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Author Topic: Alnico Black Hawk bridge review (Again)  (Read 3464 times)

Jimmy E Moorby

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Alnico Black Hawk bridge review (Again)
« on: September 21, 2013, 01:14:23 AM »
This pickup still seems to be a bit of an unknown compared to many others and although i reviewed it after having it a year ago ive obviously had it longer and im in a much better position to describe/review it and have since edited my old review to this one.

Alnico Black Hawk Bridge
This pickup has completely changed my ESP George Lynch guitar. In fairness it was always exellent for soloing, nice cleans but even when changing the pickups several times  (despite getting 'metal as hell' pickups) it always had weak rythms.  I would have bought some emg's for it but resisted as I didnt like the thought of getting an emg single coil in the neck.  Now my mates always made fun of this guitar saying it sounded awful and was made on plywood (It isnt it was made of alder in the esp custom shop!) but the black hawk immediately turned it into an uber metal monster which me my mates, band mates all soon realized.  What was a 'spare guitar' was now a genuine contender in terms of all out metal.
  As mentioned this was always a great lead/soloing guitar but always sounded weak for riffs now because of the black hawk it had the tone I always wanted for heavy metal riffing i.e james hetfield black album type sounds.  Pinch harmonics were now in fact TOO EASY and some thing I had to watch so it wouldnt be too OTT.  I've played this with my orange half stack which is a very middy hi gain amp which I love. The black hawk really increased the low end in a good way but was still super super tight for the fast thrashy type riffs I love.  I imagine if it had the ceramic magnet it would sound like the EMG 81 for full on metal it has the alnico magnet and it just sounds like what I kinda wanted in my head…..beefier... the next step in my quest for the perfect riffing tone.  As the description on the website has pointed out a genuine alternative to EMG’s and I can now say without prejudice it's even better for metal tones to my ears.  Now as perfect as it is for crushing metal it certainly isnt organic/versatile/progressive to my ears and I have noticed clean chords can get disorted if its isnt at a really low height and im a light player not a heavy one.  Don't be fooled by the low output this seems like the hottest pickup ive ever played and it is definitely more suited to full on metal than any thing else. The guy who I get to do all my setups etc is very knowledgable and experienced and said it was the most aggressive pickup he'd ever heard (He didnt say if that was good or bad though haha)  Smooth, dark but extreme and full on.  For balls out metal 10/10. Cleans and versatility 5/10 IMO but this could be improved with clever use of EQ.  I've improved the cleans with my Xotic EP Booster but this isnt always an option as I try and use as few pedals as possible.  Not for the faint hearted at all.  In terms of the alnico black hawk bridge think EMG 81 but with more bottom end thud and less treble but still incredibly easy to do pinch harmonics for some reason...... oh and no batteries.

If youre in a metal band that plays consant balls out metal this is for you if you want a bit more versatility IMO it doesnt deliver in the same way emg's dont and the cleans are 'sterile' and plain but this can also be used as an advantage of course like say fear factory, metallica or machine head type clean tones.  Think the intro to the locust by machine head.

I play melodic hair metal but much prefer aggressive 80's metal / progressive metal.  The black hawk did the aggressive metal spot on and more modern metal too but is merely adequate/plain/uninspiring for other styles.  In my opinion the nailbomb does extreme metal just as well and is a lot more versatile and this is the best bridge pickup ive ever played by far but thats another story......after nearly a year im due to change the black hawk with the nailbomb but dont let this put YOU off its a quality pickup and recommend it to guys who are after the metallica, fear factory, machine head, killswitch engage etc etc tones.  For your info when ive played to my mates on this guitar theyre inclined to agree with my assessment.

Id love to have the luxury of being able to keep this pickup as it does metal extremely well.  if I were a pro I definitely would keep it........but im not and im poor so ill probably sell it.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2013, 04:11:07 PM by JimmyMoorby »


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Re: Alnico Black Hawk bridge review (Again)
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2013, 01:17:02 AM »
Excellent review. Blackhawk is def. not for me.
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Re: Alnico Black Hawk bridge review (Again)
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2013, 08:21:31 AM »
Damn ! Now I want to have one !  :shock:
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Re: Alnico Black Hawk bridge review (Again)
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2013, 10:55:19 AM »
I always suspected that the Black Hawk wouldn't be for me and this review seems to con firm it completely. It's interesting that you mention the Nailbomb because when I tried an A-Bomb it seemed to be the most insanely tight and aggressive pickup I'd ever used and I couldn't conceive of ever needing anything that was even more in that direction. The Black Hawk seems like it has all of the super tight and aggressive parts of the A-Bomb that I didn't like but without any of the versatility, such as it was. Great review and very informative. It sounds perfect for the genre it's aimed at, just not for me.
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Dave Sloven

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Re: Alnico Black Hawk bridge review (Again)
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2013, 11:30:03 AM »
I'm guessing this pickup would be most at home with deathcore, metalcore, djent, and more recent forms of death metal.  It might also suit a lot of powerviolence bands.

I probably wouldn't recommend it for people who don't like playing at least one of those styles.  It sounds like it would be too 'dry' for old school death metal.


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Re: Alnico Black Hawk bridge review (Again)
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2013, 12:06:49 PM »
Interesting. I wanne get a KSE axe some day and am still wondering if IŽd rather go MM or BH. So far the MM was in the lead by a good bit, but the BH just caught a good bit.

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Re: Alnico Black Hawk bridge review (Again)
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2013, 11:19:32 PM »
Still possibly interested in a trade for a NB for a bit then Jim?  :lol:
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Jimmy E Moorby

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Re: Alnico Black Hawk bridge review (Again)
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2013, 12:09:49 AM »
Still possibly interested in a trade for a NB for a bit then Jim?  :lol:

Definitely!  Ive actually bought one to go in my esp george lynch but Andy seems to be on holiday or something.
Depending on how it meshes with this guitar id still be up for swapping with you though and keeping it for my next guitar purchase after that!
« Last Edit: September 23, 2013, 01:17:58 AM by JimmyMoorby »