Crunchy Rails Review

manufacturer: GFS date: 03/28/2013 category: Pickups

Sign up to get weekly digest with top stories from UG. Ad free, only news.

Thanks for subscribing! Check your email soon for some great stories from UG

GFS: Crunchy Rails
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.
 Sound: 9.3
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (3) 10 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
Crunchy Rails Reviewed by: Rick540, on november 16, 2012
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 9.3
Crunchy Rails Reviewed by: joel-lesperance, on november 16, 2012
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 33

Purchased from:

Sound: I have the neck pickup of this model which is rated at 10.4K. The output level even though it is their hottest pickup is still not very high. It is about equal may be a bit higher than a Bill Lawrence L500xl. I compare it to this pickup because it sounds the same. It is very high in treble and has a bit less bass and equal bass to mids. Out of 10 I would say it would be: Treble-8, Bass-6, Mid-5.5. I use this pickup through Fender amps and cabs with DigiTech whammy, Crybaby wah, and an MXR phaser. It does well with all these pedals and all of my amps. I usually play death metal and groove metal so I use a lot of gain and this pickup handles that well. This sounds very clean and the notes sound very even similar to an active pickup. I also am in a jazz/blues band and it does very well clean even though I have no tone knob. I have no opinion of the bridge model but I assume it would be just as good. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This pickup seems just as durable as any other. The ground wire came shielded already right out of the box which never happens for me. This was a great feature I needed no shrink wrap to wire it. It came with a pickup ring but it was a pickup ring for the bridge (I ordered the neck pickup). The ring was also not the same dimensions as my guitar so I can't use it. This was an extra anyways so I can't really complain about it. // 10

Overall Impression: I have this installed in the neck position paired with a DiMarzio x2n in an ESP superstrat. The volumes are very imbalanced so the neck pickup is very high and the x2n in very low. It sounds very clean no matter what your playing and the harmonics are very good. Because it was so cheap I think I will Switch from DiMarzio to all GFS soon. I'd say get this pickup don't even think twice. The only bad thing about it is that the pickup ring was the wrong ring but normally pickups don't come with rings so its all good. // 9

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 8.7
Crunchy Rails Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 28, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 38

Purchased from:

Sound: I have this as a bridge only pickup because I'm a huge fan of mixing and matching pickups for different sounds. In the bridge, this pickup actually can do a pretty good job of carrying the tone of my strings and bringing clarity to the distortion I use. Being that this is a pickup I use in the bridge, it's fairly thin and very trebly, but with a nice crunch. I have a Vintage Extra HOT pickup from the same manufacturer in the neck position, which actually balances out the frequencies well. Distortion with this pickup is a must, I feel awkward trying to play clean with this pickup unless my friend wants me to come up with a Harmony or counter melody to what he plays. The tight ends that thing gets are pretty good and you can always sculpt out the tone more with the use of your wonderful EQ processing. GFS makes all of their humbuckers 4 wire which means coil splitting goodness! Splitting a rail yields an interesting result. The natural crunch intensifies but it loses a lot of tone to the point of and almost Sonic Youth type noise. I firmly recommend ignoring the possibility of coil tapping this guitar... Perhaps phase switching could prove to be much more fruitful than coil tapping? I'ts an idea and I'm always up for experimentation. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Well it's not like the blade are going to fall out any time soon... Easy installation, as GFS tins and shields their wires and gently packs them into a box within a box. It split very clearly when I did manage to tap it. The Blades look, feel, and seem galvanized, so I don't expect them to rust anytime soon unlike my stock pickups... They've even handled multiple environmental changes from humid to dry to good old HOT shower steam (I've made that joke before on another review on here, 2 guesses as to what other review I am talking about). // 8

Overall Impression: I love the way this thing handles distortion and the take on clean guitar playing. I have this installed in my Epiphone SG Special in combination with a Vintage Extra HOT installed in the neck. Overall, this pickup is a must-buy in my opinion. You can't go wrong with the low price tag, it comes to you factory fresh, and the 4 wire conductor makes it a great pickup to wire into some kind of maniacal position that you can think of. I'm considering buying another one of these to install into my Kramer as well. // 9

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
Only "https" links are allowed for pictures,
otherwise they won't appear