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Author Topic: Rebel Yell Review (and comparison to EMG 81x, C-Bomb)  (Read 620 times)

vintageviolence

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Rebel Yell Review (and comparison to EMG 81x, C-Bomb)
« on: September 04, 2020, 06:11:48 PM »
This is my experience so far with the Rebel Yell bridge pickup in my Jackson Kevin Bond Signature Rhoads guitar. The guitar is 25.5 neck-thru mahogany construction with mahogany wings. The guitar itself has excellent sustain and it sounds loud and fairly complex acoustically (definitely my favorite electric to play unplugged despite its odd shape). It has some mahogany "warmth" but it's more articulate than a set-neck guitar. It previously sported and EMG 81x that a previous owner had added. The 81x was better than other 81s I've played, but after 4-5 years with this guitar I felt the 81x was still mostly a one trick pony. It can do passable (but not exciting clean and mid-gain sounds), and rips with distortion. When I got it, I used this guitar for extreme metal/hardcore styles exclusively. In the past two years or so I've started playing more 60s-70s influenced styles ranging from early metal/punk to psychedelia, soul, and R&B. I also have more guitars to choose from now, which means each guitar can serve a more specific purpose. I have a Fender Jaguar and a Strat for the cleaner side of things and a Pawn Shop '51 with a C-Bomb bridge and Trilogy Suite neck for truly heavy and brutal sounds (and more, but this is my main use these days). I wanted the Jackson to cover early metal and punk styles well, but also be able to move over into psychedlic or even some roots rock (with the pickup in parallel in some cases). So, I emailed BKP and ended up choosing a Rebel Yell.

I run my electrics through a Lovedpal OD11 -> TC Electronic Plethora x5 with a JHS modded EHX Double Muff in the effects loop -> EHX 2880 looper -> (L) Bill M modded Blues Jr. III with an Eminence Cannabis Rex and (R) Orange Brent Hinds Terror with an open back Mesa 1x12 V30 cabinet. I have also been using a Yamaha THR10ii to record direct into Logic Pro X instead of amps for recording lately (using amp designer with various IRs blended together instead of their cab sim). I usually play this guitar in Eb standard (with 10-52 gauge strings).

Rebel Yell (bridge)
My initial impression of the Rebel Yell was how much it brought out the acoustic sound of the guitar (much more than the EMG 81x ever did). The sound was more HD than the EMG and I am blown away by the edge-of-breakup sounds I can get with my amps. This is a very dynamic and articulate bridge pickup, capable of a wide range of sounds as you adjust the volume knob. In parallel, it can achieve pleasant low-output sounds and the gain structure completely changes. I find this very useful for the 60s end of the spectrum, including rootsy cleans and psych rock freak-outs. Switching back and forth between the parallel and series sounds while using my boosted fuzz pedal in through both amps can make for great call-and-response solo passages! I may wire it up for a coil-split at some point in the future to compare, but I'm happy with parallel mode for the time being; it can get decent glassy cleans, edge-of-breakup, and mid-gain sounds. I love it for fingerstyle playing too. 

In series humbucker mode, it's a full and robust rock 'n' roll beast, but not a one trick pony at all. It's not aggressive like the C-Bomb, but it does have an edge to the highs that's helps cut through the mix in a similar way. I should mention that in both parallel and series modes the mids are quite punchy, but it's noticeable in the series mode especially. This is not a bad thing, as it accentuates the higher mids that are slightly lacking in this particular guitar. The Jackson's natural low-mids play perfectly with the RY's high-mids and create a pretty beefy sound that doesn't get lost in heavy mixes (so far I find I need to edit the RY when recording in logic much less than the EMG). The lows are tight and still punch hard enough to feel without overwhelming speaker woof (which I sometimes enjoy but have in spades with the C-Bomb). The RY can absolutely do metal/hardcore/punk styles, including more modern metal tones with the right amp/recording settings. The RY in series also does cleans and edge-of-breakup very well, especially when using the volume control to clean up. I sent my dad a pretty basic cover of Blind Faith's "Had to Cry Today" and he was amazed at how close I got the guitar tone to Clapton's sound on that record for example. (Except I hear the RY as a bit heavier than his tone, especially because this guitar only has a bridge pickup. My dad stood next to too many speaker stacks at Deep Purple and James Gang concerts in his youth, but I digress...)

Overall, the RY fit my particular needs in this guitar super well. It is less heavy than the C-Bomb, but fills the gap between it and the Fender V-Mod pickups in my Strat and Jaguar perfectly (surprisingly decent pickups in their own right, especially in the Jaguar). I am hoping to round things out with a set of Mules in the Strat, but that's probably not until next year (pending that's what BKP recommends to me).
« Last Edit: September 04, 2020, 08:48:51 PM by vintageviolence »

Telerocker

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Re: Rebel Yell Review (and comparison to EMG 81x, C-Bomb)
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2020, 10:12:15 PM »
Well, that is an extensive review. Thanks for sharing your in depth story. It will be helpful for people who like to try a RY.
Mules, VHII, Crawler, MM's, IT's, BG50's.

ericsabbath

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Re: Rebel Yell Review (and comparison to EMG 81x, C-Bomb)
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2020, 09:37:01 PM »
Love the unusual perspectives in your review

The Rebel Yell is my new favorite, but I still gotta try different modes than series
Riff Raff, Mules, Black Dog, VHII's, Cold Sweat

ventura

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Re: Rebel Yell Review (and comparison to EMG 81x, C-Bomb)
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2020, 12:17:55 AM »
Love the unusual perspectives in your review

Agreed here with the different angle of approach here.

To the OP, glad you're digging them. They completely changed an already decent R7 into my No.1 fiddle and I just recently dropped another calibrated set into an R9 - both fiddles now sporting open/uncovered zebra sets.  With a little tweaking to pup & pole piece height, these are by far, the best pickups I've ever used for all styles of music my fingers dole out.  I am totally enamored with the clean-to-cleanish tones from the neck pup, and middle positions ability to really flesh out different glorious tones with tweaks to the tone and vol pots.  The full-spectrum from lows to mids to highs is unbelievable - I posted my review on these a month or so ago when I dropped my first set into the R7 - I said it sounded as though my MXR-M108S EQ was engaged - but it wasn't - and I've not needed it since playing my RY equipped guitars.

I just can't get enough of the RYs - they're hands down truly inspiring pups and make me wanna play non-stop.

They also sound incredible through any of the amps I use - single combos right through to stereo 100 watters w/ 412 cabs.  Funniest thing??  I am apprehensive of sticking ANYTHING in front of them (even though they work fine, truly) as far as FX goes...they just sound bloody glorious all by their lonesome.

/end love rant  :grin:

richard

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Re: Rebel Yell Review (and comparison to EMG 81x, C-Bomb)
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2020, 06:05:16 PM »
I've had my RY set for around twelve years. They were recommended by Tim to replace the Gibson pickups in my Firebird Studio.  They sounded great in that guitar but even better when they got moved into a PRS S2 Singlecut. I did a few hundred gigs with them through a Cornford Roadhouse combo and then a Yamaha THR 100 Dual. They are incredibly versatile pickups that can cover just about anything.
PRS Bernie Marsden Abraxas set
Gibson Firebird Studio  Rebel Yells
JV Strat  IT Bridge
Gibson SG Junior JB bridge
Cornford Roadhouse 30 combo
Yamaha THR 100 Dual

vintageviolence

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Re: Rebel Yell Review (and comparison to EMG 81x, C-Bomb)
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2020, 11:01:55 PM »
Love the unusual perspectives in your review

The Rebel Yell is my new favorite, but I still gotta try different modes than series

Thanks and I agree! I've been playing the RY wayyy more than the C-Bomb since I got it, even for heavy styles.
Love the unusual perspectives in your review

I am totally enamored with the clean-to-cleanish tones from the neck pup, and middle positions ability to really flesh out different glorious tones with tweaks to the tone and vol pots.  The full-spectrum from lows to mids to highs is unbelievable - I posted my review on these a month or so ago when I dropped my first set into the R7 - I said it sounded as though my MXR-M108S EQ was engaged - but it wasn't - and I've not needed it since playing my RY equipped guitars.

I just can't get enough of the RYs - they're hands down truly inspiring pups and make me wanna play non-stop.

They also sound incredible through any of the amps I use - single combos right through to stereo 100 watters w/ 412 cabs.  Funniest thing??  I am apprehensive of sticking ANYTHING in front of them (even though they work fine, truly) as far as FX goes...they just sound bloody glorious all by their lonesome.


Yes! I have to agree that I tend to ease up on the pedals when I use the RY. It's just so rock 'n' roll in the best ways, from Neil Young and Tom Petty-ish clean/grit tones all the way through to all out Sabbath and Stooges meltdowns. It absolutely nails Dead Moon (personal favorite) tones, but can oddly also handle modern metal like Code Orange.

vintageviolence

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Re: Rebel Yell Review (and comparison to EMG 81x, C-Bomb)
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2020, 11:03:55 PM »
I've had my RY set for around twelve years. They were recommended by Tim to replace the Gibson pickups in my Firebird Studio.  They sounded great in that guitar but even better when they got moved into a PRS S2 Singlecut. I did a few hundred gigs with them through a Cornford Roadhouse combo and then a Yamaha THR 100 Dual. They are incredibly versatile pickups that can cover just about anything.

How's the THR 100 Dual working out for you? I've been interested in them for a while but got the Orange BH Terror not long ago, so I won't be looking at another amp for a while.

richard

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Re: Rebel Yell Review (and comparison to EMG 81x, C-Bomb)
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2020, 07:26:45 PM »
Hi, I gigged with the THR for three years until my band of ten years folded last year. It's a great amp. I had it set up for Marshall sounds in the Plexi to JCM800 range and ran it through the dedicated 2x12 cab. Probably the best gigging amp I've owned, I much preferred it to the Cornford Roadhouse I was using previously.
PRS Bernie Marsden Abraxas set
Gibson Firebird Studio  Rebel Yells
JV Strat  IT Bridge
Gibson SG Junior JB bridge
Cornford Roadhouse 30 combo
Yamaha THR 100 Dual