Recently, I got a call to play on a forthcoming X-box title and the composer asked me to bring a couple of guitars for some uptempo rock solos. (Unfortunately, I can’t post any audio from the session – but when the game releases I’ll post a link to any trailers for it.)
Bare Knuckle Pickups
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Bare Knuckle Pickups, they are one of the few companies that are making hand-wound (!!) passive 8 string pickups (in addition to their 6 and 7 string line).
When I was first looking into this – I sent an email to Tim Mills, to see what he recommended for someone needing a lot of tonal flexibility with a basswood body 8 string and he recommended the painkiller. After reading the forums and listening to a lot of samples – I found that Axe Palace had an 8 string cold sweat neck pickup in stock for $160 and I bit the bullet.
(BTW – I had a really good experience with the Axe Palace guys, so if you’re looking for a U.S. Dealer to purchase from – I’d recommend them.)
Cold Sweat Neck Close Up
The new Bare Knuckle website is excellent and absolutely full of useful information. For example here are some specs taken from the bare Knuckle Website. Each pick up now has this information posted so it’s really easy to compare and contrast different pickups and get a good idea about how they’re going to sound.
There are some mp3s on the Bare Knuckle Cold Sweat page – but having done some quick mp3s of the original schecter pickups, I thought I would post a couple of mp3s for comparison.
First, here is the Line 6 POD Farm patch I’m using for both clan and dirty sounds:
Here is a 4 octave B minor scale played with a clean tone ascending and descending using the neck (cold sweat), middle (Cold sweat and stock bridge) and Bridge (Schecter).
Here is a 4 octave B minor scale played with a dirty tone ascending and descending using the same pickup order as the clean tone.
Here are some clean chords played on the upper strings. While the pickup allows for a coil tap – I didn’t have have the push pull pot to have it wired for that – but I’m sure that allowing for a coil tap – would give clean sounds like this even more tonal variety.
Here is chunk style low end riff. The amp setting here is a little muddy to begin with – so you’ll notice that the Schecter actually cuts through pretty well.
And here is the same idea but with the tube screamer turned on. With the added gain – the Cold Sweat takes on more definition.
A quick sum up
This is a short review, because rather than regurgitate a lot of information that’s on their website – I’d recommend that you go straight to the source and get the full description.
For the xbox title – I ended up playing the FNH Ultrasonic and the Schecter in front of a Marshall 4×12 and for leads – the Cold Sweat made the Schecter just scream.
The fact that they’re hand wound – is insane to me – in the best way possible. It speaks volumes about the commitment to excellence that BNK has towards its products and tone. This isn’t the cheapest pickup that you’ll ever buy – but it blows an EMG out of the water and comes with a lifetime warranty. Buying a Omen and installing one of these in it – is still cheaper than a Damien Elite – and I think it’s a better sounding guitar. You owe it to yourself to check out what they’re doing.