Guitar Pickup Review

DiMarzio Occult Classic 7-String Set

The Occult Classic is the new 7-string signature set for Revocation’s Dave Davidson. You might remember the articles on Dave’s signature Imperium 6-string set and 7-string bridge (sorry, no 7-string Imperium neck model on-hand at this time! LOL!). Or it’s possible you’ve seen Dave and his jazz chops in this most impressive video:

Jake Bowen & Dave Davidson play Larry DiMarzio’s original Gibson Cherry Sunburst ’59 Les Paul

If you scrolled past that video, stop. Go back and watch it. Or watch it again! HaHa! There is literally an ever-growing line of angry pickup geeks that have been getting that link when they ask me for pickup suggestions. Seeing two modern metal players both run through multiple genres with little more than an amp and their hands seems to be like pouring a big bucket of ice water on the notion that they can get their dream tone without woodshedding. LOL!

Back to the reason why we are all here today: the Occult Classic 7-string humbucker pickup set. After watching Dave’s range of skill in that video, what is it going to take to push a new signature pickup set to the next level? For starters, DiMarzio’s Virtual Vintage and Dual Resonance technologies.

Virtual Vintage

What’s that? For the most part, they put ”dummy poles” between the normal pole pieces. The installation is in the underside of the bobbin, so they are not visible when looking at your typical operating humbucker. The purpose is to alter the inductance to ”tune” the coil(s) in a way not traditionally possible.

As an aside for the pickup techno geeks and for the purposes of induction speculation, the pole pieces on this set are the same ones used in the Super Distortion.

Occult Classic w/ Gold Poles
Occult Classic w/ Gold Poles
Dual Resonance?

Dual Resonance is basically mis-matched coils. Coils being imperfectly matched is not all that much of a big deal. It’s common for several pickup companies to allow about a 5% variance. But Dual Resonance is an intentional mis-matching of the coils to produce a specific “tuning” of the pickup’s voice.

According to the patent, it is pretty much about putting a similar number of turns on each coil. But with different wire gauges. Trust me on this one. Don’t waste too much time trying to figure out how they make the sausage on this one. Just enjoy your tasty meal and move along. LOL!

Occult Classic w/ Nickel Poles
Occult Classic w/ Nickel Poles

This Occult Classic set is going into an Ibanez Universe 7-string. That’s a basswood body, 24-fret maple neck, 25-1/2″ scale rosewood board, and Edge 7 locking tremolo system. The harness is original, as is the middle Blaze single coil. The guitar has a standard tuning of low B on the 7th, using 09-54 strings.

The Ibby Universe switching that I’ll be covering is as follows:

Ibanez Universe Switching
Ibanez Universe Switching

Pickups for 7-string guitars can be a peculiar thing, and for all sorts of reasons. There are plenty that are totally fine. There are some that I won’t discuss. LOL! And there are some that are excellent. The Occult Classic in an excellent set! Let’s talk about why…

From a higher level, these pickups have a great balance to them. And I mean the balance of the voice as well as how they balance together as a complete set. Switching from one pickup to the next is akin to sliding the same pickup beneath the strings. The transition is so smooth and seamless that virtually breaks down barriers between you and your guitar. If you have had the “shock” of alarmingly disparate-sounding pickups in the same guitar, you know what I’m talking about here. HaHa!

How about we think for a second of that earlier video of Dave throwing down some jazz on Larry DiMarzio’s 1959 Gibson Les Paul. Dave’s palette is even more understandable in the Occult Classic pickups. The even voice on display, especially in the neck position, lends these pickups to a much wider range of musical styles. Overall there is plenty of grit and drive for the more aggressive genres. Yet the clarity and precision (and even moderation, if you will) opens it up for an exquisite character on a clean amp setting. Stir in some switching or wiring options, and I dare say that you have a bona fide jack-of-all-trade 7-string humbucker set at your fingertips.

Dave Davidson of Revocation demos the DiMarzio Occult Classic Bridge and Neck Pickups
Jake Bowen and Dave Davidson talk about their Ibanez and Jackson guitars.

Occult Classic Bridge
Series – 14.418 K
Inductance – 7.52 H
Split – 6.302 K
Split – 8.148 K
Parallel – 3.55 K
Magnet – Ceramic
Output – 325 mV

Occult Classic Neck
Series – 8.161 K
Inductance – 4.496 H
Split – 4.484 K
Split – 3.673 K
Parallel – 2.019 K
Magnet – Ceramic
Output – 220 mV

Tone Chart
Occult Classic Tone Guide
Occult Classic Tone Guide

Some might look at that tone guide and get the wrong idea? How so? You might see ample lows and lots of mids in the bridge position. But it’s all punch with no boom or mud. Just as the neck position might appear to be weak and brittle or too rigid in the low end. However, the otherwise evenly-balanced voice has dynamic and harmonically rich lows that simply lack any sludge. In other words, there is not too much nor too little of anything going on with this set.


No B.S. going on here when I say that this is a great 7-string set. It avoids so many of the trappings of some of the extended range pickups that are out there. In fact, so much so that I find myself wanting to pick up the 7-string even more than normal. I can say that if you are already thinking about it, fret no longer (ha! a pun!). And if you’re the slightest bit curious, put your concerns to rest. If this is the trajectory of where DiMarzio is going with their 7-string options, I’m going to be looking forward to what comes next.

The Occult Classic 7-string set is going to be good for fusion, hard rock, progressive metal, djent, nu-metal, thrash, metalcore, hardcore, blues rock, garage, classic rock, alt rock, tech metal, shred, 80s rock, 80s metal, tech metal, and more. It’s available in over 10 bobbin colors, a 1/2 dozen cover options, and 3 pole piece colors.

For reference, this DiMarzio Occult Classic humbucker 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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