Price paid: $ 106.95
Purchased from: Axetec.co.uk
Sound — 9
The IronGear Blues Engine pickup is first and foremost a Patent Applied For style low output pickup. I put a set in my Epiphone Les Paul Standard running through a Crate v32 tube amp, and the difference between this and the stock pickups is as clear as day. he magnet type is a wonderful handwound Alnico IV, using 42 AWG enamel coil wire. It has a Nickel Silver baseplate and is a 2 conductor braided pickup. The bottom end is very tight, and absolutely shines in a naturally bassy guitar, such as a Les Paul, think ZZ Top type sounds. The Cleans are to die for, and it handles distortion with little to no muddiness. Don't let the low output think that it cannot handle heavier music though. It sounds very similar to the pickups Randy Rhodes used in his Alpine White Les Paul, and can nail his tones. It does a great job emulating Judas Priest and even Iron Maiden as well. Don't expect a EMG high output sound from these, but if you are planning on playing anything from Cream to Guns and Roses, this should be great for your guitar.
Overall Impression — 10
In conclusion, the Iron Gear Blues Engine is a wonderful pickup for those looking for that Holy Grail of Vintage guitar sounds without breaking the bank. Axetec's focus on the product selling itself means that thety can provied them at a wonderful price for everyone. It made my muddy Epiphone LP sound like a new guitar and sounds great in all positions.
Reliability & Durability — 10
These pickups are hand wound and made in the UK. The constuction is very solid and they seem like they could outlast any guitar you can fit them in. I would not worry about something goinh wrong with an Iron Gear pickup, and if you do, Axetec is very friendly and would do anything to make it's customers happy. The shipping to the US is no more than a US based company would charge, and they are always very considerate to thier customers. I would definately think about buying from Iron Gear again.