Price paid: $ 90
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 7
I recently purchased a Mex Strat, and decided to Switch out the cheap, noisy and bad sounding stock pickups. My first idea was the SD Invader because I had heard it in the bridge position of my friends Stratocaster and liked the tone. First of all... This puppy is LOUD! The output level is significantly greater than the neck pickup on the Strat, which I haven't switched yet... Keep in mind that this one is a single coil... And the SH-8 is a humbucker. But none the less, the big and clunky magnets in the Invader give it an enormous output. The tone I got was interesting however. I plugged into my Bogner Alchemist 1X12 Combo (All tube, 12 inch Celestion Gold speaker) with a bit of reverb, some delay and a DOD YJM308 Pre Amp Overdrive pedal with the settings at 10. My amp settings were: Green Channel (clean/crunch) Gain: 10 toggle Switch to crunch Treble: 7 toggle Switch to bright Mid: 5 Bass: 3 toggle Switch to deep Master Volume: 3 The tone was raw and dirty, sludgy and muddy. The higher range was very articulate, but if I played any chord other than a power chord with any amount of gain the result was mushy and single notes could barely be heard. The pickup put out a lot of low end and mid range tones, but pushed through when I would play a solo. It had a fantastic metal, sludge metal, early rock and roll or believe it or not, blues sound. Currently I'm using it to play Sabbath song at are in C# with my band and its working quite well. I also feel like the Invader made my Strat sound 10x more like a Strat than it did with the stock pickup in it if you catch my drift. You could really hear the resonance of the wood and the thin maple neck with the Invader in...which is why I put this pickup high on my list of great blues guitar pickups. I recommend this pickup for either the neck or the bridge position, because as I said, there is quite a lot of low end and mid range coming off of it. I was unhappy with the saturation of bass at first and tried to correct this by switching the "deep" toggle Switch under the bass knob on my amp off. This didn't really help much, so I've accepted that its a bassy pickup, and am now utilizing it accordingly. Lastly, the clean tone on the pickup is surprisingly warm and not very muddy or hot like its overdriven counterpart. The ceramic magnets give it a surprisingly shimmery tone that I was very pleased with. My clean settings were the same as my overdrive settings, I just turned off the Overdrive pedal and switched the channel toggle to clean instead of crunch Here are my final sound ratings for the Invader - Overall Output - 10 Cleanliness - 7 Tone: Neck - 9 Bridge - 6 Overall I give it a 7... Just because its so dirty and bass prominent... It can really only be used for sludge riffs or blues solos.
Overall Impression — 8
As I said, I installed it in my Strat... I had to drill two new holes in the pickguard to mount it, because the stock humbucker had a strange mounting configuration. (this caused me to burn myself with a soldering gun! But its all for rock and roll right? ) I give it a 7 in the bridge and an 8 in the neck on over all tone and a 10 on durability in any position.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The Invader is built like a tank, and I can't imagine it breaking. I installed it myself, it took no more than 30 minutes, to get it in there and wire it up... My only problem was that Seymour Duncan didn't include a wiring diagram for an HSS Stratocaster... Just for a 2 Humbucker Les Paul or Jackson Rhoads V style axe. I totally trust in the Invader at a show to do what it needs to do. As I said in SOUND, the pickup is tremendously loud... And on top of that it never cuts out or clips.