Price paid: £ 69
Purchased from: Coda Music
Sound: First off, I bought this pickup because I loved the sound of P90s, I thought they were great. But I also loved metal, I play in a heavy metal band, and the P90s just didn't have the gain, the oomph. They just weren't thick enough, being single coils, and not hum buckers. I'd been using my hum bucker Epiphone with invader in the bridge, but I was a bit annoyed I had this phenomenal sounding Gibson 60s Tribute lying at home, that I couldn't use. Then I saw online, when traipsing through pickup manufactures, a P90 version of Bare Knuckle's Warpig. The Warping, I'm sure you would agree, is an enormous sounding, deep pickup, used by the likes of Bring Me The Horizon.
So, I butchered by Les Paul, moved the bridge gibbo up to the newly formed middle position, and put the warpig in the bridge. This pickup was massive sounding. I got a ceramic version made to boost output and treble, and slightly flatten the midrange. This worked just as I had hoped, meaning I no longer had to cut the mids to get a metal tone out of my P90.
The thing I also initially wanted was achieved too: it still sounded like a P90, just awesomer. However, one thing I didn't anticipate is this: this pickup in meant for drop tuning, really down low. The bass response is very tight. I play in Drop C, which compensates for the tight response, so I now get away with it, and especially since I've put thicker strings on it. It did not have enough weight behind it in drop D or standard, particularly when I had thin strings on it. However, with drop C and slightly thicker strings on it (10s: I play lead), it started to get the chug necessary for metal.
Another thing I noticed was, when I had skinny strings on, when I soloed, the notes sounded flat. No life. This has, once again, naturally improved with thicker strings. I start to get a bit of character. I liked the flat mids though, they're fantastic. It lets me take them out a tiny bit for chunk, and lets me dial them in for Green Day, Social Distortion, etc. Surprisingly, this pickup has a damned sexy clean tone! that's the beauty of having P90s, they're meant to sound dirty, bright, crisp and nasty. // 9
Reliability & Durability: To be honest, it's a soap bar. I can't see a lot of deviation in their lasting times. It seems solid, the plastic cover is pretty damned firm and durable. None of the pieces seem to be loose, its pretty airtight in that sense. One thing to be wary of though, the pickup only just squeezed itself into my pickup cavity. I've got it in my Gibson Les Paul 60's Tribute, one of the last to be made with a rosewood fretboard, and the cavities are, as far as I can tell, standard sized. However, the curve around the corners of the pickup were slightly smaller than a Gibson, and so, just be wary of this if your guitars pickup cavities are really tight fitting. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall, the impression I got was this:
Built for chunk. This pickup is built for the lower end, dropped tunes metal rhythm, I can completely see why the hum bucker model suited BMTH. It shines when its doing rhythm. The solos, after fiddling with strings, settings, gain, etc, can sound pretty damned sexy too. However, this may suit a modern metal player perfectly, with its tight bass response, etc.
Gainiac. This pickup defies the deal set between single coils and buckers. Single coils get skinny jazz and slinky tones, and definition. Buckers get weight, bass, chug and gain. This pickup destroys that time-long deal. It has all the amazing qualities of a high output bucker, yes, even EMGs, to an extent, and combines them with the clarity of a single coil. This pickup does what everyone thought impossible, in that sense. For the first time I see myself turning down the gain: this pickup produces more than enough output.
It's built for drop tuning. The tight bass is meant to compensate for drop tuning, so you don't sound muddy, I play drop C, this is about the threshold for this pickup's awesomeness. I'd imagine if you like Slipknot and P90s, this is for you, to be honest.
Bottom line: if you love P90s, and metal, and want to sound unique and awesome, this is for you. // 9