HSDO-1 Super Distortion review by Kent Armstrong

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 10 (1 vote)
Kent Armstrong: HSDO-1 Super Distortion
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Price paid: $ 60

Sound — 8
The output level on this humbucker is very high and can easily Drive a tube amp into overdrive. I'm using this with my JCA20H head in an alder body, maple neck/fretboard guitar with 1 meg pots. I used 1 meg pots to really get the guitar to scream and with this pickup it doesn't disappoint. I bought the pickup as they were cheap and I was building the guitar from scratch and figured I could replace the pickups later if they didn't meet my requirements. I haven't needed to replace it for almost a year of playing it and it matches nicely with a Kent Armstrong HRO-1 Rocker. I have this pickup in the bridge and while it can be quite treble happy, that's what a bridge humbucker is for. It's not a dark sounding pickup by any means and doesn't get muddy with gain. I have rated this an 8 because it can be a bit too bright with 1 meg pots or 500k. It could pay to wire a resistor in series to reduce the brittleness it can get and shouldn't be put in a guitar without a tone control. Overall it's a good pickup and does what it is designed to do, distortion!

Overall Impression — 8
I like this as a bridge pickup, and I might see what is sounds like in the neck another time. I would recommend it to someone who is looking at changing their sound and not sure what pickup they should get. It's cheap, but it doesn't lack quality and if it's not the tone your looking for you don't feel as bad buying another pickup soon after. I wish it sounded better in parallel. When out of phase with the neck it is very nasal, but is a usable tone especially with flanger type effects. I have given an 8 in this category as it's nice, but there are better out there.

Reliability & Durability — 10
When I wired this up I had no trouble trimming wires and soldering the shield wire. I have this wire to a phase switch and it sounds best wired in series. Previously I have had it wired to switch between series/split(north/slug)/parallel and I would recommend it to be wired in series. I didn't enjoy the single coil because it was far too bright and parallel didn't have enough output to get the tone to sound correct. Parallel wiring should normally bring out a warmer tone, but this just sounded like a volume loss. The pickup is very reliable and I have no issues with it. I have given this a 10 for reliability as the previous comment was more regarding sound.

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