Purchased from: Amazon.com
Sound — 8
This is a pickup choice I made as a replacement for the Seymour Duncan JB in my LTD VF-401. No offense to the JB lovers/users out there, but I needed something without that spike in the upper mids that the JB tends to have. This pickup delivered in that aspect. It has a little more of a scoop in the mids, treble response that is bright but not harsh, and lows that I can only describe as having more "fur" on them than the JB. I play metal, and I run a Marshall JVM410H and a 1960 Vintage cabinet. The combination of the guitar, pickup, and amp is really good - the lows kind of balance the natural treble of the amp. I would describe it as a warmer-toned bridge pickup with good harmonic response and good crunch. It's not fantastic for cleans - it will still cause your tube amp to break up on a clean channel, but honestly, I've heard worse.
Reliability & Durability — 10
It's a Seymour Duncan USA pickup... so I have zero worries about its construction or longevity. Comes with the familiar black tape around the coil wires, the plastic bobbins are solid, and the base plate and legs are in perfect condition as well. In my experience, most pickup manufacturers are building these things to be pretty durable, and I can't particularly think of a way I could damage it under normal circumstances. I have never had any pickup from Seymour Duncan that was not dependable as long as it is properly installed.
Overall Impression — 9
Again, I play metal, and this is a pretty good match. High output, but not so high as the Black Winter or Dimebucker. With high-gain overdrive, the tone remains organic and sweet, with great clarity in the mids and highs, and the lows have an almost "brown sound" quality to them.
It's all about personal preference, kids. I have a lot of years into experimenting with guitars and pickups (upwards of fifteen of those pickups have been from Seymour Duncan), and my honest is opinion is that this pickup is towards the top of what the Seymour Duncan catalog offers. Covers a lot of ground in the realm of rock and metal, and very well at that. A great choice for those who need smoother mids than the JB offers, and deeper lows without getting into DiMarzio Super Distortion or Tone Zone territory. All things considered, this is a fantastic pickup.