When Larry DiMarzio developed the original Super Distortion pickup in 1972, his main purpose was to develop a pickup that would make his own amp sound better—with more sustain, more easily pushed into smooth distortion. In those days before the prevalence of master volume amps, that was a tall order. Add in the fact that there were no aftermarket pickups to be had at the time, and the only way DiMarzio could have the pickup he wanted was to build it himself. By winding to a higher impedance and using a ceramic magnet, he discovered that he could drive the amp harder and get satisfyingly rich, smooth distortion and sustain at a lower volume, while still cleaning up the sound by just backing off the volume control. Other guitarists heard it, loved it, and soon an entirely new market segment was thriving.
DiMarzio has developed new pickups at a ferocious pace over the years, with over 200 models currently in production, while also delving into guitar bodies and necks during the 1980s and a line of cables and other accessories. With key patents and developments like the Dual-Resonance system, Virtual Vintage technology and Airbucker, the company has continued to drive the state of the art forward, always keeping the needs of working musicians in mind. A key for DiMarzio has always been—in the words of DiMarzio's Steve Blucher in a recent interview—" … more about helping players to craft their own sound than paying tribute to an imaginary standard that was supposedly set 50 years ago … the purpose is to try to get to the heart of the sound."