Editor’s Note: A lot of the folks who work at The Music Zoo are also players. We are always discussing and bench racing the newest gear, but our own Steve Ternai took things further when he purchased a set of Bare Knuckle Warpigs for his axe, and then wrote the following review. This is an unpaid testimonial. Well, we pay Steve, of course… but not to do this. Thanks Steve.
Bareknuckle Warpigs Review by Steve Ternai
I have always been a sucker when it comes to boutique anything, be it amps, pedals, pickups, whatever. I have always been drawn to the smaller companies that do things the old fashioned way: by hand. My newest acquisition in this boutique world is a set of Bare Knuckle Warpigs. I thought, what better way to spice up a
Pink Trans-Candy Magenta Charvel Pro Mod than with a set of these English, hand-wound, high output monsters?
Before I even get to the pickups, let me say that their packaging is A+. Usually when you buy a production pickup, you simply get a pickup in a plastic case. Lots of fun. Unboxing the Warpigs, I found a set of Rotosound strings, a pick, sticker, and even a coaster – we all need a coaster for our beers when we are jamming! Also, the documentation is clearly explained, and the serial numbers and resistance levels are hand written. The generous amount of cable is also nicely tied up with a small piece of tape that clearly labels neck and bridge. The bridge was written 21k, and the neck was 17k, and not that I didn’t trust their word, but I tested the resistance and both were spot on, technically. The bridge was about .1 percent away from 22k. For me, the more the merrier. I like my pickups with a big set of balls, thank you.
And big they were. I have swapped all kinds of pickups in my guitars, and none of them have come close to the beasts that these are. In the bridge position the bass response has doubled from what was previously there, a nice change from the thin sounds the guitar used to make. The sustain… I know people have used the cliche “sustain for days”, and I don’t want to do that. So let me just say that through my home setup (Guitar Rig 5 through my Mac with a hefty set of speakers) I literally could hit a chord, go walk my dog, grab a beer, see what my wife’s up to, check my emails, and come back to the guitar still ringing away! Well, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but not by much. The highs on the guitar are now tame, and are nowhere near as ear-piercing as it once was, but the best part about all of this is how clear every note comes through now. Usually high output pickups have a downside of being muddy, but not with these. Clear and articulate as can be. Can you tell I am satisfied? As far as the neck pickup goes, to be honest, I don’t use it much, as most of my guitars don’t even have a neck pickup, but when I hit the switch, I was instantly able to discern a much more creamy and thick tone that wasn’t there before, and again, every note clear as a bell. Maybe now that it’s there, I may need to expand my horizons into the neck pickup side of things. But I am an old-school stubborn metalhead, stuck in my ways. Regardless, just having that thought is a big change!
Here is the truth. I have never written a review for anything in my almost 36 years of existence. For me to take the time and write this means I feel that what is being offered by Bare Knuckle is truly something special. Do they cost a little more than your average production pickups? Yes. Are they worth it? Hell yes! My only concern now is which Bare Knuckle pickups I will grab next for my ’85 Baretta!