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> Bare Knuckle Ragnarok
gnarkill
post Oct 4 2017, 10:12 PM
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I have had my eyes on Bare Knuckle pickups now for a while. I have been meaning to replace the pickups in my 7 string Iron Label Ibby since I got it. Long story short, my nicest guitar in my collection, that Ibanez, I got for free. Buuuuuuttttttt..... it has an EMG 707 in it (stock) and a EMG 81-7 (aftermarket). I loooove the guitar, but I always thought the pickups were just MEH in comparison to my others.

I have been eyeballing the Juggernauts now for almost two years, and just when I felt I was ready to pull the trigger... the Ragnarok comes out. I sent the Bare Knuckle team a message about comparing my EMG pickups to the Ragnarok and this is what they had to say.

"With passive pickups using alnico and ceramic magents, you will find you get a more organic tone with a lot more clarity. The drive is still great and harsh but without sacrificing precious dynamics and clarity like you'd expect with active pickups"

So thats pretty much exactly what I wanted to hear... still a brutal pickup for my metal, and keeping it clean and clear.

I write this post for 2 reasons...

1. I just wanna hear your input. What have you thought about BK pickups in general? Do you like my move to the BK Rag?
2. EMGs are active, and the BK Rag is passive. How hard is that to swap around in my configuration of my guitar?
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Kristofer Dahl
post Oct 4 2017, 10:45 PM
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I am a big BKP fan, I have them in two of my guitars (and counting!). They are better than anything I have tried before.

Unfortunately I am not into hot pickups at all so I cannot comment on your choice.

However swapping from active to passive should be quite easy compared to the opposite. If you let BKP know about the electronics of your guitar they should be able to provide you with the appropriate wiring diagram.


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Mertay
post Oct 4 2017, 11:38 PM
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The vol. and tone pots would probably need to change too.


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jstcrsn
post Oct 4 2017, 11:59 PM
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QUOTE (Mertay @ Oct 4 2017, 11:38 PM) *
The vol. and tone pots would probably need to change too.

agree with above

I have emg's in my 7 string and love the sustain , but like long for dynamics and you pretty much do away with clean tones . if your gonna do it , go all the way , get coil splitting especially in the bridge
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gnarkill
post Oct 5 2017, 12:33 AM
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QUOTE (jstcrsn @ Oct 4 2017, 10:59 PM) *
agree with above

I have emg's in my 7 string and love the sustain , but like long for dynamics and you pretty much do away with clean tones . if your gonna do it , go all the way , get coil splitting especially in the bridge


My guitar has a 3 way switch for Neck, blend and Bridge. What do you mean on the coil splitting?

Also, I only have one knob... volume. Is that a problem? Should I add another for the new pickups?
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Rammikin
post Oct 5 2017, 02:24 AM
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It's so hard to shop for pickups because nobody can demonstrate for you what it will sound like in your guitar. But relative to the Juggernaut, the Ragnarok is designed to be more aggressive. More like a Painkiller. The Juggernaut trades some of that aggressiveness for a less harsh tone, especially when playing high solo notes. So, if you were looking for something aggressive to begin with, you'll probably be happy with the Ragnarok.

But Mertay is right. Switching from active to passive can be tricky and you'll probably have to change some other electronics on your guitar.

All Bare Knuckle pickups can be used with coil tapping/splitting to give you a single coil sound on demand. But you'd need something to control the tap, like a new switch or a push-pull volume pot. Otherwise, no, you don't need another knob.

This post has been edited by Rammikin: Oct 5 2017, 02:29 AM


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gnarkill
post Oct 5 2017, 09:25 AM
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QUOTE (Rammikin @ Oct 5 2017, 01:24 AM) *
It's so hard to shop for pickups because nobody can demonstrate for you what it will sound like in your guitar. But relative to the Juggernaut, the Ragnarok is designed to be more aggressive. More like a Painkiller. The Juggernaut trades some of that aggressiveness for a less harsh tone, especially when playing high solo notes. So, if you were looking for something aggressive to begin with, you'll probably be happy with the Ragnarok.

But Mertay is right. Switching from active to passive can be tricky and you'll probably have to change some other electronics on your guitar.

All Bare Knuckle pickups can be used with coil tapping/splitting to give you a single coil sound on demand. But you'd need something to control the tap, like a new switch or a push-pull volume pot. Otherwise, no, you don't need another knob.


I have a killswitch on my guitar... that I don't really use at all. The older Iron Labels have a killswitch, the newer ones have a coiltap using the switch. Do you think it can be used to repurpose as a Coil tap?

My switch to toggle between 3 positions... top, middle and bottom.... I've obviously known what the top and bottom did... but I truthfully have never known what the middle did for sure. I assumed it played both at the same time, but I'm now just realizing, and perhaps I'm wrong, that it plays one Coil from each pickup? Is that right on a 3 position switch?
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Mertay
post Oct 5 2017, 09:41 AM
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QUOTE (gnarkill @ Oct 4 2017, 11:33 PM) *
My guitar has a 3 way switch for Neck, blend and Bridge. What do you mean on the coil splitting?

Also, I only have one knob... volume. Is that a problem? Should I add another for the new pickups?




Lack of tone knob isn't a problem, a tone pot even when not decreased smoothens some of the very high freq.s of the guitar but since goal is a brutal sound its ok for not having a tone nob.

The video demonstrates splitted sound on 1.34 on both pickups, a push/pull type volume pot would give you that option. Its up to you on how that pot will work when pulled, I'd say focus on noiseless options like parallel neck, inner or outer coils of both pickups.

What I'd do first is trying to find the best name in your city who changes pickups, ask stores-music college students or a local online forum (it may not be a luthier, maybe some guy in a shop or amp repair guy may turn out to be your best option). A bad solder anywhere can cause noise or volume issues so its important who will do the swap.

Show the guitar to him and get prices on how much the swap would cost aside the pickups (pot,cable, labor...) before you order anything.


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Rammikin
post Oct 5 2017, 01:06 PM
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QUOTE (gnarkill @ Oct 5 2017, 08:25 AM) *
I have a killswitch on my guitar... that I don't really use at all. The older Iron Labels have a killswitch, the newer ones have a coiltap using the switch. Do you think it can be used to repurpose as a Coil tap?

My switch to toggle between 3 positions... top, middle and bottom.... I've obviously known what the top and bottom did... but I truthfully have never known what the middle did for sure. I assumed it played both at the same time, but I'm now just realizing, and perhaps I'm wrong, that it plays one Coil from each pickup? Is that right on a 3 position switch?



The Iron Label electronics have changed over the years, but I doubt the ones that came with EMG pickups use a single coil from each pickup in the middle position.

I wouldn't worry too much about the coil splitting. I know Misha demonstrates that, but realistically, that's not what a Ragnarok is designed for. Personally, I would find a kill switch more useful than being able to play a single coil from one pickup. But if you really want a single coil from a single pickup, you have options that don't require losing the kill switch: a push pull volume pot, replace your 3-way switch with a 5-way, drill a hole for a new switch, etc. Or, yes, you could also replace the kill switch with a coil split switch. Just get the 4 conductor option when you buy the Ragnarok.

This post has been edited by Rammikin: Oct 5 2017, 01:13 PM


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yoncopin
post Oct 5 2017, 02:38 PM
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I really don't want to rain on your parade, because being excited and enjoying your guitar are #1. That said, if it were me, I wouldn't buy the Ragnaroks and here's why.

My experience is that once achieving a basic minimum quality (which includes all major brands) pickups aren't "better" just different. Trying to find the ones you really like is hard because experimentation costs money. There's going to be a noticeable difference when switching from active to passive or high output ceramic vs vintage alnico but within those categories the differences are more subtle. You're just as likely to like a used Nazgul set, etc... as you are the Ragnarok, you just won't know until you try.

Cost - $300 pickups + $100-$150 installation = $450
For this price you could just buy another whole used guitar with high quality passive pickups already installed. On the other hand that's not so true if you can learn to install the pickups yourself. If you can solder then just about anyone should be able to follow the directions and maintain their own guitar electronics. If you can, I'd actually be more in favor of the Ragnaroks because you can always remove them yourself and re-sell/keep them if you change guitars. Otherwise, they'll be bonded forever with that Iron Label and you'll take a big loss if you ever want to sell.

Lastly, completely ignore the marketing copy. Words cannot capture more than the broad differences in pickups. I mean read these side by side, they all say the exact same thing.

"Active humbuckers have a distinctive sound: powerful, clean, open-sounding, with excellent harmonic overtones and very tight lows. This also fits the description of a great 7-string pickup, if the problems associated with active pickups — sterile sound and limited headroom — could be eliminated. The _____ models do just that. The ____ Bridge has the same loud yet clean sound as the best active humbuckers, and killer harmonics. The low “B” string is all about attack, not mud. It responds instantly to hard or light picking. In a word: it rocks. No batteries required."

"Take your guitar to the center of the earth! By combining a large ceramic magnet with custom winding specs, the ____ offers the perfect blend of note articulation, saturation and one of the most brutal “chugs” you’ll ever hear from a humbucker. It has incredible harmonic content across all frequency ranges, and an insanely tight bass response. The _____ has a seriously aggressive high gain sound that is lively, yet completely controllable."

"The _____ is a chunky, fat sounding pickup that’s also devastatingly tight and aggressive; a hot ceramic pickup with a smooth top end and incredible clarity... The ______ fulfils a seemingly impossible remit - a chunky, fat sounding pickup that’s also devastatingly tight and aggressive; a hot ceramic pickup with a smooth top end and incredible clarity. Even the cleans and low gain tones have a fantastic voice. I didn’t think this could be done!"

In the end, get whatever you like that makes you excited about picking up your guitar, that's the most important.


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Mertay
post Oct 5 2017, 04:04 PM
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My thought process is usually focus on solving a problem when selecting PU's. First, one must determine what he/she dislikes and try to be as specific as possible when explaining that problem.

Pickups when compared is a balance thing rather than being better. You gain something but also lose another when doing a swap, for example;

I modified my tonezone to be clearer, this helped a lot for screaming lead tones but in return the already not so good sounding bluesy overdrive vibes got worse as it was so harsh. So if I tamed that, then I'd lose the scream shred sound when using distortion...

So whatever you choose to replace, you'll lose something from the current EMG's. Just keep that in mind for a while to determine what you'd really want from a new PU.

This post has been edited by Mertay: Oct 5 2017, 04:04 PM


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gnarkill
post Oct 5 2017, 06:10 PM
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QUOTE (Rammikin @ Oct 5 2017, 12:06 PM) *
The Iron Label electronics have changed over the years, but I doubt the ones that came with EMG pickups use a single coil from each pickup in the middle position.

I wouldn't worry too much about the coil splitting. I know Misha demonstrates that, but realistically, that's not what a Ragnarok is designed for. Personally, I would find a kill switch more useful than being able to play a single coil from one pickup. But if you really want a single coil from a single pickup, you have options that don't require losing the kill switch: a push pull volume pot, replace your 3-way switch with a 5-way, drill a hole for a new switch, etc. Or, yes, you could also replace the kill switch with a coil split switch. Just get the 4 conductor option when you buy the Ragnarok.


I apologize with my lack of knowledge in constructing a guitar. I feel like the noob at the table. Haha.

But, I have more questions and comments to what you said.

1. My switch is 3 way now... going to a 5 way, what do those extra positions add? Just some coil splits? Sounds like that may not be a big deal to me, but if its not that much more, I might as well go for the versatility. Would you care to give me an example of what all 5 positions on the 5 way switch might do?

2. A very noooob question here, but Ive never known and I have always assumed this. On my 3 way position switch, the middle position.... does it use both pickups and all coils?

3. My Hellraiser has a coil tap on its volume knob. I really like it there, and I really like the coil tap. Do you suppose that would be an inexpensive thing to add?

4. Tone Knob, I am really confused why my guitar does not have it. Is this something you think that might be worth adding? Or not that big of a deal?
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Rammikin
post Oct 5 2017, 07:48 PM
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QUOTE (gnarkill @ Oct 5 2017, 05:10 PM) *
I apologize with my lack of knowledge in constructing a guitar. I feel like the noob at the table. Haha.

But, I have more questions and comments to what you said.

1. My switch is 3 way now... going to a 5 way, what do those extra positions add? Just some coil splits? Sounds like that may not be a big deal to me, but if its not that much more, I might as well go for the versatility. Would you care to give me an example of what all 5 positions on the 5 way switch might do?


You can wire a 5 way switch to do two additional things even though you only have 2 pickups. For example you could use one position to run both pickups split in parallel. A five way switch is usually deeper, but you probably have room in your cavity. Yoncopin in the person to ask about things like this.

QUOTE
2. A very noooob question here, but Ive never known and I have always assumed this. On my 3 way position switch, the middle position.... does it use both pickups and all coils?


Yes, on your guitar it runs both pickups all coils. Like a Les Paul.

QUOTE
3. My Hellraiser has a coil tap on its volume knob. I really like it there, and I really like the coil tap. Do you suppose that would be an inexpensive thing to add?


Like Yoncopin said, it all depends on whether you can do it yourself smile.gif.

QUOTE
4. Tone Knob, I am really confused why my guitar does not have it. Is this something you think that might be worth adding? Or not that big of a deal?


That's the purpose of the Iron Label line. It's supposed to be stripped down and all business. Some people use their tone knob. I don't. It just causes problems when I accidentally nudge it smile.gif.



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jstcrsn
post Oct 5 2017, 11:20 PM
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QUOTE (gnarkill @ Oct 4 2017, 10:12 PM) *
I have had my eyes on Bare Knuckle pickups now for a while. I have been meaning to replace the pickups in my 7 string Iron Label Ibby since I got it. Long story short, my nicest guitar in my collection, that Ibanez, I got for free. Buuuuuuttttttt..... it has an EMG 707 in it (stock) and a EMG 81-7 (aftermarket). I loooove the guitar, but I always thought the pickups were just MEH in comparison to my others.

I have been eyeballing the Juggernauts now for almost two years, and just when I felt I was ready to pull the trigger... the Ragnarok comes out. I sent the Bare Knuckle team a message about comparing my EMG pickups to the Ragnarok and this is what they had to say.

"With passive pickups using alnico and ceramic magents, you will find you get a more organic tone with a lot more clarity. The drive is still great and harsh but without sacrificing precious dynamics and clarity like you'd expect with active pickups"

So thats pretty much exactly what I wanted to hear... still a brutal pickup for my metal, and keeping it clean and clear.

I write this post for 2 reasons...

1. I just wanna hear your input. What have you thought about BK pickups in general? Do you like my move to the BK Rag?
2. EMGs are active, and the BK Rag is passive. How hard is that to swap around in my configuration of my guitar?

damn you man , wink.gif
after watching misha's video . I want them clean tones
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Kristofer Dahl
post Oct 6 2017, 08:05 AM
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QUOTE (yoncopin @ Oct 5 2017, 03:38 PM) *
Cost - $300 pickups + $100-$150 installation = $450
For this price you could just buy another whole used guitar with high quality passive pickups already installed. On the other hand that's not so true if you can learn to install the pickups yourself. If you can solder then just about anyone should be able to follow the directions and maintain their own guitar electronics. If you can, I'd actually be more in favor of the Ragnaroks because you can always remove them yourself and re-sell/keep them if you change guitars. Otherwise, they'll be bonded forever with that Iron Label and you'll take a big loss if you ever want to sell.


Good points here.

For me, I have waited more than 15 years before starting to experiment with pickups - so it hasn't really been a priority. However now the time is right because I have enough experience from different guitars/amps/sounds to understand what role the pickups play.

I agree that you shouldn't be afraid to try to install the pickups on your own. I cannot really think of anything you can do that wouldn't be reversible. The way I see it the worst case scenario is that you are going to have to take your guitar to a luthier and have them redo the job you attempted.

QUOTE (yoncopin @ Oct 5 2017, 03:38 PM) *
In the end, get whatever you like that makes you excited about picking up your guitar, that's the most important.


Amen!


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jstcrsn
post Oct 6 2017, 01:09 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Oct 6 2017, 08:05 AM) *
Good points here.
. I cannot really think of anything you can do that wouldn't be reversible..



Amen!

other than marring your finish . Always put a protective cloth over any finish and experiment and understand what it is you are doing away from the guitar
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thefireball
post Oct 6 2017, 06:17 PM
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Yeah I saw Misha talk about this new pickup in a YouTube ad. I had to remind myself I had already ordered Seymour Duncan. My guitar isn't good enough for BK.


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 12 2017, 05:06 PM
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What he said smile.gif Also, if this is your main axe, it's maybe not the best idea to start experimenting on it with something you've never attempted. It might be a good idea to take your secondary guitar and practice a pickup swap with any cheap pickups and switch them back for practice. There are wads of youtube vids about this.

The price issue is worth considering. New pickups cost more than used pickups. Just released pickups are hard to find used. having it done professionally could end up costing as much as a very nice used guitar with upgraded pickups already in it as was mentioned. Also realize that you are NOT increasing the value of your guitar. It's worth what any other guitar just like it with stock pickups is worth when you go to sell it. Your mileage may vary, but that has certainly been my experience after selling guitars for 10 years. Nobody wants to pay for your upgrades. So do them knowing you might need to pull them out if you ever sell the axe or give them away.

Todd

QUOTE (Rammikin @ Oct 4 2017, 09:24 PM) *
It's so hard to shop for pickups because nobody can demonstrate for you what it will sound like in your guitar. But relative to the Juggernaut, the Ragnarok is designed to be more aggressive. More like a Painkiller. The Juggernaut trades some of that aggressiveness for a less harsh tone, especially when playing high solo notes. So, if you were looking for something aggressive to begin with, you'll probably be happy with the Ragnarok.

But Mertay is right. Switching from active to passive can be tricky and you'll probably have to change some other electronics on your guitar.

All Bare Knuckle pickups can be used with coil tapping/splitting to give you a single coil sound on demand. But you'd need something to control the tap, like a new switch or a push-pull volume pot. Otherwise, no, you don't need another knob.


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Oct 12 2017, 05:10 PM


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