HRO-1 Rocker Review

manufacturer: Kent Armstrong date: 01/24/2013 category: Pickups
Kent Armstrong: HRO-1 Rocker
The Rocker cleans up nicely and is warm, even in an alder/maple set up.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Reliability & Durability: 9.5
 Overall rating:
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 Users rating:
reviews (2) user comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.7
HRO-1 Rocker Reviewed by: MetalSlvg, on august 31, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 60

Sound: I have this in the neck of an alder body, maple neck/fretboard guitar and I am using a Jet City JCA20H tube amp. It's designed to be a bridge pickup, but I have a Kent Armstrong Super Distortion (HSDO-1) in the bridge and the Rocker compliments it nicely. It can be a bit bassy, but that's natural for a rhythm/neck pick up especially when it's designed for the bridge. The Rocker cleans up nicely and is warm, even in an alder/maple set up. I have used this with an EHX Nano Muff and it smooths out the bite you can get from some fuzz pedals. When I use this with my tubescreamer I can get a really good tone for sustain and solos. I have rated this as 10 because it's a perfect compliment for a bright bridge pickup and responds well to volume and tone controls. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The pickup is built well and has a nice gloss Shine to it. I have it uncovered and set low from the strings where it sounded sweetest. I wired up this humbucker myself and found it easy to strip down to expose the wire core for soldering and didn't break any wire strands. Good quality shield wire too. I have rated this as a 10 also, as it's a humbucker and will probably outlast the guitar. // 10

Overall Impression: I have had this pickup only in the neck, upside down, but I have wired it with a switch for series/split(North/Screw)/parallel and I am currently running it with the option to reverse phase with the Super Distortion. It sounds best to me in series, but the split and parallel sounded good too. In split it was nice for hammer ons and responded well with high gain, but was a bit lifeless with low gain clean settings. In parallel is sounded a bit too warm and the output was too low for my liking. I would recommend this pick up for anyone wanting to increase bass in their neck position. For the price, you can't go wrong. I have rated this as a 9 as the pickup is good as designed, but as far as split/parallel options there are better out there. // 9

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overall: 9.7
HRO-1 Rocker Reviewed by: AndyDelayed, on january 24, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 50

Purchased from: WD Music

Sound: I own both the Ceramic & Alnico 'Rocker' pickups in separate guitars, both in the neck position & both paired with the Kent Armstrong 'Motherbucker'. Although the Rocker is almost half the output of it's extremely HOT counterpart, it balances very well and provides versatility with blues to hard rock application as well as a great clean tone which the Motherbucker lacks. The Alnico Rocker offers a darker sound than the Ceramic option and in my experience, significantly darker in the neck. Gothic Les Paul - Rocker (Alnico) - Neck I'm partial to bass heavy tone but I found the Alnico type produces too much boom playing at a loud volume but nothing that can't be tweaked through an EQ. The clean tone is capable of warm chords and if your a Jazz enthusiast, roll off the volume and tone a bit and avoid any honks for smooth lead work. Turn on the overdrive and you get a great blues/vintage rock tone, adding distortion can get slightly muddy but backing off the gain helps the pickup return to a defined thick tone. 50's Stratocaster - Rocker (Ceramic) - Neck After mentioning the Alnico bottom end problem to my luthiers, they suggested the Ceramic option in the neck of a new project. At first I felt it lacked the typical neck thickness but again, this is something that can be tweaked via EQ. Having spent a significant time with the guitar, I'm very glad I went with the option! The Ceramic Rocker in the neck provides more pronunciation in the mids and less bottom end giving it a great clarity and a slight single coil Strat type snap. I also have it with a coil tap option which increases the snap, adding further clarity but of course a drop in volume. The Ceramic Rocker in the neck offers sparkling cleans and a more defined blues/rock tone against the all out howl of the Motherbucker. You can hear the Ceramic Rocker and it's amazing cleans on my bands latest EP "The Rapture", check out the track "Change" to hear the pickup in action! // 10

Reliability & Durability: Both of my Rocker pickups have Chrome covers and look great! I've given this section a 9 as Kent Armstrong pickups have no intention of being overly flashy but you can't ignore that other pickup brands are very impressive aesthetically as well as offering multiple cover and custom options. I only have Kent Armstrong pickups installed in my guitar and I have never had any problems with over the 6+ years I've used them! Pickups I own and use include:

  • Hot Rails
  • PAF Plus
  • Rocker (Alnico)
  • Rocker (Ceramic)
  • Super Distortion
  • Motherbucker // 9

    Overall Impression: I have a Ceramic Rocker in the neck of my 50's Daphne Blue Strat and an Alnico Rocker in the same position of a Gothic Les Paul, both paired with the Kent Armstrong Motherbucker. I'm currently playing in Punk/Hard Rock band Delayed and although the sound demands high gain, the use of good clean tones is also required. In a new Jackson Dinky project I've decided to load it with two Rockers for a perfect amount of tone application. If your looking for something with a great range of versatility, the Rocker should definitely be on your list to consider just don't let it's cheaper price tag fool you, I cannot recommend the quality of these pickups enough! // 10

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