Price paid: $ 99
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 10
This is the new signature pickup that Alexi Laiho designed with EMG. It is basically a passive HZ-H2, but it has a ceramic and steel magnets.The ABQ Pre-amp has a Push-Pull Pot with an adjustable boost in the down positon. The ABQ Pre-amp has a 3-position dip Switch that allows the resonance of the pickup to be altered to a variety of fixed frequencies. The out put with this is adjustable because of the adjustable boost. I believe you can max it out at 20db. Which IMO is alot more than you will ever need. I keep mine at like 4db(lowest setting) I put this PU in my Jackson RR24M and it screams. I replaced the EMG 81 it had as I am just not too fond of the sound they produce. More dynamics can be heard with it as it is a passive PU. The clean sound with this PU is very dull....it's not bad, but don't expect single coil chime with it. But I didn't buy it for clean. It is a metal PU by all means.
Overall Impression — 10
What I love most is the ABQ adjustments. You can really change the tone this PU produces just by changing the resonant freq switches. The PU itself is also very good for heavy stuff. I also play blues and it does that well too. This PU is very similar to a PAF style PU, so that tells you what kind of sound to expect. Almost vintage... until you turn up that gain, then this thing is ready to melt faces.
Reliability & Durability — 10
It has been reliable and durable so far. I mean as long as you know how to wire it up right you shouldn't have any issues. It has also been as durable as I need it to be. I just play at home and with friends for fun and it hasn't let me down once.