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Author Topic: Alnico Nailbomb Bridge review  (Read 6791 times)

Jimmy E Moorby

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Alnico Nailbomb Bridge review
« on: October 11, 2013, 02:05:18 AM »
I’m writing this review as I’ve tried this pickup in 3 different super strat type with different specs ranging from body to neck woods to construction styles and all have that nailbomb sound.

This is easily my favorite bridge humbucking pickup ever and because I think it’s so good I still find it really hard to pin down why because it does so many things well. If any one put a gun to my head and asked me if it reminded me of any guitarists I couldnt really say.  The website uses terms like classic and modern, old school and contemporary and this is absolutely spot on.  In summary I’d say it’s taking the great hard rock/metal tones of the late 70’s and 80’s and supercharging them and bringing them up to date whilst still keeping that rawness and ‘danger’.  I like lots of music but im very much a metal head and this pickup is a compromise between the raw tones of yester year and the polished tones of today meaning you don’t have to make a choice unless you have the luxury or having lots of guitars and don’t mind chaning guitars god know how many times for different applications.

Cleans are excellent perfectly sat between dark/smooth and bright/verging on the harsh… essentially just right, neither.
The website description mentions fat blues and im not so sure about this but then again I’m not a ‘proper’ blues player.  If it said pre van halen rock/metal type sounds with some sort of bar-stewardized blues influence id say yes.  Turn down the gain/roll the volume back and this will do classic rock like early rainbow riffs and scorpions stuff.  Add some more gain and you’ll definitely get  an ggressive ‘blues metal’ Michael Schenker/Kirk Hammett (Black album)/Joe Satriani type lead tones and it excels here.  Max the gain and mess with the tone dials on your guitar and youll be able to rip off some fluid shred type stuff but I must admit id much prefer the neck pickup for this but if youre a 1 pickup kind player this may be worth considering.

Note separation at high gain is flawless which means even though its great for brutal metal  it also works well re 80’s meloldic hard rock/metal too like Van Halen, Extreme, Ozzy etc  but it’s a more compressed sound with more beefy bottom end for sure so it comes back to the taking the sounds of old and giving them a modern edge again.  It does Pornograffiti era Nuno Bettencourt riffs very nicely to my ears to but again with that added beef and an in your face attitude.

This pickup is also great for thrash and arguably this seems to be who its aimed at given the description and the demo’s.  I must say given the opportunity and in an ideal world id play in a thrash or prog metalband this is DEFINITELY what id use 90-100 percent of the time.

It has a massive bottom end,  any more and you’d be getting into more doomy, sludgy territory and this pickup doesn’t seem to be suited to that but then again I don’t drop tune or play that sort of music…..ill go out on a limb and say there’ll be much better stuff for that though.

I’ve got so much confidence in this pickup ive stuck it in both my super strats knowing if I get to join a thrash band, prog metal  or classic rock hair metal band this pickup works well. It works well with less conventional chords and power chords that Opeth, Dream Theater or Mastodon would use as all the notes can be heard extremely well.   Brutal but very responsive there doesn’t seem to be any compromise between the two which ive never experienced before….

The highs are on the warmer side which I like but actually brings about it own problems. This does not mean its a muddy or muffled at all as ive already said. I this think cuts really well and its is ideal if you have a bright guitar or a mid-mid hi-mid amp like mine to make it growl more.   As much of a fan as I am of this pickup it’s a shame that because of this warmish top end that pinch harmonics are not ‘effortless’  but they are do-able. I wouldn’t expect effortless Dimebag or Zakk Wylde style pinches unless you’ve really got this technique down and even then id still be wary at that sort of thing if this is some thing you really like to do.  Tremelo/harmonic divebomb techniques a la Dimebag or Satriani pretty much work as well as any thing ive used before though.  This pickup doesnt scream it growls and sings if that makes sense.

It also splits very well with my cold sweat neck and givies my usa strat a run for its money

In summary id say this is a very versatile pickup for every thing from classic rock to heavier styles of metal and maybe more but make no mistake it isn’t subtle and it has a very in your face attitude which personally I want.  If I’m in a band I want to play and sound like my life depends on it not just blend in.

In terms of the bkp range to my ears its some where in between the vhii and the black hawk but without the huge sqeuals and highs those pickups have which some may consider an issue.  To my ears its considerably better than both and I like both those pickups a lot.

10/10
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 02:07:17 AM by JimmyMoorby »

Dave Sloven

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Re: Alnico Nailbomb Bridge review
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2013, 02:27:39 AM »
It always reminds me exactly of that Brazilian Sepultura/RDP crossover metal/hardcore sound that it was named after - the band Nailbomb was a Max Cavalera side project - but good to hear that you're getting other sounds out of it as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mjtsXaYRV8

I have to admit, part of me wishes I ordered the Nailbomb etch

« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 02:31:43 AM by Agent Orange »
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Jimmy E Moorby

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Re: Alnico Nailbomb Bridge review
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2013, 02:37:00 AM »
It always reminds me exactly of that Brazilian Sepultura/RDP crossover metal/hardcore sound that it was named after - the band Nailbomb was a Max Cavalera side project - but good to hear that you're getting other sounds out of it as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mjtsXaYRV8

I always wondered if it was named after that band.  It definitely has the sepultura sound but in fairness if you altered your tunings or used different pedals and amps I think it would cover every thing from the old school to say at the gates or dew scented or whatever although obviously not any bands who have a more scooped or polished sound I think thats where the black hawk or maybe the miracle man comes in.

I have the camo battleworn cover but no etch in my esp skulls n snakes but its very ott......still thats what it all about!

Dave Sloven

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Re: Alnico Nailbomb Bridge review
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2013, 03:19:02 AM »
I think it is excellent not only for Sepultura's 'crossover' period - i.e., from Schizophrenia to Chaos A.D., although it is a bit harder to hear on the Arise album due to the mix - when they were hanging out with the R.D.P. boys and influencing each other's sound a lot, and the same period when the Nailbomb project with Alex Newport (Fudge Tunnel) happened.  Actually you can hear Fudge Tunnel sound in it too in the higher mids. I'm pretty sure that it's perfect for a lot of '80s hardcore and industrial styles.  Big Black for example would be great with this pickup, also bands like LARD, or maybe Godflesh

I found it excellent not only for Sepultura and RDP but also '80s hardcore such as The Exploited and Poison Idea.  I have never played NYC hardcore like Agnostic Front but I suspect it would also be good for that.

The one thing in your review that didn't correspond to what I found was that I also have the Cold Sweat neck but didn't like it with the A-Bomb bridge, eventually swapping the latter out for a Cold Sweat bridge.  If I use the Nailbomb again in an SG I will definitely get a Nailbomb neck if swapping out a neck pickup
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 03:21:41 AM by Agent Orange »
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braintheory

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Re: Alnico Nailbomb Bridge review
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2013, 04:11:49 AM »
Compared to the VHII, which one is more raw, angry/aggressive?  Also, which one is tighter?  I heard both can be very tight.  I have also heard before that the VHII is sort of like a lower output Nailbomb.
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Kiichi

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Re: Alnico Nailbomb Bridge review
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2013, 10:07:27 AM »
Yeah, a review and a very good one at that! Thanks for that, it´s going up on the big board right away!

Great description of the PU. I can really see a lot of parallels to the RY, as is to be expected. The RY really seems to be a NB taken back in power, fatness and the EQ shifted to the right (towards the high end), but with a lot of similar qualitys.
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Chris Rowberry

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Re: Alnico Nailbomb Bridge review
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2013, 10:46:42 AM »
Excellent review JimmyMoorby! I'll be sure to direct people to this post when they ask about the Nailbomb!

Jimmy E Moorby

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Re: Alnico Nailbomb Bridge review
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2013, 12:52:33 PM »
Whatever floats your boat. I know when I was asking for advice on here not so long ago most recommended the nailbomb bridge and cold sweat neck combo and its very popular.  I wanted more of a sound like metallica, megadeth or testament though as opposed to any other thrash bands.  The fact chris broderick used it when he was in megadeth helped too.  He also used the cold sweat bridge but for my rig I needed some thing darker and from what ive experienced of the cold sweat I justprefer the nailbomb any way.  Also I dont play sg's, I did have an esp viper but I sold it to fund my bkp purchases.  If I could get that back id probably put some warpigs or as per a previous post some lace nitro hemi's in it.  After playing the cold sweats I didnt get what I expected I like in your face pickups but strangely I like the mules but theyre so clear and nice and to me are the most versatile out of the entire range.

Thats definitely my experience with the rebel yell too they have the same voice but if you had to explain it in the simplest terms I guess which one you pick comes down to if you want the bottom end or the brightness.  The nailbomb a healthy dose of mids but the treble is backed off so it doesnt get close to harsh.

As for the vhii or the nailbomb I think both can be aggressive but the nailbomb has more bass and the vhii has more highs if that helps. The vhii has definitely got the 80's thing going on whereas as ive said the nailbomb is like a modern take on the 80's. Im not sure how similar they are but theyre similar tome in that theyre both fantastic and both are tight but I dont get into this drop tuned / 7 or 8 string malarkey so i cant comment on that I generally play in e flat.  I can only say I prefer the nailbomb for what I do but neither are better than each other per se
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 01:09:13 PM by JimmyMoorby »

Dave Sloven

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Re: Alnico Nailbomb Bridge review
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2013, 03:08:53 PM »
I dont play sg's, I did have an esp viper but I sold it to fund my bkp purchases.

Vipers look kind of like SGs but I think are quite a bit heavier and thicker and have very different acoustic properties despite both being made of mahogany.  They are probably closer to a Les Paul or Firebird than an SG is, and tend to work well with bright pickups like EMGs.  The main quality that seems to help an SG is a low mid scoop.  This is because acoustically an SG has a low mid hump and not a lot of bass.  The effect of combining a pickup with strong low mids is to pile low mids on top of one another and exaggerate them.  With a scooped pickup like the Cold Sweat to be honest you don't notice the scoop because the low mid hump of the guitar balances that out.  I think this is also why people have found the Rebel Yell to be more versatile in SGs than A-Bombs, because the low mids are lacking somewhat in that pickup by comparison with the A-Bomb.  It is also why the C-Bomb works better for it than the A-Bomb and why the Miracle Man works well. The Warpigs seem to side-step that hump too, being more bassy

What this meant with my SG was that the Cold Sweat neck and A-Bomb bridge did not fit together like they might in another type of guitar.  The acoustic properties of the guitar make the A-Bomb sound very aggressive in my guitar, and that doesn't sit so well with the smoother sounding Cold Sweat neck. I tend to think that a Nailbomb neck, which has a less smooth character, would work well with an A-Bomb bridge in an SG, as long as the application suited an aggressive, mids-driven sound.

I really like the A-Bomb for hardcore sounds and miss it now that I've taken it out ... but only if I am playing hardcore stuff ... for everything else I find the Cold Sweat fits better.  This is why I am very reluctant to sell my A-Bomb and believe it or not I would really like to have another SG (number three! the next one in ebony!) with that pickup and a Nailbomb neck in it.  By no means do I think its a bad pickup.  In fact I think that the A-Bomb is better in an SG than in any other guitar for a monstrous hardcore sound.  It's just not something I would recommend to an SG owner as 'versatile'.  I would describe it as a weapon, a musical flamethrower, especially through my amp and speaker combination.  When I read about people using it for prog rock etc I feel like it's not the A-Bomb I know.  Also when I see it described as 'dark' that doesn't fit with my experience either.  In my guitar I couldn't get the dark Celtic Frost type sound I can get with Cold Sweat as soon as I roll the tone back to around 6 or 7.  Actually I never roll the tone knob right back to zero with the Cold Sweat.  With the A-Bomb I rolled back to zero and still couldn't get that tone.

Tones I got from it that were really good.

Lead channel: The Exploited, Poison Idea, Ratos de Porao, Sepultura, Possessed
Rhythm channel (with crunch): Rose Tattoo, Accept
Both channels (depending on mood): AC/DC

There were a few styles I didn't try of course.  But I think that the A-Bomb definitely had the edge over the Cold Sweat for each of these styles.  That said I can get close with the Cold Sweat and it can do a lot more smoother, mellower stuff that simply wasn't available on the A-Bomb.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2013, 02:16:36 AM by Agent Orange »
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fps_dean

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Re: Alnico Nailbomb Bridge review
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2013, 04:08:25 PM »
I was just playing my nailbomb guitar last night.  I set it up with 9s only because I had a set of 9s laying around (I'd normally use at least 10s).

It has the versatility of an Alnico V pickup, harmonics that put even ceramic magnet pickups to shame as much compression as I'd ever want and remains clear and smooth even at very high gain levels.   But mostly, I still can't believe the harmonics on these pickups.... absolutely screaming!
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Slartibartfarst42

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Re: Alnico Nailbomb Bridge review
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2013, 05:35:32 PM »
Glad you like it so much and an interesting review. Strangely, your experience is completely different to mine as I found very limited versatility. I just didn't like it in my guitar at all (maple neck-thru) and none of my friends, family or band mates liked it either so it had to go back. The probability is that it just didn't work in my guitar. I always had a feeling that I'd like it more in a big slab of mahogany so I wouldn't be averse to using one in something like a Les Paul.
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fps_dean

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Re: Alnico Nailbomb Bridge review
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2013, 02:26:43 AM »
Glad you like it so much and an interesting review. Strangely, your experience is completely different to mine as I found very limited versatility. I just didn't like it in my guitar at all (maple neck-thru) and none of my friends, family or band mates liked it either so it had to go back. The probability is that it just didn't work in my guitar. I always had a feeling that I'd like it more in a big slab of mahogany so I wouldn't be averse to using one in something like a Les Paul.

Yeah I wouldn't think it would work on anything brighter than a maple topped Les Paul style guitar.  They're fairly bright in a Les Paul.  In my Alder bodied neck-thru it's actually fairly neutral.  If I turn the treble down it sounds dark and if I crank it up it sounds brighter and it works great both ways for different sounds.
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ericsabbath

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Re: Alnico Nailbomb Bridge review
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2013, 08:12:03 AM »
that's a great review

it's curious how it sounds nothing like an emg, but we always get the early 90's metallica or sepultura vibe, and it still retains some of the paf blood, despite of being being much punchier, hotter and edgier

I also had the same impression about the pinch harmonics
for some reason, it doesn't scream with the same ease of a miracle man, holy diver or cold sweat


regarding the vhII question, I do get a somewhat similar vibe, probably due to their extended bass and top
the nailbomb definitely has fuller low mids and a lot more compression, but the vhII is just as bassy
the vhII sounds spankier and more articulate, like it evolved from the riff raff towards the nailbomb
the voicing itself is more comparable to the cold sweat, which also comes from the same place, despite of being ceramic
both vhII and cs have a very percussive response, with lots of punch in the bass and focused highs, while the nailbomb is bigger and fuller
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Dave Sloven

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Re: Alnico Nailbomb Bridge review
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2013, 10:02:59 AM »
it's curious how it sounds nothing like an emg, but we always get the early 90's metallica or sepultura vibe, and it still retains some of the paf blood, despite of being being much punchier, hotter and edgier

I don't know if it sounds like Metallica much, I have barely listened to that album over the last two decades, but Sepultura definitely ... anything from Schizophrenia onwards has a sound that you can easily get from an A-Bomb.  That period was when they started to be influenced by hardcore via R.D.P.  The A-Bomb is really good for '80s hardcore stuff.  As Sepultura was a huge influence on the early '90s metal scene you also get a '90s metal sound that the pickup works for very well.

I also found it works well for some of the oddball '80s metal bands with a more middy sound, like Possessed.

Some stuff recorded with a dry EMG type of sound in the late '80s I found it didn't do too convincingly, such as Sodom's Agent Orange album which has a EMG sound
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