Bare Knuckle Pickups Aftermath Humbucker Set

The Aftermath has been pummeling eardrums for a solid decade. At that time, the BKP “extreme metal” menu is pretty much the Warpig, the Painkiller, and the Miracle Man. The Aftermath opens up a fresh palette. Let’s take a look at how.

The earliest “contemporary” BKP models are the Warpig and the Miracle Man. The ‘pig is an incredibly compressed, full, aggressive pickup with loads of low end. The MM is brighter, far fewer mids, and still a hot wind. Another hot wind, the Painkiller comes a little later, with tighter lows and more upper mids. That really helps to set the stage for how the Aftermath fits in to things.

For this application, I’m going with the same guitars in play for the Silo evaluation from earlier this year. Double cut 2-humbucker mahogany body with maple neck and maple fingerboard. The harness contains the same BKP pots and caps. 550k pots, 0.022μF cap for the bridge, and the 0.015μF cap for the neck. The guitar has 10-46 strings and has E standard tuning. This set has the filister screws poles.

During the install process, I take advantage of the opportunity to hit the frets with the Lizard Spit Fret Polishing System and to apply Lizard Spit Slick Nutz to relevant friction points.

Bare Knuckles Aftermath
Bare Knuckles Aftermath

To say BKP put those other pickups into a mixer and dropped out the Aftermath is an over-simplification. Although, companies do often find spaces in the lineup to develop new offerings. Yet I’m not saying this is in any way how the Aftermath came to be. Still imagine wanting a little less compression than the Warpig. But more girth than the Miracle Man. And how about more lower mids than the Painkiller.

In application, the Aftermath hits me a little like an old Dirty Fingers. Big and full and bold. The voice is solid in the high end and firm in the low end. A fairly even balance to the EQ, with the low midrange drawing the most attention. This makes the Aftermath come across as a little throaty, which can be a good match for a bright guitar. Even so, there is plenty of room for harmonic clarity. Squeals and squeaks and screams call all jump right out of the mix.

A lot is said about “tightness” of the Aftermath bridge humbucker. More specific suggestions are that it seems to have a built-in gate. It’s really due to the 3 ceramic magnets. Forget about a single ceramic magnet. Using ceramic magnets as spacers is a fairly common application for power and control. Imagine a really strong magnetic field. So strong that the less it’s disturbed, the more it clamps down tight.

Add the shorter filister screws to that. Longer poles literally pull and stretch the magnetic field down toward and past the baseplate, making it bigger. The shorter poles keep the field up at the coil, tighter and more in control.

The neck pickup is hotter than most traditional selections and gets power from an Alnico 5 magnet. The overall character is a little rounder than the bridge counterpart. I am finding the the Aftermath neck is a little better for clean amp settings, without having to get into split or parallel wiring tricks. Even so, there is a sense that a ceramic option on the neck would be worth exploring.


How about some specs:

Aftermath Bridge
Series – 15.373 K
Inductance – 6.52 H
Split – 7.693 K
Split – 7.719 K
Parallel – 3.847 K
Magnet – Ceramic

Aftermath Neck
Series – 11.829 K
Inductance – 5.545 H
Split – 5.921 K
Split – 5.923 K
Parallel – 2.96 K
Magnet – Alnico 5


Ready for some samples?

Aftermath – Modern Metal
Aftermath – Death Metal
Aftermath – Clean

What do you think about that? Pretty brutal, but also versatile. Right?

The Aftermath is good for punk, hardcore, hard rock, progressive & djent metal, nu-metal, thrash, death metal, metal core, and extreme metal styles.

Like most Bare Knuckle humbuckers, the Aftermath is available in 6, 7, and 8-string variations. There are over a dozen bobbin colors and pole screw options to choose from when ordering. If you like covers, BKP offers many cover and radiator selections to personalize your humbuckers.

For reference, this Bare Knuckle Pickups Aftermath humbucker set evaluation was conducted with a Fractal Axe-Fx II XL+ featuring Celestion Impluse Responses and Fractal MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller.  Real cabs in use are Marshall 1960BMojotone British, and Peavey 6505 cabs loaded with Celestion Classic Series Vintage 30s and Classic Series G12M Greenbacks.

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