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Author Topic: Got some New Boots on - Old Guard Humbuckers  (Read 1630 times)

AndyR

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Got some New Boots on - Old Guard Humbuckers
« on: March 05, 2018, 10:33:21 AM »
Got me a set of the Old Guard humbuckers for one of my Les Pauls last week. Nickel covered, 50mm.

All I can say is WOW! BKP have nailed it for "Old Guard pickups are hand-wound, feature Alnico II magnets and are suitable for classic blues, rock, country, pop and alternative tones. Old Guard pickups are in the low output range and produce an open, dynamic tone." - I chose them for that old school vintage vibe, I stuck them in the guitar, and promptly forgot all about them... the guitar spoke for itself and kept going "play me, play me" (my fingers are SO sore now, haven't played this much in years!).

I'm afraid I can't give you resistance readings. And, also, my impressions are a bit confused because I'm breaking in a new amp at the same time... (and that is making me rethink height adjustments on ALL of my guitars!! :shocked:)

But, after the initial few hours of setting up with the new pickups I've just been playing it... and playing it... and playing it.... and loving the sounds and hardly thinking about pickups at all. It just sounds and feels right. It does clean, dirty, rock, pop, blues, bright, dark, jangly, squealy, thumping, grinding...

The Old Guards have replaced Stormy Mondays which have gone into an Explorer.

I also have Stormies in another (warmer sounding) Les Paul and a 61RI SG.
I have Riff Raffs in a Faded SG.
I have Mules in a 335.

My favourites of the BKP humbuckers I've tried have been

1. Stormy
2. Mule
3. Riff Raff

But I think Old Guards might well be at the top for me now.

They're like Stormies - they keep the extra sweetness and general vibe that Stormies seem to have over Mules for me. BUT... in the same guitar they have a bit more bite and push, and that adds the stuff that I love about Mules.

It's all a bit unscientific, but my gut-feeling at the moment is that if you like Stormies and/or Mules, you'll love these. (It's made me wonder what the 10th Anniversaries were like? Perhaps these are even the same recipe?)

So far, I've been playing it through:
My trusty THR10C
My new Vox MV50 AC, both through its 1x8 cab and through a Yamaha THR 1x12 cab

Tonight, hopefully, I'll be playing it through the THR 100 HD wired through the desk and studio monitors - I can play it a fair bit louder - and that might give me some more thoughts.

Btw - Stormies in the Explorer, they're better for me than the 57 Classics, the Riff Raffs, and the MQs it has had at various times... but I can't help feeling that what it really wants these Old Guards in it! :grin:
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 10:35:14 AM by AndyR »
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Telerocker

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Re: Got some New Boots on - Old Guard Humbuckers
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2018, 03:24:36 PM »
Are they hotter than Mules?
Mules, VHII, Crawler, MM's, IT's, BG50's.

AndyR

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Re: Got some New Boots on - Old Guard Humbuckers
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2018, 03:54:33 PM »
I don't think so.

I regard Stormies, Mules, and Riff Raffs as all roughly the same ball-park.

The Old Guards are in this same ballpark as far as I can tell (I don't actually have any hotter humbuckers to compare with, though - and I have no means of measuring DC).

They certainly seem to be pushing the same amp settings in a similar way with the guitars' volumes and tones wide open.

I'll give them another comparison with the bigger amp when I get home tonight.
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Kiichi

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Re: Got some New Boots on - Old Guard Humbuckers
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2018, 06:37:03 PM »
Ohhhh, great to hear this! Could be interesting for me too, though I think IŽll get PG next.

Also added this to the sticky.
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

AndyR

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Re: Got some New Boots on - Old Guard Humbuckers
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2018, 09:46:49 PM »
I've had a little session with the amps in my "studio" now.

Yep, I'd say the Old Guards fall firmly into the Vintage category along with Stormies, Mules, and Riff Raffs.

I've tried and then deleted all sorts of attempts at descriptions...

What I keep coming back to is that they seem to be a cross between Stormies and Mules for me. And, for me, that's probably one of the things I was dreaming of and didn't realise it!


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Telerocker

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Re: Got some New Boots on - Old Guard Humbuckers
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2018, 12:53:17 AM »
Interesting. Well for now I'm not swapping my Mules. They're glorious.
Mules, VHII, Crawler, MM's, IT's, BG50's.

gwEm

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Re: Got some New Boots on - Old Guard Humbuckers
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2018, 12:52:43 PM »
Good to have your trusted opinion here Andy.

Post was a bit short for you though ;)
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djpatb

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Re: Got some New Boots on - Old Guard Humbuckers
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2018, 03:04:59 PM »
Sounds like would be nice in an SG as a RR alternative.

Does the neck position have any of that Slash kinda vibe?
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AndyR

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Re: Got some New Boots on - Old Guard Humbuckers
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2018, 02:33:48 PM »
I'm not too sure what the Slash vibe is really (he's one of those young up and coming modern guitarists, isn't he?! hehe).

If it's that clear and fluid sort of neck tone from a humbucker - nice bottom without the "too dark and muddy" vibe (this all depends how your amp is set, obviously!), almost flute-like if you can play like that...

If that's what you mean, then, yes, kinda... but the Stormy Monday neck does it better to my ears, the Old Guards have a bit more mids to them and the tone isn't quite so "open" as Stormies. Still clear and wonderful, but Stormies do it slightly better for my stuff.


By the way...
Having played the Old Guards for a week now, I think I might actually swap them into the Explorer. They're nice in the Les Paul, but it was fab with the Stormies anyway.

Meanwhile, in the Explorer, the Stormies are closest to "getting there" - I've never managed to feel completely happy with pickups for that guitar, but Stormies are closest so far (I've tried Riff Raffs, Mules, Mississippi Queens, 57 Classics, and the original stock high-powered ceramics ...).

The other night I was playing the Explorer (it hasn't had nearly the time the Les Paul has) and I was thinking, hey these Stormies are the best match so far... just needs a little bit more push in the mids... and then the penny dropped! Perhaps I should've put the Old Guards straight in the Explorer! :grin: :grin:
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AndyR

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Re: Got some New Boots on - Old Guard Humbuckers
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2018, 08:38:37 PM »
Having played the Old Guards for a week now, I think I might actually swap them into the Explorer. They're nice in the Les Paul, but it was fab with the Stormies anyway.

Meanwhile, in the Explorer, the Stormies are closest to "getting there" - I've never managed to feel completely happy with pickups for that guitar, but Stormies are closest so far (I've tried Riff Raffs, Mules, Mississippi Queens, 57 Classics, and the original stock high-powered ceramics ...).

The other night I was playing the Explorer (it hasn't had nearly the time the Les Paul has) and I was thinking, hey these Stormies are the best match so far... just needs a little bit more push in the mids... and then the penny dropped! Perhaps I should've put the Old Guards straight in the Explorer! :grin: :grin:

Scratch that!

Just spent an hour or so with both guitars and screw-drivers... Explorer sounds sublime now, no need to do a swap.

What the Explorer actually needed was the pickups raising a bit. They were quite low, even for me, and I hadn't really noticed the other night. It was sounding good, but a bit polite and "60s". Nothing wrong with that at all, but now it's got all that and a bit more poke to it too. Explorer's keeping the Stormies for the moment.

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