Joe Satriani. Satch. Even people that don’t play guitar know him as a guitarist’s guitarist. A player that navigated the saturated field of 80s shredders to remind us of the value of playing with a musicality that comes from the gut.
The DNA of the Mo’ Joe can be traced back through the DiMarzio FRED model and on to the DiMarzio PAF Pro model. An Alnico 5-powered pickup with a versatile pedigree. The Mo’ Joe is as responsive to the volume knob as it is the amount of gain you throw at it.
For this review, I used the same guitar I’ve been using for my VH-themed series… a maple single-hum with maple neck/board and a double locking trem. It’s wired to a 500k push/pull pot for series/parallel. It is directed-mounted, using small #2 wood screws that leave the original factory holes unmolested and available for other applications.
Starting with the dirty amp channel, the Mo’ Joe delivers a solid and workable musical tonality. The lows are punchy, the mids are even and the highs are present without being sharp. Big open chords ring clearly with presence across the voicing. Chugging riff-rock is articulate. But it does push right to the edge of the slightest smidge of boom in the palm-muted chugga-chugga. And it does it without being offensive.
What surprises me about the Mo’ Joe is how it almost seems to keep it tucked close to the vest… as when you’re jamming along on rhythm sections, there is almost a vibe that’s where the Mo’ Joe is at home… and then you break into some lead and solo lines, where the Mo’ Joe delivers more character than you’d have expected just a second ago. It’s the gift that keeps giving! haha! Harmonics jump off the strings and cut through the mix with authority, allowing the Mo’ Joe to keep a foot planted in the shredder realm.
Switching to a clean amp setting, the Mo’ Joe has totally usable tones in series wiring…granted, a little dependent on your picking style. It can be subtle or it can rear its head at you. In parallel mode, the vibe lightens up just enough to allow even more picking dynamics. There was a bit of a conundrum for me here. The high end was a little more pronounced on a clean amp setting that I’d have expected from how the Mo’ Joe performed on a dirty amp setting. The balanced EQ of the Mo’ Joe allows for a lot of variety in the clean setting. Picking, strumming, jazzy chords are all controlled by your right hand technique to lay back or jump out.
Series – 10.08k
Split north – 5.13k
Split south – 4.94k
Parallel – 2.52k
Output – 320 mV
On both amp settings, the Mo’ Joe is sensitive to attack and finger noise. It’s more open nature is precise enough to keep things tightened up when you need it, which also means it can also reveal more flaws in your playing style than a more saturated pickup.
Coming soon: a review of the DiMarzio FRED, the DiMarzio PAF Joe. And how the Mo’ Joe and the FRED interact with the PAF Joe. Stay tuned!