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Thread: SBMM AX40D Pickups

  1. #1

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    SBMM AX40D Pickups

    Hey fellas, I'm a newb on this forum, and I was wondering if you could help me out? Yesterday I ended up purchasing a used Sterling By Music Man AX40 from a local music store used for $250. I noticed before I bought the guitar that the stock bridge pickup had been replaced with a DiMarzio DP100. When I got home and cleaned it up and started looking under the hood, I found out this guitar is actually a AX40D. The neck pup is a stock Axis neck pickup.

    What are my options for replacing the bridge pickup? Will Ernie Ball allow me to purchase a OEM bridge pickup if they can verify this is indeed an AX40?
    If not, and I have to purchase a different DiMarzio pickup, what pup would be my best choice? Air Zone, Tone Zone, or the AT-1?

  2. #2

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    Unfortunately you can't buy the pickup on its own (though you can find them used occasionally).

    The AT-1 is a great pickup, and pretty close. I put one in a buddy's Axis Super Sport a while back. Sounded great.

  3. #3

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    I played the AT-1 several years and liked it a lot. It sounds very, very close to the OEM Dimarzio, but has a little bit different harmonic structure in the treble region.
    And it feels softer, kind of spongier in a good way, where as the Custom Dimarzio is stiffer and a little more aggressive.
    2001 Axis Sport HH hardtail maple fretboard burnt apple
    2001 Axis SuperSport HH hardtail maple fretboard translucent gold
    1997 Axis Sport HSS hardtail maple fretboard translucent red
    2001 Silo Special HSS hardtail maple fretboard BlueDawn ** for sale **
    2002 AL MM90 hardtail maple fretboard honeyburst converted to AL 2H

  4. #4

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    Per DiMarzio's website the closest they have to the Axis pups are the Air Norton in the neck and the Tone Zone in the bridge. As I've had both of these in an SBMM AX40 and now my SUB AX4 has the Axis originals I can say the Tone Zone and Air Norton are as close as you can get.
    EBMM BFR Morse Tahitian Blue S/N G79179 DOB 2/7/17
    SBMM SUB AX4 Trans Red Quilt DiMarzio AXIS pups SD pots GOTOH GE1996T Trem
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  5. #5

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    Fwiw, they do say that on their site, but last time I emailed them about it, the recommended the AT-1 over the Tone Zone. Either way, they're both great pickups.

  6. #6

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    I would say, the Tone Zone may be closest in feel, and AT-1 closest in sound to the Axis humbuckers.
    There is also a thread here or in the dimarzio forum, where one experimented with two Tonezone coils (either neck or bridge) being THE Axis pickup.
    My gut feeling is, that the Axis pickup doesn't have Air technology nor Virtual Vintage because it is pretty tight.
    2001 Axis Sport HH hardtail maple fretboard burnt apple
    2001 Axis SuperSport HH hardtail maple fretboard translucent gold
    1997 Axis Sport HSS hardtail maple fretboard translucent red
    2001 Silo Special HSS hardtail maple fretboard BlueDawn ** for sale **
    2002 AL MM90 hardtail maple fretboard honeyburst converted to AL 2H

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