Price paid: $ 73
Purchased from: GPDUSA.com
Sound — 7
The Seymour Duncan SH-1 '59 is a lower output PAF copy. It's similar to a PAF in most respects but it is a little bit harder edged. The tone is for the most part quite defined, however in a Les Paul it gets VERY boomy in the neck position. The boominess can't really be controlled. I use it mainly with a Vypyr 75, though as of late it hasn't seen much use. It comes in both neck and bridge versions; they're fairly interchangeable since they're similar in output level.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, this pickup is a good pickup for just about anything. It can get finicky with the guitar it's in, seeing as the bass is nearly uncontrollable in the neck position of a Les Paul. I loved it in an alder bodied 25.5" scale guitar though; the brighter tonewood and scale length tame the bass enough so it's balanced with the rest of the pickup better. I like the overall tone of the '59 and its versatility (I can play nearly anything on it and the tone will be decent), but the overall boominess of it means a a few points are docked. Recommended for hard rock and blues, not bad for metal soloing but there are better pickups for that purpose.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I have not once had a pickup break from normal use, and pickups are unlikely to break unless they get wet or a coil wire breaks. It's genuinely rare to have a pickup dead on arrival, since they're fairly simple as far as manufacturing them goes. A 13 year old could do it, with a few months experience.