonant peak is the source of all that treble. Different pickups have different resonant frequencies, and the SH13 Dimebucker definitely has one to get your noticed!
So, this all produces a very aggressive, barking (and biting) tone- perfect for thrashier metal, or aggressive lead playing!
I’ve talked a lot about the treble, but the bass response of this pickup is also great. There isn’t as much bass to be had, but what is there is very tight, and punchy. The last thing you want when getting your massive ‘power-groove’ on, is a floppy low end (that’s what she said…).
On that, this pickup certainly delivers. As you would expect from Seymour Duncan.
- Perfect for heavy rock and metal
- D.C Resistance: 16.25k ohms
- Inductance: 8.45 H
- Resonant Frequency: 5.1k Hz
- Hand built in Santa Barbara, California
- Includes mounting hardware, custom mounting ring and detailed schematic
- Ceramic magnet
- Stainless steel blades
- Small metal mass in core
The Seymour Duncan SH13 Dimebucker is definitely recommended for the bridge position (next to the bridge). Dime also used a Seymour Duncan ’59 model in the neck position for warmer P.A.F. tones.
Also, this pickup is used by Mark Morton from Lamb of God, and (to half quote Henry Ford) it comes in any colour, so long as it’s black.
What We liked…
The thing to realise about this pickup is that it’s hot. With 16.25k output this thing packs a bigger punch than your standard pickup! More output generally means more distorted sounds, and less interference in your tone.
The Seymour Duncan SH13 Dimebucker delivers on both counts! You can get the gnarly, distorted sound in the lows, and screaming harmonics with the high end. This applies for standard, as well as dropped tunings. In fact, the higher resonant frequency of this pickup means a tighter bass, which is essential if you like to tune low!
The high output also means more sustain, so your lead lines can really soar. Just think back to the sound of any Dimebag solo, it sounds like that. You can really hear every note on the fastest legato runs, too!
If you like Dime’s tone, then this pickup is perfect for metal. However, it can also pull off great classic rock tones. All you have to do is reduce the gain on your amp and the pickup has just enough power to gently distort a tube amp. This is not what the pickup was designed for, but it’s a nice byproduct of having higher output pickup.
I especially love how it produces a nice clear tone, while also allowing brutal amounts of distortion!
What We didn’t like…
This pickup has a lot of presence in the high mids. This isn’t a fault, and is how the pickup is designed. However, with the wrong amp settings, ears might start to bleed (and that isn’t a good thing!).
Also, Dime used a noisegate (as any responsible guitarist should). The Seymour Duncan SH13 Dimebucker has a huge output, and that means a huge potential for extra noise. If you plan on playing this pickup loud, then getting one yourself wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Aside from the problems with tone and volume, the mounting for this pickup isn’t metal enough. In fact, it’s plastic. This reduced the overall feel and quality. Not a huge issue for some, but if you want something that looks as heavy as this thing sounds, you’re going to be very disappointed.
Conclusions on the Seymour Duncan SH13 Dimebucker
This truly is a great pickup! Don’t let anyone tell you that it isn’t. It’s capable of the most brutal metal, but is also at home with blues or classic rock. The low end is nice and tight, which is perfect for drop-tuned heavy metal riffage.
However, with the wrong amp settings (or the wrong amp), what you get with this pickup is an overload of treble. So, just be careful before you’re too quick to judge. The Seymour Duncan SH13 Dimebucker is a very versatile pickup, if you know how to use it!