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NAMM 2013: DiMarzio Introduces Ionizer 8 Pickups Designed for Tosin Abasi of Animals As Leaders

This month, DiMarzio will release its three new Ionizer 8 pickups, all of which were designed for Animals As Leaders guitarist Tosin Abasi's new signature 8-string Ibanez guitar. The pickups are two years in the making.

The Ionizer 8 Neck Model (DP809) is warm and open like a vintage humbucker and solid like a modern metal pickup. It performs like a classic single-coil in split mode.

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It’s unusual for a player to request a humbucker with the single-coil sound as important as the series humbucking sound, but Abasi was clear on this point. The split mode has lower resistance than a vintage Strat 6-string pickup in order to let the seventh and eightth strings stay clean, but all the other specs nail a classic Strat sound.

DiMarzio created the Ionizer 8 Middle Model (DP810) single-coil to work with the Ionizer 8 Neck and Bridge models. It’s clean, bright and well-balanced. Although its construction bears little resemblance to a vintage 6-string single-coil, it performs similarly. Treble response is bright without being thin, and bass response is clean and solid.

When Abasi described what he wanted for the Ionizer 8 (DP811) humbucking Bridge Model, he said it is all about the mids. Eight-string guitars have extended low-end response, and the mids need to power the bridge position so the sound doesn’t wash out. It also needs to have enough output to overdrive an amp without making the sound muddy, and enough headroom to clean up when the volume is rolled down.

The long scale length of an 8-string guitar can make the sound of the unwound strings brittle, but the Ionizer 8 Bridge Model has a low resonant peak that warms them up, and the high E doesn’t sound thin, even at the upper frets. The 4-conductor wired humbuckers allow multiple coil connections, enabling a wealth of diverse sounds within the Ionizer 8™ three-pickup combination.

The pickups are made in the US. The suggested list price for the Ionizer 8 Neck and Bridge Models is $139 each; the Ionizer 8 Middle is $79. DiMarzio will show the pickups at the January 2013 NAMM Expo in Anaheim.

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Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.