'Pig 90 review by Bare Knuckle Pickups

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (1 vote)
Bare Knuckle Pickups: 'Pig 90

Price paid: £ 69

Purchased from: Coda Music

Sound — 9
First off, I bought this pickup because I loved the sound of P90s, I thought they were great. But I also loved metal, I play in a heavy metal band, and the P90s just didn't have the gain, the oomph. They just weren't thick enough, being single coils, and not hum buckers. I'd been using my hum bucker Epiphone with invader in the bridge, but I was a bit annoyed I had this phenomenal sounding Gibson 60s Tribute lying at home, that I couldn't use. Then I saw online, when traipsing through pickup manufactures, a P90 version of Bare Knuckle's Warpig. The Warping, I'm sure you would agree, is an enormous sounding, deep pickup, used by the likes of Bring Me The Horizon. So, I butchered by Les Paul, moved the bridge gibbo up to the newly formed middle position, and put the warpig in the bridge. This pickup was massive sounding. I got a ceramic version made to boost output and treble, and slightly flatten the midrange. This worked just as I had hoped, meaning I no longer had to cut the mids to get a metal tone out of my P90. The thing I also initially wanted was achieved too: it still sounded like a P90, just awesomer. However, one thing I didn't anticipate is this: this pickup in meant for drop tuning, really down low. The bass response is very tight. I play in Drop C, which compensates for the tight response, so I now get away with it, and especially since I've put thicker strings on it. It did not have enough weight behind it in drop D or standard, particularly when I had thin strings on it. However, with drop C and slightly thicker strings on it (10s: I play lead), it started to get the chug necessary for metal. Another thing I noticed was, when I had skinny strings on, when I soloed, the notes sounded flat. No life. This has, once again, naturally improved with thicker strings. I start to get a bit of character. I liked the flat mids though, they're fantastic. It lets me take them out a tiny bit for chunk, and lets me dial them in for Green Day, Social Distortion, etc. Surprisingly, this pickup has a damned sexy clean tone! that's the beauty of having P90s, they're meant to sound dirty, bright, crisp and nasty.

Overall Impression — 9
Overall, the impression I got was this: Built for chunk. This pickup is built for the lower end, dropped tunes metal rhythm, I can completely see why the hum bucker model suited BMTH. It shines when its doing rhythm. The solos, after fiddling with strings, settings, gain, etc, can sound pretty damned sexy too. However, this may suit a modern metal player perfectly, with its tight bass response, etc. Gainiac. This pickup defies the deal set between single coils and buckers. Single coils get skinny jazz and slinky tones, and definition. Buckers get weight, bass, chug and gain. This pickup destroys that time-long deal. It has all the amazing qualities of a high output bucker, yes, even EMGs, to an extent, and combines them with the clarity of a single coil. This pickup does what everyone thought impossible, in that sense. For the first time I see myself turning down the gain: this pickup produces more than enough output. It's built for drop tuning. The tight bass is meant to compensate for drop tuning, so you don't sound muddy, I play drop C, this is about the threshold for this pickup's awesomeness. I'd imagine if you like Slipknot and P90s, this is for you, to be honest. Bottom line: if you love P90s, and metal, and want to sound unique and awesome, this is for you.

Reliability & Durability — 9
To be honest, it's a soap bar. I can't see a lot of deviation in their lasting times. It seems solid, the plastic cover is pretty damned firm and durable. None of the pieces seem to be loose, its pretty airtight in that sense. One thing to be wary of though, the pickup only just squeezed itself into my pickup cavity. I've got it in my Gibson Les Paul 60's Tribute, one of the last to be made with a rosewood fretboard, and the cavities are, as far as I can tell, standard sized. However, the curve around the corners of the pickup were slightly smaller than a Gibson, and so, just be wary of this if your guitars pickup cavities are really tight fitting.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Fantastic pickup. Not what I would use for BMTH-style stuff (the humbucker is much better suited for that) but the P-90 is great for Alter Bridge, The Police (Yes, it works for Ska as well), funk, classic rock and some blues and jazz (with the tone rolled off a little). I've also tried this pickup in A-Standard for some Dethklok. While it worked pretty well, a humbucker would definitely be better for that. I agree that Drop-C is as low as you should go for this pickup. But still, a ridiculously high output pickup that manages to stay crystal clear for more or less anything. You'd be stupid to use this for just metal alone.
    Oh, definitely. I thought even with an alnico magnet it would be shit for anything but metal, but even when I have a ceramic in it, it just murders on everything. It really is a p90, which is fantastic. I suppose you can't use metal buckers for much else, because they're bright, harsh and dirty, but when you have a p90, thats what you want! Do you own one?
    I have a set of these P-90's in a modded Telecaster. While High Output 'Buckers are incredible for metal, they can be really good for other stuff too. For example, I also have a guitar with a set of diMarzio D-Activators and they are fantastic for blues and with the tone rolled off a bit the neck p'up is great for jazz. It's not always about the pickup, it's about how you dial in the settings on the amp and the guitar.
    What about the p90 noise factor. Are they noisy or have they been wound to be noiseless?
    Just saw this message dude. Its a hard question to answer... They're not noisier than other p90s, despite the ridiculously high output, however, they still have a bit of noise. Its not unbearable, its more noticeable in its ability to feedback. I play on stage, high gain and loud and never suffer from feedback or excessive noise. However, I use a noise gate... They're cheap online though
    I'm building a SG Jr. kit; I'm kinda torn between the 'Pig 90 and the Supermassive 90. They're both pickups with a really killer sound, wicked punch but still maintain that growly/gravelly voice that P90's are so loved for. I play primarily punk. When I say punk, think; Sex Pistols, Dead Kennidies, FEAR, 7-Seconds. Any advice on which one would be a better fit? I also play a fair amount of blues, jazz, and a light amount of classic country (I.e. Meryl Haggard, Hank Williams Sr., and early Johnny Cash). For posterity's sake I should probably mention I'm going to be running it through a Dimarzio 1 meg volume pot with a 250k run-o-the-mill tone pot.
    Hey, mate - I don't check UG very often, and I've just seen this message. Providing you still need advice, here are my thoughts: I'm very torn about recommending the Pig for the bands you mention. It does have that distinct p90 plinky plonk sound, however, it doesn't have the woody warmth of that era of music. Perhaps for Johnny Cash it doesn't matter quite as much - to me, his sound was very deliberately thin, without particular emphasis on the woody goodness. That being said, I play the ceramic version, so maybe the alnico will be just right. However (not being able to personally recommend the SM 90, mind) I would imagine this would be a slightly better fit for classic stuff. Hope this goes/went well!