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Author Topic: Review: Black Dog Bridge in (Dark) Alder Strat  (Read 4048 times)

darkbluemurder

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Review: Black Dog Bridge in (Dark) Alder Strat
« on: February 28, 2014, 01:08:36 PM »
The guitar I put the Black Dog in is described in this thread:
https://bareknucklepickups.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=16883.msg224115#msg224115

As you can read there I was quite happy with the Holydiver as it solved many problems which I had with different other pickups. Yet in this particular guitar (strat w/ alder body, maple neck, rosewood board, vintage style trem) I found the overall tone a bit too dark. Next BKP in there was a Miracle Man which had a bit more output, a bit more bass and a bit more treble than the Holydiver. Yet, the guitar retained its dark tonal character. The longer I played it the darker it seemed to get. I did not want to try my spare Alnico Nailbomb in there as I did not expect the outcome to be brighter so I initially kept looking for a used Rebel Yell or Cold Sweat.

Then I swapped the A-Bomb for a Black Dog bridge. After a brief check in my Les Paul (the same one where I also tried the VHII bridge) I decided to put it in the strat. Totally different game - less output than its predecessors but in no way wimpy. The bass is still there but very controlled. In comparison the VHII bridge has more bass than the Black Dog. The midrange of the Black Dog starts at a lower frequency compared to the VHII but still controlled in the lower mids. The center and high mids is where this pickup is strong. It transfers the note fundamentals really well but is not nasal at all. The strong high mids make it cut well. Add on top of that clear but never harsh highs. They are not quite as biting as in the VHII bridge but are still there. Overall the frequency balance fits the guitar better. Now it is "warm" rather than "dark". With the high output contemporary models the bass was just too strong. I am thinking now that the Cold Sweat would not have been such a good fit for it but the Rebel Yell may have worked out well since it also has a controlled bass response.

The Black Dog is one of the more "friendly" pickup models in the BKP range. It can sound aggressive but you have to play that way to make it sound aggressive. It does not have a built in aggressiveness like the A-Bomb or VHII seem to have. It can do smoother tones equally well.

Up to now I have been mainly talking overdriven/distorted tones through hot-rodded Marshalls. What about clean tones? I play mostly at home these days, and when I play cleanly I rarely use a bridge humbucker. I tested the strat with the Black Dog through my Bassman top which I have modified to a *umble ODS circuit. The guitar produced a beautiful clean tone with the Black Dog through this amp, easily on par with other humbucker equipped guitars.  All the frequencies are there. Let the amp do the rest.

Right now this strat has only one humbucker. I have fitted a pickguard routed for a humbucker in the bridge and a single coil in the neck, no middle pickup (it's in my way most of the time anyway). The neck single coil is not yet fitted, and it will probably take a while before I make up my mind on what to fit (I could take the Slowhand bridge out of my other strat with the Holydiver and get two Irish Tours for that one ... we'll see).

As a result the Black Dog bridge fulfilled the expectation of making this dark guitar sound more balanced overall. Great product, highly recommended.

Cheers Stephan
 

Kiichi

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Re: Review: Black Dog Bridge in (Dark) Alder Strat
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2014, 02:07:23 PM »
You sure make the BD more interesting to me than it was previously. Thanks! I also put this up on the big board.
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

darrenw5094

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Re: Review: Black Dog Bridge in (Dark) Alder Strat
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2014, 02:10:37 PM »
Wow, my old Black Dog puppy that was in a Tokai Les Paul. But my experience was quite the opposite. Unbalanced, no high mids compared to low mids etc.

But then my BD was in a LP and it's now in a Strat, and your ears and likes are probably different to mine. :)
Another good detailed review though and a great reference point for future BKP people.

BKP: Abraxas - Les Paul
Holy Diver - Charvel
Mule - Les Paul
Rebel Yell - Les Paul
VHII - PRS CU22
A-Bomb + Cold Sweat - Les Paul
Warpig - Caparison Horus

darkbluemurder

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Re: Review: Black Dog Bridge in (Dark) Alder Strat
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2014, 04:39:07 PM »
Wow, my old Black Dog puppy that was in a Tokai Les Paul.

It's actually not "your" pickup - that one is in the Single Cut because it is 50mm. I took out the one that was in the Single Cut before, which is a 53mm. But they sound virtually the same.

The reason you had a different experience with it is probably due to the guitar it was in.

Cheers Stephan

darrenw5094

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Re: Review: Black Dog Bridge in (Dark) Alder Strat
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2014, 01:10:48 AM »
Must make a huge difference with the guitar choice, although i would guess the BD was designed to work in a Les Paul.
BKP: Abraxas - Les Paul
Holy Diver - Charvel
Mule - Les Paul
Rebel Yell - Les Paul
VHII - PRS CU22
A-Bomb + Cold Sweat - Les Paul
Warpig - Caparison Horus