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Thread: DiMarzio Breed Vs. AT-1

  1. #1
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    Default DiMarzio Breed Vs. AT-1

    I'm thinking of replacing my Tone Zone with a Breed or AT-1. The guitar is routed for DiMarzio and is very shallow so really only takes their short pole pieces and I want to keep it DiMarzio, at least for now.

    I realize I don't really love ceramics anymore, and am mainly focusing on hot A5 pick ups like these two. Any thoughts on one versus the other? I play alot of hard rock and metal (very little nu-metal and no djent) mixed with other stuff, so I do like it a bit versatile too.

    Thanks,
    Jeff

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    Super Toneologist TMD's Avatar
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    Default Re: DiMarzio Breed Vs. AT-1

    I used to have Breeds in an RG550 and a JEM 7DBK. There was very little I couldn't do with those guitars.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Mr. B's Avatar
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    Default Re: DiMarzio Breed Vs. AT-1

    You didn't say what guitar you were putting it in. I tried the AT-1 twice because I love Andy Timmons' albums, but I really didn't like the At-1. It seemed like it was a very unbalanced pickup. I can't remember which, but either the bass or treble side felt very stiff and present, and the other felt very spongy and softer. Both times I ended up with the pickup set very unevenly with the pole pieces raised high on one side and really low on the other. I never could dial out the unbalanced feel.
    I love the Breed bridge in an Alder Jackson DK2M, but I did not like it in Basswood Ibanez RG's. I personally like the Tone Zone better than both of them.

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    Mojo's Minions Masta' C's Avatar
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    Default Re: DiMarzio Breed Vs. AT-1

    The Breed has more lower mids and a thicker, rolled-back top end. It's a well balanced pickup, but can feel a bit loose on the bottom in some guitars. Many players have called it a "polite" Tone Zone and that's actually a fairly decent description.

    The AT-1 still has rolled off highs, so it doesn't get piercing, but it is noticeably tighter and brighter than the Breed with a little more of that upper-mid punch that helps it stand out in a mix, if that's what you're after. I find the harmonics on the AT-1 to be more abundant, as well, closer to pickups like the JB and Fred.

  5. #5
    Ultimate Tone Member Nagisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: DiMarzio Breed Vs. AT-1

    I LOVE my Gravity Storm that I put in my Ibanez AZ. I was considering the breed and AT-1 but this one seemed to be people's choice for an all-rounder. Add me to the list.

    It's probably the first pickup I felt sounded perfect within the first 5 minutes of installing it. Works for blues to Megadeth (sounds like a JB with Marshall gain, but backs off really well for lighter overdrive). Great clarity too, and the high notes are perfect - definitely a Vai pickup in the sense of being a great one for leads.
    Last edited by Nagisa; 05-26-2020 at 05:34 AM.

  6. #6
    Mojo's Minions Masta' C's Avatar
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    Default Re: DiMarzio Breed Vs. AT-1

    What don't you like about the Tone Zone? Technically, it's also a "hot A5" pickup, after all

    Some people have had really good luck modifying the Tone Zone, so that's a possibility, depending on what you want from it.

    I hear only great things about the Gravity Storm set. I almost bought a set myself recently as I was also looking to move away from the Tone Zone/Air Norton combo in one of my guitars, but I ultimately settled on the Transition set, which, despite being ceramic-based on paper, is surprisingly dynamic and responds much more like an Alnico pickup set. BuddRoyce, the DiMarzio forum administrator, gave his review of both the Gravity Storm and Transition pickups a while back and came to the conclusion that both sets were some of DiMarzio's best, but the Transitions were his pick for overall versatility. Food for thought.

    I will say that the AT-1 sounds incredible in my Jackson Rhoads with 500K pots. It's a guitar that has proven to be particularly picky about pickups. If pickups were thick enough to tame its piercing top end, then they often weren't tight enough or they lacked the harmonic qualities I like under gain. If they were tight enough, they were either overly hot or too harsh through the upper registers. The JB was actually decent in this guitar and the Black Winter was close to perfect, if not a little snappy and bright, but the AT-1 is the perfect middle ground in this case. It's juicy, tight, dynamic and a real rocker from top to bottom. Nice note separation and a smooth treble response with a dose of attitude when you dig in. Plus, really musical sounding harmonics for days. It's a keeper in that guitar for sure.

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    Default Re: DiMarzio Breed Vs. AT-1

    The Tone Zone is actually very good, I'm just tweaking and trying to make it sound a little better =D. After everything, it might just stay. Bear in mind that I kept the guitar stock from July of last year until relatively recently, so I spent a lot of time with it as is.

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    Default Re: DiMarzio Breed Vs. AT-1

    So I ended up putting a Breed in the Ibanez and I really like it so far. It is a bit tighter with more mids than the Tone Zone, which to my ears makes it sound more aggressive. I know folks say it is a more polite Tone Zone but I'm not sure what that means and I don't quit hear it =D. Lead tone is fantastic with a bit more bite/upper mids than the Tone Zone and really sings. Cleans are good too =D.

  9. #9
    Mojo's Minions Masta' C's Avatar
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    Default Re: DiMarzio Breed Vs. AT-1

    The Breed is clearer than the Tone Zone and a little less bloated in the low end, but isn't really as high in output, though it's not a weak pickup by any means. It's a good all-around pickup and sounds like it's working well in your setup. Glad you decided to give it a try!

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