Joe Naylor is someone who is very well known throughout the guitar industry. With his time making amplifiers, Reverend Guitars and Armor Gold cables, Joe is someone who is known for creating new and wonderful things in many fields. Railhammer Pickups are his latest creation, and in true form are something quite new to the pickup world.
Railhammers have a unique design compared to humbuckers from other manufacturers. Where others design humbuckers with rails or pole-pieces, Joe Naylor sought to combine both types of humbuckers into one design, allowing his designs to have the best from both worlds. With thin rails underneath the bass strings and over-sized pole pieces under the treble strings, Railhammers provide sharp cutting tone that won’t get muddy for the bass strings, and full-bodied tone that never gets shrill from the treble strings.
Currently, there are three different ranges to choose from the Railhammer catalogue: for low output the Hyper Vintage bridge and neck, for medium output the Chisel bridge and neck, and the Anvil bridge for the high output lovers. I have been very fortunate to have Joe send me a Chisel humbucker set to test and review.
I’ve installed the Chisel set into my PRS/LP style bolt-on kit guitar, which has a basswood body, maple neck/rosewood fretboard, and TOM bridge and tailpiece. First up for review is the Chisel bridge.
The guitar I installed the Chisel bridge into is a very muddy guitar, with a lot of lows, and not a great deal of mids or highs. I was a little worried about how the Chisel would perform in this circumstance, but I was very surprised by the outcome. The Chisel bridge took on some of the guitar’s tonal characteristics, but rather than this being a bad thing it turned out to be good.
Unlike the other pickups I had tried in this guitar, with distortion the Chisel took the massive low end, and turned it into an aggressive, slamming, cutting machine. There was an immediate attack thanks to the ceramic magnet, and no chance for mud. I was particularly impressed when I tried it out at high volume with my band. My tone was fat, but still very articulate. Notes on the treble strings, and higher up the fretboard were fantastic too. Lots of body and definition are available from the bridge position, so there was less reason for switching to the neck pickup when soloing.
Clean tones showed some similar characteristics. The Chisel has a very aggressive, immediate attack with some bite. Pick softer, or use fingers and the tone soften and sweetens up quite a bit.
With a resistance of 13.0KOhms the Chisel is very touch sensitive, and with the pickup cleaning up so nicely it makes for a fantastic pickup for people who play single channel amps. Clean tones and dirt can be controlled nicely from the guitar’s volume knob and the players fingers.
The Chisel is best suited to rock and heavier guitar styles. It’s immediate attack, and crushing tone should make it very popular with the metal crowd, and its ability to clean up nicely will be very much appreciated too.
Overall the Railhammer Chisel bridge is an amazing medium to high output pickup. Joe Naylor’s combination of rails and fat pole-pieces in a humbucker result in a pickup that doesn’t really have any compromises, only great consistent tone. The fact that this design gave a guitar that is typically muddy the ability to cut through like a chisel (I had to!) is fantastic, and its ability to clean up nicely makes it very versatile. If you want to try something a little different definitely take a look at the Railhammer range.
A big thanks to Joe Naylor for providing me with the Chisel set to review.