Crunchy Rails review by GFS

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 7.8 (4 votes)
GFS: Crunchy Rails
4

Sound — 10
First off, this is a VERY high output passive pickup. Clearly this pickup isn't for everyone, but if you're looking for just about the most brutal passive humbucker available then this is what you're looking for. Add a price tag of around half of what others are charging and it's nearly impossible to go wrong. I play a lot of hair metal/hard rock and some old school thrash. For these styles, this is the perfect pickup. I own a couple Jackson DX10D's with HxH configurations and picked up a bridge and neck set for each one. My amplification system is Guitar Rig 4 and my signal chain is guitar> ART tube preamp> M-Audio 2496 sound card> 120 watt Fostex studio monitors. I'm 33 now but used to play guitar in my teens. Back then I had a few cheap-o guitars and really didn't care about tone a whole lot. But after getting back into playing 2 years ago, I've been on a quest to nail a killer tone and unfortunately until now this has eluded me. The tone I'm referring to is a harmonic hail storm that's tight, punchy, and melts faces. Think Dave Meniketti of Y&T and John Sykes from Whitesnake. In my quest I tried the DiMarzio Super Distortion (versatile with decent cleans but flabby bass), DiMarzio Fred (good harmonics and great all around pickup but not hot enough), Seymour Duncan JB (thin and flabby), as well as several other random pickups and several Jackson pickups. I was almost ready to give up and blame it on using an amp modeler. Of course that's all changed now. The sound of this pickup is very tight and saturated with incredible harmonic overtones. And speaking of harmonics, pinch harmonics are effortless. Being that this is a very high output pickup (16.2K on the bridge), the cleans aren't the greatest and unless you roll off the volume some, clean tones are likely to distort. Clean tones are also on the dark side as well. But you can always compensate with a little more treble from your amp. At the end of the day though, this is a pickup meant for distortion and lots of it.

Overall Impression — 10
My overall impression of these pickups is complete awe and amazement. My only complaint is that the cleans aren't that good but that's to be expected with a high-output pickup. It's nearly impossible to have it both ways. As I said, I a full bridge and neck set in both guitars but might eventually put a PAF or something similar in the neck to give me more options. For the time being though, I'm completely satisfied and have a tone that I've literally been chasing for years.

Reliability & Durability — 10
There's literally 20 inches of lead wire on these pickups so they'll survive dozens of installs. I got a black on black set and they look as brutal as they sound. I love these pickups and will probably buy 3 or 4 more sets just to have on hand and in case they ever become unavailable. These are quality made pickups and I give them a 10 on both reliability & durability.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    zzzzzzzzzzzzz
    Jay (the GFS man) posted on the harmony central forum that Green is hot (connect to the switch) and that black and silver (bare) are supposed to be grounded to the back of the volume pot. Red and white are to be soldered together and taped off. I used his instructions and they worked great. Your way may also work but this is how I installed this pickup in my guitar.
    xanubisx
    "I'm 33 now but used to play guitar in my teens. Back then I had a few cheap-o guitars and really didn't care about tone a whole lot." "I'm completely satisfied and have a tone that I've literally been chasing for years." go figure ^ lol i do not trust all 10 reviews or normally read them either
    PimpSmurf
    I know what you guys mean. I ordered one on Friday I think and when I get it (and a Fat Pat neck) installed I'll review them both. From what I've gathered at various places around teh interweb, they are decent pickups, but really meant to be played through a fat amp with a dark guitar. People with heavy guitars (all mahagany body LPs, etc) have said great things. I'm hoping my Blackheart Handsome devil w/ Fulltone Fulldrive 2 MOSFET boost will be enough to melt faces.
    fatcat88
    The GFS power rails are great and at 36 bucks they are a excellent deal, I prefer the crunchy rails in the bridge position and hey there's nothing wrong wih putting these in the neck position also if you like hot output tha sounds good. Neither pickup is muddy, though the power rail puts out more bass than the crunchy rail which puts out plenty, at times the power rail low end was too much for me. Buy them both and you still will be saving money, they look familiar don' they?
    nonpartisan
    The "hot/cold" wiring issue and magnetic polarity matter more regarding which pickups you combine them with. Going by the rules the pup's I paired them with were out of phase (I ensured I had the magnetic polarities matched for hum cancelling) I found these a bit too hot/overbearing in my daughter's strat for what I play, but a cool "option" is putting the two coils in parallel with a push pull - having a hot sound and something closer to PAF.
    Wat is liefde?
    Ordered a "Crunchy Rails" bridge pickup from GFS yesterday, can't wait for it to arrive in South-Africa, will do a review once it's in it's place.
    fatcat88
    Also I forgot to mention they are built very solid, just as good as any major brand and even better than some of them. Worth the effort of installing yourself, WIRING GFS RAILS use your phone and take pics of the wiring you have before taking out your pickups for most setups you will solder red and white together and black (HOT) and green are your wires to connect TO YOUR SWITCH , connect the bare wire to back of volume. There is a lot of confusing stuff online about wiring these, I did a second set last night so I am sure THIS IS CORRECT.