Price paid: $ 250
Purchased from: Straight Music
Sound — 9
The KH-21(Kirt Hammit) is a direct drop in prewired pickguard for any model of stratocaster, even imports. It comes with 2 EMG 81's and all the pots and switches prewired, all you need to do is sodder a jack and battire(s) to the setup. The top knob is the bridge volume, the second from top is the neck volume, and the bottom knob is for tone. I would have to say the output of the KH-21 is fairly high, even though I'm only running a 9 volt through the EMGs. I use a Boss Ds-1 and a Valveking 112 to play this and I have to say the KH-21 can acheive a destroying tone, yet also a warm tone. The tone the KH-21 is petty much what any EMG 81 would acheive. Its a very trembly and bassy tone with alot of punch. The 9 volt mod dosent have as much output as the 18 volt mod, but I have found that the lower output is better for blues and classic rock, while still holding its metal tone when you want it. The best postions really depend on the type of sound you want to go for, the bridge postion is best for rythem and lead, because it has the most clairty. The middle postion is kinda funny, if you have the volume up for both pickups then it will sound more like the neck pickup. What I like to do is to drop the neck volume down about a 1/4 of a turn, gets it a really good rythem tone without too much bass. The neck pickup is more for cleans becuase it has so much bass output. I think it gives a really good Metallica clean tone when you use it with a chours.
Overall Impression — 7
I love the kinds of heavy tones I can pull out of the KH-21, but just as quickly get a nice warm tone out of it. It looks very clean on the guitar, dosent have any flaws on apperance so it flows with your guitar. I installed the KH-21 in my 2006 Squier Affinity Strat. No problems installing it. One thing I dislike about the KH-21 is the battire, it does fit in the cavity, but theres not enough room for a second battire. Another thing I dislike about the KH-21 is the lack of volume on the high e, and b strings, for some reason the bridge pickup dosent pickup these strings as loudly. Also when you drop the volume on any of the pickups it looses all high end, becomes very low out put with just an 1/8 of a turn.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The pickguard is a pearloid pickguard, it is alot stonger than the normal 3 ply pickguards, also it dosent scratch, which keeps it looking nicer longer. Overall its a tough rig, I giged with it for about 5 months without any kind of failure, and I used it alot. I can defintly depend on this, its tough as nails.