Bare Knuckle Pickups Peacemaker humbucker review

Chris Robertson's signature humbucker could be the aftermarket PAF-alike you've been waiting for

Bare Knuckle Peacemaker
(Image: © Bare Knuckle Pickups)

Guitar World Verdict

Tonal bliss, ripened sweetness, it's all there as the Peacemaker services up a modern take on the world's most legendary humbucker.

Pros

  • +

    Great tones, superb clarity.

  • +

    Gutsy at the bridge, gutsy at the neck.

  • +

    Lots of custom options.

Cons

  • -

    Nothing.

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Zero in on Bare Knuckle’s last few artist collaborations for signature electric guitar pickups and you’ll find that the UK brand has been crushing it with humbuckers voiced for traditional and progressive metal. 

From the extraordinary Adam “Nolly” Getgood Polymath humbuckers to the riveting Rabea Massaad Silo, Bare Knuckle has established an ironclad footing in pickups geared toward mainstream metal players.

But it’s also no surprise that the Bare Knuckle blokes know how to masterfully design humbuckers for bluesier, classic rock styles, as evidenced by their latest offering, the Peacemaker humbucker, the result of a partnership with rocker Chris Robertson, lead guitarist and vocalist of Black Stone Cherry. 

The muscular Peacemaker pickups are anything but peaceful, but rather, a cutting pair of PAF-voiced humbuckers that serve up heated slices of modern classic tones.

Tim Mills, Bare Knuckle’s pickup guru, designed the Peacemaker for a firmly focused voice that resides in a defined midrange with powerful headroom and revved-up output as its roaring vintage motor. The humbuckers feature isotropic Alnico V magnets and custom hand-wound coils for both the bridge and neck and are precisely calibrated for balance to work as a matched pair.

Pickup resistances on the Peacemakers measure 9.6k ohms for the bridge and 8k ohms for the neck, and for a solid tonal read on how the pickups are EQ’d, Bare Knuckle’s online chart reveals clearly bumped-up mids with the bass and treble as equal.

The Peacemaker is available as a 6-, 7- and 8-string pickup with four- or two-conductor wiring, short or long mounting legs and 50mm or 53mm pole spacing. In addition, you can select from a breathtaking variety of open-coil bobbin colors, pole screw finishes, covers, radiators and TVS options, including a custom “Peacemaker” etch. 

Bare Knuckle Pickups' new Chris Robertson signature Peacemaker humbucker

(Image credit: Bare Knuckle Pickups)

After outfitting the Peacemakers into my vintage Gibson Les Paul Classic and running them through a host of Marshall amps, an EVH 5150 head and a Fender Pro Reverb combo, I’m captivated by how thoroughly gutsy they sound with every pick stroke.

Whether it’s the bridge or the neck, these humbuckers attack with discernibly bright mids that jut out as you’re chugging rhythms, yet miraculously cut deeply in a band mix so that you are heard. Solos jump out with dense clarity, and if you’re one to unleash a flurry of notes, the Peacemakers have the uncanny ability to deliver them with sharpened precision.

Robertson nails it when he says that “notes stay right there and poke their chest out…” when describing playing between the higher and lower strings – and I couldn’t agree more. There’s a ripened sweetness to the Peacemakers that makes them the kind of heated humbuckers you’ll want to engage with – continually switching between the bridge and neck for a never-ending panoply of tonal bliss.

  • PRICE: from $193 / £186; from $374 / £358 for sets
  • TYPE: Passive humbucking electric guitar pickup
  • MAGNET: Alnico 5
  • DCR: 9.6 kΩ (bridge), 8 kΩ (neck)
  • CONTACT: Bare Knuckle Pickups

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Paul Riario

Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.