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Kinman vs Bare Knuckle: Help me with my pickup search!

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by Norrin Radd, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd Strat-Talker

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    Jul 19, 2008
    Location:
    Saint Paul
    Hey all -

    I'm trying to decide between a set of Kinman Scoops or Bare knuckle Mother's Milks. All of my other guitars have noise free pickups. And I play only single coil guitars. The Kinman's have a great reputation for having the fewest tone compromises among noiseless single coils, although I've never had the opportunity to try any personally and and I was just about to order some. But then, I heard some clips of the Mother's Milks and I thought "THAT's the Strat sound I've been searching for!"

    Honestly, I'm leaning towards the BKs, despite their non-noiseless nature. Can I, a noiseless guy, learn to embrace the 60 cycle hum? Does cavity shielding really help eliminate the hum? If it does, does it also affect the tone of the pickups? Does part of the magic of traditional single coils lie in that ability to freely produce that hum?

    Any experiences you can share about either brand helps. Any XP with either set of specific pickups really helps! Any XP with shielding and it affecting tone also really really helps. Can you help brotha out?? ;)

    Thanks guys!
     
  2. Golem

    Golem Strat-Talker

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    Aug 19, 2011
    Location:
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    I’ve tried both brands but not those sets. Both brands make good pickups but Kinman makes the best pickups I’ve tried hands down.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  3. sandgren

    sandgren Strat-Talker

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    I had a strat which didn’t really satisfy me tonewise. I bought a set of Kinmans and installed. I’d say they had a really nice, delicious tone, and noiseless too. But they didn’t have THAT strat sound. I also tried Fender Lace Sensors, same story. I ended up putting back the original pups, played the guitar for a while and then finally sold it. Recently, I bought an Elite Strat, and it has THAT strat sound. It beats the hell out of Kinmans and Lace Sensors IMO.
    Now I can’t tell anything about the Bareknuckles single coils - but I recently bought a set of their ‘Mules’ humbuckers and installed them on my Les Paul Deluxe with original mini humbuckers. The Mules are terrific, they really have the feel and spirit of the old Gibson LP sound. Say Peter Green, old Clapton, Mick Taylor - they nail it. So I definately have high confidence in what Bareknuckles are doing.
     
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  4. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    in between
    I bet it was the amp.
     
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  5. dbbluesproject

    dbbluesproject Senior Stratmaster

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    Location:
    Maine
    I have the Bare Knuckle ‘63 veneers, which according to Tim from Bare Knuckle are pretty much identical to the Mother’s Milk (Tim said he couldn’t tell the difference) in blind tests.
    They are in my main Strat and never coming out.....they ended my pickup search...for that guitar anyway.
    Love them!
     
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  6. dbbluesproject

    dbbluesproject Senior Stratmaster

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    @Norrin Radd
    I would suggest getting an Ilitch system if you can....it does away with 60 cycle hum and retains the tone of your pickups.....great for a live setup.......I actually use mine with the BK’s.....
     
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  7. JB74

    JB74 Strat-O-Master

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    Location:
    Australia
    I have kept my FSR Strat 100% original, because I want this particular guitar to be that way. It doesn't have the worlds best pickups, and I am acutely aware of that. In fact, it's downright noisy as all get-out. But it is the nature of the beast. Would I swap in another set of pickups? no. regardless of whatever they were.

    In my previous strats I have had many different pickups, experiments that have never really been 'keepers'. I have had Kinman pickups. Hands-down they are the absolute best solution out there if you want a hum-free setup. I sold that guitar (I told this story quite a while back) and regretted it. Those pickups were expensive way back then, and now Kinman pickups are as expensive as they ever were. For me, I'd want a really really REALLY good guitar, and better playing skills before I spent money chasing a tone from any aftermarket brand of pickup. Hum-free or not.

    Most of my experiences with bareknuckle pickups haven't been 'all that and a bag o' chips' either ... contrary to the vocal majority. I think they sound good. I don't think they deserve some elevated status over and above everything else on the market either - by that I mean there is a fairly rampant fanboyism associated with the brand and this verbosity taints the users experience, subliminal messaging favourably in certain sonic areas where I have found the same pickups to be deficient. Especially in the noise dept. Yes, I shield my guitars properly.

    If you want to reduce noise, then shielding the pickguard, cavitiy, tremolo and rear cover are a must before you do anything. They also must be connected to each other, to achieve proper shielding. The result will not be silent, but it will reduce a lot of EMI. not all of it. Then if you like, take it a step further and install your Kinman Hum-free pickups, or fender noiseless, lace sensor, whatever... or route out that neck for a soapbar P90 and prepare to be blown away....

    insofar as sound vs hum... that is something for you to decide. regardless of whether you buy BK's, Kinmans, fralin, lollar, SD, DiMarzio, EMG, Fender, Lace or whatever other brand you care to substitute, the result you achieve will depend entirely on how you prepare the cavity and install the pickups.

    Then it will depend on your cables, amp, and the noise in your power supply.

    the truth is NOTHING is perfectly noiseless, it can be minimized, and the hum-cancelling single coils are very much a specialty of a few manufacturers. The truth is some of the noiseless methods suck tone, and some do a better job. I would argue that in this particular department, the Kinman is certainly the standout leader.

    I would perhaps seek to try a set of Kinman and BK's with a moneyback guarantee and do the back to back yourself. The truth of the matter is you'd be more than happy with either set. What you're actually asking us is to persuade you one way or the other.

    Sorry, but that decision is your own, and like many before you, the quest for tone will change next time you hear something you like. I don't think there is a persuasive argument for any pickup until you try it yourself and with your own gear.

    I'm also not a fan of buying a set of pickups that I cannot actually play and hear before I drop stupid money on a few bobbins wound with enamelled copper wire.

    Caveat emptor.

    Good luck with your choice.
     
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  8. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd Strat-Talker

    Messages:
    187
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Location:
    Saint Paul
    Thanks - that’s great advice! You’ve given me a lot to chew on and now I’m as undecided as ever. :D

    As far as cost, it seems that in the hum canceling realm even the entry fee is around $80 per pickup. For about 20% more I’m willing to try the Kinmans due to the almost universal notion that they are the market leader in quality. But I also appreciate your relevant experience with the BKs in your past. Like I said - lots to chew on. Thank you!
     
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