Fat PAT review by GFS

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (4 votes)

Price paid: $ 29.95

Purchased from: Guitar Fetish

Sound — 9
14k, zebra bridge model. Output level is less than the JB/Distortion everyone is so familiar with, but right on par with the Duncan Custom/Custom 5/Custom Custom that I've used extensively. This pickup tonally is somewhere between the JB and Custom 5, which makes it fantastic for hard rock. Its got the spongey bottom-end that the alnico 5's are known for, but not the upper-mid grind. Its far more balanced, which is why I find it close to the Custom 5. I use high quality cables always, and with this guitar I used a Crate Blue Voodoo BV-60h (all tube, 12AX7's & 6L6GT tubes) with matching BV412s cab. Very basic pedal setup includes an Ibanez Tubescreamer, GCB-95 Wah. The pick response on this pickup is very good. With the JB I hated that you had to drop the volume pot to clean it up at the appropriate hard-rock pickup height. I thought a lot of the Custom 5 for this reason, it's massively versatile. Ease off your pick attack and you'll get pristine cleans. Savagely attack your strings and you'll get your dirt.

Overall Impression — 9
It's coil-tapped in a Xaviere XV-510, which is a Les Paul Standard copy with a maple top. It's in the bridge position and I admit that I did not like it at first. I couldn't get over the fact that playing metal on it did not sound correct. I was expecting JB tones, which I loved in an old Gibson LP STD I had about 4 years ago now. After using it extensively I'm very pleased that I kept it around long enough to get a better feel for its abilities. I love its versatility for cleans-hard rock. Does it lack the tight, crunchy low-end for metal? Yes. Its another flavor of pickup, and a great alternative to SD/Dimarzio/Gibson alnico 5 moderate-output pickups. I have really been blown away by the GFS pickup line. Exceptional quality, wide-array of options, for prices around 1/3-1/2 of normal Seymour/Dimarzio pickups. I have used the Seymour Duncan SH-1(2), SH-1PG SH-2, SH-4, TB-4, SH-5, SH-6, TB-6, SH-8, TB-11, SH-14, and SH-13; EMG 81, 50, and 85; DiMarzio Tone Zone, Super Distortion, X2N, PAF Joe, Fred, Gibson 490(2), 500T, GFS Vintage 59(2), Crunchy PAT, Dream 180, and the Fat PAT is up to par in quality to any of them. In personal satisfaction it just might be superior due to the $29.95 price tag.

Reliability & Durability — 10
There's no difference in quality I can find between GFS/Seymour Duncan/Dimarzio/Gibson. I'd rather not compare to EMG because I've never mutilated one for the purposes of inspecting material/craftsmanship quality. I opened up the pickup and found it was wax potted very well, just as advertised, wound precisely, and detect no flaws in material. Many people claim the key to quality pickups lies in the materials. If this is the case, these pickups use silver/stainless under-plate, with the typical plastic bobbins, normal winding-coil. The only quality difference I could tell was in the external wiring coating, which is slightly thinner and more flexible than I've seen from the big four manufacturers.. I'm just talking about the outside, black coat. Everything else is on par. Like SD pickups, these GFS pups are foil-shielded, coil-tappable, and easy to install with the provided wiring diagrams.

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

    GFS Pickups are pretty unamtched in their pricerange. They're a good buy, especially given how little they cost. If you don't like them you're not out very much money.
    Nice review, I am too a fan of the cheaper pickups. Check out guitarheads.net. Similar to GFS but cheaper and they make great pickups as well.
    I have a neck version of this pup, it lacks a tiny bit of high s but all in all a great pup
    Good review. I'm looking at dropping some GFS' in a chambered body Agile I own. This just might be the bridge pickup I'm looking for.
    Like the original review, I didn't like it at first... a bit honky. Then I realized it came really close to nailing particular leads - takes distortion for vintage tones remarkably well. When split the bridge was a pretty strong single, splitting the odd half in series with the Neck for hum cancelling gives a nice scooped punch as well (I love 5 way switching on an HSS) Is it the best you can get? No. Am I going to swap it out? The only thing I'd swap it out for would be a hot Seymour Duncan P-Rail and that's a whole different animal. It is probably the best you will find until you double the price (and then some.)
    Just got the Fat Pat today to use in the bridge humbucker position of a "Fat Strat" H-S-S guitar. For that purpose, I think it's absolutely fantastic. High output, but not annoyingly so. Tons of low end, yet the highs still scream. Great pickup and great value!
    I just got an Earl Slick guitar with one of these in it yesterday. Great tones. It's the first time I have dug my clean channel on a Fender Frontman 65R. It has a tele sound, more tele than tele. I've slammed it hard, it likes me. Ran it through pedals. It likes pedals. It likes everything. The action is kinda high. It's OK, I have vintage hands.
    This pick deserves much more praise, and best being said here i would like to add upon the absolutely correct analysis as done by 'DrFurtrix' and 'nonpartisan'. For those who are on the fence on whether to go for coil splitting or parallel wiring, I have to say i get more rounder tones using coil splitting (the tone is slightly P90ish) unless u need a really thinner tone (still usable but lacking low end power than when split) u can rule out putting the two coils in parallel
    mcamp1230 wrote: I have a neck version of this pup, it lacks a tiny bit of high s but all in all a great pup
    thats highs not high s