Price paid: $ 160
Purchased from: Axe Palace
Sound — 9
The first thing I noticed after I had the pickups wired up and plugged in, was that they were extremely quiet. After using many high output pickups that hummed like mad when near a computer, where I do most of my practicing (as do most people), it was a godsend to have a quiet set of pickups. Now as far as the sound of the actual pickups go, the only way I believe I can describe them is meaty, clear, and tight. The bridge pickup has a lot of punch to it, and no matter how cluttered the chords get, it remains clear as day. When you really start digging into the strings, and getting a bit more technical, the notes just pop. I've got this thing coil tapped as well, and this is where it just screams versatility. On the clean channel, untapped, the pickup has a very sweet sound, albeit a bit too bright for me at times. Tapped you can mimic a strat tone easily, and get a nice tele twang with the right settings. While on the subject of coil tapping; the neck pickup is god incarnate on the clean channel whilst tapped. I'm an absolute sucker for a single coil clean in the neck, and this pickup totally delivers in that department. Throw some distortion on it and you've got a very nice blues machine; throw it back into full humbucking mode and you've got a buttery smooth lead tone. I'm in love with the neck pickup, for cleans and leads. It does rhythm tones pretty well too, if that's your thing, but I personally don't use the neck for any kind of rhythm work. Still perfectly clear in that department though. Tonally speaking, both pickups are very well balanced, without too much in the low end, a nice smooth top end, and a very punchy mid range. That's something to keep in mind with these; the midrange. It's very much there, and it WILL show through your amp if you don't EQ properly. I've been using them through my Valveking, in an all mahogany guitar, and I took them through their paces with a Diezel in a guitar store near me. They're incredible pickups, but if you don't watch your mids, you'll be bleeding out of your ears.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, I love the crunch these pickups give. The clarity, the crunch, and just the punch they give out in general. I don't hate anything about them, they've given me everything I could ever want in terms of tone, I've never heard a tighter set of pickups than these. They're currently in my Washburn X50, but they'll be soon going in a few other guitars of mine to see how they fare in other tonewoods. As stated, I've got the matched set, I can't recommend them enough to anyone looking for a heavily versatile set of pickups that can easily do anything from the most technical of metal to the smoothest of jazz. Also worth noting, I got the satin black covered set. They look fantastic.
Reliability & Durability — 10
After that last wall of text, this one will be pretty short. They're extremely solid feeling, looking, and sounding. I'm 100% sure these will last for a long time to come. No complaints as far as construction or wiring issues go.