In my previous post about taming the DiMarzio Tone Zone I talked about using a capacitor to reduce the low-end muddiness that is sometimes associated with the Tone Zone. I used a 0.047uF capacitor to filter out some of the low end, and it did so fairly well. The Ibanez 20th Anniversary RG550 RFR that I installed the capacitor in is a muddy sounding guitar though, and the 0.047uF capacitor wasn’t quite cutting the low end enough for me when I was playing faster picked low E based riffs. The Tone Zone sounded fantastic for lead work, and riffs not predominately using the low E string, but things just got too flabby when chugging away on the low E.
I decided to try a 0.01uF capacitor to see if I could chop the bass out a little more and sharpen up the tone to my liking. I also decided to record a audio sample of the Tone Zone, first with no capacitor on the “hot” wire, then with a 0.047uF capacitor, and finally with a 0.01uf capacitor. The link below is the clip I recorded, playing some riffs from one of my band’s songs.
I used a fairly cheap condenser mic and USB to XLR cable, but I believe it showcases fairly well the differences between the stock Tone Zone, and the different capacitors installed.
Overall I was quite happy with the resulting tone I got from the 0.01uF capacitor, but it may have changed the overall tone and dynamics of the Tone Zone a little too much for some. One comment I have got with regards to the 0.01uf capacitor install is that the Tone Zone is sounding a little more like a Seymour Duncan JB than an original Tone Zone. I’ve not played a guitar with a JB before so I cannot really comment on that, but I do like the sound I got from the 0.01uF capacitor.
I think that if I installed the Tone Zone with the 0.047uF capacitor in a guitar that sounded less muddy I would be very happy with the tone. It seemed that with the 0.047uF capacitor the mid-range of the Tone Zone was bumped up a little bit as well, and it seemed to sing very nicely when playing lead.
I’d like to point out that these modifications are not exclusively Tone Zone specific, you can try it on any bridge or neck humbucker you may have that has a little too much bass for your liking. I’d love to hear about your results if you try these modifications on a Tone Zone, or any other pickup. 🙂