Bare Knuckle Pickups Forum

Forum Ringside => Pickups => Topic started by: Alfi27 on June 17, 2017, 01:01:20 PM

Title: Review: Emerald set
Post by: Alfi27 on June 17, 2017, 01:01:20 PM
G'day lads,

Got the Emerald set wired up in my PRS Mira yesterday, and they look stunning with their brushed nickel covers! More importantly, they sound even better! Ever since I heard the classic rock clip of the Emerald for the first time on the product site I promised myself to try the bridge pickup at least. I figured that due to the slightly moved neck position of the Mira (24 frets) the Emerald neck would probably be good as well, even though I usually favour bright neck pickups. This pickup, and the bridge pickup in particular, has not been so popular on here and I almost never see it getting recommended. Even in my own thread no one really supported my idea of getting them. Is it because of Slartibartfast42's review? I'm not questioning his findings or experiences with the pickup, but I can say right away that it is NOT a ridiculously bright pickup and my guitar is not crazy dark either (the body is about the same thickness as an SG). I see people who have never even tried it responding to topics where the OP mentions the Emerald as an option "I have never tried any of those pickups you mention, but what I can tell you is that the Emerald is an extremely bright pickup"... If it wasn't for this one fellow (cannot remember in which thread) who mentioned that the Emerald is in fact not that bright and actually very balanced sounding, I probably wouldn't have given it a shot either. Moving on.

Emerald bridge:
Got it wired up, adjusted the height to about 1.5-2mm from the strings before I even struck a chord and I think that's the sweet spot right there! Sounds way too good to risk fiddling with at least. Just a fantastic sounding pickup, very rock n' roll and PAF-esque with the tight, compact bass response of a good PAF or even P90, raw and broad mid range with a slight peak in the higher mid range slicing through the mix like a samurai's sword and a crystal clear top end equally suited for blues rock and thrash metal, but I would probably put the best tones where my favourite genres are these days: classic, punk and hard rock. It splits well also, sounding very Telecaster-esque together with the neck split. Compared to how I remember the Riff Raff, it's more balanced, less peaky and brittle with more output. It's driving the amp well, but it's definitely not your typical high output humbucker. Output wise it's probably around 30% more than the average PAF, without any sacrifice in the tone department. A really good option if you love vintage tones but want more output to drive the amp and/or weak coil splits.

Emerald neck:
This one really surprised me! It is quite hot for a neck pickup at least on paper, but I assume that they have used 43AWG like the bridge pickup so the perceived output is not much more than the neck pickups in the vintage range. Due to the Alnico IV magnet it is quite mid range heavy and not very bright, jazzy almost. If I didn't have the switch to split the coils I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it that much, even though it sounds great clean together with the bridge pickup both split and in full humbucking mode. At first I was not sure if I liked that the contrast was so significant, thinking that it would be tough to dial an amp in to sound good with both, but the coil split really makes the range of tones huge! Neck pickup in full humbucking provides a fat smooth solo tone with quite a lot of gain, neck pickup split alone or together with the bridge sounds really authentic singlecoily with jangly clean or gritty tones, and the bridge alone giving fierce rock n' roll riffing and searing lead tones. The neck pickup, although fat and smooth, is really articulate and never muddy. I'm not much of a jazz guy, but if one of my friends will ever need a guitar for their jazz gig this one would pull it off with bells on.

A set of fantastic pickups indeed, although it should be noted that if you don't want to have coilsplitting and favour brighter neck pickups I would maybe have chosen another neck pickup even if your guitar has 24 frets. The bridge pickup, however, I would recommend for almost any application.

- Alf
Title: Re: Review: Emerald set
Post by: darrenw5094 on June 17, 2017, 06:26:20 PM
So how bright is the bridge pup?
Title: Re: Review: Emerald set
Post by: Alfi27 on June 17, 2017, 10:51:37 PM
Not quite sure how to describe that, but to my ears it is slightly brighter than the VHII. However, the VHII to my ears has a slight scoop below the higher mid range and a low end boost where the Emerald is quite even with a slightly more pronounced higher mid range. It really reminds me of a less raunchy P90, where a P90 can be wild and punching you in the nuts the Emerald is slightly more polite, but it's one of the best humbucker tones I've ever heard and it is just as good in its own way. And of course hum cancelling! For a darker strat I think the Emerald would be great.
Title: Re: Review: Emerald set
Post by: Kiichi on June 18, 2017, 03:20:36 PM
Nice review, thanks for writing it! Added it to the sticky too. Cheers!
Title: Re: Review: Emerald set
Post by: blue on June 26, 2017, 05:06:20 PM
interesting review.  I've been thinking about a set of these for a Les Paul, your review is making me think maybe Emerald bridge and Mule neck, as I also prefer brighter neck pickups.
Title: Re: Review: Emerald set
Post by: marshallsmountains on July 10, 2017, 10:41:05 PM
Great review Alfi27 -
- wondering if an Emerald bridge with maybe an Abraxas neck, might be the best combo for the early ('69-'71) Santana tones I'm chasing...