May as well jump to the chase:
Chris was NOT happy.
Long story short, I liked the Lace Sensors that I've been using, but I was kind of bored - they've been in there something like ten years now. Meanwhile, after mentally judging people using mini blade 'buckers in Strats anywhere but the bridge for like my entire playing career, I was absolutely shocked to find out that Andy Timmons had been getting all those awesome Strat neck pickup sounds out of a Cruiser bridge in the neck position. So, when Max started taking orders through his shop here, I figured, what the hell, hook up a MG.org brother and try something new all at once.
Chris was going to come down yesterday to swap the neck humbucker in my UV, but in a change of plans I ended up going up to his buddy Tony's place, who happens to be a bit better with a soldering iron than Chris, and a LOT better than me. So, I drove up, we had a couple beers, did a few shots of tequila, jammed for a bit (Tony's a drummer), and then about 11 o'clock half in the bag got to work, Chris yelling and swearing and getting increasingly desperate and abusive and offering me ever-larger sums of money to just, please, for god's sake, stop.
That lasted until we plugged the Strat in to his Supreme 160 he leaves up at Tony's for drunken jamming. And, turns out the pickups sounded ungodly through it - an amp that's incapble of sounding like anything other than 80s thrash suddenly was doing Gilmour proud.
Initial impressions so far, now that the hangover has worn off (we got pretty deep into the tequila once we put the iron away) are good. I don't think they're quite as open as singlecoils clean, but they're awfully close. Playing blind I wouldn't know these were humbuckers. Flip to the gain channel, however, and it's a whole different story. I'm in new gear euphoria at the moment so I won't say anything definitively, but so far they sound almost exactly how I want a neck singlecoil to sound (which is weird, again, because they aren't singlecoils). They're very dynamically responsive, too - they handle like singlecoils in that the more you dig in, the more they scream. One of my few complaints with my Strat was that it always seemed a little crisper and more responsive when you hit it hard unplugged than plugged in, and I always wondered if that was the Lace Sensors. I'm guessing yes - this set is definitely a little more explosive, in a very good way.
And the bridge humbucker rules. It balances very well with the Cruisers tonally (it's hotter, but through a distorted amp if you flip over to the bridge and back it sounds very natural), it can get crunchy if you want it to, it's thick and singing otherwise, and harmonics just leap off it. I should have done this years ago.
For those of you wanting clips, I've done one better - a video of the guitar in action:
[VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vw9rQnUE48]YouTube - Dimarzio Andy Timmons pickup Demo[/VIDEO]
Apologies/sincerest flattery to Lyle, who's awesome slow jam (Slowdown?) was definitely in the back of my mind when I was coming up with this, hope you don't mind man.
So, I swapped the pickups in my Strat, and so far I'm a very happy man.
That video is awesome.