Price paid: $ 320.25
Purchased from: BareKnucklePickups.co.uk
Sound — 10
The overall output of these pickups is not very high, nor would you expect/want it to be. I'll explain myself more later. I have these pickups loaded into an Ash Strat with maple neck running through a Peavey Classic 30. The sound you get with these from a clean channel valve amp is like nothing I've heard before, hearing is beliving. Think early Knopfler/Telegraph Road on the 'in between' settings. Then think 1950s surf on the bridge. I opted for the steel baseplate on the bridge pickups only, which I would advise to anyone considering this set. I find you only want reverb and a splash of delay while playing with these BKPs, don't get me wrong, the tone is equally amazing with a touch of overdrive, but the clean is so good if almost feels you're spoiling it if any 'effects' get added on. As I say, it's hard to describe just how these sound in a proper Ash strat through a proper amp, due to their historically correct low output, just of the strat tone of the '50s, warm woody with a lovely bell line top end and twang. I have to give this section a 10, as they're simply in a different league tone wise to anything else I've played, icluding high end SDs, Fender shop pups, Bill Lawrence etc. Trouble is, you pay the price.
Overall Impression — 9
Trouble is once you've played with these pickups, nothing else seems as good and playing other guitars only dissapoints you. I would advise for this to be given thought before purchase, you'll end up wanting all your guitars loaded with BKPs. As mentioned before, all this great tone does become costly, I can't really see how they can be so much, but they are in a league above other brands of single coils. For this reason a point gets knocked of the final score. As for service, ringing the guys at BKPs was a pleasure, I bought over the phone which I would say was the best way to do it, puts a bit of soul into the purchase. The guys really know what they're talking about and are great advisors if you have any queries or are simply not sure which options to go for. The best single coils I've ever palyed but they cost a lot and you'll find nothing else compares. So you'll be selling the children in no time. If that doesn't bother you, pick up the phone now.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I can't help but feel these pickups will be like a hand made Italian car; amazing to look at, amazing sound, full of passion, but every onw and then it just won't want to start as it's feeling lazy. Saying this I have no real reason to knock reliability as you'd have to be rather special to break pickups. The coil wire is thicker than that of normal shelf pups and the hot and ground wires are just as acceptably butch. The supplied covers are well made and fit well. Same goes for the rubber doughnut height spacers and the screws. I can't see these pickups not being in my strat in 50 years time. However as they're only been in for 2 months so far, I can only reward an 8.