Review: Dimarzio Super Distortion T DP318 Guitar Pickup – Your Telecaster Can’t Get Any Hotter!

Growing up on music of the seventies and eighties there are certain guitarists that unsurprisingly have influenced me as a guitarist. The music of KISS‘ Ace Frehley, virtuoso Randy Rhoads and “Fast” Eddie Clarke of Motörhead where in heavy rotation in my SONY Walkman. Though all three of these guitarist produced very different and distinct tones there was one driving force giving them their edge – The DiMarzio Super Distortion guitar pickup.

The Super Distortion pickup produced twice the output the standard PAF pickups when it was first released in 1972. The Super Distortion boosts a whopping DC Resistance of 13.68 Kohm unbelievably powerful by today’s standards, unheard of in 1972.  This allowed guitar players to push the pre amp stage on their valve amps to points they had never been driven before. This produced beautiful harmonics, dynamics, increased touch sensitivity and of course tons of distortion.

Forty years later the DiMarzio Super Distortion is still the workhorse of the hard rock and metal world, with a few modern transformations.  The DiMarzio Super Distortion is now a 4-conductor pickup allowing for coil-splitting and a variety of wiring configurations. The classic double cream coiled pickup is now also available in double-black and silver. The DiMarzio Super Distortion is also now available in a standard single coil size for easy installs in Fender Stratocaster style guitars. There is also a Telecaster friendly DiMarzio Super Distortion that we are going to look at today.  For our application the Super Distortion T DP318 Telecaster pickup was installed n a Mexican Fender Telecaster, you can read about the project here.

The Super Distortion T DP318 Telecaster pickup is a drop in replacement for your bridge pickup, ro routing or special tools are required. I would strongly suggest a push/pull potentiometer or a coil tap switch for your install because, sometimes a Tele needs to sound like a Tele.

Super Distortion® T - DiMarzioTapped Super Distortion T DP318 Telecaster pickup has a ton of pop and funk. There is a distinct snap as I attack chords and leads with a little vigor. The tone lends itself to cool country riffs and begs you to rip old school blues licks. Popped into the humbucking position the Super Distortion performs as designed. The pickup kicked my 13 watt Fender Excelsior into overdrive with enough dirt to bang out some filthy rock licks.

Plugging into the high-gain channel of my 100-watt Marshall as expected the DiMarzio Super Distortion took on a completely different personality. The single coil position gives singing distortion that was reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix as I blasted through a few of the legend’s most famous riffs. Clicking the guitar back into humbucker mode the guitar really started to rip. Taking a stroll down memory lane I dusted off the opening riffs from KISS’ “She” and Ace’s “Snowblind”, I smiled so wide my face still hurts.

I do not want you to walk away from this review thinking this pickup from 1972 is frozen in time in the classic rock era. Tilting my gain forward a bit I was able to play Def Lepard , High on Fire , and everything in-between.  No matter how much dirt I threw at the pickup it always came back with clear string articulation and definition.  Rip-roaring leads and chugging heavy rhythms are pouring out of my Marshall.

There is a reason why this pickup is the most iconic aftermarket replacement pickup in guitar history. Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, Adrian Smith and Dave Murray of Iron Maiden and guitarist extraordinaire Paul Gilbert have all forged their craft with this tool. 2 minutes with a guitar loaded with a DiMarzio Super Distortion and you will understand why. You can also find out more about DiMarzio pickups at, on their Facebook page or by following them on Twitter at @DiMarzioInc