Price paid: $ 30
Purchased from: www.guitarfetish.com
Sound: The GFS Crunchy PAT Zebra Humbuckers are passive and high output. They sound good clean but they sound great with high gain and/or overdrive. I first experienced the awesomeness of these pickups in a Xaviere XV-599 I ordered from www.guitarfetish.com about 6 months ago, and recently decided to buy a pair to put in a project guitar that I've been messing around with. My project guitar is a no name bolt-on LP copy, and these pickups transformed this guitar into a useful instrument.
These pickups seem to sound the best to me running through a Big Muff Pi straight into an amp on a clean channel. It provides really great growl with good articulation. Pinch harmonics sounded great on this running into a Jet City PicoValve. I played this through a Vox Pathfinder 15R, Blackheart Little Giant, Vox Tonelab ST straight to cab, and a Line 6 TonePort UX2 running through Gearbox on my computer. I ran this through an Ibanez DE7 ToneLok, EHX Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi and an EHX Big Muff Pi (yes, they are two separate pedals with two separate circuits).
The pickups seem to be fairly balanced overall, though the bridge pickup was a little more trebly than I was used to, but easily remedied instead of my normal position of the tone knob on guitar at about 75%, I turned it down to 40 50% and it sounded great. Unfortunately, I didn't wire up for coil-tapping which I already regret. I think I've convinced myself to buy a Douglas Spad Pro and throw these into it (with coil-tapping), put the stock pickups from the Spad Pro into my cheap LP copy, and give it to my son as a knock around guitar.
I got the neck and bridge versions of this pickup as a pair, and they seem to be very well matched, and really match the purpose for which I bought them which is hard rock. I imagine they could handle metal fairly well until you get to super brutal death metal and such. They have a decent clean sound, but they really are not designed for clean playing. It can be done, but you are missing the potential of these pickups for this purpose. In a pinch, these pickups can be used for overdriven blues and do a passable job I imagine they would do a great job of this if they were wired up for coil-tapping. There are better humbuckers out there, but it would be very hard to find them for less than 3 times the price of the GFS Crunchy PAT Zebra Humbuckers. // 8
Reliability & Durability: I'm going to start this section off by listing some of the features on the GFS Crunchy PAT Zebra Humbuckers as listed on www.guitarfetish.com. The DC resistance on these is 14k, they are vacuum impregnated using real paraffin wax. These are four conductor pickups which make them ready to wire for coil-tapping. They have molded Delrin bobbins, Isotropic ferrite ceramic magnets and a single row of adjustable nickel plated screws. Long story short, these are made like some much higher-priced pickups.
I love equipment, and I love experimenting with different guitars, amps, effects and pickups but I am also on a budget due to financial obligations that I have, and that is why I love GFS. These pickups are going to last forever - the wires are a good thick sturdy gauge, everything is well assembled and these are very attractive pickups with the cream and black design. I feel like I can take these and throw them into any guitar project I'm working on and I can't go wrong. // 8
Overall Impression: I've been impressed with the quality for the price of every GFS product I have bought, but I have been the most impressed with the GFS Crunchy PAT Zebra Humbuckers. I fell in love with them when I purchased my Xaviere XV-599 and I feel justified after buying my second pair for my recent project. I love the tone I get from these, especially from the mahogany body and set neck on the Xaviere XV-599. Even the tone from my trash project generic LP is very nice, and really the pickups are the only thing I like about that guitar.
I absolutely intend to put a pair of these into a Douglas Spad Pro in the very near future, and I'm trying to decide if I should buy another pair to put into my Ibanez RG as well, or go with some other GFS high output pickups I haven't tried yet. They are absolutely a steal for the money and I've been completely satisfied with them. I try to always list the negatives in my reviews as well, but for the price I can't think of anything bad to say about these pickups. // 8
- Brandon East (c) 2012