Price paid: $ 60
Purchased from: guitarheads.net
Sound — 7
I got these when they were on sell and because I had a guitar just sitting there with no pickups. I figured it wouldn't hurt to try them out. They came in a small white box each pickup wrapped in plastic and don't come with 25k pots. I put them in my Ibanez RG2EX1 playing through a Peavey 5150 combo with eminence swamp thang speakers. The output on these pickups are very high. Higher then a set of EMGs. There supposed to be EMG 81 clones just louder. They do sound somewhat similar to an 81 but have this really dry thick sound with a muddy low end. Its like someone put a blanket over my amp. You have to put your treble up on the amp to make these pickups more clear. The best sound I could get out of the bridge was for thrash metal type riffs. The low end is fast and tight but still a little muddy. The best I could describe this pickup is very dry and flat. If that's your thing you might like it. The neck pickup was a little better. Sweeps and solos seemed to pop out and sound more clear. You could get a decent clean sound if you roll back the volume a bit. I think the neck pickup is more usable then the bridge. To get these to sound there best you really need to take the time to find that sweet spot in pickup height. EMG recommends putting there pickups as close to the strings as possible, which I do and love the sound, but with GuitarHeads treat em more like passives.
Overall Impression — 6
I like that they are inexpensive and are a step above the typical stock pickups that come in budget guitars. They aren't bad I heard far worse. Definitely an upgrade to the average stock pickups but they aren't gonna beat any Seymour Duncan Blackouts or EMGs in terms of quality clarity and tone anytime soon. If you have a cheap guitar that could use an upgrade you play metal and your on a budget, I'd recommend them. I could see kids playing deathcore with spider amps liking these but if your a serious about your music and need good tone just save up for something better. A good alternative I should of done was buy the GuitarHeads Hexbuckers set and a Seymour Duncan Blackout pre amp. Would of been a 100 bucks and sound a lot better.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Pickups seem well built and the same as EMGs. They just don't have the quick connect system. One thing you should avoid is buying the 25k pots from GuitarHeads because they're terrible. I bought 4 pots and they all broke. I only needed 2 for the guitar but got extras since they were cheap. When I needed to raise the volume the pot broke and kept spinning. I then checked out the tone knob started turning it on and off then it broke too. I wasn't even putting that much pressure on them. So I put the extra pots I had in and after a week of regular playing they broke. If you buy these get the pre wired EMG 25k pots somewhere else they are like 10 bucks and they have never broke on me.