Bare Knuckle 'Irish Tour' Pickups

Well, that song she's humming, could make my guitar start strumming?

Bare Knuckle 'Irish Tour' Pickups

Postby Stevo » 09 Jul 2012, 21:25

Just wondering if anyone has fitted these pickups? I've listened to youtube clips and I like the sound, but I'm never sure if its the pickups, amp or the fingers?
I'm thinking of putting them into my Rory Fender(ish) Strat to improve the sound, but I'm not sure. Will it improve the sound enough to justify the cost?
I'm playing a Rory Strat (copy/relic from ebay, not Fender Custom Shop) through a Fender Mustang I. Its just for home use, but I want a good tone.
Any thoughts?
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Re: Bare Knuckle 'Irish Tour' Pickups

Postby Leedelta » 11 Jul 2012, 09:14

I have them in my strat.

I got the full trio with parchment scratchplate, covers and the bridge pup pre-wired to the first tone control.

They are punchy and aggressive when needs be, but roll off the tone and they are sweet. So like all strats you have to dig in to get a good sound.

Mine are about 6 years old and aging nicely.

I have another strat with aged pups but the bare knuckle have more punch,clarity and a different tone.

How is the ebay relic, they have caught my eye a few times and I thought of doing the same set up to one of them.
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Re: Bare Knuckle 'Irish Tour' Pickups

Postby Stevo » 11 Jul 2012, 22:09

Thanks for the response. That's just what I wanted to hear. I think I've made my mind up. New pickups it is, then.
The 3 pickups pre-wired with the scratch-plate, all aged, is what I think I'll go for.
The Rory relic from eBay is great. I tried afew MiM strats, and I use to have a Fender Strat hot-rod back in the 90's, but this just feels right. It looks great and the neck feels perfect for me. Had to adjust the neck as the action was far too low. The bridge pickup isn't wired up to a tone pot, and the scratch plate has been sprayed to look aged, and it's chipping off. But apart from that . . .
They are up for £499, but I made an offer of £390, which they accepted. Im hoping the Irish Tour pickups will finish the guitar off perfectly.
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Re: Bare Knuckle 'Irish Tour' Pickups

Postby Leedelta » 11 Jul 2012, 22:36

That was a bargain!!

Sorry I checked the bare knuckle site and I bought the cream coloured set.

My other strat is about 15v years old and the scratchplate has turned minty green so that might be a better fit with the rory look.

The guys in bare knuckle are very cool so I suggest emailing them and explaining what you are after.

I tried cream tone knobs on parchment scrathplate and they emailed me back to say it looked horrible!!
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Re: Bare Knuckle 'Irish Tour' Pickups

Postby Strat59 » 13 Jul 2012, 17:38

Rory played a sweat soaked '61 Strat with Brazilian Rosewood Board and rewound slightly hotter pups through old AC-30's , Marshall , Fender Pro , Bassman linked
at LOUD volume with a Treble Booster, assort other effects and with an attack , feel , technique that was his own.

As well made as BNP's are , unless you can master his playing technique , his feel , Attack and the emotion he wrung out of his old guitar and amps , you won't get Rory's
sound, playing at home.

Even the video of Joe Bonamassa playing Rory's old Strat was a very pedestrian attempt compared to the Fire Breathing Attack & Tone Rory got out of his old companion.
No disrespect to Joe , but he aint no Rory Gallagher IMHO.
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Re: Bare Knuckle 'Irish Tour' Pickups

Postby Stevo » 15 Jul 2012, 19:22

I agree totally. It's all in the fingers. If you close your eyes and listen to Joe Bonamassa, you would never know it was Rory's Guitar he was playing.
All I'm after is a guitar that looks good and has a good sound. The Fender custom shop is way out of my price range, so this is another way of getting that type of guitar.
It's gonna be a keeper. I don't buy and sell guitars these days. I've got a Lowden that I've owned since 1994, and now Ive got the strat.
Happy days.
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Re: Bare Knuckle 'Irish Tour' Pickups

Postby Leedelta » 16 Jul 2012, 09:41

Strat59 wrote:Rory played a sweat soaked '61 Strat with Brazilian Rosewood Board and rewound slightly hotter pups through old AC-30's , Marshall , Fender Pro , Bassman linked
at LOUD volume with a Treble Booster, assort other effects and with an attack , feel , technique that was his own.

As well made as BNP's are , unless you can master his playing technique , his feel , Attack and the emotion he wrung out of his old guitar and amps , you won't get Rory's
sound, playing at home.

Even the video of Joe Bonamassa playing Rory's old Strat was a very pedestrian attempt compared to the Fire Breathing Attack & Tone Rory got out of his old companion.
No disrespect to Joe , but he aint no Rory Gallagher IMHO.


Well aware of all the factors that make up a players tone.

In short, had the cash and wasn't happy with the stock pups in my strat so I upgraded.

Perfectly natural for me to gravitate to a Rory style sound since most people who play strats tend to head towards Hendrix/SRV sound/tone.

I also played the custom strat in Crowleys in Cork years ago and didn't like it.

All in all they are excellent pups ,the "Irish Tour" name is only to give you an idea of the tone.

As for Joe...he aint no Rory, but at least he is keeping the flame going in his own way.
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Re: Bare Knuckle 'Irish Tour' Pickups

Postby Stevo » 15 Sep 2012, 21:42

So I emailed Bare Knuckle Pickups asking for some advice. I explained that I was putting them on a Rory Relic Strat and I wanted to know what colour pickups and scratch plate, vintage stagger or flat profile, baseplates? Rwrp? Etc.
They emailed back saying that aged mint green scratch plate with aged cream pickups and knobs would look close to Rorys guitar. They also sent links for YouTube explaining about rwrp and baseplates. I then phoned them to discuss it further.

So I opted for mint green and cream, aged, vintage stagger, rwrp middle pickup, no baseplates and a standard 5 way switch.
1 week later they arrived. They look amazing. They even put a split on the scratch plate above the neck pickup just like Rory's.

I had the repair man in Newcastles Guitar Guitar shop fit them for me. Just as well as the capacitor on the 1st tone pot was too big to fit in the guitar. He said its not a Fender body, and not enough was routed out. It's never straight forward. But he sorted it.

They sound great. Much better than the standard pickups that came on the guitar.
Still playing about with them, but very happy so far.
Would recommend Bare Knuckle to anyone. Very helpful staff and a great product.
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Re: Bare Knuckle 'Irish Tour' Pickups

Postby Leedelta » 17 Sep 2012, 10:07

Great to hear that Stevo.

I would love to hear the Bare Knuckles vs the Fender Rory Strat pups.
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Re: Bare Knuckle 'Irish Tour' Pickups

Postby JimLED » 26 Nov 2013, 23:00

Rory's '61 Strat!
Gallagher was always associated with his well-worn sunburst 1961 Stratocaster (Serial Number 64351), which his brother Donal has officially retired. It was reputedly the first in Ireland, ordered by a showband member who changed his mind about the colour. Gallagher bought it for just shy of £100 at Crowley's Music Store on Cork's McCurtain Street.


The guitar was extensively modified by Gallagher. The tuning pegs, for a start, are odd (5 Sperzels and one Gotoh), and all of these have been found to be replacements.
Secondly, it is thought that the nut has been replaced and interchanged a number of times.
Thirdly, the scratchplate was changed during Gallagher's time with Taste. Another change was the pickups of which none are original.
The final modification was that of the wiring. Gallagher disconnected the bottom tone pot and rewired it so he had just a master tone control along with the master volume control. He also installed a 5-way selector switch in place of the vintage 3-way one. The most notable effect that years of touring have had is the almost complete removal of the guitar's original sunburst finish, partly through being left out in the rain in a ditch for days after being stolen and partly due to Rory's blood Type!! He had amazingly acidic Sweat!!

Other quirks include a 'hump' in the scratch plate which moves the neck pickup closer to the neck on the bass side and a replacement of all of the pickups, though this replacement was due to damage rather than a perception of a tonal inadequacy. Reproductions of the guitar have recently been sold by Fender, though with smaller frets and lower action than the original.
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