Price paid: $ 80
Purchased from: Musiciansfriend.com
Sound — 10
The pickup I got was the AHB-3 bridge position. I had purchased an ESP LTD M-330R and the stock ALH-200s weren't cutting it for me. I could tweak my amp and use effects like an eq to get the sound I wanted, but the problem with that is it then sounds really processed and you end up hearing more distortion and effects than you actually would the pickup itself. The problem with the stock pickups I had were they sounded decent clean, but when adding distortion they sounded weak and muddy. I was debating between going with either a EMG 85, EMG 85X, SD TB-6, SD AHB-1, DiMarzio Crunch Lab (or something from them) or this one. I decided against going with a passive pickup because the guitar was already wired for actives so I figured I'd keep it that way. I didn't want to use an EMG 81 because to me personally it's too thin sounding, very compressed and not the most colorful sounding pickup. I was highly against going with the SD AHB-2 because from the sound clips I heard it would not clean up at all and to me sounds like it's only good for metal (and didn't sound that great for some styles of it). So what I did was listen to other sound clips of pickups that used a mahogany body like mine with a Peavey 5150 amp or something comparable and this pickup to me sounded the best in the bridge. I'm currently running my guitar in drop C and the low end is so tight I lose absolutely no note definition at high volumes. This pickup has a lot of output and turn my 5150 crunch channel into metal machine. It has enough highs for good presents, the mids are not majorly cut and in a band mix these pickups cut right through easily. I was surprised how well these pickups clean up when you roll back your volume knob and use the clean channel (in fact I was shocked lol) There were not a lot of reviews on this pickup and since I got it I figures I may as well share my experience with them. I have no regrets so far. It also helped that I got a $20 off promo code from MF to save even more money, love it :). BTW, if you're wondering pinch harmonics are very easy to hit with this pickup.
Overall Impression — 10
For the style of music I play which is mostly heavy duty metal, the guitar I put this pickup in and the amp I use I'm extremely happy with the sound I'm getting. I don't think there is such a thing as the perfect pickup for every guitar player, style or guitar itself and really up to your own ear to decide if this pickup is right for you or not. I'd say the best purpose for this pickup is for extreme metal and extreme drop tuning because of the real tight bottom end, heavily colored sound and the high output. I wouldn't recommend this pickup for playing blues, country, southern rock or jazz, but maybe some people that play those styles may disagree and find these pickups useful, anything's possible. Now that I have this in the bridge position the next thing I'm going to do is decide what to put in the neck position. I'll be looking for something a little cleaner that makes sweeps patterns ring out and sounds smooth. Any ideas?
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have not use this pickup for very long, but it seen to be well built. Installing it was not the hardest considering I only had the unsolder and resolder 3 wires. I did have one problem, the bare wire and white wire were not separated that well and I needed more leway to solder the wires. Luckily I had a wire casing remover tool that did the trick. When I go to replace the neck pickup I'm just going to get an EMG wiring set since this pickup already has a 3 pin connection just like the EMGs and I won't have to go through that hassle again. I honestly feel you could gig with these pickups once set in right not only because the pickups have a sturdy build, but also because these pickups cut through the mix, have a lot of output and are very colorful. Easy to hear :).