Bare Knuckle pickups-What’s the deal?

frater106

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Hey, guys. I’ve had my eyes on a set of Bare Knuckle pickups, but they’re like over $400 for the pair. Can they really be that good? Please only respond if you’ve actually played or heard them (in person).
 

THAWK819

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It's been a few years, but I had a used LTD guitar that the original owner had put bare knuckle pickups in. They were great pickups; overall very responsive to dynamic playing styles and volume/tone knob adjustments. All that said; I didn't think they were worth that much more than a pair of Seymour Duncans, and after owning them for a while, I definitely wouldn't spend $400 to get a pair for any of my current guitars.
 

Heppe

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I have a set of Irish Tours in my strat.
They sound very good in my I like them a lot. But then I paid 164£ in 2016 for the set which is about the same as for a set of DiMarzios or SD.

I have not tried their humbuckers which I guess you are looking for, btw which model do you have in mind? If your considering PAF style a good cost effective option would be the 36th anniversary set from Dimarzio at around 150$ for the set.

Given the price tag what other handwound options are availble to you?
(ReWinds are around 550$-600$ as a refernce.
 

elephantrider

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I have a bk mule in the bridge of my tribute. it's a great pup, and really pair's well with the factory neck pup. I believe I paid $130 shipped or something.

Screenshot_20210804-201721_Gallery.jpg
 

ErictheRed

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I've tried quite a few: Holydiver set, True Grit set, Nailbomb sets, Emerald neck, Riff Raff bridge, VHII neck, Mule neck, maybe a couple of more. They used to be not so expensive, but in the past year or 1.5 years they've pretty much doubled in price.

I would say that they are, generally, very good pickups. They look beautiful with the custom covers and work as advertised. However, most of them have truly exaggerated EQ curves. This means that the Holydiver bridge is REALLY thick in the mids, for instance. You need to REALLY know exactly what you want, or you will most likely end up like me (and a lot of other people judging from online forums) swapping out a lot of them before getting what you need. You'll often read conflicting information or reports about them, also, which makes it hard to decide.

Also, all of the pickups of theirs that I've tried have something of a clear, hi-fi, clinical, even possibly sterile type of sound to them. Some people really like that and you will hear a lot about their clarity, which is very true. However that's not always a good thing! In my experience, they somewhat lack "soul" for blues, double-stop bends, that kind of thing. It's really hard to describe, but it's noticeable. I can see why high-gain modern players like them, but I would look elsewhere for other types of music. For instance, the Suhr humbuckers that I've tried are pretty much my favorite for aftermarket pickups, and they are opposite in a way, even the higher output modern ones: they are more gritty and soulful and lo-fi.

In my personal opinion, given the price and difficulty in dialing in a particular sound (because the ouputs and EQ are very exaggerated and not always in an obvious way), I would look elsewhere. The exception might be if you can get some used ones that you could flip if they don't work out.

Lastly I would add that I liked the True Grits the most of all that I tried (and they were the cheapest!). They seemed more like a "normal" humbucker voicing to me, whereas the others all had particular things going on that I didn't always like.
 

Brek

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They are a good pickup, used to be a lot more affordable, then boutique.
 

motowntom

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Cheers
 

BKS

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Set of painkillers in my baritone, set of pg blues in my custom shop les paul. The Mules set in the closet as is a set of brown sugar. Payed between 90 and 200 max for them. They sound good, look good and the service from BK is :thumbs: even if you bought second hand.
 

Hamtone

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I had BK tele pup and it was ok. I know nothing of their HB's

I paid all that money for Throbak Kz115's, and I dont regret it for a second. Theyre fussy getting them dialed in, and im still messing with them a bit, but theyre just an awesome pup. They're PAF burst pup, and sound like what i had in my head.
 

greatmutah

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I’ve got a set of Mules in my R7 that I love. Just a great set of pickups that do the PAF style voicing well, IMO. Aside from stores online you can order direct for them if there’s something specific you want. They did my Mules in double cream and it came to a little over $300 with the exchange rate and shipping. No VAT as I don’t live over in England.
 

NotScott

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Several years ago I had them make a custom set of Abraxas for a PRS I have. I dealt with them directly and saved a lot of money.

As for the sound, they do exactly what I was hoping for, a hotter PAF type tone with a clearer neck.
 

frater106

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Set of painkillers in my baritone, set of pg blues in my custom shop les paul. The Mules set in the closet as is a set of brown sugar. Payed between 90 and 200 max for them. They sound good, look good and the service from BK is :thumbs: even if you bought second hand.
The Painkillers are the set I was looking at.
 
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ARandall

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Haven't had humbuckers, but the 1 set of strat pickups I have (Apaches) are never coming out. Of course I bought when they were only fractionally more expensive than a set of Duncans, and not high-end boutique prices.

If you buy BKP (or any boutique type pickup) for their ability to reverse engineer vintage pickups to the nth degree, then I think this is something perhaps worth splurging on. I've got a few vintage p90's, and there is something a little bit special about these old pickups that some more modern generic versions of them just don't get close to.

But spending boutique prices on modern style pickups just seems odd to my sensibility. They don't have to do the R&D to either find out what 'magic' went on to copy a pickup or do special runs for particular metallic parts. You are simply making your own pickup the way every other mainstream brand does for their high output pickups.
 

KStopper65

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A lot of modern prog and djent players use them.
I would give them a spin, but they're pretty expensive
 

ErictheRed

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How much did a set cost a couple of years ago
Maybe $265 or so shipped? So they haven't quite doubled, but they've gone way up.

I don't know how the prices are in England, but if you're in the US I would check with US makers first. My all-time favorite neck pickup is the Suhr SSV for instance, and it's $94 and free shipping for an uncovered one.
 

cybermgk

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IFor instance, the Suhr humbuckers that I've tried are pretty much my favorite for aftermarket pickups, and they are opposite in a way, even the higher output modern ones: they are more gritty and soulful and lo-fi.
Which Suhr PUPs have you used, Thornbuckers? Single Screw? Double? Aldritch? Which are your favorite?
 

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