Price paid: £ 170
Purchased from: BKP dealer
Sound — 8
When searching for some new pickups I wanted something that was versatile, and after seeing various videos on the internet of people playing anything from Nevermore to Pink Floyd with them I was pretty convinced; I'm not disapointed. As far as cleans go, they're pretty darn good, if a little bright in the bridge, but this could just be my guitar (Prestige Ibanez, maple/basswood,edge pro trem). To be honest I never expected to blow me away on clean ('scuse the pun XD) but I was surprised at the sparkly sound I got out these 'Nailbombs'. However it's the distorted tones which are really impressive so I'll focus on these. Playing them through a 5 watt Fender Champ valve amp, I found that they push it into overdrive very smoothly and it's easy to get a great classic rock rythm sound. It's very clear distortion, and with the neck pickup it's a much warmer sound which contrasts very nicely with the bridge. It sounds absolutely great for open chords and for sounds in the vein of guns n roses or Van Halen etc. If you coil tap the pickups you get a much 'rounder' sound, and there is a marked decrease in volume which is quite cool because there is less overdrive so you can boost for a solo by switching to the humbucker. Rolling off with the volume cleans up the tone very nicely, and the sound is very useable. With the right amp you could get some decent blues sounds out of them too, but it's not going to outshine a strat in this department. Playing it through a Brunetti Maranello, a 25w valve amp with lots of gain, the Nailbombs stay clear and toneful even with the gain maxed out; no muddiness and hardly any unwanted noise caused by the pickups. These pickups are great for playing metal, shred or any high gain style thanks to great clarity and definition on both high and low notes. The neck pickup can be quite bassy if you set it too close to the strings, but overall it's a pretty balanced sound and the bridge/neck pickups contrast well with each other; the neck pickup being very warm and smooth, the bridge being tight and agressive. I'm going to give them an 8 for sound because despite not having the best cleans it more than makes up for them in dirty sounds, and I think most people who would buy these pickups would be buying them for distorted playing.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall I think these are really great pickups, they sound absolutely amazing distorted and pretty darn good clean too. The only thing that lets them down is that they don't clean up as nicely as some other pickups when you're on higher gain settings, but this is probably due to the fact that you can get more gain out of your amp with them, for example I'd have to crank the Fender Champ way up to get overdrive out of it with some of my friends guitars, but the nailbombs start to break it up around 12 o clock. For someone who plays mostly with distortion this is a good thing for me. Another issue is the price; they are pretty expensive. I think they are well worth the cost but if you're on a tight budget there are plenty of other pickups that can get a pretty decent sound for much less, but it will be a good sound as opposed to a fantastic one. Just to put this into perspective, to rate 10/10 a pickup would have to do every style of music brilliantly, install itself and cook me dinner while it was at it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The pickups are mostly hand made/hand wired so they should be pretty durable, and BKP are a company who knows what they're doing when it comes to pickups. If they ever did stop working for some reason then Bareknuckle would fix or replace them for you, but I think this is a very unlikely scenario.