Guitar Pickup Review

Bare Knuckle Pickups Nailbomb Humbucker Set

BKP Aged Nickel
BKP Aged Nickel

The Bare Knuckle Pickups Nailbomb set is one of the earliest BKP that I put in to play. It is something with consideration at for a very specific situation in a Fender American Standard Stratocaster.

Based on the BKP models I’ve already tried, I’m looking at the BKP lineup when I developed a unique tonal need. The trusty strat body is ready to call it in for good.  I go with a replacement body from Warmoth Guitar Products made from poplar, which made things a little snappier and brighter. The pickups originally chosen for the project are now not matching up the same as I want. A good chance to check out the Nailbomb set, which seems to have very good feedback from users. How’s that for making lemonade?  HaHa!


I’m going with all Alnico 5 magnets. There is also a ceramic magnet option for the bridge model, but that’s not what I’m needing for this guitar. The neck is wired up to a push/pull pot (to go between series and parallel mode) and a Switchcraft 12120x 3-way toggle, going out to a Switchcraft #11 1/4″ jack. Not quite your typical Stratocaster setup, right? Well, I did say the original body had been up to a lot of abuse over the years….mainly to modifications! LOL! The Strat also has an 80s German Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo system.

BKP Tyger
BKP Tyger

The Nailbomb set is a great fit for this guitar. Plenty of grind and growl and bite, making it an excellent fit for high-gain high-energy riff rock. The bridge position is delivering edgy highs, mids with that roaring growl and a low end that is a little big but under control. The neck position gives sweet highs with plenty of drive to handle lead work with sustains notes…. the mids in a neck position can make or break a tone, and the Nailbomb neck nails it out of the gate….the low end seems to straddle that line of bigness that means it avoids girth without being tight.


What’s the difference between the alnico and the ceramic version?  Check out this video from BKP:

And this demo of the Nailbomb in a metal setting:

The overall voice in interesting for an alnico-based pickup. Since the pickup is sensitive to playing styles, the right type of aggressive technique will produce a grind that almost sounds like a ceramic magnet. In fact, I talked to a huge fan of ceramic magnets that is sold on a Nailbomb neck humbucker he’s been trying in his guitar.

On a clean amp setting, the bridge pickup is clearly going to spank your amp into breaking up. When I switched to the neck position and then took it into parallel mode, it handed out a really nice clean tone. A little woody when strumming and a very nice balance for single notes…a good blend of big, yet firm lows and chimey, yet refined highs.


How about some spec?  Well, you betcha:

Nailbomb Bridge
Series – 15.903K
Inductance – 10.133 H
Split – 8.146 K
Split – 7.798 K
Parallel – 3.978 K
Magnet – Alnico 5

Nailbomb Neck
Series – 10.125 K
Inductance – 4.464H
Split – 5.180 K
Split – 4.958 K
Parallel – 2.533 K
Magnet – Alnico 5

BKP Nailbomb tone chart
BKP Nailbomb tone chart

The Nailbomb set has an excellent voice in this guitar for a contemporary hard rock style. Articulate, big, transparent, punchy…it’s in there. In my opinion, I can hear the Alnico Nailbomb bridge as an excellent match for a certain big-selling archetypical hot-rod bridge humbucker.

Overall, the Nailbomb is good for blues rock, garage, punk, hardcore, stone, hard rock, progressive metal, thrash, and death metal styles. It comes in 6, 7 and 8-string versions, with open coils or with a very wide selection of covered options that include nickel, raw nickel, aged nickel, black, gold, chrome, burnt chrome, camo, tyger and more.

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