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Author Topic: Review of Cold Sweat set  (Read 11454 times)


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Review of Cold Sweat set
« on: May 07, 2007, 08:47:36 PM »
So at last, here is my review of the calibrated set of Bare Knuckle Cold Sweat pickups that I recently bought and had installed into my guitar. Before I get onto the pups themselves, some details about the setup:

Guitar – Ibanez RGT42
Body – Mahogany
Neck – 5 piece maple/walnut
Construction – Neck thru
Bridge – Locking trem

In standard trim this guitar comes with a H-H layout and a 5-way selector that operates in the sequence:

Bridge humbucker
Inner coils of both pups
Both humbuckers
Neck humbucker wired in parallel
Neck humbucker wired in series

This was the first thing I changed. The standard 5-way selector was removed and replaced with a vintage US Fender 3-way switch to give me a more conventional H-H arrangement. In order to give me a decent range of sounds I also had fitted a new 500k push/pull volume pot to coil tap both humbuckers. I much prefer this arrangement to the standard setup.

Now for the pickups themselves and I think I’ll start with the easy option:

Cold Sweat neck

This is undoubtedly a VERY popular pickup. If you look through the Bare Knuckle forum you could be forgiven for thinking that the only neck pup that BKP make is a Cold Sweat! Having now tried one for myself I can certainly understand why it is so universally liked. The secret to its success is versatility. This is a pup that can do pretty much everything and do it supremely well. It is extremely articulate and well defined by any standards with a lovely creamy tone that retains a crisp clarity. If you want to spend time shredding at the neck then this is perfect as note definition is precise and it responds well to pick dynamics but there’s more to it than shred. One of the sounds I’d mentioned to Tim for the neck pup was Iron Maiden’s Dave Murray and it can do that fluid legato style well too, though it’s a sharper sound that Dave Murray has. Although not widely known as a Blues pup I can confirm that it will adapt to Blues beautifully, especially when coil tapped to give more tonal options. It takes gain in large doses but cleans up very well indeed, probably because the neck version of this pup is built on an Alnico V instead of the ceramic magnet that lies at the heart of the bridge version. In terms of power it comes in with a DC resistance of 8.3 which allows plenty of the guitars natural tone to shine through but hot enough to really rock. I can’t think of much that this pup couldn’t be used for and I find it difficult to believe that anyone produces a neck pup of better quality. If you want a neck humbucker, look no further.

Cold Sweat bridge

While the neck version of the Cold Sweat enjoys universal acclaim the bridge version seems to be, surprisingly, largely ignored. Fairness to those of you who have passed over this pup before, I would have done the same if it wasn’t for Tim. I wanted a hot pup and he told me that a WP just wouldn’t work all that well in a mahogany guitar like mine. That led me to the MM, a pup also universally praised by BKP users but it just wasn’t the sound I was after. In most of the clips I listened to it sounded fantastic up to a point but I was always left thinking that it was too cold, artificial, clinical and soulless. I wanted something that was crisp but also warm. I then moved on to a PK but Tim said that would be too bassy for mahogany too. The HD looked perfect but Tim was concerned that the Alnico V magnet wouldn’t give the cutting edge I wanted. By a matter of elimination that only really left the Cold Sweat – a ceramic magnet for crispness and plain enamel wire to warm up the sound for me. I was a little concerned by its power of only 14.3 but Tim assured me it would be fine, so what’s it like?

This pup is very well named as if you play the song Cold Sweat it sounds just like John Sykes. At the time Cold Sweat was recorded John Sykes was using Gibson Dirty Fingers pups so I assume that this is voiced to match that and if it is, it does it perfectly. The tone is lovely and rich in a classic Gibson way. I’d say that the Bare Knuckle pup has greater articulation than the Gibson, which is a characteristic I like and probably has a bit more growl too. Cleans are surprisingly good for a ceramic pup and it coil taps really well. My amp has three channels, which are basically clean; overdriven and high gain. I naturally tend to move to high gain and never really liked the overdrive channel before but these pups have been a revelation. 80’s style overdrive really brings out the immense tone that this pup offers and I just love playing through that channel now. All of a sudden my guitar has this wonderful character that the pup brings out and I just love it but that isn’t to say it can’t do high gain. Far from it in fact; I’ve dumped masses of gain onto the amp, even maxing out the controls and it took it all in its stride. Tim had told me that he has a set of Cold Sweats in a Les Paul and it takes masses of gain and sounds awesome. I hesitated a little at the time but he was certainly telling it like it was. I confess you do lose some of that rich character with all that gain but I assure you that this will do Metal very effectively indeed. I suppose that for lots of people the MM offers all that they want and it is a really great pup but if you want loads of growl with a bit more vintage character then the Cold Sweat is a pickup that won’t disappoint. There must be something to it as there are very few clips on the forum of a Cold Sweat bridge pup but when one does appear everyone raves about the tone.

I loved my guitar before I installed these pups and now I love it a whole lot more. These are BOTH really good pups. You already know that about the neck version so go on, give the bridge a try ‘and see how hot vintage tone can really get!’


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Review of Cold Sweat set
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2007, 09:17:40 PM »
Nice review! Well written!


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Review of Cold Sweat set
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2007, 09:48:23 PM »
^ i agree, nice job!


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Review of Cold Sweat set
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2007, 07:13:57 AM »
I've been trying to think of something that the Cold Sweat bridge sounds like in modern Metal and it's not easy. One of the sounds I wanted was Synyster Gates and the obvious choice for that was MM but to my ears the MM just isn't fat enough in its tone. The CS is certainly a fat and rich tone but isn't naturally as raucous as the Invaders. That would seem to suggest that the CS needs more power but, perhaps surprisingly, I'd compare the CS most closely with the tone of Dan Donegan of Disturbed, at least of the limited range of modern stuff I listen to. Clearly power isn't everything and I've no idea how the CS does this as he uses an El Diablo from SD, which is built on an Alnico 2 bar and has a DC resistance of 22.1 but I swear the CS can do his stuff with ease.

Johnny Mac

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Review of Cold Sweat set
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2007, 08:14:01 PM »
I've just had a good work out on my guitar with cold sweats in as i under use it a bit and the tone is massive!

Good review!!
Warpig, MQ,
Miracle Man-Trilogy Suite, Cold Sweats, Black Guards, Rebel Yells & Irish Tours!