Price paid: $ 40
Purchased from: craigslist
Sound — 10
I play mainly blues, rock, punk rock, hard rock, metal, and various forms of each. My Road Worn Tele sounded pretty good in the bridge position with the standard Tex Mex single coil but was a little shrill and not warm or beefy enough for my taste. The Little 59 has tamed the highs without actually eliminating them. It's certainly warmer and a LOT fuller sounding. The lows are full and round, but not overpowering like other alternative Tele pickups. The mids have a nice, clear punch. Together with the highs, the tone sits extremely well in the mix since it cuts but it never gets offensive. It's a very, very well balanced pickup that sounds like a humbucker that's not trying too hard to please any particular genre, if you catch my drift.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've only owned the Little 59 for a few weeks but nothing about it leads me to believe it won't stand the test of time. After all, it's a Seymour and Seymours are built to last. It's very sturdy, well built, and made from high quality materials, as one would expect from a Duncan. It's a standard 4 wire conductor pickup with a ceramic bar magnet. It measures a 17k DC resistance, which rates up there with some of the hottest single coil pickups made for the Tele so it's HOT. Having said that, it's dead silent ... The polar opposite of the previous stock pickup.
On that note, I would highly recommend swapping out the neck pickup if it's anything less than 10k because of the vast difference between output levels. I have yet to do this & I can tell you with the pickup selector in the middle position, it sounds ... Well, weird.
It's very trebly and the output is extremely weak. Like I said, that's because it's a bad idea to pair up a 7.9k pickup with a 17k pickup ... When running the 2 together, the results are destined to be less than ideal. And not to mention switching from the bridge to the neck results in a very significant difference in volume. No worries though, it's something I'll rectify very soon with possibly a Quarter Pound Seymour ... We'll see though.
Overall Impression — 10
This pickup does EXACTLY what it advertises. I wanted a balanced, quiet, transparent, high output pickup that would handle high amounts of gain with grace, yet still maintain enough of that Tele twang and bite to satisfy me. To be honest, you do lose a bit of the Tele characteristics when heavily distorted and the volume knob maxed, but that's kind of the point. Typical Teles aren't really designed for heavier rock and metal. Luckily though, you can drop in this little beast to make your Tele much more versatile without turning it into another unrecognizable, muddy, dull, cheap, cookie-cutter "metal" guitar. It truly has its own unique character which sets it apart from all the other hotter Tele pickups I've heard. Highly recommend!