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12 MOST Popular Guitars with Bare Knuckle Pickups (2023 Updated)

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The pickup is the heart of the electric guitar. It is the most important electronic inside of an electric guitar. Without a pickup, trust me, your guitar will not be loud enough for any serious usage. 

What the pickup does is basically “pick up” the vibrations of your guitar strings and convert them to electricity. This explains why they are always positioned underneath your guitar strings. This electricity or electrical energy is what flows into your guitar amp to be reproduced as sound. 

Because of the important role the guitar pickup plays in the chain of things, it becomes one electronic that will have such a tremendous effect on your guitar tone. The kind of guitar pickup you choose will tell how your guitar will sound. 

That being said, choosing a guitar pickup is always one of the most impactful and greatest decisions you will ever take as a guitarist. The right pickup will transform your sound and the wrong one could make you sound like what you don’t want to…

That being said, when talking about guitar pickups, there is one amazing brand name that always makes it to the top of the list. The brand is Bare Knuckle Pickups

Bare Knuckle Pickups is a private guitar and bass pickup company based in the South West of England, United Kingdom. Bare Knuckle specialises in hand-wound electric guitar pickups. 

They are known for using traditional pickup-making skills and living up to uncompromising values as a brand. The pickups made by Bare Knuckle are known to be uncompromisingly exceptional. Guitarists and bass players value, love, and respect these pickups.

In this article, we will bring to you 12 amazing guitars that feature this exceptional brand of guitar pickups. All you have to do is read on, to find out. 

12 Best Guitars with Bare Knuckle Pickups

  1. Mayones Regius 6 Gothic Monolith Black Bare Knuckle Juggernaut Pickups
  2. Skervesen Nebelung 
  3. ESP E-II SN-2 Electric Guitar with Bare Knuckle Aftermath Battle Worn Pickups
  4. Jackson USA Signature Misha Mansoor Juggernaut HT 6 FM
  5. Chapman ML3 Pro BEA 
  7. Mayones Hydra Elite 7-String
  8. Ibanez RGR5221 Prestige
  9. Rick Graham Signature MJ DK24 2PT CM
  10. Jackson USA Signature Misha Mansoor Juggernaut HT7FM
  11. Godin Radium-X Natural
  12. Nik Huber Krauter 2 

Review of 12 Best Guitars with Bare Knuckle Pickups

Let’s take a closer look at these guitars. These guitars either come with Bare Knuckle pickups as standard, or the manufacturer gives you the option to add these pickups.

Mayones Regius 6 Gothic Monolith Black Bare Knuckle Juggernaut Pickups

Mayones Regius 6 Gothic Monolith Black Bare Knuckle Juggernaut Pickups

If you are looking for a guitar with the aesthetics of a custom shop product but with the durability and playability of a pro-level guitar, then Mayones has you covered. The Regius 6 line-up has something for everybody. 

The great thing about this particular series is its customizability. You can choose everything from what kind of strings you want to what kind of pickups you want to the wood and even where exactly you want the guitar painted and where you want it left in the original grain of the wood. 

In fact, Mayones even paints the back of the guitar (on request) which can’t be said for many other top-tier manufacturers. In terms of playability, this product is built to shred.

It comes fitted with SIT strings and an incredibly low yet convenient action. Perhaps, one of the notable features of this guitar, in terms of playability, is the forearm cutout. 

Ergonomics play a huge role in how much you enjoy actually playing the guitar and Mayones is one of those manufacturers that takes this quite seriously. The Regius 6 has received this upgrade in its latest iteration; previously it too had a sharp edge. 

In terms of sound, the Juggernaut pickups make it sound amazing with the solid wood body. Of course, if you prefer DiMarzio, that too is an option. 

Here is a great video about the Regius 6 by Mayones. 

Very high-quality build After-sale services are limited 
Very customizable Overall availability is also limited
Ergonomically designed 

Skervesen Nebelung 

Skervesen Nebelung

The Polish have shown their love for metal and high-speed guitars with the Nebelung. Like Mayones, Skervesen is also based in Poland and they have been putting out some incredible quality guitars. 

The Nebelung series features some fantastic designs and colours. Moreover, it also features materials that are native to Eastern Europe, such as Siberian willow. The Nebelung comes equipped with VH2 pickups. 

While these are not the only factor to consider in the sound output of a guitar, the VH2s certainly have a noticeable impact. If you enjoy ACDC, ZZ, and the like, this will be a great setup. The big advantage you have when going for a Skervesen is the customization option. 

Being a small custom shop, they have the time and the technical ability to create something that is completely suited to your needs. The Nebelung is a fantastic starting point from where the sky’s the limit. 

However, given its design characteristics, this will not be something that is easily suited to a broad range of genres. This is not to say you can’t have a good time with this guitar just pushing some power chords with the distortion turned up. 

Here is a good Video demonstrating the Nebelung. 

Unique design Limited availability 
Excellent performance 
Custom-built option

ESP E-II SN-2 Electric Guitar with Bare Knuckle Aftermath Battle Worn Pickups

ESP E-II SN-2 Electric Guitar with Bare Knuckle Aftermath Battle Worn Pickups

ESP has been creating some high-quality guitars for years and they have developed the SN2 variant of the E2 lineup, especially for the metal audience. If you are familiar with the ESP brand you will notice that this guitar resembles the extremely popular ESP Snapper. 

The Snapper was in fact the starting point on the drawing board for this product, but from there, things were specialized for high-speed playability. This particular model is still manufactured in Japan. 

It features a bolt-on neck, an alder body, and a maple neck with an alder body. It has a unique finish for a metal-oriented guitar with a blue fade finish layered on a Buckeye burl maple top. 

In terms of components, the guitar features a Floyd Rose Original bridge (with the whammy bar), Gotoh locking tuners and Schaller strap locks. ESP has decided to go with the Bare Knuckle Aftermath Battleworn pickups, and these make all the difference. 

When compared to other models from ESP with similar materials but different BKP hardware, there is a striking difference in sound. The high-end articulation is sharp, the bass is tight and the midrange has an impact. 

Moreover, the dual humbucker setup gives it a little something extra over the competition. With a thin neck at roughly a 12-inch radius and jumbo-sized frets, the playability of this guitar is very smooth, especially for people with a smaller grip. 

Here is an interesting Video about the ESP E2. 

Pros Cons
Excellent design; very aesthetically pleasing Only available as a 6-string 
Feels good in the hands even though it is not a particularly ergonomic design 

Jackson USA Signature Misha Mansoor Juggernaut HT 6 FM

Jackson USA Signature Misha Mansoor Juggernaut HT 6 FM

The USA Signature series from Jackson is the highest standard you can get from the company; it is the flagship product line model. The price tag on these guitars is quite heavy but it is a small price to pay for professionals and serious musicians who want only the best performance. 

If you want some personalized designs or something extremely custom you could always go with the Jackson custom shop but in terms of performance, this is about as good as it gets. 

One of the great things about the HT6FM is the scale length. At 25.5 inches this is slightly longer than standard but still shorter than the long-scale guitars. This guitar falls in what some would call the ‘sweet spot’ in terms of scale length and gives you room for flexibility. 

In terms of structure, this guitar features a lot of mahogany and maple which makes it light, durable and extremely resonant. 

As the name of this guitar implies, it was developed in collaboration with Misha Mansoor and if your playing style is anything like his, or inspired by his technique, this will be an excellent guitar to use. 

Another great feature is the deep cutaways on the body making for hours of fatigue-free play. It comes with the standard HH configuration using the Bare Knuckle Juggernaut picks together with a Jackson HT6 Hardtail bridge and a 5-way selector. 

Here is a good Video about the Signature Minsha Mansoor. 

Very comfortable to play Only available in two finishes
Excellent sound quality
Works fluidly with other electronics with no audible line noise 

Chapman ML3 Pro BEA

Chapman ML3 Pro BEA

Aesthetically, this is an incredible guitar to look at. In terms of sound, it’s even better. The Chapman house is known for producing some relatively cost-effective products when it comes to pro-level audio equipment. 

However, don’t misunderstand the price for anything less than stellar performance. As soon as you get your hands on this guitar you will realize that it feels just as good as it looks. 

This is thanks to the extensive use of poplar and maple together with caramelized bird-eye maple all across the fretboard. The dark vibe of the guitar is certainly balanced out by the striking golden-yellow centre and sparkly stainless steel frets. 

Also, remember that this guitar was developed in partnership with Rabea Massaad. However, what makes this guitar a real masterpiece for both the player and the audience is the interesting combination of pickups. 

At the bridge, you will find a Seymour Duncan 59 and at the tail, you will find a Bare Knuckle Silo Rabea, both in humbucker flavour. To add to the flexibility, you also get a Schaller vintage floating tremolo. 

Both these pickups sound amazing on their own, but when they are paired together in this format on this guitar, it is something next level. In particular, the Silo humbucker gives you a lot of capability with this guitar. 

Whether you want to push out crystal clear solos with slow, fluid rhythms or you want to burn the amplifier with some high voltage distortion and lightning-fast riffs, you won’t lose clarity when using the Silo. 

If you want something that is built extremely well and is also an extremely versatile instrument, this is a great option to consider. 

Here is a good Video covering the ML3 Pro BEA guitars. 

Amazing looks and design elementsNot available with more strings for players wanting an extended bass option
Incredible performance with the humbucker combination
Very high-quality build



As is the case with the SN-2 series, the M2 series from ESP is also manufactured in Japan to this day. This says a lot about the build quality, the sound quality and the overall quality of guitars from ESP that are Japan-made. 

With the M series overall ESPs’ aim was to create a guitar that has excellent tone, is very easy to play and also offers an incredible amount of sustain. They have been able to successfully deliver all these things through a few interesting features. 

In terms of playability, this guitar has a mahogany body with a burl maple top. However, more than the material it is also about how well the material has been used. This is demonstrated in its balance. 

When you have this around your neck, it feels very easy to handle and leaves no stress at all. Also, it features a 3-piece fretboard which is extremely comfortable to play and also offers some amazing tonal response. 

The tone and sustain work hand in hand and there are two main things that impact this; the Hipshot string through bridge and the Bare Knuckle Aftermath Tyger pickups.

Hipshot is very well well-known, but these particular pickups from Bare Knuckle are worth a mention. These particular pickups from Bare Knuckle are not very widely available.

They feature a twin screw coil design along with ceramic magnets. Of course, these are completely hand built and built with serious craftsmanship. The result is an extremely clean and accurate sound no matter what you are playing.

Moreover, the sound output from this guitar works very well with a wide variety of genres. Whether you need something clean or you need a guitar that will be distortion-happy, this is a good one to get. 

Excellent construction that looks good and also improves sound outputSlightly sensitive due to materials and construction
Unique electronics
Very well balanced and easy to play

Mayones Hydra Elite 7-String

Mayones Hydra Elite 7-String

Mayones has come up with some very attractive designs over the years but the Hydra series has to be one of the most interesting developments. As the name implies, this series is inspired by the mythological monster Hydra

However, the unique spin on this project is that it is a ‘headless’ Hydra. When you first look at the guitar, it is quite literally missing the head. Instead, the head has been very intelligently incorporated into the design. 

Moreover, this is a fantastic extended bass guitar (a 7-string guitar) which is an extremely popular style these days, especially with metal and hard rock fans. That extra bass string helps to add a bit more punch to the sound. 

This guitar has a very ‘open’ design. You will notice the missing head, the open back and the extra deep cutaway. Collectively, these features give you access to every inch of the guitar.

In terms of performance, it is an extremely clean-sounding instrument. In fact, just hooked into the amp with distortion off, you could almost mistake this for an acoustic.

However, add a few pedals, some effects, or maybe some distortion and it turns into a completely different beast. Much like Hydra, and her different faces. 

Another exciting feature of this guitar is that the TKO pickups from Bare Knuckle were designed and built specifically for this guitar.

Of course, today you can get them as aftermarket add-ons for any suitable guitar. Here is a great Video about this very uniquely designed guitar.

Eye-catching designMay be overkill for someone who can’t really make the most of it. Ideal guitar for metal
The design actually has technical advantages
Very flexible in terms of capability

Ibanez RGR5221 Prestige

Ibanez RGR5221 Prestige

The prestige series from Ibanez is all about performance, quality and style and this guitar does well in each of those departments. One of the most notable features of this product is its design.

With a striking orange colour, it certainly stands out without being an eyesore. It is available in other colours as well but looks quite good in orange. The over-styling is sharp and purposeful.

This guitar is constructed using African mahogany topped with ash. This leads to a very resonant guitar that is also able to take on many different styles. The fretboard is a Super Wizard HP in a 5-piece format.

Right out of the box, it feels seasoned, highly playable and built for duty. Moreover, you will also notice that the fret edges on the Prestige series are far more refined.

These are especially worked on to create the smoothest possible finish. In terms of sound performance, the Bare Knuckle Brute Force humbuckers take centre stage. 

While the quality of the pickups is certainly very high, Ibanez also went a step further and added a one-touch coil tap switch that allows you to go through a number of single coil tones as well. 

If you just wanted to shred in single coil mode or play something less dramatic, that is an option with this guitar. Overall, the sound quality is very sharp, the bass is deep and the overall quality is about as good as you can get. 

Down the bottom end, you will also notice the Gibraltar Standard 2 bridge which has an excellent action and also works very well with a variety of genres. 

Here is a great Video covering the Ibanez Prestige RGR5221. 

Warm and bright sound with plenty of sustain No tremolo 
Coil tap switch No compound radius fretboard 
Very comfortable to play 

Rick Graham Signature MJ DK24 2PT CM

Rick Graham Signature MJ DK24 2PT CM

If you have ever played a strat, you will feel completely at home with the Japanese-made Chavel Signature series. Considering that Fender does own Chavel, it comes as no surprise that there are many similarities between the products. 

However, there are some major differences as well which (for some people) will justify the higher price point. Starting off with the body, you get basswood with either a gloss finish or an ashwood finish. 

The ashwood finishes are a bit like a vinyl topping; just a very fine layer for the visual impact. For such a pricey guitar, you may think basswood feels a bit out of place but the sound is quite good. 

Plus, being a dinky frame guitar, it does feel quite good in terms of weight distribution and overall controllability. This guitar also features 4 pickups in an HHSS format. 

Both the humbuckers and the single coils are made in collaboration with Bare Knuckles specifically for the Signature series. These have been paired with a Gotoh Custom 510 tremolo. 

One interesting change, from both the Strat and the US-made Signatures, is that the bridge is mounted into the body so it fits flush with the face. It also features a 5-position picking blade. 

The neck is the standard Fender length with some very beefy stainless steel frets. It has a caramelized maple finish and also features a bolt-on graphite reinforcement. The neck also has a heel-mounted adjustment wheel to make things simpler. 

Here is a great Video about the Rick Graham Signature MJ DK24 2PT. 

Very well built Limited availability 
Very versatile 

Jackson USA Signature Misha Mansoor Juggernaut HT7FM

Jackson USA Signature Misha Mansoor Juggernaut HT7FM

The HT7 FM is not just the 7-stringed sibling in the HT line-up, it is a very different animal from the other siblings. The first thing you will see and feel when you put your hands on it is the incredible build quality. It feels brutally tough; nearly bulletproof. 

One of the main reasons for this is the sawn maple neck and basswood construction. These are much more time-consuming (and expensive) to manufacture than standard necks.

However, the result is a far more robust neck that can withstand the tough style of Mansoor and those that wish to imitate it. Within the neck, you will also find graphite reinforcements and a scarf joint to support the neck and the equally dangerous headstock. 

To make neck management a bit more convenient, you will also notice a truss rod wheel at the back of the guitar; a very S-guitar-type feature. 

This is a guitar built for performers like Mansoor with luminary fret markers, Dunlop dual-locking strap buttons, and jumbo stainless steel frets. Moreover, this guitar has a 26.5-inch scale which is another thing that Mansoor quite enjoys on his guitars. 

In terms of performance, a pair of hand-wound Bare Knuckle pickups together with a Hipshot 7 hardtail bridge take care of that. Being a 7-string, and with some high-power pickups, this guitar is in its natural habitat with gain and distortion pushed to the maximum. 

However, with more rock-like settings, you will be surprised to hear the tonal clarity and sound production efficiency of this guitar. Making the change is easy through the 5-way selector blade. 

Overall this is a very capable guitar in the right hands, but it may be a little daunting for those that are new to 7-strings or the formidable playing style of Misha Mansoor. 

Has lots of features that performers will enjoy Not easy to handle for a new player
It is built to give you the best of both worlds; heavy metal and anything else though it does favour metal moreNo tremolo 
No neck-through build 

Godin Radium-X Natural

Godin Radium-X Natural

The Radium X has been built from the ground up to be a dual-purpose, or even all-purpose, guitar. There are several design details and technical features that make it possible for this guitar to cater to all kinds of musicians. 

Whether you want to go heavy and play something quick, loud and intense, or you want to go easy and play something more old school, more relaxed and slower, the Radium X can handle the task. 

In terms of structure, you will find mahogany used quite generously everywhere. The body of the guitar is a chambered-out mahogany cavity with an ashwood topping for visual appeal. The neck is also solid mahogany with a rosewood fretboard. 

Making this feel incredibly durable in the hands but also very resonant while being easy to play like a well-seasoned axe. The weight of the guitar is very manageable and it is designed in such a way that your neck doesn’t feel stressed at all. 

What makes this guitar so good for both fast, loud, shredding and casual, near-acoustic quality sound, is the combination of pickups together with a high-quality bridge. 

At the neck, you will find a Seymour Duncan Jazz SH-2 while at the bridge, you have a Bare Knuckle Boot Camp True Grit Zebra at your disposal. Together, they give you powerful sound throughout the entire spectrum that is clean, distortion-free and appealing in any configuration. 

Another element that plays a role in the acoustic performance of this guitar is the bridge. Here you have an LR-Baggs X-bridge tremolo. 

To facilitate individual outputs, you also get two output ports. One is for electric, the other for acoustic, or you could have a mix output. Plus you get 3 toggle switches and 3 selectors to choose between electric, acoustic and mix. 

Here is a good Video demonstrating the Radium X (natural). 

A very unique feature set Limited colour options 
Excellent acoustic and electric performance with the high-quality components 

Nik Huber Krauter 2 

Nik Huber Krauter 2

Like most German products, the Krauter 2 is quite over-engineered but with an understated look. Unlike a lot of German products, this is available for personalization at nearly every level. 

Other than the actual dimensions of the standard sizes, you can customize nearly everything on this guitar. Given its design and performance characteristics, it is especially well suited to fast-paced metal-style music. 

Therefore, one of the most common options/upgrades to this guitar is the pickup. More specifically, Bare Knuckle (Abraxas) pickups. In terms of structure, the standard model comes with the mahogany bound with cream bounding on the body and rosewood on the fretboard. 

It has a curly maple set neck with a scale of 25 inches. You get 22 frets in medium-jumbo size with extra hard material in routed slots. The pickups are managed by H. Haussel. At the neck, you have the P90 and at the bridge, you have the humbucker. 

However, this can be changed according to your needs. Similarly, the selector switches and the switchblade itself can also be modified to meet your electronics. For the bridge, you have an adjustable Nik Huber stop tail (which is an excellent bridge) but that too you can customize. 

Overall, it’s a very well-put-together guitar that offers you the flexibility to get it exactly the way you want it. The only thing to watch out for is the scale length and the fretboard length since they are quite different from what US players will be accustomed to. 

However, if that’s not a problem, this is a great option to consider. 

Here is a great Video about the Krauter 2. 

Very well built with custom in-house hardware and electronics Availability can be an issue 
A very understated look Sizes are not standard US sizes 
Very customizable Repairing can be a problem with the fixed components 
Excellent sound output

What Makes Bare Knuckle Pickups Different from Other Pickups

Bare Knuckle pickups have a nearly cult-like following among guitarists. In particular, guitarists that are looking for metal-oriented axes will gravitate more towards Bare Knuckle pickups. 

Whether that means buying a new guitar with these kinds of pickups or upgrading the pickups on an existing guitar with some aftermarket Bare Knuckle products. 

The question that arises is: Why are Bare Knuckle pickups so sought after?

Other than the fact that they have been popularized by high-end guitar manufacturers and professional players, there are a few reasons why you may want to invest in these electronics for your guitar. 


Pickups play a huge role in the sound that the guitar creates. They are responsible for ‘picking up’ the physical vibrations of the strings and converting them into electrical signals that the amp can output (or pedals can process). 

Bare Knuckle pickups have a very characteristic sound that some players (and listeners) love. If you are a fan of Misha Mansoor or any other player who plays with Bare Knuckle pickups, having those specific pickups is your best chance for replicating that particular kind of sound. 


One of the main reasons why Bare Knuckle pickups are able to create that kind of sound is because of how they are made. To this day, Bare Knuckle pickups are made by hand in the UK by a small group of technicians that wind every single pickup by hand. 

There is a certain process that they follow and a specific technique that they use to create the products that they do. Naturally, this can never be as cost-effective as mass-produced pickups. This is why they are extremely unique in their output and also quite pricey. 


Bare Knuckle is also very particular about the components that it uses to make the pickups. In particular, the kind of magnets, the wire, the bobbins, and the covers all play a role. 

Naturally, only the finest materials are used to achieve that unique sound. All this is rarely done in mass-produced pickups where cost-effectiveness is the objective. 


Upgrading to Bare Knuckles is certainly a step up. However, people who want to go the extra mile can even place a custom order with Bare Knuckles to have pickups made exactly to their liking. 

This typically involves customizing things like the wire count, magnet type and winding style. This level of control over the pickup configuration is not available at any large guitar manufacturer. 

Even the custom shops from mainstream guitar makers do not offer such a level of customization. 


Whether you enjoy rock, blues, metal, or even more modern electronic-style music, there is a Bare Knuckle product for you. Moreover, Bare Knuckle pickups can be installed in nearly all well-known guitars. 

They have entire product lines for specific guitar lines. Upgrading to Bare Knuckle pickups is easy and they can be used in many different ways. 

Notable Musicians Using Bare Knuckle Pickups

  1. Tosin Abasi from Animals as Leaders 
  2. Matt Bellamy from Muse 
  3. Ola Englund 
  4. Andy James 
  5. Guthry Govan 
  6. Misha Mansoor from Periphery 
  7. John Petrucci from Dream Theater 


If you are looking to take your guitar to the next level the quickest upgrade you can do is to change out the pickups. If you are going down this path then selecting a set from Bare Knuckles will be an excellent choice. 

However, make sure you do your research beforehand. You want to make sure the new pickups will fit your guitar and will also be in line with the kind of tones you want from your guitar. 

Bare Knuckle products come with a warranty and they are widely regarded as some of the best pickups you can get, so you can be sure you are making a good investment/upgrade.