Price paid: $ 30
Purchased from: Amazon
Sound — 7
Okay, so I own the real Duncan Invaders that these things are based off of... Let's just say there's a reason they call it the "Detonator". Actually, let's break it down De- = no more, less of; Tone = The clarity of your notes; -ator = a prefix I made up to make a badly compounded word become a title of sorts... Well ok not really, I'm not sure why it's nicknamed "Detonator." So I bought the real Invaders and loved the clarity and the tone in both the neck and the bridge. I had another guitar to upgrade the stock pickups and I decided to get this pickup for the bridge and combine it with another Duncan Designed pickup I got for free, the HB-103. This pickup, despite having the same black oxide caps as the Invaders, do not share a similarity in tonal clarity and screaming, clear mids as the big brother. This thing muddies itself really easily, sounds kind of flat, and tinny at lower volumes. The good news: this pickup was made for a heavier rock type setting because of the natural distortion it gives off. I have it set in a guitar with a LP type set of electronics so I can manage to balance out this pickup and the neck pickup for a cleaner sound if need be.
Overall Impression — 8
Well at least I get a different sound from this pickup, giving me ideas of how to dial in certain effects for a real set up I have. The sad thing is, this pickup is worth just as much as the guitar I have this set up in. A wonderful, magical, Lyon (by Washburn) LI15 barely-better-than-Costco-brand guitar. I'm considering putting a mod-board in this guitar just to make it a bit more of a novelty and making it a guitar I would be happy to lug around, say a convention, with a small amp run by a battery in a backpack playing covers to songs from games, anime, cartoons, movies and more and not worry about losing too much money over this thing. Still, I think my money would have been better spent on a GFS or Guitar Head brand pickup.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I'm not 100% sure on the quality of this pickup just due to the fact that I ordered it seemingly new and it's Korean made (I think?). It survived being in a box full of more pickups I switched out for nearly a year and was too lazy to install it into my, then junk project, now practice guitar. Really though, I don't know how I feel about touching black oxide caps in an effort to see what I can do with this thing's sound. Consider the 8 I am giving in this field an ambiguous "sure I guess this thing can stand a few gigs and a bunch of installations?"