Price paid: $ 229
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
The EMG DG-20 set gives you a large palette of sound choices if you are looking for something that isn't Vintage. If you want to make the pickups middy, bassy, trebly, or flat you can do it. The EMG DG-20 set does not have your standard tone knobs, no, it has the EXG and SPC controls. The first knob controls the high and low eq. It starts with a flat EQ and you can really crank up the highs and lows while leaving the mids flat. If you choose to use the SPC control you boost the mids. If you are looking for that scooped sound leave the EXG flat or slightly bumped and crank the SPC. These pickups are quiet, clear, and concise. You'll hear a lot of detail and you'll be able to play a lot different genres of music but you won't hear that Vintage tone. You'll come close but nothing will sound quite like that single coil quack. Also, the neck seems to be much hotter than the bridge. I'm not a huge fan of this which is probably why I play the middle pickup and bridge a lot more. It just seems to suit my tone. I was also playing these through a Fender 65 DRRI w/ a Big Muff, TS9, and Carbon Copy. Those are my main weapons on my pedal board. Check out this website to hear the difference between some Vintage single coils and the EMGs. You can also see some of the settings that Dave uses on certain songs. Enjoy!
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, if you want to transform your strat in to a jack of all trades guitar this is the set to get. You can play metal, blues, pop, etc. It'll cover them all but it won't fit one bill perfectly. I actually just took these out of my setup so I could put in a set of CS69s because I wanted that Vintage Fender tone. If you don't mind missing out on the true Vintage tone then consider these before you buy anything else and you'll probably be pleased. I put these pups in to 2007 MIM Fender Std. Strat.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The pikcguard is a nice standard 11 hole white pearlized pickguard. The wiring is modern but done nicely. I've used these for about 50 hours and the battery is going full strength like its the first day I put these in. For a pre-wired pickguard these are done nicely and should hold up over time.