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Bare Knuckle Pickups Silo Humbucker review

Rabea Massaad's signature 'buckers might just achieve the perfect balance for the modern progressive metal player

Bare Knuckle Silo
(Image: © Bare Knuckle Pickups)

Our Verdict

Rabea Massaad asks a lot of pickup design, but the Silo comes through with a high-output humbucker that has plenty of muscle and teeth for heavyweight styles, but gets all articulate and nice when you clean up the tone.

For

  • Supremely versatile pickup.
  • Excellent for high-gain riffing and soloing.
  • 4 conductor hookup for complex control circuits.
  • Custom options.

Against

  • Nothing, but quite pricey.

I admit it: I’m biased toward Bare Knuckle Pickups. I have yet to encounter a Bare Knuckle pickup that’s short of outstanding or one that doesn’t live up to its descriptive expectation from this boutique UK company. 

Bare Knuckle excels at making premium hand-wound pickups that are often colorfully named after a popular song or album, like Steve Stevens’ “Rebel Yell” pickup or Misha Mansoor’s signature humbucker, “The Juggernaut,” which also gives you an idea of the tone you’re going to get. 

Recently, Bare Knuckle teamed with noted guitarist, producer, performer and YouTube influencer Rabea Massaad for a new set of signature humbuckers named “Silo.” According to Massaad, “I need a pickup with the ability to create glassy, ambient leads and warm, clear chord tones. Equally, I need it to sound crushingly heavy and aggressive.” 

And all I have to say is, damn, is that even possible for a high-output pickup? Read on.  

Designed by Bare Knuckle’s founder and guru, Tim Mills, the Silo humbuckers feature Alnico V magnets and twin screw coils and are hand-wound with a 44AWG bridge and 42AWG neck.

Pickup resistances on the Silos measure 15.7k ohms for the bridge and 7.18k ohms for the neck, and if you care to check out Bare Knuckle’s tonal EQ chart, you can see the bumped-up bass and mids as equal, with the treble just below that.

The Silo is available as a 6-, 7-, and 8-string pickup with 4 conductor hookup for multiple wiring options and a staggering variety of Bare Knuckle finishes and color options, including a custom “Bea” etch and pickup tattoos.

Based on Massaad’s tall-order needs, his signature Silo humbucker aims to cover a lot of sonic ground. And while I generally find it difficult for a high-output pickup to be all things, the Silo comes surprisingly close in capturing all the nuances of Massaad’s tonal target of precise definition while also being monstrously heavy.

Elevated mids and tightened bass add enveloping warmth and a well-rounded furriness for subterranean riffing

I had my Silo set loaded into my shred-worthy Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 with a bunch of split-coil options. Using EVH 5150 III and Hughes & Kettner Black Spirit 200 heads, the Silos seem to have just the right amount of saturated output and magnitude to execute heavy passages with clarity and pure note separation.

Their elevated mids and tightened bass add enveloping warmth and a well-rounded furriness for subterranean riffing, but more astonishing is how they respond to your picking dynamics as they clean up and vigorously cut once you start soloing. The Silos act almost like a comp pedal with the compression dialed down and the attack up.

Coil-splitting on the Silos provides single-coil slice with clear heat, where that Alnico-warmth shines through, and switching back you’ll hear definitive output boost to full humbucker tones. “Glassy” these pickups are not, but if we’re talking about a texturally balanced pickup for metal and progressive metal players? The Silo is it.

Specs

  • STREET PRICE: £154.80; £298.80 set — approx. $177.20; $342 (set)  
  • KEY FEATURES: Twin screw coils, Alnicomagnets, 44AWG wound bridge and 42AWG wound neck, 4 conductor hookup 
  • DCR: 15.7 kΩ (bridge), 7.18 kΩ (neck)
  • CONTACT: Bare Knuckle Pickups