Price paid: $ 40
Purchased from: WD Music
Sound — 9
I got this pickup for my ESP LTD M-100 to replace a DragonFire Power Rail in the bridge. I liked the way the neck Power Rail sounded, but considering I need a pickup for lead player I wanted something with a little more output, more mids, a tighter bass and plenty of brightness. I heard Kent Armstrong has a great reputations for high quality pickups at a great price so I took a chance and bought this one for the bridge position. At first I was a little disappointed with the sound, but them I remembered this PU is a lot different than the Power Rail and I had not changed my settings so I thought at first they were weak and thin. Once I tweaked my setting I was getting the right output, tone and gain I was looking for. The reason I thought they were weak at first was because the Power Rail PU has lower mids, less high end and is very bassy so that pickup easily overdrived my amp with less output to do so, but when I set my EQ to compensate for that I was getting the exact sound I was looking for that I couldn't achieve with the Power Rail PU. For a clean tone this PU is awesome and for lead it easily cuts through the mix and pinch harmonics are easy to hit. This PU doesn't getting muddy or lose definition at high volumes either. It's a great lead pickup, but the only drawback is it's not the great for metal rhythm. I can still get chunk out of it, but not like the Power Rail had. I'm not too worried about that because I have a separate guitar I use for my rhythm metal tracks. IMO I don't think any pickup is perfect for all and everyone has a different idea what sounds good to them. I don't regret getting this PU.
Overall Impression — 9
At first I didn't care for it, but once I got my sound setting right and got an idea what this PU can do I was impressed. They kind of give me a Seymour Duncan TB-6 distortion vibe, but don't purchase this PU because I said that because if you expect that sound you maybe disappointed. The pickup works well with my ESP LTD M-100, but I tend to get a little of a slap tone when I hit the string. What I did was rose my action a tad and hit the strings lighter (which actually work to my benefit) and I eliminated that. I think if you're look for a good lead PU for the bridge and don't have a ton of cash to spend then this maybe what you're looking for. It plays great metal leads, has an awesome clean tone and is chunky enough to squeak by with super heavy duty stuff.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I've had it for a couple weeks now so I really can't judge how it going to hold up. The PU seems sturdy, but the wires are a tad thin but still was workable. I'll hope for the best. I hope to gig out with this pickup very soon. I have practiced with it already and it does cut through the mix easily. It's great at high or low volume levels and has great dynamics like any decent passive PU should have. I forgot to add when I got it the packaging was well done and the install instructions were very detailed and easy to understand.