#1
I'm still looking at buying a new guitar for use with mainly metal but also wanting to be able to get into other styles such as more old school rock and blues. So the holy grail of something really versatile is what I'm looking for.

One idea I'd though of was possibly buying an Epiphone Les Paul Standard and getting a couple of Bare Knuckles in there. Having done a bit of research online they look like they'd be the best option for pick ups for what i'm looking for.

Would this be worth doing or am I better off spending the money I'd use on the pickups on a better quality guitar in terms of build with slightly less quality pickups (prob looking at something with EMG's)

Any suggestions, help or other ideas would be awesome!
#2
Isn't this more like a Guitar gear+accessories stuff? Just wondering.

OT:I know nothing about pickups, but why not buy new pups?

EDIT: I mean, if you like their tone. Search from youtube and if you like their sound buy them.
Last edited by guitar/bass95 at Sep 10, 2011,
#3
Well if you add the price of the Bareknuckles to the 399 for the Epi STD you should at or over the Epi 50 Annv R0 (599). WHile it doesn't have the BNs it does have BBs, plus nickel HW, Long Neck Tenon, better electronics and HS Case! IMO a btter guitar than the Epi STD all around.
Moving on.....
#4
Without turning this into a tone-percentage thread, your amp will add more to overall sound shape than pickups, at least in my opinion.

A good example would be EMGs- everyone knows that EMGs have a certain "sound," but they aren't exactly set in stone like lots of people assume. The same goes for most pickups. The tonal differences are felt best through cleaner channels, in my opinion. However, I can tell a huge difference in distortion between EMGs and say, my PRS's pickups.

Also, don't underestimate the impact of the volume and tone pots.

I would recommend looking into a guitar that has non-active humbuckers that can be split. Go test out a few on different amps and find the AMP that allows you to get all of the sounds you're looking for. Pickups are icing on the cake once you are in the tonal ballpark.
#5
I would say yes, because when you start hitting that range of Epiphone's the quality jumps significantly. While it is true that you'd be spending roughly 50% of the price of your guitar on pickups (The Epi LP Standard is about $400 to $500 depending on the options for the top and I believe a set of BKPs will set you back about $200+, am i right?), when you add that to the price of a new guitar you are still only looking at higher-end Epiphones and low-end Gibsons, which might give you some advantages in hardware (or brand name), but would definitely have worst pickups than your BKP-equipped Epiphone Standard.

EDIT: Plus BKPs look ****ing awesome compared to the boring black plastic of EMGs
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Last edited by kangaxxter at Sep 10, 2011,
#6
Quote by kangaxxter
I would say yes, because when you start hitting that range of Epiphone's the quality jumps significantly. While it is true that you'd be spending roughly 50% of the price of your guitar on pickups (The Epi LP Standard is about $400 to $500 depending on the options for the top and I believe a set of BKPs will set you back about $200+, am i right?), when you add that to the price of a new guitar you are still only looking at higher-end Epiphones and low-end Gibsons, which might give you some advantages in hardware (or brand name), but would definitely have worst pickups than your BKP-equipped Epiphone Standard.

EDIT: Plus BKPs look ****ing awesome compared to the boring black plastic of EMGs


That's sort of what i was thinking. I'm not sure if i got my point across properly.

I was basically saying is the quality of the epiphone in terms of build quality and woods used worth modding with bare knuckles or are their qualities gonna be lost on an inferior guitar when i'd be better off buying a slightly better build of guitar but with slightly more limited (in range of tone) active emgs.
#7
Quote by Norm81
That's sort of what i was thinking. I'm not sure if i got my point across properly.

I was basically saying is the quality of the epiphone in terms of build quality and woods used worth modding with bare knuckles or are their qualities gonna be lost on an inferior guitar when i'd be better off buying a slightly better build of guitar but with slightly more limited (in range of tone) active emgs.


Not in the price ranges we're talking about. A $400 Epiphone is not that much different than a $700 Epiphone. And even the ~$800 (depending on the exact model) Studio Gibson aren't a whole ton of an improvement on top of that.
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#8
It'll totally be worth it. Don't let any of the elitist pricks bust your balls on it, Epi LP Standards are really good guitars for the money, it should scream with some BKs in it.
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#9
if it holds tune and fells good then why the hell not
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#10
The only thing i can really knock a good Epiphone LP for are the pickups and the tuners honestly. As long as you don't get a lemon, the BKPs would have a huge difference in tone. As long as you arent playing through an MG or something lol
#11
idk if this is true but i learned just recently that between the pickup cavity's, epiphones are routed and somehow it causes some wierd reaction to how the pickups work and will make them sound different then it would in a guitar without that little chamber there.

either its complete BS that some1 told me or its just a thing
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#12
If you can find an Epi that plays well then upgrading the pickups makes complete sense. But if you are going to do this, you might as well just try to score a good deal on Craigslist instead of paying full price for the Epi.
#13
Norm81, I'll do the following in sequence:
1. Ensure you have the proper amp ... used is usually the best option. Get the best amp you can afford.
2. Try out the guitar, used provides the best Bang for the Buck, unless you have this overwhelming fear of germs or DNA left by a previous owner. This can be resolved by good cleaning. It's important that you like how it feels.
3. Even if you end up with a cheap guitar, PU upgrades are usually good, not to mention, fun. BKPs are great and fun.

#14
100% worth it. Bought my epi used with an emg 81 and replaced the pickups.
200$ guitar (-50 i got for the emg)
160$ in pickups
50-80 in pots n stuff
------------
$400ish for the best sounding guitar I own.

Neck is way too big and the heel is terrible to get to the upper frets, but it sounds fantastic and has become my #1 for almost everything I play.
#15
Don't waste your money on boutique pickups like Bare Knuckles unless you have an amp that can do them justice and you understand WHY pickups like that cost as much as they do. Handwound pickups are really overkill for most people except the top pros. If you really thinky our ear and your playing and the rest of your rig is good enough to justify them then go for it but there's no point paying hundreds for a couple of special pickups if you're not going to hear the difference between those and regular seymour duncans or dimarzios or if your rig or your playing just isn't good enough to get a good tone.

As far as the Epi goes those can be great platforms for modding just make sure you try before you buy and you get a good one because obviously they're mass produced and a lot of them have bad faults. With handwound pickups things like dead-sounding wood will be more obvious so you really got to check over the guitar with a fine tooth comb to make sure everything is as good as it can be expected to be. It would be a good idea to look for a second hand Epiphone from either 2007 and earlier when they were made in Korea or try and get one of the Japanese-made Elite models. Looking at other MIJ copies like Edwards and some Tokais would be smart too.
#16
Cheers for all the replies guys! It's definitley given me some food for thought.

Quote by grohl1987
Don't waste your money on boutique pickups like Bare Knuckles unless you have an amp that can do them justice and you understand WHY pickups like that cost as much as they do. Handwound pickups are really overkill for most people except the top pros. If you really thinky our ear and your playing and the rest of your rig is good enough to justify them then go for it but there's no point paying hundreds for a couple of special pickups if you're not going to hear the difference between those and regular seymour duncans or dimarzios or if your rig or your playing just isn't good enough to get a good tone.

As far as the Epi goes those can be great platforms for modding just make sure you try before you buy and you get a good one because obviously they're mass produced and a lot of them have bad faults. With handwound pickups things like dead-sounding wood will be more obvious so you really got to check over the guitar with a fine tooth comb to make sure everything is as good as it can be expected to be. It would be a good idea to look for a second hand Epiphone from either 2007 and earlier when they were made in Korea or try and get one of the Japanese-made Elite models. Looking at other MIJ copies like Edwards and some Tokais would be smart too.


I'd say the bare knuckles would prob be "wasted" on me at the moment but for the future its something that I might consider doing then. I like that its an option i could explore. Modding a guitar sounds like it could be fun and I like the idea of having something a little bit different.
#17
You could get a used Gibson Studio for the price of that Epiphone, or a little more.

Just throwing that out there.

Also agree with grohl1987 though. And, in my opinion, BKP's really don't sound as great as their price tag lets on. I know some people swear by them, but that's just my experience from what I've heard.
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Last edited by Offworld92 at Sep 12, 2011,
#18
Second hand LP Standard. You can pick them up for next to nothing as there are so many of them. Aim for a 90s/early 2000s one, before the production was moved to China. They tend to be better made.
#19
I had tried Bare Knuckles in an LP Custom. I didn't think they were worth it. It sounded alright through my Revolution, but not as good as the Seymour Duncans I had in it before.

The only boutique pickups I've used that were actually good were the Joe Bardens. Now those are where its at. I've given BK several chances, SGs, a Soloist, LPs, and a few Fenders. They never impressed me all that much in any application.
#20
Quote by Fenderexpx50
I had tried Bare Knuckles in an LP Custom. I didn't think they were worth it. It sounded alright through my Revolution, but not as good as the Seymour Duncans I had in it before.

The only boutique pickups I've used that were actually good were the Joe Bardens. Now those are where its at. I've given BK several chances, SGs, a Soloist, LPs, and a few Fenders. They never impressed me all that much in any application.


Revolution as in the Krank head? If yes then I'm not surprised they didn't do it for you. Personally I absolutely love the one BKP I own and all of my guitars would have them if I had the cash for it.
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#21
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Revolution as in the Krank head? If yes then I'm not surprised they didn't do it for you. Personally I absolutely love the one BKP I own and all of my guitars would have them if I had the cash for it.


Yeah, it was a first generation Revolution. I had mine modded a bit though. I'm not knocking them, they just aren't for me at all. Tone is a very subjective thing. Sort of like how I love EMGs, but they have a lot of people who don't. It's all about perception.
#22
You gotta remember too that there are different models of pickup and just because a brand has made one pickup you like or don't like doesn't mean that all their pickups are that way. Simply buying some pickups form Bare Knuckle will never gurantee you a good tone. Same with any other brand, You've got to pick out the right model for what you want. You might find that Bare Knuckle don't actually make a pickup that gets you the tone you want. That's not to say that Bare Knuckle are bad, just that they don't make what you need. This is why I don't use DiMarzio. I respect that they're good pickups but they don't make anything that fits my playing style and taste in tone. You need to look beyond brand names.
#23
Quote by grohl1987
You gotta remember too that there are different models of pickup and just because a brand has made one pickup you like or don't like doesn't mean that all their pickups are that way. Simply buying some pickups form Bare Knuckle will never gurantee you a good tone. Same with any other brand, You've got to pick out the right model for what you want. You might find that Bare Knuckle don't actually make a pickup that gets you the tone you want. That's not to say that Bare Knuckle are bad, just that they don't make what you need. This is why I don't use DiMarzio. I respect that they're good pickups but they don't make anything that fits my playing style and taste in tone. You need to look beyond brand names.


Not to be a dick or anything just curious , but what you play and what pups do you prefer?

+1 on buying pups from bkp not guaranteeing a good tone.
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#24
What amp are you using? you may not need to spend the money on BN to get what you want soundwise, have you considered other pickups? grohl1987 has hit the nail on the head with the idea that you may end up disappointed after spending all that cash.
#25
Quote by DimebagZappa
Not to be a dick or anything just curious , but what you play and what pups do you prefer?
Hard rock and post grunge. Standard medium-high gain tones but I use my gear weirdly. I don't like changing channels or using lots of pedals, I just go into a tuner then straight to the amp and I keep the footswitch well out of the way. So I get my clean, rhythm and lead tones all just from using the volume knob on my guitar and the pickup selector so I need my pickups to be super versatile. DiMarzio tend to take things to extremes and make pickups that are either super thin or super thick. Bare Knuckle make all of their pickups trying to get a specific kind of tone and their only all-round pickups are things like the Mule model which isn't quite powerful enough. Gibson make all their pickups trying to recreate old tones and those don't have enough range.
What I have in most of my humbucker guitars is a modified set of seymour duncan pickups. My favorite combination is a SD JB with an alnico 3 magnet put in it for the neck and for the bridge I do the custom 59 mod with a split magnet, alnico 8 and two alnico 4s. The mismatch and uneven magnets make the bridge sound like two Telecaster bridge pickups wired series. With a linear 750k volume control it can go from smooth and clean to warm rhythm to cutting lead without having to even touch the tone control. Unfortunately it does mean that every time I want to put it in a new guitar I've got to buy two pickups and a bunch of magnets and risk ruining them all by tearing them apart but the result is worth it.
#26
I wouldnt buy anything from epiphone. Bought a 50 anniversery 1960 v3 from musicians friend. Was a total piece of crap and was returned. If you insist on epi and the les paul name dont mail order it. Play before you buy. I would look at ibanez arz or ltd ec series.
#27
What you really need is a new amp :P

Seriously though, I would only upgrade a guitar if I felt it needed it, or it was under $100 and I had some parts lying around. In any case, make sure it plays well first, because, I don't know about you, but to me, feel&playability > tone.
#28
there was a post of mine regarding a thread on BKP's (you can look it up by clicking through my posts or just searching. he posted a new BKP day with a video with good sound quality. it was really only him and i who conversed in the thread. i was (and still am) interested in BKP. i went back and forth with the advantages/disadvantages his opinion was something along the lines of that Dimarzio will get you 90% there, its that extra 10% that you get from BKP.

so do what you like. i dont own BKP's at the moment, i am sure i will pick up a pair for a guitar down the line, but for the moment all of my main guitars already have high quality pickups in them and i am find with that 90% satisfaction over the $1000 it would take to upgrade my top three or four guitars.
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#29
here is a really informative post regarding BKP's, its the one i mentioned a few posts ago

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1474300&highlight=BKP
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#30
Thanks for all the great advice guys!

I was just one idea that I'd had and I think based on the iffy build quality of of epis, and that I don't think I'm gonna be pushing the pickups to the point the BKP are really worthwhile I'm gonna leave this as an idea for now. But i'm sure at some point i'll come back to it when i get some more GAS!

Quote by racerfreed
I wouldnt buy anything from epiphone. Bought a 50 anniversery 1960 v3 from musicians friend. Was a total piece of crap and was returned. If you insist on epi and the les paul name dont mail order it. Play before you buy. I would look at ibanez arz or ltd ec series.


funnily enough I'm prob gonna be going for the arz700. It was just that for around that price I could have picked up an epi and stuffed BNPs in it which is where the idea came from.

Oh and the amp its self is also currently undetermined but will prob be a just modding amp (prob Peavey Vypyr) for the time being with an upgrade at some point down the line. I've got a few friends who I could jam with who I can borrow decent amps etc from.