Grosh Guitars has been rolling its own for a few years, and the
Small Block 302 and 327 humbuckers ($150 each) are among the latest out
of the box. Befitting of Grosh’s raison d’etre as a guitar maker, these
pickups follow the “vintage modified” line of thinking, using the
hallowed Gibson PAF as a template and updating the form for versatility.
The 302 for the neck position uses an Alnico V magnet (Alnico IV in the
uncovered version) and traditional coils loaded with 42-AWG wire to a
reading of 8.12kΩ on my meter; the 327 for the bridge also carries an
Alnico V magnet, with over-wound coils that take it to 9.66kΩ. Both have
four-conductor wiring, and are wax potted to combat microphonic squeal.
Note that either type is available calibrated for both neck and bridge
position, although Grosh says this mixed set is proving the most
Our test set came loaded into a pickguard for use in a
loaner Grosh ElectraJet Custom, complete with push-pull Tone pot for
coil splitting, but I also swapped them into a Gibson SG Faded to hear
them in a more traditional context. Both pickups lean toward the hotter
side of the vintage range for their respective positions, but in either
guitar their clarity and impressive note-to-note definition stormed
through. The ElectraJet Custom, formerly loaded with P-90s, retained
plenty of twang when played clean, but when pushed, roared with that
smooth, creamy thickness that only a good humbucker achieves. There was
even more jangle and chime on tap with the coil split engaged, which
offered a useful tone alternative, if not a sound entirely comparable to
great standard single-coil pickups.
Swapped into the SG—without coil
splitting this time—the Grosh humbuckers hit a more classic stride. The
302 in the SG’s neck position gushed pure buttery goodness, a tone so
juicy you want to slurp it off your chin before diving in for more, and
the 327 in the bridge excelled at barky rock crunch and singing leads.
All tasty stuff from a well-made set of humbuckers. —Dave Hunter