So... I finished installing the pickups today. It turned out to be a real pain cuz the new pots were bigger than the old ones and I ended up have to make the holes bigger with a drill, which in turn chipped some of the finish under the volume knob... which I then epoxied back on.
Anyway- I've been playing for about 2 hours or so now and here's what I think of this combo so far.
The alnico 2 pro is a lot brighter than I expected it to be. The bottom is definitely loose but I kinda like that in a neck pickup. The clean sounds very full and split it has a very neat almost woody sound to it that I really dig. It overdrives nicely and has a real "smooth" quality to its attack. You still get plenty of pick attack it's between notes that the smoothness is really apparent. I haven't tweaked my amp settings at all yet but it seems brighter than the jazz did for some reason. I'm also really surprised how articulate it is. It took me a long time to really warm up to the jb jazz set so I'm sure my set-up needs a lot of tweaking to really pass judgement but so far I think it sounds really nice despite the fact that it's not even close to as thick as I expected it to be (probably since it's not in a les paul as it was in all the clips I heard of it)
The Fullshred... I'm really really surprised how chunky this sounds. One guy said his rhythm tone couldn't keep up with a strat and frankly I couldn't disagree more. This is at least as chunky as the jb was but with the tightest lowend I've ever experienced in a passive pickup. It MIGHT not be as tight as the emg 81 but I can say without blinking that it's tighter than the 85. The downside is it's not as much fun to play as either of the afore mentioned pups. It doesn't really have a whole of "feel" to it if that makes sense- kinda like you only get what you put in type thing and moreso than it is with emgs. This might be what Pierre meant when he said he wanted "more" so maybe I'll do the a8 mod if this feeling persists.
String to string articulation is good as I expected it would be and really it's just very articulate in general- moreso than the jb was but not by a huge margin. I was expecting this pickup to be very "bright" and cutting but it doesn't have the mid spike of the jb at all. Someone called it "nasal" but I think vocal is actually the better word. The jb was more nasal to my ears, and a quite a lot brighter. Split it sounds nice and I dig it but I think not as stratty as the jb (what pup is?). Switching from neck to bridge the biggest difference I hear is a loss of low mids and maybe a boost in treble. It's not as smooth but I'm really surprised how balanced the two are. I went in expecting polar opposites and instead ended up with the most well balanced set of pups I've owned so far. Whether thats a good thing remains to be seen.
Ok that's it for now. I definitely need to spend more time with them and tweak heights and amp to taste.
OH- and I did something wrong with the wiring. The pickups are split whent he push/pull pot is down and in humbucker mode when its up. Everything else works perfect so if someone could clue me in... I followed the 2 bucker 1 volume 1 tone w/split diagram exactly except I put the neck pickup red and white wires on the other prong in the middle position (same as bridge red and white but just on the other side.) Should they all four be on one prong?