I also wrote a review on the SSL-5 for the bridge on this custom build. So David Gilmour's famous Black Strat, has gone through so many changes over the years, its hard to keep track of what has been done when. But, I was targeting Dark Side of the moon and The Wall, recording sessions for this build. His Black Strat was bought used in 1970. Serial numbers put it at either a 1968 or a 1969. That is a key cut off date, if you are looking to get his sound. With all the changes it has undergone over the years, the one thing that has never been changed, are the neck and middle pups. They are still the original Fender pups from when he bought it back in 70. So with it either being a 68 or a 69, what does Fender have today, that would have possibly been in a stock Strat back then? Not much really. You can get CS 65's for a vintage sound. but what if it's a 69? Well maybe a better choice would have been a CS69 set. Maybe? Who knows? Fender claims that the Fat 50's are supposed to be a vintage pup from back in the day. Personally I don't like them, and I really doubt I could zero in on the tone I was looking for. One thing that has always plagued David Gilmour, and he has mentioned it many times in interviews, was the buzz. The 60 cycle hum in the US. The 50 cycle hum over here in Europe. This is why he has experimented with active pickups off and on for 4 decades. But, there is another way around it. So SD says these SSL-1's mimics the original Fender vintage tone. I agree. He did a great job on these pickups. But he offered a reverse wound/reverse polarity version for the middle position so that when you choose position 2 or 4, that buzz goes away. Why Fender doesn't offer this in the CS 69's I don't know. You get all the wonderful tones of the late 60's and early 70's and all the buzz to go along with it. Add a bit of gain, and they get pretty loud. No thanks. Gilmour is famous for that beautiful hypnotic cleans, and these pups do it justice!! And since the bridge pup he used during the Wall and DSotM recordings was specially wound by SD himself, why not just go full set, and get rid of the buzz? The project was a complete success, and they sound so beautiful!
Cons: Duncans are expensive. Are they worth it? yes and no. If you are looking for something specific like I was in this build, yes. They are worth every penny. If you're just looking for a great Strat tone, there are many pickup winders out there making great pups, at a much smaller price tag. On this one, I really didn't have a choice. And I'm glad I have an option of eliminating the hum!