Sound — 6
This pickup pretty much sucks. At least for Les Pauls anyway. I recently purchased it along with a 36th anniversary PAF. Based on how DiMarzio describes it and rates it's treble, bass and mid output, it sounded like it would be a good fit. I opted for the neck, installed conventionally poles facing north. I found that the DiMarzio 36th anniversary pup sounded excellent. Clear and true with harmonics, crispness and a tone that "cut through" all the way. The Bluesbucker unfortunately sounds a bit obscured. Not muddy in the same way that really cheap pickups are muddy (like the stock Epiphone ones) but it sounds like the highs and mids do not Shine all the way through and are muddled by a boomy overtone. It sounds like it struggles to express itself. Like a stereo that has it's EQ set weird. More so this pickup tries to be something it is not and fails. It is suggested that it is sounds like a soapbar P-90 in a humbucker form. Boy would that be sweet if it were possible and true. P-90's sound awesome. I may end up buying a P-90 guitar (Gibson LP Special) later on down the road. It was for this reason that I took a gamble in trying this pup in an effort to create a versatile guitar capable of two distinct sounds. To me it sounds like a humbucker that has a smudged imperfect tonal balance. I suspect if this were in a semi hollow body guitar it would sound better. That would disperse some of it's sound congestion. For a Les Paul I think I will stick with Alnico PAF's. My next trial will be a Seymour Duncan antiquity which I have high hopes for. The Bluesbucker was a bit of a gamble. There are not many reviews or sound clips on them. As far as the good reviews on this, do not be tricked. I will say this. This pickup sounded better than the stock Chinese Epiphones I replaced. So based on that standard I could see where some people are happy with it. I had this installed next to an outstanding pickup (36th anniversary PAF) so the contrast was stark. Also DiMarzio even admits it sounds better with the poles facing south (backwards). I can imagine it sounding a little better that way but not enough to justify keeping it. DiMarzio has a huge selection of pups and they are not afraid to try new concepts so I respect that about them and will continue to buy or at least consider their products.To me this pickup serves no real purpose though which will be evidenced by it's low sales and general lack of feedback regarding it.
Overall Impression — 6
Again a fairly low rating based on the fact that is is not a bargain pickup. At this price range of MSRP 132.00$ there are so many outstanding pickups. It sounds neither Vintage nor modern. Sorta an orphan pickup that does not really have a family.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I would say it is probably very durable. DiMarzio makes quality products.