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 popular.
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
For more information contact Grosh Guitars (855) 476-7444, groshguitars.com