New Pickup Day: DiMarzio Dominions

This weekend I installed a set of DiMarzio Dominion humbuckers in my Ibanez RG550MMX. These pickups are the signature models for Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton. I spoke with Morton about these recently for the debut issue of Heavy magazine. Here’s a snippet from the article:

 

Morton describes the pickups as medium-output passive humbuckers with a real creamy, smooth quality to them that’s not brittle or barky at all. “It’s a real tight, silky gain structure that’s really nice, and works well in different situations,” he says. “Again going for something that’s versatile, that will crunch up really nice for a Lamb of God gig but which I can also plug in and play Cream covers with my buddies with. I don’t understand why everybody uses active pickups. I don’t. It’s like the guitar playing itself when you use actives. To my ears it should be all about subtleties and nuance and dynamics, and actives just murder all of those!”

 

You can read more about the Dominion bridge and neck models at the DiMarzio website. A review is coming soon, but below a little clip of me noodling on them using AmpKit on my iPad with a Line 6 Mobile In interface just after I installed them.

 

NEWS: Ibanez RG550MXX – awesome

I recently got my Roadflare Red Ibanez RG550MXX out of its case after a few months locked away, and I was immediately reminded how freaking awesome this guitar is. I could never use it live with my band because our singer was a bit of a firecracker on stage, and my stage guitars (Ibanez RG7620 and RG7420) took a few chips here and there in the chaos. So this one remained safely stashed away and is yet to see live use. But that will change soon.

The RG550MXX was released in 2007 to mark the 20th anniversary of the RG550. They were available in three colours (Desert Sun Yellow, Roadflare Red and Black), and only 1,987 were produced. Each was individually numbered.

Specs include:

Slim, fast Wizard neck (with Titanium strengthening rod)
Maple fretboard (rosewood on the black model)
Jumbo frets for easy leads and chording
Lightweight basswood body with upper edge sculpted for comfort
Floyd Rose-licensed Edge tremolo with die-cast saddles
Pickups include V1 and V2 humbuckers and a high-output single coil
5-way switch
Special RG20th hardshell case, special strap, picks in colors matching the guitar

There’s a website called RG20th.com devoted to these guitars. Owners can upload photos, rate their guitar, and register it on a chart of who has which number.

These guitars pop up on eBay from time to time, and the price seems to fluctuate a bit. You might luck out and get a bargain, or you might be caught in a bidding war with someone who’s wanted a Roadflare Red RG550 since 1987. 

Check out this video of Paul Gilbert demoing the RG550MXX for Ibanez.