Nick184, on october 14, 2009 4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Price paid: £ 170
Purchased from: BKP dealer
Sound: 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. // 8
Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10
Overall Impression: 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. // 8
Metal_Master_0, on january 05, 2012 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 250
Purchased from: Bare Knuckle Pickups
Sound: These pickups are wonderful, and the price isn't as bad as I thought it might be (around $250, after shipping/import charges etc), considering a set of EMG's would cost ~$200.
I have the calibrated Nailbomb set, the bridge having a ceramic magnet and the neck having an Alnico V magnet. These are beautiful sounding pickups, with great output for passives. I'm using it with my B-52 LS-100 and two pedals: Boss ME-70 and Vox Tonelab ST. The tone on the ceramic has a beefy but tight bass response, with smooth mids and bright, sparkling highs. The bass and treble almost seem to overtake the mids, but everything is very balanced. In the neck's Alnico V it is similar, but the highs are much more controlled for extremely precise articulation and powerful, solid mids. I have coil tap in my guitar and that adds even more versatility - these pickups are the metal-clad jack-of-all-trades. From High-gain to ska, it can do it all with perfection. // 10
Reliability & Durability: This pickup is durable and it seems like it will last, but it does more than seem - it will. Every Bare Knuckle Pickup comes with lifetime warranty, and voiding the warranty is somewhat impossible (unless you find a way to annihilate your pickups conventionally) providing you don't expect to be reimbursed for installation fees. These pickups are dependable, all the material seems Grade-A and built to last. // 10
Overall Impression: I love every single thing about these pickups. I am not one for a flying-colors review, but these pickups were everything I imagined and more. I could never feel more content with my musical gear and I'm looking forward to all the tonal possibilities I have in the future. I installed the pickups in a Schecter C-1 Standard, which has high quality wood making my guitar a pricey S.O.B. As stated above, I have the calibrated set (neck and bridge positions) and they are made to work in tandem, and they are perfection.
I've played on Burstbucker Pro pickups, Seymour Duncan SH-6 and SH-8 invader sets, HB101-HB102duncan designed set, EMG85/81 set, and the list goes on. None of those come close to the quality I see in BKP. I understand these pickups may not be YOUR perfect 10, but I assure you Bare Knuckle has something for you worth much more than you think. // 10
timox3, on december 10, 2014 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 350
Purchased from: BKP online
Sound: Bought the Alnico V bridge version with the paired neck pickup, for rock to metal style, on a Gibson Les Paul Classic Plus, using a Line 6 Spider Valve HD100 (MKI) amp, and I play rhythm and lead guitar for 2 different bands.
Tone: Wow. Let's talk about midrange! It's really full of mids and lower mids, highs are sweet and lows avec rich. Output is high but very moderate high compared to the original Gibson 500T of my Les Paul, which is hotter. Lows could be a little tighter to me, but still sounds great, and harmonics come easily. Totally noiseless and sounds good with split coil. I really like how much you can control your tone with volume knob, but I slightly dislike the little loss of brightness when you roll down the knob. Yet the tone is very warm and beautiful with a lot of character. The neck is bright and great, but a little disappointing since it does not capture the Les Paul tone best (but I'm a PAF/vintage PAF whore when it comes to neck humbucker on a LP).
Well, I bought it to experiment it, I consider trying the hotter ceramic version of it, but I'm very satisfied! // 9
Reliability & Durability: Can't say anything wrong about this set: the two pickups complement each other very nicely, it's very well made, beautiful and seems reliable and durable, as my other BK pickups I bought. The split coil option is great, and I find my guitars most reliable with these pickup. They are a little expensive in my opinion, but you get what you pay for, for the tone and general quality, and the whole package box of these pickups with the sticker and the instructions (which were helpful!) is really nice. Thanks Bare Knuckle! // 10
Overall Impression: I play anything from rock to death metal (mostly) some bluesy and jazzy stuff... been playing for 15 years and experimented a nice bunch of pickups. Bare Knuckle offer really impressive pickups, like the Nailbomb, the Mule, and the Painkiller (those I tried from BKP). I played on Gibson pickups, DiMarzio Evo 2 and some Seymour Duncans as well, and when it comes to BKP, I'm impressed how present your tone is in a mix (thanks to the strong mids) and I never get a muddy tone. Can't say this Nailbomb is better than the chunkier 500T, since they're very different. But I like the tone and it suits very well my Les Paul for now! // 10