So I finally got around to installing the Fishman Fluence Moderns in my LP Trad Pro. It was a minor pain in the ass, so if you want to put these in a Les Paul, make sure you get long shaft pots.
I used to have a SD Custom Custom in the bridge and a Rio Grande Texas in the neck of this guitar for about 4 years. I was getting a little bored of the sound and started thinking about dropping some EMG's in. My band's music is reminiscent of the Deftones and I wanted something a bit less honky in the bridge. I've had EMG's before and I appreciate their output, clarity, and aggression into high gain. I absolutely hate their clean tone, though. I looked at a bunch of pups before running across some article where Devin Townsend said he switched to the Fluence pups so I thought I'd give them a try.
I bought a set from a store that advertised the pups with a "Prewired Les Paul Harness." Unfortunately, the set shipped with short shaft pots. I contacted the seller asking about long shaft pots, but I never heard back from them. I sent Fishman an email and I had long shaft pots waiting for me at my doorstep two days later.
The install was a pain in the ass since I had to de-solder all of the connections from the fucking "Prewired Les Paul Harness" and solder them back on to the long shaft pots. The fit is a bit tight in a LP control cavity, but everything fit. And the pups look pretty gatdamned cool in there:
As for the sound, I am blown away. I ran them through a 5150 and a Mesa Mark III into a 4x12 loaded with G12-k85's. I tune to drop C, so I don't know how well my comments would apply to standard tuning, but I imagine it would be pretty similar.
-Bridge (voice 1): crisp highs without being fizzy or sterile...maybe just a tad brittle (it is a ceramic pup, after all); mids have a lot of body but are rather even; lows are tight but "bouncy". No mud at all. Sits rather prominently in the mix without any nuisance frequencies. Bridge (voice 2): highs are a little attenuated through the gain channel, but otherwise didn't notice a huge difference. On the clean channel, voice 2 is fucking beautiful. It was clear and pristine, but still "round." I don't know how to describe it. Just awesome.
-Neck (voice 1): a little loud for a neck pup. I had to move it a good ways away from the strings to match it to the bridge. A bit bassy, but otherwise quite even across the frequencies. Articulate, but not "airy." It stayed pretty thick and fluid into the drive channel. It was completely stunning into a clean channel....just angelic. Syrupy sweet and clear. Voice 2 is a volume cut, which is useful on the gain channel for playing something on the edge of breakup.
I know I'm in the honeymoon phase, but I've never had this reaction to a set of pickups. I love them. Kudos, Fishman.