Price paid: $ 299
Purchased from: King Tone Guitar
Sound — 9
A set of 3 single coil Stratocaster pickups produced by King Tone Guitar, a company founded by Jesse Davey. AlNicO V staggered magnets, scatter wound on custom winding machines, by hand. I installed these pickups in my 2004 American Fender Stratocaster and the improvement is amazing. Now my guitar produces a vintage, fat, rich and clear tone very close to SRV's tone (I use '11 strings). I tested them on different amps (both tube and solid state) and also in combination with amp modelling software and the results are always impressive. The middle pickup is not reverse wounded compared to the neck and the bridge ones therefore you don't have that sort of humbucking effect while using the middle pickup in combination with the neck or the bridge one, but this is not a problem at all for me. These pickups are perfect for blues and classic rock music style.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I cannot really say so much about durability since I installed them 1 month ago. By the way they look pretty solid, with no plastic parts (the old pickups in my Strat have a lot of plastic parts). The base of the pickups is made of metal (don't know exactly which one) and even if after the installation you are not going to see it anymore, they look pretty nice with some drawings and the pickup position carved into the metal.
Overall Impression — 9
I play mainly blues (SRV, Kenny Wayne Shepard etc) and some classic rock (Hendrix mainly) and these pickups really improve a lot the tone of my guitar, they are just perfect for what I like to play. I love the new rich and fat sound of my guitar, in combination with a Tube Screamer and a good tube amp the sound is literally mind blowing. Definitively the best purchase that I made for my guitar. Pretty impossible that they'll be stolen, but in that case I'll rebuy them for sure. I know that there are a lot of boutique pickups for Strats out there, but knowing that these ones have been designed by an amazing blues guitar player like Jesse Davey was a sort of quality insurance for me. Before ordering them I sent emails to the company asking several questions, Jesse itself replied to me with all the answers that I was looking for, another good sign of the reliability of this company. Also the expedition was quite fast, I live in Germany and after I placed the order in 2 weeks I received them from California.