The Ormsby Guitars Hot Rock is the second of two pickups provided to me by Perry Ormsby (the first being the Nunchucker Humbucker). It’s taken me a while to have the time to install and test the Hot Rock, but at long last, here is my review! I made sure that I tested the Hot Rock in the same guitar as the Nunchucker Humbucker, my custom Alder-bodied Ibanez RG/JEM style guitar.
With an medium to high output level, and resistance of 13.4K, and overwound mismatched coils, the Hot Rock is a much harder hitting pickup compared to the Nunchucker Humbucker. The pickup I received is also loaded with an Alnico 5 magnet, but you can also request an Alnico 8 or Ceramic if either of those are your preferred type.
Tonally the Hot Rock is quite similar to the Nunchucker Humbucker in some respects. There’s a heap of clarity, even under high gain, and the Hot Rock is very capable of cutting through the mix. With very strong mids and a tight bass response, you want to make sure that your amp isn’t set with the mid and treble controls too high otherwise the Hot Rock will make your guitar tone very shrill. Bump the bass up, keep the mids no higher than 12 o’clock, and the treble on the low-ish side and you’ll have a ball tearing guitar tone, that’ll never get lost in the mix. Be careful playing notes higher up the fretboard though, as the treble may be too much depending on how you dial in your amp.
With a resistance of 13.4K the Hot Rock’s tone is more compressed than the Nunchucker Humbucker, but not overly so. The Hot Rock still cleans up quite nicely when you roll back your guitar’s volume knob, with just a little grit when playing with a high gain tone. Pickups with higher resistances tend to lose dynamics, but the Hot Rock’s resistance falls just short of the point where dynamics can start to get lost. It’s not quite as expressive as the Nunchucker Humbucker, but it’s certainly no slouch when it comes to allowing a players style to come out.
Splitting and combining the Hot Rock with other pickups works nicely too. Glassy strat-like tones are fairly convincing when split with another humbucker or single, and combining in series with another humbucker provides a nice full tone that sounds great for clean rhythm work, and distorted lead work mid-way up the guitar.
The Hot Rock works nicely for blues, various forms of rock, and metal. It’s particularly good for lead guitar since it can easily cut through the mix. You just need to be careful how you eq your amp. What might sound good at low volumes will sound very shrill and trebly at high volumes. Get your tone sorted out, and this pickup will sing, and blend in with mix beautifully.
Overall the Hot Rock is another winner for Ormsby Guitars. If you are looking for a versatile pickup that can push your amp, but not so much that you lose dynamics, and really cut through the mix you ought to check out this great hand-made pickup.