Harmonic Design Z-90 Pickup

Looking for a fat and chunky single coil pickup to replace a humbucker? The folks at Harmonic Design offer a 'Z-90' model (supposedly used by the likes of Bill Frisell) that gets the job done about as well as any transducer I've heard -- and they come in a variety of colors.

I had my buddy Chris Shaffer install one in a Parker NiteFly SA several years ago and the results have been uniformly fantastic. Warning: Chris had to shave that pickguard just a smidge to get the Z90 to fit so take that into consideration.

The 2001 Parker originally shipped from the factory with two custom DiMarzio single-coils and a DiMarzio humbucker in the bridge position. It seems like few were ever really satisfied with the bridge pickup (DiMarzio pickups always struck me as lacking focus, a little too hi-fi or linear, and lacking girth compared to, say, the various Seymour Duncan PAF-style models).

The sound through my amps (Bogner Shiva EL34 combo, Swart AST PRO, and Mesa Boogie Pre) is always focused, sultry, fat, with bottom girth and as much grind in the mids and sparkle on the top as you like. And it sounds good through a Line6 Pod too.

Overall grade:  a solid 'A'

For a sample, check out this November Sunday improv inspired by Frisell.