Railhammer Chisel Neck Humbucker – review


Railhammer Chisel pickups - awesome innovation, awesome tone.

Continuing on from my Chisel bridge humbucker review, here is the Railhammer Chisel neck humbucker review. The Railhammer Chisel neck, like the bridge version, is loaded with a ceramic magnet, but a much lower resistance of 7.5KOhms, perfect for a neck pickup, and a great match for the Chisel bridge. Like all Railhammer pickups it utilises thin rails for the bass strings, and fat pole-pieces for the treble strings, resulting in an evenly balanced tone that won’t get muddy or shrill.

The Chisel neck humbucker is  a very full-bodied, sweet sounding pickup, both clean and distorted. Despite the full-bodied tone there is a good amount of clarity, making each note very clearly defined. With the aforementioned resistance of 7.5KOhms the Chisel neck is far less compressed than the bridge version.  Attack isn’t quite as immediate as the bridge version, but is still very quick. Each note can be heard very clearly when picked, so there’s no chance for mud.

Distorted, the Chisel neck is big, bold and brash, but never over the top. Harmonics pop out quite nicely, especially for a neck pickup with a relatively low resistance. Notes down the low end of the fretboard are quite clearly defined, but still nice and warm.  As one would expect from a low resistance pickup the Chisel neck cleans up really nicely too.

Clean, the Chisel neck  is a beauty. Hit the strings hard and it’s nice and fat, without being as aggressive as the bridge model. Pick softer, or finger pick and it just sweetens up beautifully.  Open chords sing particularly beautifully, as they sound nice and warm, but still clearly defined.

Combined with the Chisel bridge the tone gets a little sharper, and even a little twangy. Mids and highs are bumped up nicely with the combination of the bridge pickup. The lows substantially tighten up, without sounding too much like the bridge pickup on its own. Clean rhythms sound quite nice and edgy with the two pickups combined, and not quite as aggressive as the Chisel bridge by itself, but still nice and tight.

The Chisel neck is quite a versatile neck pickup, which of course sounds amazing paired up with the Chisel bridge for rock, and heavier guitar styles. But it can also sound quite soulful and bluesy. It can do both aggressive and soft or laid-back quite convincingly.

One thing I forgot to mention in my Chisel bridge review is the quality of the Railhammer pickups. The build is second to none, and those that may be concerned that they are not made in the USA have nothing to worry about. I particularly loved the packaging. The pickups come in a basic little box with the Railhammer logo, and model details written on the label. The nice part is the little cloth drawstring bag that contains the pickup inside the box. It’s nice and simple with minimal plastic, which means it’s all better for the environment.

Overall the Railhammer Chisel neck humbucker is another winner for Joe Naylor. It’s ability to simultaneously sound big, fat and warm, and still cut through the mix like a knife is nothing short of amazing. Don’t hesitate to get one if you are thinking of getting a Chisel bridge humbucker, and if you are already happy with your current bridge pickup, but are looking for a neck pickup that sounds nice and warm, but still cuts through definitely check the Chisel neck out.

A big thanks to Joe Naylor for providing me with the Chisel set to review.

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