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Thread: Luke HSS - EMGs vs Dimarzios

  1. #1

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    Luke HSS - EMGs vs Dimarzios

    Hi all.
    I'm looking to pick up a Luke soon, and was wondering, for those who have played the Luke II and the Luke III, can you describe the differences between the EMG and Dimarzio pickups (talking about HSS config)?

    I play a lot of clean funk rhthym guitar on the neck and neck+middle pickup positions. Can the EMGs cop a vintage style tone with the tone knob rolled off a bit, or are they more in the hi-fi realm? I like the idea of the Luke III with the built in boost, but the Luke IIs go for pretty cheap used, and I like the idea of having an EMG equipped guitar since I have never owned one.

    Any feedback or input is appreciated!

  2. #2

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    I find that they are not radically different in tone... I owned a Luke 2 for a couple of years, and have had my hands on the L3 a couple of times.

    I mainly used the neck pickup for three kinds of sounds:

    1. Glassy, compressed and "sterile" cleans for funk (think Nile Rodgers)

    2: Super cleans for 80's songs with lots of chorus and delay

    3: "cranked blues" where the neck pickups overwound nature really comes into its own.

    It holds its own in all three, but in the end I preferred passive and more vintage pickups, and I would say that the L3 comes a little bit closer to this than the Luke 2, but not much.

    If you can get your hands on a cheap Luke 2 and you like the feel of it, you can always swap the pickups and you'd probably still be off cheaper than buying an L3.

    Hope these ramblings were helpful!


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  3. #3

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    I have owned a Luke and a Luke III HH. I preferred the Dimarzio Transistions in the Luke III. I prefer passive pickups over active most of the time. EMG's just sound a little to compressed for my tastes. I use the guitars Volume a lot to adjust my over all level (gain) and Transistions just seemed to clean up easier. Just my opinion though. Plus the active boost of the Luke III puts you in that hi-gain stage like a EMG would. Also if you ever want to swap out the EMG single coils the routes are smaller and your choices for pickups that will fit those routes are limited. Should you ever want to tinker with other pickups.
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  4. #4

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    I have owned many Luke 2's and then had a few Luke III"s for a while. They are both fantastic guitars and can cover just about every style. Now I am back to the Luke 2 again as I missed the EMG's. Ideally, you could try both out and compare and let your ears tell you. If not, my take is that if you are looking for more of a vintage R&B clean sound, I think the Luke III would probably be what you might want. Of course this is all subjective and based on my ears and experience. You might think differently! Happy Hunting!
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  5. #5

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    Thanks for the feedback!
    Anyone else who has experience with both pickup brands?

  6. #6

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    I own both and both are really great. You are able to get more or less any sound/style out of both of them. Maybe the EMGs are a bit more hitech with a more dynamic sound coming out of the Dimarzios. On the other side the EMG single coils are quite spanky with lots of funk in them. I would rather consider the other aspects: My L2 neck is more V pronounced than the L3 och also a bit lighter. The boost is rarely used in my case.

    You can't go wrong either way and you'll end up buying both

  7. #7

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    I've owned both, and L3 is a clear winner for me... Dimarzios are so much natural sounding that EMGs imho... It all comes down to do u like active or passive pups... And roasted maple neck is sooo smooth and comfy lol

  8. #8

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    I've had Luke I, II, and III. All great guitars the EMGs are great but I do like the passive Dimarzios they sound natural IMO. can't go wrong pickups can always be changed

  9. #9

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    I just think it is frustrating that if you want to try the single coil pickups from the LIII you can’t buy them from Dimarzio. They can only be had if you buy the LIII guitar or find them second hand. Why sell the humbucker but not the single coils? I’d REALLY love to try them out, but that can be a challenge to find a set.

  10. #10

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    I guess its just a matter of time for Dimarzio to offer L3 singles. I have that feeling lol The guys from Dimarzio said that they resemble Paul Gilbert's Injectors.

  11. #11

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    They are probably modified Area pickups made to work specifically with the Transition bridge pickup, and maybe specifically with the eletronics that EBMM uses. I've got a set of injectors in another guitar, and they definitely are different from those. The neck pickup is not quite as hot.
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    2012 Steve Morse Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck

  12. #12

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    I've owned 2 regular Lukes and still own a LIII. The EMGs and DiMarzios are both great pickups, honestly. Just comes down to preference.

  13. #13

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    One factor is, the configuration. I love the middle pick up sound way more than using the two humbuckers
    I've used EMG's since the 80's [ digging Luke's sound ] and never felt them lacking
    I bought a sterling LK100D and if it's not a knock off and those are real transitions p/u's then I don't get any
    big deal out of them !

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