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OK. I have seen Guitar Fetish pickups at prices that seem insane compared to what most pickups cost - and they have things like humbucker sized P90s that are hard to find in any case. Their stuff looks great and they actually seem to know what they're talking about.

But I've never heard one. I don't have any friends who've taken the plunge and bought one. I'm reluctant to take a risk on any of these without a real human being reporting on it.

  • Based on your experience, are these pickups well-built, or are they noisy pickups that won't last?

  • How do they compare to, say, units built by Gibson or Seymour Duncan?

  • Can anyone describe the kind of tone they get, compared to other pickups?

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This is a forum-style chatty question. Can you ask some specific questions about the tone of the pickup? It's difficult to answer "what did you think" in any useful way. –  neilfein Mar 15 '11 at 19:49
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Read the faq: "What kind of questions should I not ask here". This question seems to fit in the : "every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite ______?”" type of question. –  Anonymous Mar 15 '11 at 20:01
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I'm approaching it from a "best practices for purchasing pickups" standpoint. I think that's essentially what the asker wants--but I agree that it's a little fuzzy. –  Jduv Mar 15 '11 at 20:09
    
Have submitted a rewrite for review, but I'm not certain I didn't change the intent of the question. –  neilfein Mar 15 '11 at 20:30
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@Neil Fein good edit suggestion. Makes the question much better for SE. Well done :) –  Ali Maxwell Mar 15 '11 at 23:10

3 Answers 3

Although I have no qualms with Guitar Fetish, I would only purchase pickups from reputable dealers that I know to be of high quality. Since the pickups lend so much to the tone of your instrument--they are essentially the microphones to your guitars voice, in my opinion you should be very picky about ensuring that you get quality components. There are many other manufacturers that sell any pickup your heart desires, but at a little more scratch than what GF wants for them. In my experience it will be worth it, however. There's a good chance that if you bought a set from GF it would have Made in China stamped somewhere on it, and although I have nothing against the Chinese that usually doesn't point to a quality product when it comes to electronics. I have upgraded every guitar I own from stock manufacturer's pickups to sets wound by my favorite pickup guy for a couple hundred bucks a pop--and I am absolutely never disappointed by the tonal upgrade.

Call me picky, but pickups are one place where I would never consider skimping. Would you buy a guitar made out of plywood? I'd venture a guess: no.

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Well, yes and no. I took my #1 electric, a 1988 MIJ top-loader Fender Tele to Sweetwater for last year's Gearfest and plugged it in to a nice amp. I believe a Mesa/Boogie. Anyway, after that I pulled a few other Teles off the wall, including a few Custom Shop Teles and a Baja, and I compared them. Remember that within 2 years, the MIJ Tele was a Squier model, so not great electronics, not great pickups, but I didn't think my #1 sounded that much worse than the US-made US-pickup'd Teles at the store. –  VarLogRant Mar 16 '11 at 3:34
    
In my defense I'm not preaching boutique mumbo-jumbo here :D. I'm just as broke as you guys, but I really do hear a very large difference between my stock MIM Telecaster pups and my Lollar Tele specials. That difference may be small to some folks, but to me it's huge and worth the investment. Totally subjective though I understand. –  Jduv Mar 16 '11 at 3:55

I bought one of the tele style hollow body guitars from guitar fetish with the P90 pickups. In my opinion they sound great for rock and blues. I can plug the guitar straight in to all of my amps except the solid state practice amp and get a good sound.

Through my Fender tube amp, cranked, they sound a lot like the tone from "I Fought The Law". I am debating purchasing a set of the Dream 180s but I've been procrastinating. Some people on Harmony Central and The Gear page have posted samples of the pickups, if you're interested in listening.

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This is the personal experience with GFS products that I am looking for, thank you. What is wrong with the sound through your practice amp? Does this guitar sound any worse than others on that same amp? Or is it just that your practice amp doesn't sound that great in and of itself? –  gomad Mar 16 '11 at 1:28
    
@gomad: Very few things sound good through the practice amp, so that's probably not a knock on the pickups. All the other amps around here are tubes and its the only solid state. Everything but my strat sounds harsh through it. –  Anonymous Mar 16 '11 at 5:36
    
They sound great through my Vox Pathfinder-10, which is a tiny practice amp. –  JFA Jun 25 at 2:09

Guitar Fetish or GFS is a reputable business and has a very good return policy if you follow the rules. I have had good luck with their products - best practices: the really inexpensive pickups are going to be a bit better than the ones sold with low end guitars. Note: sometimes the clearance sales are for products they bought on a volume deal and are not their own products. I bought a set of clearance Tele PU's for $21 and they sound pretty good, much better than the stock Squier Affinity PuP's. I've also purchased a set of the Strat Texas style at $50 and they are pretty good but I understand the $70 set is smoother (from a guy on another forum who has tried both). Thrir products are decent and might be comparable to higher end parts (Seymor Duncan, etc..) but there is no guarantee of that. Personally I have been very pleased with their products and the prices and service have been excellent.

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