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Sound Quality

The output level is a bit more than the EMG select. I would say it has about the same output as your typical fender/squier/overseas single coil, maybe just a tad more. I will use it with various amps for various purposes, but I am reviewing it based on a gig with a Crate Hybrid 1x12 combo. The tone is , again, pretty much the same as your standard fender/squier/overseas single coil, with a couple of differences. They are 1) an enhanced midrange that effects the low end and 2) the low end seems to have a cutoff point. As if the pickup is designed to not go below lower midrange frequencies. I put this in the bridge position, and what I ended up with is a VERY telecaster sound from a strat. Which is good, I do my share of chicken pickin although I am really a rock era/blues guitarist primarily. The seemingly limited low end gives the pickup that low mid growl, that Don Rich kind of telecaster sound. It is quite bright without being biting. The highs sound like they have a cutoff point too, which is great because pinch harmonics on it won't cause the neighborhood dogs to have seizures. This pickup would be unremarkable except for one obvious atribute. It is the most focused and clean sound I have ever heard from a pickup. The notes have extreme definition from each other. The entire tonal range of the pickup has a great presence to it that cuts it right through a mix. I could hear this thing clear as a bell on stage using a cranked pregain section w/ a 12 AX7 and 12AU7. The pickup sounds nice clean, would be great for studio work. For live work, it is good for country. I can't say I would use it for say, trying to mimic the Clapton "cocaine" sound of the bridge/mid tone. When I had all EMGs in this guitar I still got a pretty convincing Strat sound, but for some reason the sound I get with the EMG and Sensor combined is quite different. more swampy, with a strange out of phase kind of sound. But it is a very pleasant and useful tone. This is a pickup for clean or overdriven sound, but I would think it to be a bit too present and tonal for metal. I am not sure how it would sound in the neck position , that would also be hard to predict. I would guess that it would not be a good neck pickup for traditional blues, but I could be mistaken. Also, something that kept coming to mind while I was using the pickup was... the guitar tones on Paul Simons graceland. The pickup doesn't really have that sound so much as it has that very clean in your face presence that the guitars on Graceland have. Country good, rock era overdrive, good, jazz or blues, maybe. Metal, grunge, other highly distorted styles... I doubt it. Studio work.... I am betting excellent.


General Comments

I wouldn't pay a lot for one of these, but if I could get a good deal on a set for a strat, I would probably build a strat around them for studio work. The presence and clarity combined with just hot enough to have good gain is the big asset this pickup offers.

For live work it would be ideal for country.

I wouldn't advise this pickup to a sloppy player, because the audience will hear every slurred note clear as a bell. You couldn't get away with a lot with it given it's very sharp contrast.

This pickup isn't that much better than stock fender/squier/other overseas pickups, but the difference is enough that if you are a performer or record a lot and you can get a deal on a set of them it is worth it.

I also have to say that this pickup is a bit better than what you would expect to come stock in a fender guitar.

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