Guitar Pickup Review

Bare Knuckle Pickups Riff Raff Humbucker Set

The Riff Raff humbucker set is something I grabbed at the same time as The Mule set.  You might remember me looking for an excuse to try what BKP considers their ‘Jimmy Page’ set: The Mule neck and a Riff Raff bridge.  So, why not grab full sets?  Plus, considering the nod to the AC/DC song of the same name, it is an opportunity to have a comparison to the Angus Young humbucker set released by Duncan in 2016.

BKP Riff Raff Aged Gold Covers
BKP Riff Raff Aged Gold Covers

But first things first.  What’s going on with the Riff Raff set?  I can report that they are solid pickups.  When you order direct from Bare Knuckle, you can choose the options you want.  I prefer the versatility of short mounting legs and 4-conductor lead wire.


For this application, I’m going with a double cut 2-humbucker body with maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. The guitar has 09-42 strings and is in E standard tuning.  Hardware includes a German Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo system.

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.

BKP Riff Raff Raw Nickel
BKP Riff Raff Raw Nickel
How do they sound?  

Overall, a touch of compression to the character.  Maybe it’s a result of the slightly more aggressive take on a vintage character.  Or perhaps it’s how the low end is kept under control without becoming brittle.  With that in mind, if you want a wolf in sheep’s clothing, consider these pickups.

On dirty amp settings, it riffs with authority (ha! a pun!) and gives open chords an sense of command.  Yet, as with a vintage-class pickup, this pickup allows for nuance.  The neck position is great for heavier or more assertive blues styles.  Going to cleaner amp settings, you can expect a touch of deliberate focus and a bit of chimey goodness.


Open your ears and lay your eyes on this video from BKP of Little Angels guitarist Bruce Dickinson.  The Riff Raff neck comes in at about 04:15

And this demo, showcasing a complete set:

Bare Knuckle Pickups Riff Raff Humbucker Demonstration
Riff Raff bridge
Series – 8.249 K
Inductance – 4.685 H
Split N – 4.184 K
Split S –  4.059 K
Parllel – 2.059 K
Magnet – Alnico 5
Riff Raff neck
Series – 7.49 K
Inductance – 4.837 H
Split N – 3.779 K
Split S –  3.701 K
Parllel – 1.869 K
Magnet – Alnico 5

The Riff Raff set is going to be good for blues, funk, indie, reggae, Britpop, garage, punk, alternative, classic rock, heavy rock, and 80s metal. It is available in 6, 7, and 8-string configurations with the full range of colors, covers, and pole piece options.

For reference, this Bare Knuckle Pickups Riff Raff 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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