Painkiller review by Bare Knuckle Pickups

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.4 (9 votes)
Bare Knuckle Pickups: Painkiller

Price paid: $ 140

Purchased from:

Sound — 10
The output of this pickup is nuts, it has a 15.3k resistance, so it's a pretty hot pickup, but it's actually one of the least hot contemporary humbucker pickups BKP makes. I've used it with my Valveking for a while, and it gets me some pretty good tones, it's a tad bit bright, so if your using a bright amp, I would stay away from this pickup, but if your looking to level out a dark amp, like a Valveking, or a Mesa, then you'll love this pickup. I've used it on Nick Crow's 8505 VST amp, which is basically a Peavey 6505, and it has the most crushing tone I've ever heard. Best thing about this pickup is that every single note rings out clearly, even under heavy distortion. It has alot of bass response, enough to make EMG's look bad, biggest thing is the huge mid-range this thing has, it'll cut through mixes pretty well. The cleans are ok, ceramic magnet humbuckers have always had meh cleans, so it's no surprise here. But, the cleans are clear, and sound pretty good. This pickup will work in any position, you just have to order it for the position you want. Mine is in the bridge.

Overall Impression — 9
I absolutely love this pickup, it's everything I wanted in a pickup and more. The only thing I hate about it is how bitie and punchy it can be sometimes, especially when you do want the punch. I installed this in my Squier Affinity Strat( Don't be haten) and it's in the bridge.

Reliability & Durability — 10
It seems tough as a rock, when I got it, I was very surprised that the bottom was made out of solid Zinc, and all the wiring was shielded with foil, so yeah, I think it'll out last me. Oh yeah, never had any problems with this pickup, and I'm pretty sure Barenuckle backs them with a lifetime guarantee.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Good review. Can you be more precise about the clean sounds? Muddy? Do the notes ring out? Twangy? Compared to your standard active EMGs, for example. I have heard quality samples of its distortion, but not cleans.
    Yeah, sorry about that, the cleans are very clear, and every note rings out clearly, it can be twangy at times, I typically avoid this by tuning down lower to D standard. The best way I can describe the cleans is the how the cleans sound on a EMG 89. Here's a clip I did with the Painkiller on clean. y863600
    where can one of these can be bought within the united states? im having trouble finding one that isn't shipped from europe. they sound killer though. oh and how much (in u.s. dollars) was it?
    ethan_hanus wrote: ^I bought mine from for about $140.
    Hey how long did it take them to come in? cuz i ordered mine close to 2 weeks ago and still dont have them...they wont even email my shipping info to me