Price paid: € 30
Purchased from: Governorpickups.com
Sound — 7
Why I bought this pickup. Scrolling through Facebook I got an advertisement for Governor Pickups. I usually take a look at advertisements by guitar companies so I can find possible hidden gems. The site looked decent enough and when I found out they are based in the Netherlands (where I live) I thought I could give it a chance. The prices for humbuckers are between 30 and 47 euro or between 33 and 51 dollars respectively. The cost of the Avalanche model is €30, - as of February 2017 which is pretty cheap for a pickup. I bought it because my though is if you spend enough money you can get a good sounding pickup. But what happens when the price is lowered? Currently the lowest price on a single pickup (w/ 4 conducter) on Thomann is the EMG H4 with a cost of €59.
I put the Avalanche in my blue LTD M400 with. 010 D'addario strings. It's a 2016 model of around €840 and features a mahogany body with maple neck and fretboard. The Avalanche replaces the Seymour Duncan TB-4 and I'm happy with the result. I consider the pickup to be a decent upgrade instead of calling it a different flavor or even downgrade. The Avalanche is advertised as modern sounding supposedly best suited for a tight distorted tone. This is what I think it does best.
I tested it through a Fender Mustang III to get different overdriven sounds like from the '65 Twin Reverb and it has good metal sound from American '90's. I used the ZT Lunchbox Junior which has an absolutely incredible clean sound. I used it on Hughes & Kettner Attax 80. I recorded with the Focusrite 2i2 and used BIAS FX to get different sounds and amps to get a good listen. So this gave me a pretty good idea of how it sounds.
According to the productpage: "It handles everything from crystal clear to heavily distorted and is perfect as a full set or in the bridge..." I wouldn't call it "crystal clear" but it does deliver a better clean sound than the TB-4 I had before. When playing without effects I would prefer a different pickup. However I will choose this pickup when playing something with light to medium overdrive. The pickup has a certain clarity if you're playing chords. Depending on the guitar you're putting it in it can be a good upgrade.
The sound is well balanced but the highs can be a bit too much if you're playing in standard tuning. If you're playing in lower tunings I wouldn't see that becoming a problem. This can also be solved with by just playing around with the amp settings and eq.
Reliability & Durability — 8
It is delivered in a nice small box. They also include instruction on how to wire the pickup so that you can use coil splitting. The build seems to be pretty solid but it will take time to test them. I have taken the guitar to rehearsal and have not encountered any difficulties. I wired it basically as easy as possible. The guitar doesn't have a tone knob or coil splitting so it would be really surprising if it were to show any issues.
It just looks good. It looks like what you'd expect from a pickup. It's solid as needs to be. The only thing that could be slightly annoying is that the wires tend to be a bit short. It would've been nice to add an inch or two but that would just be to have a little more flexibility when wiring. It's not a real issue just something to nitpick about. The guitar where this pickup is built in has a Floyd Rose. Everything holds up nicely. I can use the trem without any issues what so ever. The pickup keeps on being responsive.
Overall Impression — 8
My overall impression is that the Avalanche by Governor is a solid modern sounding pickup. It is best suited for slight to heavy overdriven sounds. Although the clean sound is between decent and good I would not recommend buying them for the sole purpose of having a clean humbucker. They might have another product which does clean better. The sound can be bit sharp on the higher strings depending on the amp that you use which may require some adjusting. But that's really a non-issue.
I recommend these pickups if you think your current pickup sound a bit muddy and you're looking for something that sounds more clear. Even though they sound good in standard tuning, the best results are probably when the guitar is in a lower tuning.
If you have guitar in the range between €400 - €800 it would be worth it to check them out.
If you're under that it would probably be best to buy a guitar that is more to your taste. Above 800 I would only recommend if you've found a great playing guitar that doesn't have quite the sound you're looking for. That's what happened for me anyways.
To wrap it up, it's amazing that Governor can make a profit on these affordable pickups. They don't sound good for a low price, they sound good and have a low price. The product they sold me is definitely worth the money. I will try to visit them in the future to check out more gear.