Price paid: € 108
Purchased from: thomann.de
Sound — 9
I bought this one to replace the stock bridge pickup on my Jackson SLXT Scott Ian Anarchy featuring Duncan Designed HB102 (basswood body, maple/rosewood neck). The latter was not bad but I wanted a bit more definition in the bottom end. I play this guitar in Drop C and I didn't like the response of the 6th string. I wanted a tighter response for melodic death/metalcore kind of stuff.
I play it mainly trough my POD HD500 using Treadplate Dual with a bit of reverb for rhythm. I love how it sounds: bright, tight, with grinding mids. It takes time however to find the right EQ curve. My approach is not to dial to much bass in the amp, otherwise you ruin all the good stuff that Nazgûl is supposed to deliver. I set the bass knob at 11 o'clock. Mids and treble are both at app. 1 o'clock. I also use a pattern with mids at 3 o'clock, all else being equal, for extra grind. Riffs cut through without sounding harsh.
The cleans are somewhat sterile. I don't know how it sounds splitted, since I didn't need this function. Some people say not good. But I don't mind.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This time I decided to outsource the soldering job to a guitar luthier. So I kinda hope that it will last. There is no hum from improper soldering. The four-conductor wire is long enough to withstand many de- and re-soldering operations if the time comes to replace the volume knob.
What I don't understand and don't really appreciate is that SD pickups come with enclosed screws for mounting. Nice but they are always chrome-colored. Useless if you have black hardware.
Prior to Nazgûl, I already used the SD's Pegasus and hadn't any issues either. These guys are built to last.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, this pickup is worth the dough. Especially, if you need more clarity in the bottom end. The only flaw is perhaps that Nazgûl sounds great only with some EQ configurations which work great for modern high-gain sounds. Comparing to Nazgûl, the "cheap" Duncan Designed 102 sounded good regardless of what EQ I dialed in. Nevertheless, the clarity and response delivered by Nazgûl offset the lack of versatility. The bottom line: if you're looking for an allrounder, buy something else. JB, Custom or something similar. If you're in search of an entry ticket to the modern high-gain area, Nazgûl is for you.