DiMarzio — The Ultimate Installation Guide

dimarzio installation

In this guide, we’re going to show you how to wire DiMarzio pickups into any kind of guitar. We’ll cover everything from single-coils to P90s to humbuckers. If you like DiMarzios and are planning on installing different models of pickups, this guide is for you.

Before You Begin

While this article will show you how install these pickups, it assumes that you have changed pickups before and can follow the diagrams below, as well as remove your old model pickup. If this guide moves too quickly, we recommend checking out one of our many step-by-step pickup installation tutorials. We cover the installation of many DiMarzio pickups, and there is a good chance we have one for the model you are installing.

Vintage Stratocaster Wiring

Let’s start with how to install pickups in a vintage Stratocaster. DiMarzio single coils include the Red Velvet, Utopia, and the FS-1. DiMarzio uses a couple of different colors for the Hot in their single-coil pickups, including red, white, and yellow, with red being the most popular. The black wire is always the Ground. Single-coil pickups always have two wires.

In Example 1, we illustrate a common way to wire DiMarzio single-coil pickups into a Strat.

Example 1

Vintage Telecaster Wiring

The Fender Telecaster is another very common single-coil guitar, not all that different from the Fender Stratocaster. These pickups often come with the unique baseplate built-in. Examples of Telecaster pickups made by DiMarzio include The Chopper T, Twang King, and the Area T. These two-wire pickups often use white for the Hot and black for the Ground.

In Example 2, we illustrate a common way to wire DiMarzio pickups in the bridge position of the Fender Telecaster.

Example 2

Vintage P90 Wiring

P90 pickups are Gibson’s answer to the single-coil. These pickups look similar to humbuckers, but the single row of posts often gives them away as P90s. P90s are also about the same size as humbuckers, and often, you can swap out one for the other. Popular DiMarzio P90 pickups include the Fantom P90, the Vintage P90, and the DP210 Tone Zone. These pickups often use a single conductor wire, which is the Hot, surrounded by a metal surrounded by a braided metal coating, which is the Ground.

In Example 3, we illustrate a common way to install P90 pickups into a Gibson Les Paul-style guitar.

Example 3

Vintage Humbucker Wiring

Most modern humbuckers that you purchase today have four conductors, which means the pickup will have four colored wires and one bare wire that acts as a shield for the whole pickup. Originally, however, most humbuckers only had a single conductor with a braided shield, like P90 pickups, and could be installed the same way. One popular single conductor vintage-style humbucker created by DiMarzio is the 36th Anniversary pickup.

In Example 4, we illustrate how to wire a vintage-style humbucker in a Gibson Les Paul-style guitar.

Example 4

Modern Humbucker Wiring

As we mentioned with vintage-style humbuckers, most modern humbuckers also have four colored wires and one bare to allow you to make modifications. For example, you can wire the coils out of phase or coil-split, which we’ll talk about next. The wires correspond to the beginning and end of each coil, and this is called the wiring code. Each brand uses a unique wiring code, which can become confusing if you install a lot of different pickups. DiMarzio uses the following wiring code.

DiMarzio Wiring Code

  • Red = Hot
  • White + Black = Twisted together and taped off
  • Green + Bare = Ground

In Example 5, we illustrate the DiMarzio wiring code.

Example 5

DiMarzio makes several brands of humbucker, including the Air Classic, Bluesbucker, Dark Matter 2, Super Distortion, and many more. We illustrate how to install humbuckers in a Gibson Les Paul-style guitar in Example 6.

Example 6

We illustrate how to install DiMarzio pickups in a Super Strat in Example 7.

Example 7

Humbucker Coil-Splitting

The humbucker coil-splitting modification is the last thing we’ll cover in this guide. You can only split modern humbuckers that have four wires. The modification makes use of the white and black wires that we twist together in a standard installation. You will also need to change one of your Tone controls into a push-pull pot. Once you have the push-pull pot installed, you will wire it as we have illustrated in Example 8.

Example 8


As you can see, you install most pickups the same way. Often, the biggest difference is the number or color of the wires, and once you have memorized the few variations, you can install any pickup DiMarzio makes. We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide and that it’s helped you get your pickups installed. If you’ve found it informative, please feel free to share this guide on Facebook and Twitter. For more articles on guitar electronics, visit humbuckersoup.com.

Ed Malaker Our resident electronics wizard came by his skills honestly — first as an apprentice in his father’s repair shop, later as a working musician and (most recently) as a sound designer for film. His passion for guitar led him to Humbucker Soup, where he continues to decode the wonders of wiring and the vicissitudes of voltage. Ed has never taken his guitar to a shop — he already knows how to fix it.