BKP alternative to Black Winter

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by Dudley, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Dudley

    Dudley SS.org Regular

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    After a bit of advice and grateful for any input.

    I recently put a set of Black Winters in my ESP Horizon and love them, so much so that I was planning on replacing my trusty EMG 81s in my ESP M-II with them. The only problem is that a covered set of them shipped from the US to the UK with all the taxes and duties puts them at a higher cost than a set of Bare Knuckles, so I'm curious if there's anything in their lineup that would save me a few quid and hit the spot for me all in one go.

    The guitar I'm looking for pickups for is 25.5 inch scale length, maple neck-through, alder wings, ebony fretboard and Floyd Rose. Looking to tune it to Bb with a .064 gauge low string and play fairly aggressive death/black metal like Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Dark Fortress (really dig their tone on Venereal Dawn) and Aborted etc., so something tight and pissed off is what I'm looking for in a pickup. I like mids and character and if it's capable of doing more than just the angry stuff then that's fine too :)

    I know the Painkiller is often talked about in the same breath as the Black Winter, but the first line of the BKP site description squarely labelling it as 'djent' puts me right off (and before anyone says it, yes I know you can 'djent' on all manner of gear and it's about technique etc., but you can't deny certain bits of gear lend themselves to one style over another). It's just not the kind of tone I'm going for.

    The only BKP I'm really familiar with is the Blackhawk as I have a set in my Mayones Regius and honestly really don't like anything about them, so they're off the list! :p haha.

    Cheers!
     
  2. Bearitone

    Bearitone SS.org Regular

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    Well I know the black winters are known for a fairly even EQ. I think the BKP impulse also has a fairly even EQ (balanced lows, mids, and highs).

    I would look into those for starters
     
  3. MetalHead40

    MetalHead40 SS.org Regular

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    I had the Black Winters a while back and really liked them. I then put a Painkiller bridge in the same guitar I had the BW's in and to me they're pretty similar. The Painkiller has less "hair" and compression and more crunch, but tonally I think they're pretty similar.
     
  4. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

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    Painkillers are the best bet for that kind of tone.

    Also... had'em and NEVER was able to "sound djent" at all... Even if I vaguely tried it a few times...

    Mid-overdrive tones out of the painkiller set are amazing and with full-throttle distortion are just immense.

    Go for Painkillers!
     
  5. robski92

    robski92 SS.org Regular

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    I agree with this. I have one in my RGA121 and it sounds amazing! I think they give it that djent labeling because of the flavoring of the mids, but I think it can cover anything really.
     
  6. MetalHead40

    MetalHead40 SS.org Regular

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    Painkiller=Deathmetal, Thrash, Black metal.
    Painkiller=Tight, aggressive, and midrange crunch.
    I love my Painkiller in walnut. Its just ....ing pissed off sounding as all get out.
     
  7. jc986

    jc986 Tone Enthusiast

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    I have a Painkiller in my PRS Singlecut and Black Winters in a Schecter that is also made of mahogany. The Black Winters feel like they are significantly higher output and a bit less definition than the PK. Tonally they do have similar qualities but they definitely have a different feel.
     
  8. Silence2-38554

    Silence2-38554 Mobius Guitars

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    I've had both of these pickups at some point. Though not in the same guitar, I totally hated the Black Winter (wanted to like it) and the PK is one of my favorite pickups. The Black Winter just has no string separation at all & very little definition in general. They certainly do the black metal thing, but that's really all they do well.

    The Painkiller set (love the neck, too) is super pissed off while remaining incredibly articulate. What I really love about it is that even though the bridge is a triple ceramic magnet design, the pick attack range of the treble response really isn't too bad. You can tremolo pick all over the high E without cringing while it retains that sharp pick attack for chugs & low-end stuff.

    The neck is just really, really unique. Never heard anything like it. It's very fluid & smooth, but still has plenty of character to the midrange, so it does't have that hollow sound that so many neck pickups have.

    So, with all that said, I guess you could put those two pickups in the same ballpark but I just don't think BKP makes anything that's really only geared toward black metal.
     
  9. macgruber

    macgruber cat enthusiast

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    for some reason the painkiller i tried seemed very rolled off on the high end. i put it up against a duncan custom and the duncan custom seemed much more aggressive, which is the opposite of most peoples experience.
     
  10. MetalHead40

    MetalHead40 SS.org Regular

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    Whoa! What guitar, brand, woods etc., did you have it in?
    Sounds like maybe you played a dud pickup or it was wired wrong?

    The PK I have is definitely not rolled of in the highs and is one of the most aggressive bridge pups I've played.
     
  11. macgruber

    macgruber cat enthusiast

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    i tried it in a mike mushok prs baritone which its a maple neck with mahogany wings. i checked the wiring color codes and everything looked ok but it sounded really weak, swapped it out for a duncan sh-5 and things dramatically improved. i've only had experience with a couple bareknuckles and the PK was the weakest of the bunch, hopefully it was a dud as the tone i heard was the antithesis of the websites description.

    fwiw, i disliked the dimarzio crunchlab 7 for a long time because it sounded weak and gutless....came to find out it had a dead coil. the fully working version sounded super chunky.
     
  12. MetalHead40

    MetalHead40 SS.org Regular

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    Yeah man, you must have had a bad pickup, or, and no offense here at all because I know you said you checked the wiring, maybe the wiring was wrong.

    The words weak and Painkiller just don't jive. Its a punishing pickup and flat out screams bloody gore!
     
  13. 1b4n3z

    1b4n3z SS.org Regular

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    I must second the 'sh-5 tops painkiller' experience. I tried the PK in two superstrats, but was never quite able to dial in a punishing metal tone with it - too squeaky and low output. Clear, sure. The Custom I replaced it with is drives the amp much harder and sounds bigger (also has more presence). The BW is more modern and balanced, and its not too far from the good qualities the PK has - even that chirpy pick attack can be heard. I'll take the BW anytime
     
  14. MetalHead40

    MetalHead40 SS.org Regular

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    :scratch::scratch::scratch::scratch::scratch:

    What amps did you guys play the Painkiller through?

    I own or have owned an ENGL Blackmore, FB100, Savage 120, Peavey Triple XXX II, EVH 5150III 100 and 50 watter and a Deizel Herbert and the Painkiller has sounded tight, THICK, punchy and just utterly huge and crushing through every one of the aforementioned amps every time. That was through an all walnut neckthrough superstrat.
     
  15. Stijnson

    Stijnson SS.org Regular

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    Well a painkiller might be awesome, but I only see them recommended in darker guitars, I have a guitar with the exact same specs as yours, and Only ever got recommended Warpigs. Thick, agressive and very brutal sounding. BKPs are notorious for needing to be paired with the right guitar.
     
  16. Dudley

    Dudley SS.org Regular

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    Lots of food for thought here, thanks for all the input everyone!

    I know the Warpig is the default suggestion for alder, but honestly it's already quite a deep/thick sounding guitar (the 81's in it don't sound harsh or bright at all, just very balanced) and I've never heard a demo of a Warpig that puts it in the ballpark of a tone I'd like... not enough presence or cut for older Decapitated and newer era Cannibal Corpse riffs, maybe a bit too 'old school' sounding if that makes any sense.

    Might just stick with the trusty EMG's or save a few bucks and go for uncovered Black Winters at this rate. If anyone has any other suggestions though then I'm all ears! :)
     
  17. narad

    narad Progressive metal and politics

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    To be fair all of these amps have huge amounts of useful preamp gain. The PK is definitely lower output than the BW, so if the amps used with the PK have a good crunch / rock sound throughout most of the gain sweep, it wouldn't be so surprising to find it not giving the same oomph. Through max gain, they'd presumably be much similar.
     
  18. 1b4n3z

    1b4n3z SS.org Regular

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    I played through a Mesa Roadster and my practice amp BS HT-1. The Roadster is surprisingly sensitive to dynamics and through that amp it's easy to feel small variance in pickup output & compression. I think the Painkiller tone is modern and rough, but due to it's rather mild output it feels a little weak and silent, relative to high output Duncans. Of course the PK has great articulation and string separation, which I think is related to output and middle-focused tone in this case. It's all cool, I'm sure the added articulation and modern tone - but sans preamp crushing levels of voltage - is exactly what the doctor prescribed. I can see one in a fat sounding Les Paul for sure
     
  19. stratjacket

    stratjacket Lost in a loop

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    I do not Djent. Painkiller bridge/Cold Sweat neck is a great setup, I've had it in several guitars, but mostly mahogany body/neck. Painkillers are very mid and treble heavy, so that is why they compare to the Black Winters so well, which is also a high treble pickup which gives it that great sizzling burn. I've never tried them in Alder though.

    For Alder/Maple, I would take a look at the Juggernauts. They are lower mid heavy and I think will match up with the Alder pretty well. I think the Jackson HT guitars they come standard in are alder.

    If you love the Blackwinters, then take a look at the EQ curve on the Seymour site and then look for similar EQ curves on the BKP site. That'll be a good starting point to get close. I would think the Miracle Man may be a good one for you as well. Whichever you decide, I would highly recommend the Cold Sweat neck if you love soloing with the neck pickup, love it.
     
  20. trebal

    trebal SS.org Regular

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    I think that the Nazgul and the Black Winter are good alternatives.
     

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