The DiMarzio Super Distortion is probably one of the best known replacement humbuckers in the DiMarzio lineup. A while back, I talked about the Super 2, which has almost the exact opposite EQ at the Super D and is commonly used for the neck position. Today, I’m looking at the Super 3, used primarily for the bridge position.
For this application, I’m going with a Super Strat HSS configuration. It’s a mahogany body with maple top, with maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. The guitar has 10-46 gauge strings and is in E standard tuning. Hardware includes a German Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo system.
The Super 3 has a similar output to the Super D. It also has a similar appearance, with the 2 rows of hex head screws that is most commonly associated with DiMarzio. The tone is what really sets it apart. More than anything, it’s a little thicker sounding. A bit less high end and a bit more in the mids.
What sets the Super 3 apart is the tighter low end. You get a little more focused attack on the low strings, so if you like that 80s chugga-chugga palm-muted chugging between your power chords, this pickup will keep your bottom end more under control.
But don’t confuse “thick” with muddy or dark. The Super 3 responds very well to tap and pinch harmonics and allows plenty of singing sustain. It might seem like a bit of a paradox, as the highs are not all that sharp for the amount of bite the pickup delivers. While definitely not a dull or a soft high end, just riding that fine line between not too much of this extreme and not too little of the other.
As a point of order, the Super 3 has a thick ceramic magnet. This makes it taller. That’s something to keep in mind if you’re going with a direct mount. If that’s too high for your string height, check out the Dominion. My own ears, and DiMarzio tech support, confirm it’s the closest you will find with a regular height magnet.
One of the more well-known users of the Super 3 is Phil Collen, with Def Leppard. Check it out in a live setting from the 2016 tour:
As for the tech side, that paradox keeps on coming. For the same output range, the Super D is 13.68k. The Super 2 is 8.7k. And the Super 3 is about 25.0k. That’s right, the Super 3 is about 3x as much resistance as the Super 2. And almost 2x as much as the Super D. More proof that DC resistance does not equal output. But the resistance in the Super 3 does factor in for a bit of the thick and compressed qualities.
Series – 26.78 k
Inductance – 7.53 H
Split – 13.40 k
Split – 13.38 k
Parallel – 6.7 k
Output – 435 mV
T – 5.0
M – 8.0
B – 6.5
Magnet – Ceramic
The Super 3 is going to be good for hard rock, shred, metalcore, progressive rock, thrash, doom, death metal, hardcore, nu-metal, and heavy metal styles.
Let’s say you like the Super D. But you want a little more control in the lows and an overall tighter voice. The Super 3 is worth your time.
For reference, this DiMarzio Super 3 humbucker set evaluation was conducted with a Fractal Axe-Fx II XL+ featuring Celestion Impluse Responses and Fractal MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller. In addition, real cabs in use are Marshall 1960B, Mojotone British, and Peavey 6505 cabs loaded with Celestion Classic Series Vintage 30s and Classic Series G12M Greenbacks.
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