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Thread: What pickups came in the 2003 Axis?

  1. #1

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    What pickups came in the 2003 Axis?

    I've owned about five Axises and five EVHs. My understanding is that the Axis has the identical, proprietary DiMarzios (zebra pattern) that came in the EVH models. Long ago a buddy's EVH's bridge pickup died and EBMM wouldn't let him buy a new one until he sent them his dead one. I bought an Axis a few years ago that had an Air Norton in the neck and Tone Zone in the bridge, both all black. I'm sure they weren't original to the guitar. Now I'm watching one on eBay that also has all black DiMarzios and the seller is claiming they're original. Anyone here know for sure that they only came with zebra pattern, proprietary DiMarzios in 2003?

  2. #2

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    If it isn’t a Super Sport with MM90s, then it would have the proprietary EVH pickups. Not always striped though. Some had chrome covers, but generally the zebra stripes were the norm.
    https://danielcarlton.bandcamp.com/

    Axis Hardtail TransPurple #89749 (3/28/97)
    Reflex Classic White #G71108 (7/14/14)
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  3. #3

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    This is the listing. He sent me a photo of the cavity too and I'm pretty sure the toggle switch has been worked on outside of the factory.

    MUSIC MAN AXIS USA Translucent Gold 2003 Used Please Read update 1/21/2021 | eBay

  4. #4

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    The EVH/Axis pickups were available in black, for the Sport model. (I have a set- as well as the chrome covered versions ... you can buy them second hand if you keep an eye out.)

    That said, those look like something else. The baseplate on the original pickups should be black.

  5. #5

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    As stated does not look right and way over priced IMO.
    Last edited by Sweat; 01-22-2021 at 07:54 AM.

  6. #6

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    Thanks guys.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by beej View Post
    The EVH/Axis pickups were available in black, for the Sport model. (I have a set- as well as the chrome covered versions ... you can buy them second hand if you keep an eye out.)

    That said, those look like something else. The baseplate on the original pickups should be black.
    Right, and just to clarify for those who may not know - There were 3 models, an Axis, Axis Super Sport, and Axis Sport.

    The Axis & Axis SuperSport
    -both had basswood body w/ maple top & binding, and when equipped with humbucking pickups they were DiMarzio "zebra" cream/black.

    The Axis Sport (discontinued early 2000s)
    -had an ash body (no maple top, no binding) - The DiMarzio humbucking pickups in this guitar were all black.
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  8. #8

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    I have heard that the axis comes with great pickups, so I'm not sure why people would ever want to change them. They are the custom pickups designed by EBMM, probably with input from EVH, and they like them so much they use them in the Al HH and other guitars.

    I have heard that the closest pickups to them are the Air Norton and Air Zone.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood FB / AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
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  9. #9

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    My apologies about my post above. I forgot about the all black pickups on some.

    Yes, the EVH pickups are amazing. I think the bridge pickup is perfect.
    Last edited by Astrofreq; 01-22-2021 at 06:46 PM.
    https://danielcarlton.bandcamp.com/

    Axis Hardtail TransPurple #89749 (3/28/97)
    Reflex Classic White #G71108 (7/14/14)
    Cutlass
    StarryNight #G79870 (12/14/16)

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteDuBaldo View Post
    Right, and just to clarify for those who may not know - There were 3 models, an Axis, Axis Super Sport, and Axis Sport.

    The Axis & Axis SuperSport
    -both had basswood body w/ maple top & binding, and when equipped with humbucking pickups they were DiMarzio "zebra" cream/black.

    The Axis Sport (discontinued early 2000s)
    -had an ash body (no maple top, no binding) - The DiMarzio humbucking pickups in this guitar were all black.
    The some of the early Axis Sports have zebra pickups. Generally these are the ones with the pickguard.
    Trans Gold Axis- Flame (DOB 12.13.1996)
    Trans Green Axis Sport (DOB 12.02.1997)
    Trans Green Axis- Quilt (DOB 03.14.2000)
    Black HH Albert Lee (DOB 12.01.2009)
    Honey Roasted Axis - Quilt (DOB 09.20.2012)
    White HSS Silo Spec (DOB 02.03.2014)

  11. #11

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    What pickups came in the 2003 Axis?

    Quote Originally Posted by tbonesullivan View Post
    I have heard that the axis comes with great pickups, so I'm not sure why people would ever want to change them. They are the custom pickups designed by EBMM, probably with input from EVH, and they like them so much they use them in the Al HH and other guitars.

    I have heard that the closest pickups to them are the Air Norton and Air Zone.
    DiMarzio's website has mentioned both the Tone Zone and AT-1 as the closest match to the "B1" pickup from the VH/Axis guitar over the years. If you REALLY want to go down the rabbit hole on this, there are some guys on the Duncan/DiMarzio/VHLinks forums that have posted some really useful info on the differences between the DiMarzio VH pickups and regular production models about 10 years ago, even going as far as taking some apart. I remember user name "Majestic" on the VHLinks was one of them.

    Based on all that I read about their findings, the bridge "B1"pickup is like a Tone Zone but with symmetrically wound coils - basically two of the screw coils from a Tone Zone; the "B1" omits the "dual resonance" feature of having coils that are wound slightly different. That's why DiMarzio said for years that the Tone Zone was the closest. However, several years later the Timmons AT-1 came out, which has the two symmetrically wound screw coils from the Tone Zone. However, the AT-1 is an "Airbucker" AND has the Virtual Vintage poles on it and the "B1" does not. To make an AT-1 identical to the VH/Axis "B1" pickup, you would have to mod it to remove the Airbucker spacers & Virtual Vintage poles. Possible to do but you need a sacrificial DiMarzio pickup as a donor for parts.

    Edit: WHY does Tapatalk not recognize things like apostrophes and quotation marks?!??! Sooo annoying!
    Last edited by GoKart Mozart; 01-25-2021 at 03:12 AM.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoKart Mozart View Post
    Based on all that I read about their findings, the bridge "B1"pickup is like a Tone Zone but with symmetrically wound coils - basically two of the screw coils from a Tone Zone; the "B1" omits the "dual resonance" feature of having coils that are wound slightly different. That's why DiMarzio said for years that the Tone Zone was the closest. However, several years later the Timmons AT-1 came out, which has the two symmetrically wound screw coils from the Tone Zone. However, the AT-1 is an "Airbucker" AND has the Virtual Vintage poles on it and the "B1" does not. To make an AT-1 identical to the VH/Axis "B1" pickup, you would have to mod it to remove the Airbucker spacers & Virtual Vintage poles. Possible to do but you need a sacrificial DiMarzio pickup as a donor for parts.
    So, the AT-1 is basically the Air Zone but without the "Dual Resonance" thing. Interesting.

    I'm pretty sure the best way to get what I'm looking for is to just get an Axis Super Sport. I need a "semi-shredder" with a standard non-locking trem I can deck.
    2007 Stingray 5 HS Cherry Burst / Maple FB / Ceramic Pickups
    2012 Stingray 5 H Pearl Blue / Rosewood FB / AlNiCo Pickup
    2012 Steve Morse Morse Blueburst / Rosewood FB
    2012 Luke III SSH Vintage Sunburst / Rosewood Neck
    2021 Stingray RS Pacific Blue Sparkle / Maple FB

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbonesullivan View Post
    So, the AT-1 is basically the Air Zone but without the "Dual Resonance" thing. Interesting.

    I'm pretty sure the best way to get what I'm looking for is to just get an Axis Super Sport. I need a "semi-shredder" with a standard non-locking trem I can deck.
    Yes sir, that is the way I read it. If you look at the specs on DiMarzios website, the Tone Zone, AT1, and Air Zone are all pretty similar in specs. I&rsquo;m sure you could flip a coin and go with any of those 3 and be in the ballpark with any of them, although I have heard several folks that have tried TZs complain that it can be pretty bassy.


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  14. #14

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    I've owned my EVH since I got it new in '93. Yes, absolutely fantastic pickups! Best stock pickups I've ever played and may just be my favorite pickups ever. Hugely versatile for anything clean to mean. Sound awesome.

    Because of this, I've put the Air Norton/Tone Zone's in other guitars. The Air Norton is in the ballpark of the EVH/Axis neck, but the Tone Zone was a major disappointment.

    I've had 2 Tone Zones in 3 different guitars through the years. Both were hot, muddy and lacked all of the character that I like about the bridge p/u in my EVH, which is clear, chimey, warm but defined.

    The Tone Zone is the worst pickup I've ever put in a guitar and would caution anyone who thinks they'll be getting a close alternative to the EVH/Axis bridge pickup. Many like the TZ, but respectfully, I'm really not quite sure why.

    fwiw...

  15. #15

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    What pickups came in the 2003 Axis?

    Quote Originally Posted by hbucker View Post
    I've owned my EVH since I got it new in '93. Yes, absolutely fantastic pickups! Best stock pickups I've ever played and may just be my favorite pickups ever. Hugely versatile for anything clean to mean. Sound awesome.

    Because of this, I've put the Air Norton/Tone Zone's in other guitars. The Air Norton is in the ballpark of the EVH/Axis neck, but the Tone Zone was a major disappointment.

    I've had 2 Tone Zones in 3 different guitars through the years. Both were hot, muddy and lacked all of the character that I like about the bridge p/u in my EVH, which is clear, chimey, warm but defined.

    The Tone Zone is the worst pickup I've ever put in a guitar and would caution anyone who thinks they'll be getting a close alternative to the EVH/Axis bridge pickup. Many like the TZ, but respectfully, I'm really not quite sure why.

    fwiw...
    Funny enough hbubucker, your distaste for the Tone Zone was one of the posts that came to mind when I was writing my reply! I remember you stating that waaaay back in like 2003!

    Man, we have been on this page a loooong time. I was a member under a different username back in those days and switched around 2010.


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