Oil City Pickups Nightfighter Alnico II Custom

chromatunachromatuna Frets: 78
edited September 2017 in Other Reviews
I have installed these in my PRS Custom 24. It's a beautiful guitar, I have owned it from new in 2003, plays like a dream but up until now I haven't managed I get the 'sound in my head' from it. I have tried a few things including magnet swaps of my own and when I spoke to @TheGuitarWeasel a few weeks ago he concurred with my thinking about Alnico IIs being the right way to go and suggested this set.

I had two slight concerns, one that in my experience A2s at the neck can sound a bit bland and two that they are quite powerful pickups and I play a lot of clean but a Ash was so helpful and informative that I decided to go with his advice and I am very glad I did. Folks familiar with PRSs will be aware that they are quite a bright guitar, some call them sterile even, so what is needed it seems is a fairly powerful pickup to emphasise the lows and mids hence the HFS / Vintage Bass combination.

Anyway this set makes the guitar sound like I always hoped it would, as fat as you want (found myself rolling back the mids and bass on the amp) but with an articulate snappy top end that is kept from being too bright by the A2s. The bridge is the classic thick A2 sound with lots of depth to it - bridge pickups often seem a bit thin to me - and as mentioned above, articulate and snappy without being piercing. The neck shares all these qualities but with a mellowness that brings to mind the Allman Brothers at the Fillmore - in fact the guitar as a whole now can cop those sounds which is a huge plus for me. I am a big Dead fan too and the bridge reminds me of the best of Garcia's later sounds. Just playing straight into my Cornell Romany with a bit of on board reverb and I am in tonal heaven.

The mid position is just as important to me and I spend  fair bit of time balancing the heights of bridge and neck to get it just right. If you can, you sometimes get - depending upon the pickup pair - what Ash described as a 'Fender on steroids' sound. This is what led me to dispense with the 5 position rotary switch years ago. If it's right, for me, it can negate the need for coil taps. The mid position with this set achieves all that, its fat and Fendery, with a hint of Telecaster mid position about it, excellent! 

As is probably obvious now I am very happy with this pickup set but I think that just as important as the product and the build quality is the advice that led me to them. Ash understands (at least in this instance) how different pickup types work with different guitars. Others have pointed me in completely different directions for this guitar with predictably dissapointing results. Of course you may not want your PRS to sound like I do - as fat and warm as a Gibson but with the snappiness of a Fender and not a hint of 'too bright' about it - but if you do then I can wholeheartedly recommend this set. The Weasel is wise indeed. :-)
Just because you can play lots of notes very quickly doesn't mean that you should
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Comments

  • MegiiMegii Frets: 860
    Cheers for the review. That sounds like a great set of pickups, and one that would be to my taste as well. As it happens, I have a couple of Ash's creations on order myself - I went slightly different, with an alnico 2 Blitz Spirit for the neck and an alnico 4 Nightfighter for the bridge (slightly overwound to 14.5K) - they are going in an Ibanez semi-acoustic (quite a naturally bright-sounding guitar). Should be good, and I'll have to post a review when I've had chance to assess the results. I did notice the A2 Nightfighter Custom set on the Oil City website - perhaps one for the future. :)
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