Guitar Pickup Review

DiMarzio Gravity Storm Humbucker Set

The Gravity Storm humbuckers are a 2012 release that coincides Steve Vai’s 2012 release The Story Of Light. That album has a song on it called… wait for it… “Gravity Storm”. As an interesting tidbit, there are a few other songs that Vai uses for pickup names. “Velorum”, also from The Story Of Light. And “Dark Matter” from 2016’s Modern Primitive album. Both of those are… wait for it (again!)… Gravity Storm humbuckers with fancy covers. Those were limited editions and that Dark Matter is not to be mistaken for the different-sounding and still-available Dark Matter 2 pickups. Whew! LOL! Well, enough of all that! HaHa!

DiMarzio Gravity Storm green w nickel poles
DiMarzio Gravity Storm green w nickel poles

This Gravity Storm set is stock in the Ibanez JEM 77P Blue Floral Pattern guitar. So we are talking about basswood body, 24-fret 25-1/2″ scale maple board, 5-pc laminate neck, and stock wiring harness. At least, at first. LOL! I discover the stock pots are 470k and the volume has a “treble bleed” mod. I replace them with some Bare Knuckle 550k pots made by CTS.

The JEM is a hum-single-hum configuration with an Evolution single coil in the middle. That is only relevant in as much the 2 and 4 positions put a coil of the respective Gravity Storm together with the middle single coil. Meaning that we can touch base on that a little bit.

DiMarzio Gravity Storm black w gold poles
DiMarzio Gravity Storm black w gold poles

As it comes in the Ibanez JEM, I’m finding the Gravity Storm to be quite serviceable. Which is to say, you don’t hear them and think “That’s Steve Vai!”. LOL! The bridge has a little punch while presenting some bold high end and mids to spare. I’m thinking that the Alnico 5 magnet is bringing a lot of that to the table. The neck position actually has a lot of the same, while sporting a ceramic magnet. It’s cool when the end justifies the means, as I can imagine some pickup companies simply throwing the same magnet at the entire set.

While disconnecting the pickups to get readings, I am able to get full access to the pots in the JEM. It’s clearly a cost effective pot at first glance, but I’m the curious sort. And at 470k with a treble bleed mod, I’m wanting to put a higher-value and higher-quality pot in there.

On a 550k pot with no mods, these big dogs really comes off the chain. HaHa! It’s not the same aggressive maximum-impact sledgehammer as the Evolution set. However, you can tell you’re on the same field in the same arena and playing the same sport. LOL! Things get a little more raw around the edges and these humbuckers bare their teeth a little. But without getting in your face and trying to knock you over. HaHa!

In this JEM, the 2nd and 4th position blends the Evolution single coil with the closest coil from the respective humbucker. The character of that the one coil of the Gravity Storm makes those positions my selection of preference for clean tones on this configuration in this guitar. Chimey, glassy, crystalline, but with a little snap and spank when pushed. Very nice!

JEM 77P Switching
JEM 77P Switching

Gravity Storm Bridge
Series – 15.249 K
Inductance – 8.251 H
Split – 7.606 K
Split – 7.703 K
Parallel – 3.824 K
Magnet – Alnico 5
Output – 340 mV

Gravity Storm Neck
Series – 12.385 K
Inductance – 6.477 H
Split – 5.251 K
Split – 7.149 K
Parallel – 3.026
Magnet – Ceramic
Output – 290 mV

Gravity Storm Tone Guide
Gravity Storm Tone Guide
DiMarzio Gravity Storm Guitar Pickups for Steve Vai
Steve Vai – “Gravity Storm” Preview from his solo album “The Story of Light”

The Gravity Storm is a good set, in so much as it transcends the Vai association to be easily accessible. Definitely still a hard rock shred option, these pickups are much more user-friendly. That slightest softening of the edges and subtle nudge in the resonant frequency opens up the possibilities.

This set is going to be good for hard rock, shred, progressive and technical metal, classic rock, alt rock, punk, blues rock, garage, grunge, heavy rock, and fusion.  It is available in over 2 dozen color and cover combinations, 3 pole piece colors, and in either standard or wide pole spacing.

For reference, this DiMarzio Gravity Storm pickup 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 1960BMojotone British, and Peavey 6505 cabs loaded with Celestion Classic Series Vintage 30s and Classic Series G12M Greenbacks.

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