I fitted the Furies to a Swamp Ash Strat I was building and tested it both live and in the studio. Given Malmsteen's playing style, you'd expect these pickups to suit shred, hard-rock and metal players - and indeed they do - but I was impressed by their versatility.
As expected, the Furies are noticeably hotter and more weighty in the mid-range than regular Strat pickups but they don't overwhelm the distinctive Strat tone. Certainly, the warmer mid-range and sweetened highs make them very overdrive?friendly, but they also work well played clean. I found the bridge pickup less brash and more solid?sounding than those on my regular Strats, reminding me somewhat of a P90. Furthermore, the middle pickup, which many players use only in combination with the neck or bridge pickups, delivers a very useful tone in its own right, again combining power with great definition. I was also surprised at the 'in?between' tone gained from combining the middle pickup with either the bridge or neck pickup, as the sound can thin out quite a lot when using single-coil pickups. Here, the familiar 'phasey' tone was underpinned by a healthy lower?mid weight. All three pickups respond well to playing dynamics, allowing you to 'dig in' for more aggression.
Overall, these pickups turned a typical Strat into something very versatile. Using amp and desk EQ, you can get very close to a classic Strat tone, but you can also make the bridge pickup lean towards a P90?equipped SG sound. If you want to cover most of the tonal bases using a single guitar that also has great noise immunity, this set has a lot to offer. A one?trick pony it is definitely not.
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