Price paid: $ 26
Purchased from: EY Guitar Music
Sound — 9
I bought this to put into a project guitar that was essentially just dead. I'm going to have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the tone I got out of these pickups. It's bright and boomy, and chords ring out beautifully. I debated briefly trying out TV Jones but the price easily sent me along this path. I'm definitely sticking with these. I have these in a guitar with a coil split also, and the sound I get out of that is perfectly usable for softer material. The sound is very old school, and it fits the role I'd cast for it perfectly well. Not an ounce of regret over this purchase.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I can't speak to the long term staying power of these pickups, but I'm pretty doubtful I'm going to have any odd problems just suddenly happen. They come with chrome pickup rings to match the pickup covers, and they look great on the guitar I chose for them. I'd use them without any kind of backup surely, if I had to anyway. I didn't really get them as a do it all kind of thing, more of a niche to be covered. The hardware included seems solid, and the metal used really doesn't seem cheap. Wouldn't hesitate to use Artec pickups in any grade of guitar, as they do look great and have sound to match.
Overall Impression — 9
I bought these for the sake of having very transparent chimey sound. They fit the bill, and the bass isn't lacking in the least. I couldn't do a sound test in person, but I did plenty of research online before I wound up choosing these. I looked at TV Jones, Seymour Duncans, GFS, and these, and wound up picking these over GFS because I'd heard rumors that Artec actually makes a good bit of GFS' inventory of pickups. I can't confirm or deny that, but I love the sound. I will say the only reason I wouldn't have opted for SD or TV Jones is mainly price, as those are consistently awesome, but having tried these and one set of single coil Artecs for a strat rebuild, I'm probably always going to have an instinct to consider Artec first. Seriously good stuff.
One thing, the ground wire is annoyingly thick. I had trouble soldering it, but I'm not exactly an expert at the trade. Most probably wouldn't care in the least, but that was an annoyance for me that I guess is worth a mention.