Guitar Gear Review: DiMarzio Bluesbucker DP163 Humbucker Pickup

The DiMarzio Bluesbucker is a great pickup. Really cool and very versatile. It seems to get lumped in to a category as a bit of a P-90 option. I can see that… rather, hear that. While it took me a bit to wrap my head around the idea of the Bluesbucker on paper before picking up one, I am glad I did.

For this testing and review, I used a double hum superstrat with a DiMarzio PAF Pro in the bridge and the Bluesbucker in the neck. Both pickups were connected to their own push-pull pot for series/parallel applications. As expected, the install was a snap and we were up and going right away.

You might see that the Bluesbucker is categorized as “vintage output”, yet it’s no shrinking violet. It very much held it’s own to the PAF Pro, which is rated about about 30% more output than the Bluesbucker. I think we might have another example of how a pickup’s voice can transcend the numbers. Switching back and forth between pickups was very smooth.

What they try to do with the Bluesbucker is put a lot of the duty on the screw coil, leaving the easy lifting for the slug coil. Pretty much having a second coil there for hum canceling. We seem to see this means of hum canceling a little more in many of the noiseless single coils on the market. The screw coil is wound to about 6.606k and the slug coil to about 3.446k. One of the great things I like about asymmetrical coils is how it can really open up the voice.

DiMarzio suggests to consider trying the Bluesbucker with the screw coil in either orientation. I wanted to push the limits in the neck position more than anything, so I left it in the more traditional setup with the screw coils closest to the neck. Man, what a cool vibe. Have you thought about a neck pickup with lows that shake the pillars of heaven without being flabby? Or how about highs with a rich punch that can still deliver enough edge to deftly cut through the mix?

Push the Bluesbucker and it will take it in stride… dig in and it will jump back with a snappy funk. Once again, you might not think it by the specs (ceramic magnet?! hello!!), but there is plenty of drive to sustain lead work. Slipping over into a clean amp setting, full series mode is quite usable. Rich and full. Going to parallel mode and a whole different beast. Light and airy with chime and sparkle.

It didn’t break a sweat when going from pop rock to hair metal to heavy blues rock to classic rock. I imagine the Bluesbucker would be able to handle most any style of music you throw at it.

Series – 10.013k, 6.184H
Split Screw – 6.606k, 3.442H
Split Slug – 3.446k, 2.157H
Parallel – 2.265k, 1.271H
Treble – 6.0
Mid – 5.5
Bass – 4.5
Output – 224 mV
Ceramic Magnet

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Darth Phineas is a long time music industry insider who provides his readers with unbiased reviews on musical instrument and guitar gear. You can read more of his reviews and check out industry news on his Facebook community Darth Phineas, Twitter or his website is