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Author Topic: Bare Knuckle Black Hawk Review  (Read 6142 times)

H3ADLY

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Bare Knuckle Black Hawk Review
« on: August 28, 2013, 01:29:49 AM »
Hi all!
So a couple of weeks ago, I was on the prowl for a new pickup. It was 2 years since my first BKP purchase, so it seemed fitting for another. Countless hours of emails, demos, sound clips and pondering whilst I should have been working, led me to grabbing a ceramic Black Hawk. Well it arrived! And I've wired it up in my Ibanez RGD420z in the bridge position. Whilst I haven't yet had the opportunity to record any clips, I thought I would share my initial thoughts here.

So signal chain is RGD420z (basswood body, bolt-on maple neck, rosewood fret board, 26.5 inch scale, BKP Black Hawk) into a Peavey 6505, boosted with a TS9 into an ISP Decimator through the front and FX loop, out into an Orange PPC412 with Celestion V30's. My guitar is tuned to Drop A.



So I plug in, tune up, dial in my amp to where I had it set for the previous pickup, crank the volume. Let the chug fest begin! The first thing I noticed whilst I chugged on the low strings was this incredible low end thump! Not a wall of bass like I get from my Crunchlab or Blackouts, but a fast, almost jab to the throat kind of punch. I had read that the Black Hawk had enormous amounts of bass, leading me to believe it may be overbearing, but this is not the case. The low end is huge, but it is so tight and so focused that each chug literally 'hits you in the face'. And as quickly as the punch comes, it is gone almost instantly. Bass response in ferociously fast.

I then struck a big chord utilizing all six strings... Good God! I own a number of guitars, equipped with Crunchlabs, 85/81's, Blackouts, JB's, Aftermaths, and none of them ring as clearly as the Black Hawk does. It was as if there were six guitars each playing one note from the chord at the same time. Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, but this thing is clear! Very clear! Note definition and note separation is immense. Certainly the clearest pickup I've played. Pinch harmonics are effortless all across the board. And they man do they squeal!

The mids of the Black Hawk make it a very 'in your face pickup'. You won't have too much trouble cutting through your bands mix with these. I found myself dialing the mids back a notch after installing it, but that was just to suit my taste. It is so full and THICK! Low mids are close to perfect for me. Adding just enough grunt before it becomes muddy. The high mids help maintain that wonderful clarity, and pick attack. You really feel it when you are digging in deep with your pick.

The high end cuts really nicely. It is very sharp, and for a while I thought it was maybe too much. But lowering the pickup height seemed to fix this. Where I have the pickup now, which is quite low, the harshness is gone but the high end response is still full and articulate. Lowering the pickup made me realize just how much power it has on tap. Despite the DC resistance being quite low (mine sits at 9KΩ) compared to something like the Warpigs' massive 21.5KΩ, it has more than enough power for the most extreme sides of heavy.

The Black Hawk really saturates like an active. It also sustains like an active, but the pick dynamics and the more organic tone of a passive really shine too. A very transparent pickup with a very unique voicing. Single notes will sustain for days, and they sound thick and they cut! No word on the cleans as of yet. My amp wont do any justice to the pickups ability to do cleans so more on this in a later post.

I can easily compare the Black Hawk to my EMG's. It reminds me a lot of my 85. It maintains that kind of edge and grit that the EMG's have, but with a punchier but not necessarily tighter low end. It has a much richer and fuller mid range without the sterility that I find the 81's to have. Also it reminded me of my BK Aftermath. But again more refined in low mids and more emphasis on the upper mids and highs without the squeaky characteristics that I find that the Aftermath can sometimes have. If an Aftermath and EMG 85 had a baby, it would be the Black Hawk. So that being said, I think Tim has done an excellent job with the pickup doing exactly what he wanted. 'The power and clarity of an active with all the tone and dynamics of a passive.' Brilliant pickup for all genres of metal. If you are looking for a passive solution to your EMG’s, the Bare Knuckle Black Hawk certainly will not disappoint!

Clips to come soon!
Cheers,
H3ADLY.
Death Metal/Core from Melbourne, Australia
www.facebook.com/BURNINGINWHITE
Pop-Punk/Metal from Melbourne, Australia
https://www.facebook.com/SouthEndOfficial

Dave Sloven

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Re: Bare Knuckle Black Hawk Review
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2013, 02:08:32 AM »
Glad to hear it worked out for you!

You tuned down those mids with the 6505's EQ?  Do you think you might be better off with a 10 band EQ before the pre-amp?  The Peavey preamp seems like a blunt instrument to me, at least in terms of EQ.

How did it sound with the TS9 off?
BLACK HAWKS
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H3ADLY

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Re: Bare Knuckle Black Hawk Review
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2013, 08:05:47 AM »
I'll admit it was a very subtle difference,  and I agree that the 6505's eq does not have a very wide sweep. I should check out what I can do with a 10 band.
Without the TS9 it was still tight, and still punchy but didn't have that nice boosted chatacter that I personally love. Exactly how you would expect it sound without a boost is how it sounded  :P
Im still super keen to try the Warpig though!
Death Metal/Core from Melbourne, Australia
www.facebook.com/BURNINGINWHITE
Pop-Punk/Metal from Melbourne, Australia
https://www.facebook.com/SouthEndOfficial

Dave Sloven

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Re: Bare Knuckle Black Hawk Review
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2013, 08:12:47 AM »
If you get a Warpig you should probably get an A-pig rather than a C-pig if you want something different.  Depends on how varied the stuff you play is.  If it's all just chugga chugga then yeah the C-pig will give you that in a deeper, bassier way. With the A-pig you can get a lot more '80s type hardcore and metal out of it.  But really I think the Warpigs in general are considerably hotter than stuff used on those old recordings.  It's more the case that those song structures and styles sound good with that type of pickup, rather that it representing the sound used on those recordings.  For example you could imagine Autopsy using A-pigs live to play their old material, but their old material doesn't sound like it's played with an A-pig (if that makes sense).  In other words you get the dynamics and tonal palette (plus a little extra bottom) of those old recordings but in a much more articulate and tighter way, without going all the way into 'surgical' precision, which would tend to make those songs lose their 'swing' and 'groove'
BLACK HAWKS
IMPULSES
WAR PIGS
STOCKHOLM
COLD SWEATS
MIRACLE MAN

https://slovendoom.bandcamp.com/releases

Kiichi

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Re: Bare Knuckle Black Hawk Review
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2013, 08:13:48 PM »
Thanks for the review mate. Always great to hear more about the BH, there is too little on it out there imho. This goes up to the big board right now!
BKPs in use: 10th set / RY set / Holy Diver b, Emerald n / Crawler bridge, Slowhand mid MQ neck/ Manhattan n
On the sidelines: Stockholm b / Suppermassive n, Mule n, AM set, IT mid

mongey

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Re: Bare Knuckle Black Hawk Review
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2013, 11:30:28 PM »
good wirte up. I love the C-hawks (is that what you call it ) in my 7 string

I did find I dont really like a 808 as a boost with them  though where i do with other pickups  . its almost like it has a TS boosted sound built in  and the 808 just emphasied it too much in the mids . I ended up using a flat clean boost to boost and think it sounds way better
Maton- jazz/JB
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