Tone and power of active pickups without the battery hassle.
Active humbuckers have a distinctive sound: powerful, clean, open sounding, with excellent harmonic overtones and very tight lows. This also fits the description of a great 7-string guitar pickup, if the problems associated with active pickups — sterile sound and limited headroom — could be eliminated. The DiMarzio DP719 D Activator 7 does just that. The neck model has both power and clarity — the low B string stays solid and doesn't sound like mud with extreme overdrive, and the high strings sing all the way up the neck. And it doesn't need batteries.
Recommended For: Neck. Can also be used in bridge position.
Tech Talk: It's tough to get a clear tone from the low B string in the neck position without making the unwound strings sound brittle, and even harder with a high-output pickup. The two D Activator 7 coils are tuned to different frequencies that complement each other and allow the pickup to speak clearly, with the power concentrated in the most effective frequency range. Like all passive pickups, D Activators require controls with a minimum value of 250Kohms. 500K is the standard all around value, and the 1Megohm tone control is best for long cable runs.